Archives For December 2013
We have worked more than four years under an expired contract. We deserve more!
The Movement of Rank and File Educators believes we should not accept any contract that fails to win the following:
1. Full retroactive pay: We have lived through four years of a wage freeze. Yet our bills, living costs, and transportation have not been frozen. If we agree to a contract now that doesn’t give us full retroactivity we are inviting the city to simply stall all future negotiations in order to impose a de facto wage freeze on us again and again.
2. Clear, enforceable language for reduction of paperwork: The new evaluation scheme, with its artifact collection and the scrutiny of lesson plans, has brought with it enormous paperwork burdens. The current contractual language for paperwork reduction (Article 8I) is toothless, while our right to control lesson plan format (8J) has become difficult to enforce.
3. Revision of the teacher evaluation plan to fix:
- The Measures of Student Learning that inappropriately rate teachers on work outside of their own subject area and classes.
- The use of the Danielson Framework, a one-size-fits-all rigid teaching prescription that takes away all teacher autonomy.
- The problematic use of high stakes tests in teachers’ evaluations. As the UFT’s 2007 task force said, “The American Education Research Association has stated that tests are always fallible and should never be used as high stakes instruments.”
4. Pattern Bargaining: In 2008 most municipal union workers received 4% raises; UFT members have yet to receive anything. Pattern bargaining has been the traditional method for deciding raises for many years, we can not allow the city to deviate from this, because it will set a precedent that will allow them to negotiate no raises for UFT in coming years. This process has kept our unions strong and working together for many years, not receiving the same raise as the other city workers would threaten the very being of the labor movement in NYC.
5. Increased Wages: The city will argue they cannot afford to pay us the retroactive wages we deserve and increase our salary. The data says otherwise: Since 2005, the city has had annual budget surpluses ranging from $2 billion to well over $4 billion. Mayor Bloomberg’s 2014 Executive Budget states that Wall Street profits rose to $23.9 billion in 2012, (third highest on record) and will be $13.4 billion in 2013, tax revenue continues to increase. Let’s not forget the city continues to waste money; The Office of the New York State Comptroller issued an audit examining the DOE’s $342 million in non-competitive contracts. In 2013 the cost of the networks that’s schools belong to was at least $76.6 million. Millions of dollars are wastefully spent on educational consultants, test prep companies, Common Core/Danielson implementation, and on other failed projects such as ARIS and CityTime. We live in the most expensive city in the world and it’s time to give UFT members the raises we deserve!
Dictionary definition of debate:
To discuss a question by considering opposed arguments.
UFT Delegate Assemblies are awash in a sea of undemocratic procedures. One of the most egregious has been the abuse of the rules that govern debate. The leadership and its UNITY Caucus supporters have 100 minutes to present their case plus a 10-minute question period, with the President’s report taking up a good chunk of the time. Alternate voices have a 10 minute “new motion” period. But even those 10 minutes are encroached upon when the leadership uses the pretense of presenting its own “new” motions despite the fact they have the power to add them to the regular agenda. But they go even further by restricting or shutting down debate.
President Mulgrew is violating Robert’s Rules of Order overtly when he calls exclusively on supporters of motions. His argument that he doesn’t know where people stand when he calls on them holds little water given that most of the speakers are members of his own Unity Caucus and are often, in fact, UFT officials on the UFT payroll. His job as president is to alternate between those who are in favor and those who are against a motion. Therefore, after a Unity person motivates a motion, Mulgrew’s obligation is to call on someone opposed as long as someone rises and demands the floor at the same time as a friend of a motion. The Rules call, for not just one speaker on the other side, but half of them in every debate.
Delegates have seen this basic principle of democratic debate routinely ignored, often with only a one-sided point of view being aired. There can be no “union” without a democratic union. In the interests of having a democratic union that follows the rule of law and welcomes vigorous, open debate, we urge all union members to support a movement for a more democratic union. Let us begin this movement at the Delegate Assembly.
Question for UFT’s leadership at the Delegate Assembly:
Randi Weingarten recently wrote in an article titled “Time to End Failed Policies of NCLB & RTTT.” Will the UFT refuse to sign on to any renewals of RTTT in NYC?
Now that we passed a resolution to end high stakes associated with Common Core tests, what is our political follow up?
Are there plans for childcare at DA meetings?
Join us at the next MORE Meeting
Jan. 18th, 2014, 12pm-3pm
The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Our Fliers for the 12/11 DA
MORE is proud to endorse the call by our friends and allies in ICOPE, BYNEE and MANY for a chancellor who has a progressive vision for New York City schools and for a open and democratic process for their selection that includes the voices of parents, teachers and students.
Please see full and detailed text of the two calls below