Join the Thunderclap! You can think of it as an “online flash mob.” Click the link to take part in a coordinated Get Out the Vote message across Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Fewer than 18% of working educators voted in the 2013 UFT elections; let’s send a message to our colleagues and to UNITY caucus that NYC educators deserve rank-and-file leadership. It’s time to demand a genuinely member-driven union!
Archives For Movement of Rank and File Educators. MORE
MORE member John Giambalvo writes with School Network Leader Nathan Dudley about the implications for teachers and students to policy changes regarding school Quality Reviews. To say Quality Reviews need to change may be a bit of an understatement and we credit John for finding common ground with Mr. Dudley so that a conversation about those changes can begin.
“Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s recalibration of New York City’s school grading system was met with much fanfare last week. While the changes to school Progress Reports received most of the attention, the chancellor also announced changes to Quality Reviews—the intensive process by which schools are evaluated every year or two.
Fariña probably knew these changes wouldn’t grab as many headlines as the shift from A-F grades. But she may know, and we believe, that those changes could be a real game-changer for city schools.
Why? No two words cause as much anxiety for city school leaders and teachers as “Quality Review.” The influential reviews are the closest things to a standardized assessment that a school gets. The evaluators comb through classrooms; talk to teachers, students, and parents; examine data over two days; and then evaluate the school using a strict rubric.
In some schools, the preparation for the review and the review itself have been disruptive to teaching and learning. And in many cases, reviewers provided little …” (Read more at Chalkbeat.org)
UNITY TURNS DOWN MORE DA RESOLUTION CALLING FOR ESCALATION OF DEFENSE OF CHAPTER LEADERS & RANK AND FILE
By James Eterno
Chapter Leader Jamaica High School
MORE”s monthly UFT Delegate Assembly Report
The March 19 Delegate Assembly was highlighted by MORE’s Kit Wainer speaking in favor of a MORE sponsored resolution for the UFT to escalate their defense of Chapter Leaders and others who speak out against abusive administrators. Although the motion failed, it received strong support from the Delegates
The resolution is printed here in its link
In motivating this resolution for placement on next month’s agenda, Kit told the Delegates there are many abusive principals and assistant principals out there and some have real personality defects. He added how some are outright anti-union and are using the disciplinary process as an intimidation tactic.
Kit then pointed out how our union provides good legal representation but this is for individuals. We now need to raise the stakes against these supervisors by taking collective action in picketing or engaging in other public actions as a union!
UFT Secretary Emil Pietromonaco spoke against MORE’s motion. His main argument was to say he understands the intent of the resolution but we already rigorously defend our chapter leaders and take action so there is no need for a further resolution.
The vote followed and although MORE did not win a majority, the minority is growing. I would say close to 40% of the vote was in favor of the motion.
President Michael Mulgrew then tried to comment but was stopped dead in his tracks by MORE’s Megan Moskop who shouted for a Point of Order and didn’t wait for a microphone to tell Mulgrew he was speaking out against a resolution that had already been voted on. Mulgrew tried to continue but Megan wouldn’t have it so Mulgrew moved on and closed the new motion period.
MORE CAUCUS OF UFT TO CHALLENGE CURRENT UFT LEADERSHIP IN STATEWIDE UNION ELECTIONS
RANK AND FILE EDUCATORS WILL BRING REAL CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE TO UNION POSITIONS
New York – The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), the Social Justice Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), best known for opposing UFT’s President Michael Mulgrew and his Unity caucus in the 2013 UFT elections will now offer a positive alternative for leadership in the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) officer elections. This is unprecedented- never before has the Unity caucus or a sitting UFT president been challenged in NYSUT elections.
MORE is running in this election against the Unity Caucus because, according to candidate special education elementary teacher Julie Cavanagh,
“…Rather than collaborating with those who seek to destroy us, we must harness our collective power and stand with parents and youth to end destructive education policies and fight for the economic, racial, and social justice our teachers, students, and society need and deserve.”
In a break from his union’s leadership, MORE candidate and high school teacher Mike Schirtzer calls for an immediate repeal of the Common Core State Standards,
“Teachers did not develop it, nor does it have the best interests of our students at heart.”
The standards have been supported by the current union leadership despite they way they force classroom teachers to do ever-increasing amounts of test preparation at the expense of real instruction. Students are bored with the the constant “drilling”, which deprives them of an authentic, engaging education.
MORE is challenging for statewide union office in order to initiate a change in direction, towards standards developed by pedagogical experts and field tested before implementation. MORE candidate and elementary school teacher Lauren Cohen adds,
“The Common Core is fundamentally undemocratic – not only in its implementation but in its conception. Handing teachers rigid, scripted curricula benefits corporate interests while neglecting students’ need for a developmentally-appropriate and well-rounded education.”
Public school parent, teacher, and MORE candidate Jia Lee explains that she is running for this position because,
“Our union leadership has allowed for the high-stakes use of invalid standardized tests, putting an entire generation of youth, educators, and schools at risk, and has promoted a culture of fear. It is time for democratic policies that respect the diverse needs of New York’s public schools.”
Our union leadership has done precious little to stop the over-reliance on testing, even though a plethora of research proves that measuring students only on test scores does not provide a complete picture of what a child has learned. Mike Schirtzer reiterated,
“The Unity caucus strategy has been political lobbying; they have not mobilized the UFT membership, even as schools are closed, high stakes tests proliferate, and student data is sold to the highest bidder. “
MORE believes our union must stand up in defense of our students. Reducing class size, funding the arts, offering a wide array of after-school programs, and providing full social-emotional and medical services for families would be the type of reform that would truly move our schools forward. Addressing poverty, racism, sexism, and other issues that our children face every day is what real union leadership is about.
Unfortunately, Unity caucus is stubbornly clinging to obsolete tactics that have resulted in the nearly unopposed corporate takeover of our schools. NYSUT and UFT must fight to allow working educators, students, and their parents, to determine educational policy. Policy should no longer be determined by those who seek to profit financially from our public education.MORE is challenging Unity in order to offer a slate of candidates that truly represents classroom teachers. Any policies the MORE candidates negotiate will affect them directly, because they are in the classroom each school day. That is not the case for the small clique of high-ranking Unity grandees currently dictating UFT policy.
Each new bureaucratic diktat, from Common Core to the cookie-cutter Danielson rubric to High Stakes testing, has resulted in less time for grading, lesson planning, and collaboration with administrators, parents, and colleagues. These failed policies have buried teachers under mounds of useless paperwork that do not positively impact our students. A new NYSUT leadership that includes the MORE slate will mobilize rank and file educators in the five boroughs and locals from around the state to take back our schools. Education policy should never be dictated in corporate boardrooms or political back rooms. It should be created with the input of the real experts- working teachers and parents.
The elections will take place April 5th, 2014 at the NYSUT representative assembly held at the New York Midtown Hilton. Local union presidents and delegates from around New York state will converge at this convention to cast their ballots and determine the statewide union’s direction. MORE is running an independent slate of six candidates for Board of Directors At-Large representing UFT members; Julie Cavanagh, James Eterno, Jia Lee, Mike Schirtzer, Lauren Cohen, and Francesco Portelos. They have also endorsed the candidacy of Arthur Goldstein for NYSUT Executive Vice President and Beth Dimino, President of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, for a Director At-Large for Suffolk. Only elected delegates from last year’s UFT election may vote in the NYSUT election, not rank and file members. MORE represents thousands of UFT members (including over 40% of the high school teachers who voted in the 2013 elections). UFT’s undemocratic rules do not allow for proportional representation, therefore all the NYC delegates at NYSUT convention are from the Unity caucus. These are at-large positions, meaning that any NYSUT delegate may vote for us, including those not from the UFT.
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
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