Archives For June 2016

¨more summer book clubs¨

Mr. Michael Mulgrew, President
United Federation of Teachers
52 Broadway
New York, New York 10004

Dear Mr. Mulgrew,

Over the past few years, members of the opt out movement have become adept at distinguishing our allies from those who work against us, often behind the scenes. In light of your recent newsletter (see above) for the UFT’s Unity Caucus, it has become apparent which of these two camps you are truly affiliated with.

It is no secret, Mr. Mulgrew, that as president of the NYC teacher’s union, the UFT (the largest local teacher’s union in the state), you wield a tremendous amount of power within NYSUT. With approximately 800 voting delegates and the resources needed to send all of its delegates to statewide elections, the UFT often holds the voting majority in NYSUT. Therefore, you have the power to sway NYSUT’s powerful lobbying dollars and efforts towards policy and law that will either benefit or harm our children. For that reason, the opt out movement has shifted its attention to you.

In the outrageous document referenced above, you claim that districts have “lost” grant money due to opt out, when in fact that money was not theirs to begin with. You cannot “lose” something you do not already have and are not guaranteed to be awarded. While failing to test 95% of all students may exclude a district from APPLYING for a small monetary grant (25,000-75,000 dollars), no money is TAKEN from a district. To date, no school in NYS has lost money as a result of opt out numbers. On the other hand, high stakes testing has cost school districts MILLIONS of dollars over the past four years while the State continues to shirk its obligation to fully fund our schools. In addition, under the new ESSA guidelines, this reward status and grant application process comes to an end and will no longer be a factor.

In addition to providing your members with false information, you have demonized the brave and outspoken NYC educators who have encouraged opt out. You have inexplicably labeled these educators as “reckless and feckless”. This begs the question, why would an experienced educator and union leader dismiss and insult a historic act of civil disobedience? Surely, you are aware that the opt out movement has yielded the only successful means of resisting harmful “test and punish” policies that hurt not only your members, but all educators and students around the state.

It is no secret that you have failed to support efforts to reject the increased focus on test scores in the new teacher evaluation plan (3012-d), or that you have publicly vowed to defend the common core standards (standards that even the Governor’s skewed CC task force found to be flawed) with violence, if necessary. In addition to your disparaging comments aimed at those who support the opt out movement, your actions as president of the UFT would appear to reveal whose side you are really on.

When teachers, students, and unions were being abused, demonized, and demoralized, a call to action rang out from grassroots parent and educator organizations. Many teachers and local unions heeded the call. Progressive caucuses within the UFT such as MORE and the statewide caucus Stronger Together immediately stepped up and worked alongside parents to fight for the best interests of our children. Where were you?

Sadly, it seems apparent, Mr. Mulgrew, that you have been standing and working against us at every turn. Deals have been made, hands have been shaken, and forces have aligned to quell the increasing discontent of this growing tide of parents and educators fighting for the very survival of our schools and the well-being of our children. Opposition to our cause within NYSED, NYCDOE, USDOE as well as those who support illogical and damaging education policies have found an unlikely partner in you.

While your actions speak volumes, we urge you to prove us wrong and demonstrate that you are in fact, an ally of the opt out movement. Take a stand against a corrupt and harmful test-based accountability system, advocate for research and evidence-based education policies, and respect teachers, parents, and students who advocate the use of test refusal as a means of impacting policy and regulatory change.

We think it only fair to inform you that should the educators of New York City and New York State seek new leadership in their elected union officials, the parents of New York will stand in solidarity with those who seek to safeguard public education from harmful policies, regulations, and corrupt leadership.


New York State Allies for Public Education

– See more at:

MORE is a member of NYSAPE

The following letter was sent to our brothers and sisters of the CNTE (Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación), as well as the US Ambassador to Mexico, the Trinational Coalition, our UFT leadership and other organizations. We invite our brothers and sisters in New York and around the world to take similar actions.

Jackson Potter from CTU (Chicago Teachers Union) has started a Go Fund Me page. The money raised will go to two representatives of the Trinational Coalition In Defense of Public Education, Arlette and Mariluz Arriaga, who will give it to the leadership of the CNTE to fund their assemblies and defense.

Please consider making a contribution here:

Oaxaca Resiste Hasta Vencer

Solidarity Protest in NYC with Oaxaca Teachers

SOLIDARITY GREETINGS FROM THE MOVEMENT OF RANK & FILE EDUCATORS (MORE), the Social Justice Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers, NYC

On behalf of the members of MORE, we are writing to express our strong solidarity with the Mexican teachers affiliated with the CNTE (La Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) who have been on strike to demand their worker rights, their human rights and quality public education for their students as they protest governmental education “reforms.”

Continue Reading…



Interactive workshops led by long time chapter leaders and UFT activists

Bring your questions, issues, and share your success stories

Wednesdays: July 6, August 3 and August 31st

Dark Horse Pub
17 Murray St
Downtown NYC, near City Hall
Happy Hour Drink Specials Too!
July 6- Building Strong Union Chapters
Come learn strategies for building strong UFT chapters, identifying leadership in your school, mapping your building, organizing with parents and students, building the opt-out movement, and fostering member engagement in the UFT.
August 3rd- Understanding the DOE and UFT Power Structure
This session will focus on understanding the UFT/DOE power structure- mayoral control, the panel for educational policy, the UFT structure, the executive board and delegate assembly.  We will also explore how privatization impacts the DOE, with a particular focus on the push to bring more charter schools to NYC.
August 31st -Enforcing the UFT Contract
This session will deal with the “nuts and bolts” of organizing in your school and enforcing the contract, including representing members in disciplinary cases, filing grievances that can win, organizing an effective consultation committee, and dealing with difficult supervisors.

Click here to download and distribute our newsletter!

The new issue of the New York City Teacher Voice, MORE’s newsletter, is out, celebrating and analyzing our election victory.
Please take a few moments to print and distribute to your colleagues at work.
We especially need help getting out at the DA this evening if you can bring copies there.
High school teachers, please consider printing some and taking them to Regents’ grading over the next week or two.

Response to shooting at Pulse Nightclub: Orlando, FL

PulseBlackRibbonAs members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators caucus of the United Federation of Teachers; as teachers, community members, LGBTQI identifying, and allies, we are deeply saddened by the horrendous attack on human life and dignity early yesterday morning at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. We also stand strongly against Islamophobia and any attempt to divide marginalized people for political gain.


The Right has introduced more than 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last month. The hateful homophobic rhetoric made most infamous by North Carolina’s obscene discriminatory law builds a society where this kind of attack is a reality.  Florida has a too-long history of horrific acts of violence committed with legal guns. We remember Trayvon Martin today, and recognize the impact a culture of violence and hate in which our government turns a blind eye towards police brutality has had on our most vulnerable community members. This builds a society where racist and bigoted violence in the form of armed attacks against oppressed groups, LGBTQI, immigrants, women, people of color, and Muslims  become possible. It builds a society where mosques and black churches are set afire and burned to the ground. It is this violence that leads to the premature deaths and murder of trans women, and to the events in Orlando on Saturday night.

We want to build a world where this kind of attack is an impossibility. A world where love and acceptance are part of the school day and the club scene. To that end, we highlight a few policies New York City public schools already have to promote safe spaces for all of its students and we provide some suggestions for steps forward: Continue Reading…



Dear Colleagues, Friends and Fellow MORE/UFT Members,

First of all, THANK YOU for inspiring so much hope in this UFT election. It’s been one of the most intense and amazing experiences, and I’m incredibly proud to stand with so many principled folks.

Please take a moment to fill out the survey so we can get your feedback on the election and how to move forward.
Join us this Saturday at CUNY Graduate Center 12-3pm 365 5th Ave at 34th st. -Midtown NYC
After the 2013 election, we did a similar reflection and analysis of the numbers and then set some goals. It’s really empowering to see we’ve met a number of the goals we set!
  • Increase Weekly Update membership from 507 to 3000 by Fall 2016
  • Increase dues paying/voting members from 100 to 300 by Fall 2016
  • Increase focus on school and district (geographically based) organizing.
  • By Fall 2016, Increase # of Chapter Leaders and Delegates connected to MORE from 80 to 200
  • Hold trainings for Chapter Leaders/Delegate elections, contract, and general election in each borough by Fall 2014 (CL/delegate and contract) and Fall 2015 (city-wide elections)
  • Have at least 1 contact in 50% of schools by 2016
  • Complete internal mapping project by fall 2014, having database running and operational. Use strategically to target outreach, for distribution and tasking/1:1 organizing
  • Run a well organized  campaign and democratically chosen slate in 2016
  • Increase voter turnout in city-wide UFT elections from 18% to 35%
  • Win High School Executive Board seats in 2016 and increase total votes in all other categories.
It’s time to think about what our goals, including some of the same above, we could set for the upcoming year for ourselves.
If you would like, please check out our Platform 2016 to get a sense of the scope of our vision and values.
Make sure you fill out the survey (click here)  and if you can not make this meeting, but have thoughts to share please feel free to respond to this email
Looking forward to hearing from you!
In Solidarity,
Jia Lee
UFT Chapter Leader – The Earth School