Why We Need a New Caucus


Tired of the Attacks Against Teachers and Public Education?

Tired that our students’ education has been hijacked by a “test” prep curriculum focusing our time on “data” instead of teaching?

 

Shouldn’t our union, the UFT, be more proactive in fighting not just the attacks, but also fighting for what a “good, equitable” education for our students would look like? Well, some UFT members have come together to form a new citywide caucus within the UFT. We want a union that will stand up for students, teachers, and parents to fight to save public education from the continued privatization that is being pushed by corporate interests.

Movement of Rank and File Educators

  • We believe our strength lies with our members, organized into strong chapters. This requires an active effort to educate our membership about how their union works, and involve them in democratically determining its direction. We believe in social justice unionism
  • We fight for equitable public education and against racism in the schools. Building an alliance of students, parents and community members is a key part of our strategy. The UFT must fight for our members and our students. Our working conditions are our students learning conditions.

The onslaught of high-stakes testing, privatization, weakening or elimination of job protections, school closings and charter co- locations threatens the very existence of public education as we know it. Unionized teachers in particular have been singled out for demonization. The strategy put forth by our union leadership to take on these challenges is inadequate. UFT officials rely primarily on lobbying, media blitzes and procedural lawsuits. When occasional mobilizations are called, they are organized without a long-term plan for escalating actions or increased membership involvement. The union leadership takes a concessionary stance in order to maintain its “seat at the table” with politicians and corporate forces like Bill Gates, who turn around and attack teachers and the union at every opportunity. Union leadership then sells serious concessions to the members as victories claiming – “It could have worse”.

Some of the key policy failures of the UFT leadership:

•    Supporting mayoral control even in the face of the devastating impact

•    A weak stand against closing schools

•    A compromising position on charter schools and co-locations

•    Giving up on the fight to reduce class size

•    The acceptance of rating teachers based on high-stakes tests

•    Agreeing to merit pay even though every single study shows the failure of this policy

•    Steadily deteriorating working conditions and power in the workplace

•    Erosion of job security and tenure protections

•    A one-party undemocratic system that shuts out the voices of the members

We need something different. A union that fights for the rights of students, teachers and communities.

A union that fights for racial and economic justice inside and outside our schools.

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