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MISSION STATEMENT (as adopted April 21, 2012)
A – Who we are and why we are forming
1. We are members of the UFT and members of school communities and their allies.
2. We insist on receiving professional dignity and respect, and we insist on a strong, democratic union emerging from an educated and active rank and file. We oppose the lack of democracy and one-party state that has governed our union for half a century. It has conceded to our adversaries’ agendas and has collaborated with their attacks on us, leading to the terrible situation we find ourselves in.
3. We insist on a better educational environment for ourselves and for the students whose lives we touch. Because of this resolve, we have established the MORE Caucus, which will educate, organize and mobilize the UFT membership.
B – For an improved contract
4. It is time to end the UFT’s concession to the language and assumptions of the so-called reformers and the wave of concessions and givebacks that result from conceding these assumptions. We must be prepared to take collective action, if necessary, in defense of our interests, and to achieve a decent contract.
5. We seek a contract with retroactive pay, that is not obtained by selling off what few protections remain. We insist on defending tenure, due process rights, pensions, and an immediate end to the arbitrary denial of tenure to probationary teachers. We oppose any teacher evaluations based on standardized tests.
C – For quality curricula
6. We stand for a union that recognizes that teacher working conditions are student learning conditions and that, after parents, teachers are best situated to understand the needs of young people.
7. We insist that high stakes tests no longer deprive New York City’s children of exposure to foreign language, science, social studies and the arts. We insist that curricula taught in our schools be mindful and respectful of the needs and backgrounds of our students, that they nurture in them the potential for active, reflective citizenship, and is committed to racial and gender equity, democracy and economic justice.
D – Our communities, our schools
8. We reject the corporate takeover of the public schools, and the wave of school closures in the city, which have particularly affected poor communities with high proportions of people of color. We insist on a moratorium on the opening of new charter schools. We seek to end the cuts to education which have led to increasing class sizes as well as inadequate social, health, guidance personnel and services.
9. The schools should be the people’s schools. We stand for democratic governance and popular control of our school system that fully reflects the needs, aspirations and diversity of those who make up its parent and student body. Mayoral control, which is inherently undemocratic, must be abolished , and be replaced by an elected People’s Board of Education which represents the interests of teachers, students, parents, and community.