MORE’s First 100 Days

April 21, 2013 — 25 Comments

The measuring stick of any new political leadership is the first 100 days. Although we don’t expect to unseat the established power of a caucus that has been entrenched for over 50 years, we do have a plan should it happen. The establishment caucuses that supports Michael Mulgrew have become too complacent. They only attempt to negotiate back room deals and lobby politicians who long ago sold their souls to the highest bidders. Mulgrew and  Unity officers, supported by New Action, have been out of the classroom for so many years that they have become totally cut off from the concerns of the rank and file. In fact the current leadership has been a co-signer to the many of the wrong-headed policies that has harmed much of what we love in our craft. Has Mulgrew been observed with cookie-cutter rubrics “Danielson” or been forced to institute unproven untested Common Core Standards on his students? We all know the answer is no. While the current leadership hides behind the doors of 52 broadway, our members must fend for themselves each and every day. Some are denied tenure, others U rated without legitimate reasons, yet others have their schools closed down. In all these cases the union that should be front and center defending us , but it does not have a strategy to respond. Years without a contract and the continued destruction of our job conditions continues to progress without any answers. The greatest detriment to all of us being successful educators is that the people making the decisions on our behalf, from the mayor, to our union, to the “educational” corporations, are not in the classroom.

When MORE is in leadership of our union we will stay in constant contact with our members, students, and their families. We will open up NY Teacher, Edwize, and our social media outlets for all discussion, including those that may be critical of our strategies . As union leaders we need to know every issue our members are facing in their schools so that we can address them properly. MORE will  make daily visits to our chapters as part of the course of our work, in addition we will meet with parents and student groups on a regular basis. Any new educational policy or “reform” must be piloted and we will sit with all the participants to gather real feedback and demand revisions as needed.

The MORE strategy is simple: first and foremost those leading the union and writing educational policy must be real experienced classroom teachers and school based staff who face the rigors of our profession each and every day. We fully understand the issues facing our children and their educators.  The MORE slate is ready to lead now. Our candidates have had many years as chapter leaders, delegates, and union organizers. Some have fought off charter co-locations, others have organized with parents, students, and community groups to fight budget cuts, while many of our candidates have led battles against harassing principals. Our candidates have organized their own schools in defense of teachers and filed successful  grievances that have forced UFT to defend our own. We are ready now to mobilize our 80,000 members to fight for the working conditions our membership deserves and the learning conditions our student’s need. MORE will not sign on the dotted line when asked to sell out our members or even worse our students. Evaluations, learning standards, and assessments must be positive vehicles for real reform not an excuse to fill the pockets of corporate exploiters.

When we lead the UFT we will bring democracy to our entire membership, the highest-ranking body of our union. The members who pay dues each week must have a voice in any decision that dramatically changes our schools; evaluation schemes, curriculum, and mayoral control must be presented to the entire membership for a vote. Any union leadership must be responsive to the members it represents, not the other way around as it currently is.

Within our first 100 days we will turn our union into one that is robust and active, with our top officers visiting each and every school chapter to meet with our members and listen to their concerns. We will organize the chapter and show them how to fight back and offer all the necessary support, financial and organizational. Delegate assemblies will cease to be top-down, leader-driven propaganda meetings. We will bring back the union hall spirit that long drove successful labor movements where delegates lead the conversation and strategy making. Democracy means district and borough representatives will be elected through a democratic process as was the tradition in our union for many years to ensure accountability.

A MORE leadership will immediately reach out to community groups and advocates for racial, social, and economic justice and plan together how we can best reform our education system with our children as the highest priorities not profits. We will work with parent associations, school leadership teams, and students’ groups to ensure public education has equality of opportunity and condition. The Governor has been campaigning  around the state  explaining his belief in wrap-around services for public schools in low-income areas. The MORE leadership of UFT will demand he implements this now, beginning September 2013. We will also tell the Governor and all city/state lawmakers that now is the time for a moratorium on all school closings. We will take to the streets in the spirit of our Chicago brethren until these demands are met.

The ATR issue must be dealt with immediately, how can new educators be hired each year while experienced teachers and guidance counselors continue to be sent from school to school each week to fill in as substitutes? Theses excessed educators must be placed immediately and before any new hires. This will allow our children to have experienced educators in their schools and possibly even help to reduce class-sizes around the city. We will call for a moratorium on new hiring until every excessed educator is placed and refuse to negotiate with the city/state on any educational policy until this demand is met.

MORE will turn the UFT into an outspoken leader of student’s rights, exposing the corruption of political educational policies that turn our children into nothing more than data and profits. We will reaffirm our core belief that public education is the hallmark of any thriving democracy; therefore we will no longer allow our schools to be closed and privatized into charter schools. MORE will work to ensure that our union is at the forefront of all local and national labor issues. The UFT needs to put all its weight behind halting the destruction of unions and fighting for better working conditions for all of society, including a living wage for all. Within our first 100 days we will expose all the conditions that have allowed the so-called “school to prison” pipeline and publish a full report on our findings and suggestions for a remedy.

When our students and their families are hurting, we are all hurting. The UFT must work harder to make life better for all. This union will no longer be dormant when we are leading, the UFT will cease to be a signatory to our own demise. Instead we will lead a union that is organized and mobilized to stand up and fight for a great urban public education system.

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25 responses to MORE’s First 100 Days

  1. 

    Student rights? No wonder you will lose in a landslide. As of now, students have far too many rights. Discipline in the schools gets worse each day. Why aren’t you advocating 600 schools for disruptive children? Don’t make me feel sorry that I voted for MORE. Your other points were exellent.

    • 

      Ed
      Why stop at 600 schools? There are plenty of empty prisons upstate. Let’s just skip the middleman.

      • 

        I taught for 33 years in the NYC school system. Discipline is sadly lacking. No child has the right to disrupt another child’s education. It is the traditional liberal belief that has led to the virtual demise of our once great system. You can’t teach without discipline.

      • 

        My typing error: excellent. Why do new teachers leave within 5 years? Why do many teachers opt for early retirement? It’s discipline, stupid! We need work-study programs for older problem students. We don’t need alternate assessments and other liberal nonsense. These are poor ways to push problem children through.

      • 
        SIXfigureSALARY April 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm

        I guess Ed strayed from the MORE message. I thought MORE claims that is allowed and encouraged. I guess not.

        MORE: We believe that schools in NYC do not have discipline problems

      • 
        SIXfigureSALARY April 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm

        Ed Sorry you wasted your vote by voting for MORE

      • 
        SIXfigureSALARY April 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        Ask around most Rank and File members agree with Ed

    • 

      Ed,
      Large numbers of teachers have always left though this time we have the TFA group that is designed to leave. Not only do teachers leave the profession but an enormous number leave the classroom full or part time. I never wanted to leave until after my 30th year when I was offered a dream district job.
      I taught elementary school in the classroom for 30 years and of course discipline is a key. But the blame falls on administrators who don’t enforce, follow up, blame the teachers. From my first days as a teacher I did not believe in the “blame the child” and was against suspensions except in criminal cases. Let’s examine the causes of the discipline issue instead of going after students.
      I am not speaking for MORE here but of a 40 year belief that we find every possible way of dealing with children who clearly have issues while also providing relief to the teachers. The DOE has forced kids with real needs onto large classes where these needs cannot be met. Let’s look at short term solutions — and 600 schools is not one — and long term.
      This is a war by all sorts of forces and any force inside the union needs to look at real solutions — how about using those millions of commercials the UFT spends to actually make the case for why the policies that lead to more discipline problems is child abuse?
      I know, I know, you want us to make the case it is teacher abuse. The reality? The public doesn’t give a crap about that. As charters skim away the kids with the least problems the public schools are left with a higher concentration of problems. We know testing is used to undermine teachers and their profession. But we are getting smarter by mobilizing with parents and claiming the tests are child abuse. The opt-out movement by parents will lead the way and then maybe teachers will follow and support.
      So 6-figure salary, keep defending a faulty eval system, common core and the UFT charters that undermine your colleagues and people like Ed while also forcing schools like Gershwin JHS (166) into closure and the creation of a new batch of Unity Caucus supported ATRs with no home school.
      A teacher union that narrows its fight to only teacher self-interest is heading for oblivion. And to Ruby Sky — a caucus that just wants to take advantage of that to win an election may well win a union that is just a shell.
      Let 6 figure salary keep his perks as the UFT sinks. I’d rather mobilize those teachers who are prepared to see the big picture and fight to preserve the union not sink it.

  2. 

    Children rated unsatisfactory in conduct for 2 years must be placed in alternative schools. For every child above class size limits, the teacher(s) automatically get more money. You’d see how fast the class size issue would be resolved. Stop talking so much about justice. What about the justice for students who want to learn and teachers who want to teach but can’t due to the complete lack of discipline in the schools? Ultra-liberal spewing will ensure your defeat.

  3. 

    Some of us have been reiterating that point for months. The goal must be to draw in the majority of members, to pave the way for change. Social justice, extremely relevant, is far too lofty an ideal to attract our colleagues.

    The focus must be on the nuts and bolts of what we are all dealing with each day in classrooms around the city. Then members will start to pay attention.

  4. 

    There is more than teachers in the United Federation of Teachers. Other Chapters (NON DOE) are you ready to stand up for them to?

    • 

      Gladys
      MORE is working with people from various non-teaching chapters. Contact us if interested. We can’t stand up for them unless they provide us info on the issues they face.

  5. 
    SIXfigureSALARY April 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Norm stop pretending you are a rank and file member, you’re not. you are just a bitter pill. A purrrrrrrr-fectly miserable malcontent

    • 

      Ahhhh, again trying to attack me in order to deflect your support for common core, uft charter co-locos, closing schools (when told to), ATR nomads, etc by attacking me, a happy retiree who wouldn’t pretend to be a rank and filer working under a system you guys helped support. No discipline in schools? Gee, it must be MORE’s fault as if we are in power, not you guys who have sat by as principals have gobbled up power. MORE doesn’t lose 99.4% of grievances. MORE didn’t vote to take away the right of teachers to grieve letters in the file. Oh, I could go on but you know full well that you would support the murder of purrrring kittens if told to do so. by your masters.

  6. 
    SIXfigureSALARY April 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    A friend pointed me here. Telling me I would find a good message but I mainly keep finding some guy Norm who constantly complains and Acts as though he is rank and file. I was hoping to find hope but I didn’t. We need another new caucus. The ICE has just melted and the water left behind is called MORE. I think we need a new caucus that is actually a new caucus, not just new faces.

    • 

      UFT Charter schools, co-locations, common core, merit pay, Danielson, VAM, Randi Weingarten, No discipline in schools, abusive principals, ATRs, 2005 contract, 99.5% losing rate on grievances, etc, etc, etc. Keep trying to duck.

      • 
        SIXfigureSALARY April 23, 2013 at 9:58 pm

        I am only In the system for a decade. I have nothing to duck You think I am leadership. I don’t think the UFT leadership is spending there time on this blog.

      • 

        You are in Unity and I bet get some union perks. My list covers the decade. Note how you won’t disavow even one thing. You must think your masters have a tracking device. Go ahead, feel free to say you think the UFT has no right to put a charter school in a public school. Or the UFT has no right to even have a charter school. Say that a few times and then we’ll move on to the common core for your next lesson in breaking the spell.

  7. 
    Washington Sanchez April 24, 2013 at 7:51 am

    How insulting. I spend time on this blog and i consider myself leadership.

  8. 
    SIXfigureSALARY April 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Julie Cavanagh and I have a few things in common. We both have been in the system for about a decade and we both never really cared about until a couple years ago. Now we have both become more engaged in learning about the UFT. The only difference is after only a couple of years of being an activist I still want and should learn while she thinks she knows it all and runs for president. Too Funny.

    • 

      Here are just a few things you don’t have in common. In the 4 years Julie has been active Julie organized her school – parents and teachers – to battle the charter invasion. She put together a toolkit for schools all over the city to use for their battles, even appearing at many of thees schools when asked. She helped lead the rally at Bloomberg’s house, being the only teacher willing to sign the court papers. She helped organize the battle against high stakes testing and was instrumental in starting the Change the Stakes group which got parents involved and they are now running the group and are holding a rally at Tweed to sweep up the mess (which you guys are ignoring but come on down). She was part of GEM and went to many PEP meetings to fight for public education. She was one of the directors, writers, producers and co-narrator of the only response to Waiting for Superman – a film which was shown on 6 continents and all 50 states with 12000 dvds in circulation. She debated e4e on tv and appeared on a national TV show. Leonie Haimson gave her a major award for her activism. She was recognized by just about every group fighting ed deform in the city — parent and teacher and community. And she became chapter leader. And then had a baby. Your turn.

  9. 
    SIXfigureSALARY April 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I applaud and admire her for those things that she has done. My resume is not important due to the fact that I am not running for President. What you describes is a great community activist. No one can deny that she has become a strong advocate for our profession and communities. But none of that explains whether or not she is capable of running the UFT. The UFT is a large organization that has many facets. My worry is that she does not have a strong understanding of how to run our union. Her capacity as a community activist was never called into question.

    • 

      And that says it perfectly.

      It’s great that she’s an engaged community activist. The fact that she doesn’t find it necessary to attend delegate assemblies (as James, Peter, and Megan regularly do) shows that she doesn’t have a grasp on how the teachers union functions.

      • 

        The old attendance at the super democratic delegate assemblies, the key ingredient we all look for in a candidate. I can guarantee one thing. If any of these people had run for President you would find a thousand things to trash them for.

    • 

      Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t you put on a Sarah Pallin wig and whine: She’s only a community organizer. Remember that “community organizer” you guys endorsed – twice? Oh, and she was doing that organizing while teaching full-time.

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