Archives For solidarity

Each of the proposed contract changes sells out new teachers.

First, and most obviously, the new two-tired healthcare system.  Obviously, any two-tired system flies in the face of solidarity.  It began with the pension, is now leaking into healthcare, what’s next?  Differing salary schedules based on start date? It’s deplorable that we could do the same work for different benefits.  Healthcare is a human right; we all deserve access to the same quality care.

Second, and also obvious.  Raises lower than the rate of inflation are no raises at all.  The cost of living in New York (rents have increased 3.9% annually). Givebacks now set us back for the rest of our career.

Third, less obvious and maybe more scary, the new ‘psychological fitness’ screening.  Instead of supporting new teachers through their first few years, we’re going to weed-out those deemed ‘unfit’?  I can’t imagine what it would be like to spend years in school training to be a teacher, take out tens of thousands in debt for this pursuit, and then be told I’m ‘psychology unfit’.  As a trauma survivor who takes medication I find this particularly frightening.  The trauma I experienced as a child is part of what inspired me to become a teacher, and helps me connect with and support my students with similar experiences.  The idea that the experiences that led me to teaching could also be the barrier that keeps out future generations is frightening.  As an educator of color, I know this criteria will continue the whitening of our teaching force.  Not to mention that the details of this criteria are not yet released, will be created by educorporations, and are unlikely to be scientifically backed (Sound familiar? Reminds me of our value-added evaluation system).

And on evaluations- teachers rated developing and ineffective with have even more observations.  Many teachers are rated developing in their first years (which is logical, since we are still developing our craft); instead of supporting these teachers to become better teachers we are going to just add to the heat of admin fire.  That will push more people who have the potential to be great teachers out of the field- even if they’re paid a little more to teach in hard-to-staff schools in the Bronx.

On that note- did anyone ask teachers who are leaving hard-to-staff schools what would make them stay?  Maybe pay is part of the answer, but I’d guess that mentoring, class size, and support services for struggling students would be high on the list.  Where are those provisions in this new contract?

So this is the deal we’re selling to new teachers: Get your education degree, spend tens of thousands of dollars doing so, but if the system decides you’re psychologically unfit you won’t be able to get a teaching job.  If you do make it over this ambiguous hurdle, you will have crappy health care for at least the first few years, so make sure you don’t get sick while working 50+ hours a week in a room full of children.  If you’re not yet an effective teacher in your first years, instead of supporting you, they’re going to increase the intensity of the scrutiny from your direct supervisors.  Oh, and plan keep searching for new roommates every year, because your pay won’t be keeping up with that of your peers.

So what would a contract that supports new teachers look like? Quality healthcare for all and wages competitive with our peers in other fields.  Less admin scrutiny and more supportive, non-evaluative mentoring for established colleagues.  A clear path to tenure.  Debt forgiveness… the list goes on.

Don’t sell out new teachers.  We are the future of the profession.  We are the future of our union.

Cayden Betzig

The Movement of Rank and File Educators is proud to welcome fellow educators from Oaxaca, Mexico to New York City.

The Oaxacan teachers union has been at the center of a broad-based movement for educational and social justice in Mexico.  Last year Oaxaca was the center of violent clashes and police repression as teachers mobilized to resist neoliberal education reforms.  They have long been campaigning against privatization, police repression, corruption among the union leadership.  The organization now finds itself at the forefront of mobilizations for earthquake relief.

We will hear a presentation about the struggles of Oaxaca’s teachers, the situation after the recent earthquakes, and the movement for educational justice in Mexico.  We will be raising funds for local earthquake relief.

This is a public event, all are welcome.
Monday, October 23rd 5:30-7:30
CUNY Graduate Center
Room 5414
New York 10016
ID Needed to Enter

Our Guests:

Rene Gonzalez Pizarro is a member of the Oaxaca teachers union and former delegate to the general assembly. He is a researcher at Oaxaca’s center for indigenous languages (CEDELIO) and a co-founder of the artist collective Colectivo Zape. He writes about the struggle for education in Mexico and his street art is featured in several books about the Oaxaca uprising in 2006.

Afsaneh Moradian is a former UFT member, educator, writer, and is finishing her Phd in Education. Her dissertation is on the Oaxaca teachers union’s opposition to neoliberal education reform.

"MOREUFT Oaxaca Teachers"Oaxaca Teacher Flyer Final Draft

The Movement of Rank and File Educators stand in solidarity with the people’s fight for environmental justice in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. The Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR), a teachers’ union of Puerto Rico, is decrying the injustice occurring in the Peñuelas community with the unapproved disposal of coal ashes in Peñuelas Valley Landfill. The community has been taking a stand against the dumping through peaceful acts of resistance. So far, sixty three people have been arrested and jailed, including Puerto Rican Senator Maria de Lourdes Santiago.

We stand with the FMPR and affected community who are requesting their governor support and back Bill #340 on the Senate floor, which would prohibit coal ash disposals in their landfills. The coal ash pose dangers to the health and life of the people who reside nearby. The ash, left in mounds, is blown by the wind contaminating the air and water. Deadly and chronic diseases such as cancer have been linked to these disposals.

MORE is the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City. We believe that our working conditions are inextricably linked to our students’ learning conditions. Clean and healthful communities are a basic human right that must be prioritized over convenience and profit. We stand with FMPR and the Peñuelas community.

MORE-UFT supports the efforts of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association and other unions to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sister educators on strike in Seattle. MORE-UFT chapters are showing support in their own ways.

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Below is the resolution passed by the PJSTA:

At today’s Representative Council meeting the PJSTA’s governing body passed a resolution in support of the Seattle Education Association who are currently on strike in Seattle as they fight for the schools Seattle’s students deserve.  Additionally the PJSTA pledged to launch a solidarity campaign in our schools and asked NYSUT to similarly support the SEA while encouraging it’s locals to issue their own resolutions in support of the SEA.  Details on the solidarity campaign will hit the buildings tomorrow.

Here is the text of the resolution…

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is locked in a contract battle that has important consequences for educators everywhere; and

Whereas Seattle teachers have worked diligently to build coalitions within their communities and have won the support of parents, and mobilized for a contract that includes not only fair compensation and secure working conditions, but a decrease in high stakes testing, and increased services for their students; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is seeking to install site based teams in each school to address structural inequities and institutional racism that plague their school district; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is seeking caseload caps for school psychologists and counselors to better meet the needs of the students that they serve; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association has not had a cost of living adjustment in 6 years and the district has $50 million in reserves and has recently received $40 million in new monies from Washington State; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association went on a one day strike last spring in protest of the current reform movement that is damaging public education and, therefore stood tall for all public school teachers across the country facing similar reforms, including members of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is a fellow affiliate of the National Education Association; and

Whereas a victory for Seattle teachers would greatly encourage teachers everywhere, including members of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association and the New York State United Teachers, to continue in our increasingly stronger efforts to combat damaging and abusive public education reforms in our own communities; and

Whereas a victory for the Seattle Education Association would be a victory for public-sector employees across the country who continue to oppose the privatization of public resources and the plundering of public assets; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association membership has voted unanimously to authorize the strike; therefore be it

Resolved that the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association supports the Seattle Education Association in its fight to negotiate a contract that meets the needs of its members, their students, and their communities; and be it further

Resolved that the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association will launch a solidarity campaign, to be shared via social media, in its schools and encourage all of its members to participate in the campaign as a show of support and solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Seattle; and be it further
Resolved that the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association urges NYSUT and its affiliates to adopt a similar resolution.

"solidarity mean: uniting chapters, not setting them up to compete for merit pay by another name from management"

We do not consent to divide and conquer

"solidarity means not making 151 other municipal unions negotiate with the insulting pattern we'd set vote NO on the UFT contract"

"solidarity means not making 151 other municipal unions negotiate with the insulting pattern we'd set vote NO on the UFT contract"

"MEMO to UFT President Michael Mulgrew from Movement of Rank and FIle Educators MERIT PAY ≠ Solidarity"

and a interest-free loan to the City is not retroactive pay