MORE ELEMENTARY DIVISION CANDIDATES FOR UFT EXECUTIVE BOARD
Jamie Fidler, who starred in the documentary American Teacher, has been teaching in the NYC public schools for 10 years, at PS 261 in Brooklyn for most of that time and has been an education and social activist for the past decade.
“I am running with MORE because I believe in the power of a strong union when it speaks for their members and accurately represents their voices. As a parent and teacher in the public school system, I want our children to develop strong voices and independent ideas. This can’t be accomplished in a fearful environment where the teacher is relegated to a binder and test prep. I believe in public education, where teachers, parents and students’ voices are at the center of a strong curriculum and sound policies.”
Emily Miller has been teaching for 6 years and is a second grade teacher in a Spanish/English dual language program in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
“I am running with MORE because students, families, communities and teachers are all in it together. We all want our students to have a high quality education. As MORE says, our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Smaller class sizes are good for teachers and are very important for students. Evaluating teachers based on student performance on standardized test scores is not fair to teachers and the over emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests is harmful to students.
Lauren Cohen has taught elementary schools for eight years in self-contained special education, inclusion, and general education classes and currently teaches 5th grade at P.S. 321 in Park Slope.
“I am running with MORE because I believe that teachers need to collaborate and mobilize against the attacks on our profession and our students. I used to work in a school with an abusive administration, where I earned a reputation among my colleagues for speaking out against policies that were both harmful to children and violations of our contract. Without the backing of a democratic union, however, it was difficult to effect change and stop the onslaught of excessive paperwork, arbitrary denial of tenure, and inappropriate letters in our files. My renewed passion and drive came from the realization that the threat to the teaching profession was much larger: the systemic obsession with quantitative measures of success has narrowed the curriculum in many schools and marginalized any student whose strengths lie in areas other than reading and math. I am a member of Change the Stakes, a group of parents, teachers, and other NYC residents who are fighting back against the use of high-stakes tests to punish schools, teachers, and students.”
Jia Lee has taught since 2002 in a self-contained Bronx high school, then a middle and now an elementary school in the East Village.
“As a special educator, I held high hopes the UFT leadership would advocate for our profession and students against value-added models of evaluation that have caused devastating school closures and the demeaning treatment of teachers. My faith in our current political and union leadership has waned as our voices have been ignored in the current climate of top-down educational reform. I joined MORE because it is an integral voice in our union against corporate infiltration. MORE pushes for a democratic process within our union. MORE understands that union leadership represents its members. As a special education teacher and parent, I find myself feeling hopeful again. Being asked to run with MORE is not only an honor, it is an obligation to my colleagues and our students. Thank you.
Mari Caputo has been teaching at PS 84, D.14, Brooklyn, for close to 25 years. She has served as UFT delegate and is currently serving her first term as Chapter Leader. She is a longtime education activist, advocating for developmentally appropriate, child-centered and experienced-based education for all students.
“We need a union that hears and respects more voices. We need a union that is dedicated to creating, supporting, and protecting excellent working conditions for teachers in every school across our city. I am running with MORE because this caucus has taken a position against the value-added method of ranking teachers which reduces us all to numbers. I am running with MORE in an effort to bring respect, debate, understanding, and joy back to our profession.”
Karla Tobar is a 3rd grade bilingual teacher in her fifth year of teaching. She is a delegate at P.S. 443 in the Bronx and a core member of the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE).
“I am running with MORE because I believe in a democratic member-driven union that takes the voices of all members into account. My vision of a union is one that actively organizes, educates, mobilizes, empowers, and transforms not just members, but all people.”
Patrick Walsh is an ESL teacher in PS/ MS 149 in Harlem for 8 years and a thrice elected chapter leader of the UFT.
“I am running with MORE because I believe that unions, to be effective and just, must be run democratically and that is not the case now. I believe fiercely in participatory democracy in across all aspects of the UFT.”
Yelena Siwinski has spent 18 years teaching at P.S. 193 in Brooklyn, elected co-chapter leader 8 years ago.
“I educate my members about the issues at the city, state, and national levels, motivate them to take action, and lead them to fight for their students and themselves. After sitting on several UFT committees (two Negotiation and the Evaluation committees) I witnessed first-hand how Unity leaders inform us of decisions they made and deals they had brokered with very little voice was given to committee members. I am honored to be running with MORE so that my voice, and the voice of my members, is truly heard. Their vision of the union is one that is run democratically, engaging the voices of teachers, students, parents, and their communities. The only way I can ever really be part of the fight is with a MORE leadership.”
Lisa North has taught at PS 3 in Brookly’s D. 13 in Bed-Stuy for 24 years. She has been a chapter leader and delegate for over 15 years as well as active in many groups that include parents, community members, and educators in the fight for a better education for our students.
“I am running as a member of MORE because our union must rebuild from the bottom up. Every school chapter in the city must be organized to fight for an education system that provides the education our students deserve and the working conditions for us to make that possible. Our students need developmentally appropriate learning, experiential learning that builds background knowledge and critical thinking skills, NOT test prep. No more use of testing to punish schools, educators and students.
Patricia Dobosz has been teaching for 30 years (20 in the NYC Public School System) mostly in Early Childhood, currently at PS 157 in D 14, Brooklyn. She is an education/community activist belonging to several grassroots education groups.
“I am running with MORE because I want our union to fight for a fair multi-year contract with retroactive pay, tenure protections, and a call for the immediate end to mayoral control of our public school system.”
Christine Wong is a special education teacher at P.S. 1 in Manhattan in her 11th year teaching. She has been chapter leader for 4 years.
“I am running with MORE because I want to be part of a movement that expands the political voice of all teachers, and deepens our relationship with parents and communities. I think MORE offers an analysis of the deeper political reasons behind the attacks on public education, and the type of social justice strategy it will take to defend it.”