Michael Mulgrew, the current President of the UFT, represents the Unity and New Action caucuses.
New Action has made an agreement to back Unity’s top leadership in exchange for officer/executive board positions. This agreement dates back to 2003, predating when Michael Mulgrew replaced Randi Weingarten in the UFT presidency.
We cannot and will not differentiate between these groups. Unity and New Action have exchanged seats and cross endorsed each other. This is the type of back-room deal that epitomizes the dirty politics that has come to define this union leadership.
What has been gained for the supposed alternative agenda of New Action in this time?
Similar to the way that Mulgrew signs onto deform policies, and then cries foul when the effects become detrimental, New Action has criticized some of these moves. Yet, this critique becomes disingenuous when it has supported the leader that took these actions, and then criticizes these policies. When the leader’s core policies are so fundamentally detrimental to the membership and our students, we must ask, how is this stance a credible opposition?
In 2009 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew signed onto the Common Core; Mulgrew endorsed the extension of mayoral control.
In 2010 UnityNew Action’s Mulgrew signed onto the Race to the Top; Mulgrew made public lies that the rubber rooms were closed –in fact, detainees have been merely dispersed from large ones to district offices.
In 2011 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew signed onto the weekly rotation of ATRs and the observation of ATRs in substitute assignments. (This was approved by the Delegate Assembly at an emergency meeting held after school on the last day of school, June 28, 2011. No ATRs were involved. The ATR pool itself was created by loss of senority excessing rights from Unity’s 2005 contract.)
In 2011 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew, without a membership vote, endorsed the Danielson Framework for evaluating teachers.
2012 and 2013, in defiance of a rising clamor for a membership vote on the issue, Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew has endorsed the use of high-stakes tests as the basis for teacher evaluation, a methodology proven to be junk science.
In 2013 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew has reaffirmed his belief in the failed policy of mayoral control which has led to the closing and/or privatization of our neighborhood schools and has left thousands of teachers as ATRs
Unity/ New Action endorsed Race to the Top
In 2010 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew said that New York’s Race to the Top (RTTT) application had teachers’ support. But just where did that race take us?
RTTT expanded the leadership academies; it took New York City’s burdensome data systems and network models state–wide, proving to be a failure everywhere.
RTTT mandates constant assessment and data management, spiking administrative costs and depriving teachers of proper preparation time.
RTTT pressured New York State to have high-stakes test-based educator evaluations, resulting in more testing and less learning for our students.
RTTT pushes districts to have destructive turn-around programs, school closings, and increases the number of charter schools.
Unity/New Action didn’t have to endorse RTTT.
13 states did not participate in the last round of Race to the Top applications.
The California Teachers Association criticized RTTT because its “One Size Fits All Hurts Students” and it said that RTTT requirements hold school systems “hostage by their purse strings.”
RTTT – Not worth the costs.
RTTT – Wrecking our working conditions and our children’s learning conditions.
Vote the MORE slate to improve working and learning conditions.
In each of the years of the tenure of Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew, the UFT has failed to stop dozens of school closings and even greater numbers of charter school co-locations. The privatization of our schools has led to fewer resources for our public schools, inequality in learning conditions, and the loss of union protections.
While New Action claims that it supports Mulgrew on some points and opposes him on other points, one must ask oneself: how could New Action be considered an opposition caucus when it will not challenge the fundamental betrayals of leadership that brought about the conditions that they complain about in their literature?
Unity claims they are “seasoned leaders in troubled times”, yet they are years removed from the classroom and their willingness to sign onto failed profit-driven reform is proof-positive that Unity has been the cause of these “troubled times”. They claim to fight school closings and co-locations, but cannot hide from their record of lack of mobilization against these policies (for the antithesis of Unity, please see the Chicago Teachers Union/Karen Lewis’ response) and agreeing to run their own charter school. Unity has allowed our members to go without a new contract for over four years; this is not leadership.
MULGREW/NEW ACTION/UNITY – disastrous management in a time of historic attack on teachers
CAVANAGH/MORE – positive alternative leadership to restore dignity to our profession and compassion for our students