Archives For ELECTIONS
Now, more than ever we need a revitalized union that involves and mobilized all its members. You can do this by getting active in the upcoming UFT chapter leader and delegate elections. All schools (chapters) will have an election this spring.
Our tenure rights, pensions, our very jobs are coming under attack from politicians on both sides of the aisle and the corporate billionaires who fund them. Schools have become places of fear; teachers are scared of losing their jobs, students are afraid of tests, administrators who lack classroom experience violating our contractual rights. Teachers were once highly respected members of society who dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. Now we face attack after attack from those who have an economic interest in destroying the public education system. The plan is simple; close down our public schools, destroy unions, drive down wages, and increase their profits.
How do we fight back, how do we defend public education while advocating for the children we serve? Unions are the answer! You need to start in your school. Revitalizing your own chapter is where you start.
This is where MORE can help. We have to start from the bottom up. We have to organize ourselves, get people in our schools involved in the fight and educate parents and community members. The best way to do this is during the upcoming chapter elections.
Start with your chapter, if your chapter leader is not responsive or not interested in calling chapter meetings or seeking input from members then it is time for a change. Luckily it’s the right time, get in touch with MORE, we can set up a local meeting near you, help you run, offer support, and workshops. MORE can put you in touch with nearby UFT members who are facing the same challenges you are.
Our long time chapter leaders can advise you on best practices for winning elections and how to defeat the incumbent. MORE members can help in getting your staff involved in taking back our schools from the culture of fear. Our vision of unionism is one where UFT members in the schools work together, empower each other, get mobilized, have each others back, and then build alliances with nearby schools and communities.
No UFT member should ever be left alone! We ARE our union. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.
Come to MORE’s January workshop to learn how to build a stronger and more active chapter.
January 24th 12:00-2:30pm
CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave at 34th st NYC room 5409
Free childcare is available – please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
We will be serving free pizza and soft drinks during our post workshop meet and mingle from 2:30-3:00pm.
If you can not make this workshop email: email@example.com to set up a meeting near you
MORE’s Election Guide
MORE has endorsed Howie Hawkins for Governor and Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor (Green Party-Row F on the NYS ballot). We urge all UFT members get out the vote! Let’s send Albany a message that attacking teachers and privatizing our education is not acceptable.
While UFT/NYSUT leadership under Unity caucus has responded to Cuomo’s anti-teacher comments in an unconcerned manner and has even expressed gratitude to Rob Astorino for writing an open letter to teachers, they have ignored the candidacy of Howie Hawkins. Hawkins is a fellow union brother and is running with UFT member Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor on a pro-public education and pro-union platform. We know full well that Hawkins/Jones are not being acknowledged by union leadership because of Jones’ role as a founder of MORE, our dissident caucus that has challenged Unity caucus for leadership of UFT and NYSUT. This is a great disservice to educators, parents, and students across our state. UFT/NYSUT ought to use their vast resources to educate union members and parents of all their choices in this critical election. UFT/NYSUT has allowed Cuomo to run on the Working Families line, instead of a pro-labor Hawkins.
NYSUT Locals throughout the state have endorsed Howie Hawkins/Brian Jones and their pro-education, anti-high stakes testing stance including, Buffalo Teachers Association and Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association.
There are three referendum proposals on this year’s ballot.
These are suggestions from former Deputy Comptroller for New York State and special education teacher Harris Lirtzman:
Proposition 1: Revising State’s Redistricting Process
It is a sham piece of “reform” brought to us by Governor Cuomo and the Legislature in the form of a “special commission” that would handle the decennial reapportionment of election districts. When you read the text you think, “Well, can’t be worse than what we’ve now got with ‘Three Men in a Room.'”
But it’s much worse and will only make the electoral process and district apportionment more complex and less democratic.
Proposition 2: Permitting Electronic Distribution of State Legislative Bills
I’ve seen the results of paper distribution. The Legislature has its own printing shop and during the end of session it runs 24/7 because the State Constitution requires a bill to be presented three days before it can be voted upon. The Governor generally issues a “statement of necessity” that eliminates the three day wait so that all the paper bills can be piled up on a legislator’s desk at the end of session and voted on without the least chance of review.
Whether any legislator will actually read an electronically distributed bill v. a paper bill is highly doubtful but vast acres of trees in the Adirondacks will be preserved so we might as well vote to “help a tree.” Seriously, won’t improve the states’ broken legislative process but will make it more green. Can’t hurt. And the next tree you see in Central Park, since they all talk to each other, will hug you if you stop long enough to tell it you voted for Prop 2.
Proposition 3: The “Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014”
Gov. Cuomo, without any consultation with academic leaders or school districts, proposed this $2 billion bond act early this year. It would allow the following, which might seem hard for educators to oppose:
The proposal would allow the State to borrow up to two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000). This money would be expended on capital projects related to the design, planning, site acquisition, demolition, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or acquisition or installation of equipment for the following types of projects:
- To acquire learning technology equipment or facilities including, but not limited to,
- Interactive whiteboards,
- Computer servers, and
c.Desktop, laptop, and tablet computers;
- To install high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools and communities;
- To construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and provide instructional space to replace transportable classroom units (otherwise known as “Arthur Goldstein’s trailers”) and
- To install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses
This one comes down to whether you believe this is a good way for the state to bond $2 billion…..
Andrew Cuomo to himself in bed at 3 a.m. some winter night, early 2014:
“Andrew, what do you think would be a good way to spend $2 billion in state bonding this year?”
“Gee, I dunno. I haven’t talked to anyone about this but then I don’t usually talk to anyone about anything.”
“What do most voters really like, come on, Andrew, this is not rocket science.”
“Well, most voters like ‘education” and that damned Astorino actually set up an anti Common Core party.”
“That’s true, but voters usually want to spend more money on schools without having to have their taxes raised.”
“Aha, Andrew, you are so smart, why don’t you put a really big, eye-catching proposal to spend $2 billion on technology in schools and then also put in a whole lot of other things that people might not be so concerned about such as building pre-K schools and stuff like that–nobody understands that the state is near its bonding limit and that all this stuff will be paid for over 30 years.”
Seriously, it might be hard for teachers to vote against something like this but $2 billion is a lot of money for something that no one other than Andrew Cuomo seriously seemed to think was necessary. The interest cost estimates on the $2 billion range from $40-$50 million a year for a total 30 year cost of about $450-$500 million. Usually, long-term bonds are used to finance long-term infrastructure, such as the building of roads, tunnels, bridges and buildings, not items with short term expected lives like school technology or even school wireless systems. Think LAUSD where they handed out $1 billion in iPads and the entire thing was a disaster. There don’t seem to be any particular controls over how the money will be spent but, in true election year fashion, the proceeds of the bonds, have already been apportioned among counties (see the charts in the links, below),
Some older school districts without a property tax base to support this sort of expenditure might benefit from the funds provided by Proposition 3. But much of the stuff funded by the bond act will be obsolete long before the bonds are retired.
Albany has an addiction to bonding as away to get around tax increases but we all pay for this one way or another. I’d say this one is doubtful but a case might be made for it if the right controls were in place to make sure the money was spent wisely. There is a “Commission” that will review proposals but its findings are not binding.
The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE-UFT) voted unanimously at our last General Body meeting to propose that the United Federation of Teachers, instead of sitting out this gubernatorial race, endorse the pro-public education platform presented by Howie Hawkins for Governor and Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor.
MORE prepared to present a resolution at Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly. The UFT leadership, however, did not allow this discussion. Despite being informed in advance that MORE chapter leaders and delegates intended to raise this resolution for debate and voting, UFT leadership called time on the ten-minute new motion period, thus prohibiting this conversation. In fact, though Michael Mulgrew’s President’s Report was longer than 45 minutes, there was no mention of this Governor’s race.
Though UFT and NYSUT leadership remain silent regarding the upcoming Gubernatorial race, we pledge go to the polls and vote for the only public school positive, teacher-and-student friendly candidates in this race. We encourage fellow friends of public education to join us in voting Hawkins/Jones!
Why? Here are just a few of the many reasons:
- Both Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino vocally support the privatization of education through the expansion of charter schools. In contrast, the Green Party ticket of Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones opposes charter schools.
- Andrew Cuomo has pushed through an expansion of testing statewide and the punitive linking of test scores to teacher evaluations. The Hawkins/Jones ticket opposes an emphasis on high stakes testing.
- Andrew Cuomo implemented a destructive tax cap that has forced massive layoffs of teachers in upstate districts.
- New York State AFL-CIO and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) have declined to endorse Cuomo because of his anti-education policies.
- Many of our Union and Education Allies have endorsed the Hawkins/Jones Ticket, including: The Buffalo Teachers Federation, Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, East Williston Teachers Association, Lakeland Federation of Teachers, Diane Ravitch, the Coalition for Public Education, the Independent Commission on Public Education and three local NYC Democratic clubs.
- Astorino and Cuomo are both millionaires while Hawkins and Jones are both union activists, Hawkins in Teamsters, Jones in the UFT and PSC.
- The Hawkins/Jones platform of a Green New Deal calls for
- equitable funding for all of our schools,
- reduced class sizes across the state,
- support for programs that promote desegregation in our schools,
- an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies driving the school-to-prison pipeline,
- and allowing schools to develop methods of assessment organic to the learning process.
- To learn more, Read their letter to teachers here, and spread the word using the voter guide below.
|MORE/UFT Caucus Pro-Education Positions||Hawkins/ Jones (Green)||Cuomo(Dem.)||Astorino(Rep.)|
|Against the Expansion of Charter Schools||✓|
|Against High Stakes Testing, Against APPR (New teacher evals) / Supports Parents & Students’ Right to Opt Out of High Stakes Tests||✓||✓|
|Against Common Core?||✓||✓|
|Union member or Millionaire Candidates?||Union||Millionaire||Millionaire|
|Fight corporate ed deform by rescinding NY’s Race to the Top application and replacing NYSED commissioner John King||✓||✓|
|Tax Top 5% and Eliminate State Property Tax Cap to Fund Schools||✓|
|Supports unionism, social movements and a $15/hr minimum wage||✓|
Don’t sit this election out, vote for a real change in Education Policy! Vote Hawkins/Jones!
Today, our six MORE candidates for NYSUT Board of Directors will contend for votes at the the NYSUT Representative Assembly. They are Julie Cavanagh, Lauren Cohen, James Eterno, Jia Lee, Francesco Portelos, and Mike Schirtzer
New, Positive & Independent Leadership for NYSUT
- A Strong Rank & File Member Driven Union That Will Take Action in Defense of Our Educators and Students
- Repeal The Common Core Standards
- Teacher Autonomy Without High-Stakes Testing
- Evaluation Based on Collaboration, Not Measured by Test Scores and Cookie-Cutter Rubrics