In New York’s UFT, MORE/New Action challenges the Mulgrew Gang.

Voting in the United Federation Teachers ends in 8 days.

Jonathan Halibi, an old friend from New Action, posted this on his blog:

Hi,

You’ve probably received your UFT Election ballot, and may be considering your options.

Let me share my thoughts.

First, turnout is important. Last election only 18% of in-service teachers voted – that sends a terrible message. No matter who you end up supporting, please vote, and please encourage your members to vote.

But I’d also like to urge you to vote for the MORE/New Action slate.  You can read the standard literature here:  http://files.uft.org/more-caucus.pdf  I mean, it’s good literature. Read it. But that’s not what I want to discuss.

Fariña:

Fariña has been a disappointment. Most of us think so, including people on both sides in the election.

MORE/New Action – we would have asked her to get rid of 200 lawyers. We would have asked to end the crazy funding system that discriminates against experienced teachers. We would have asked to revise or throw out the Quality Reviews. We would have insisted she crack down on (and in some cases remove) abusive administrators.

UNITY leadership has done NONE of this. I don’t think they disagree with all of it; they just have other priorities.

Priorities:

Unity has prioritized writing and rewriting the teacher evaluation law and NYC’s plan. They have devoted considerable resources to getting MOSL right (that’s a waste, isn’t it?  MOSL will never really make sense). They are committed to using test scores as part of teachers’ evaluations (see Mulgrew’s comments at the April DA).  Many working teachers, probably most of us, do not agree.

High Schools:

I like high school people, including people running against me. But where are the high school issues on the UFT agenda?
Why are we still sending people out of the building for scoring regents?
Why have we not addressed campus issues? Why aren’t we combining schools where the little schools aren’t working?
And why are we not insisting that incompetent or abusive principals get removed?
We need leaders who will make high schools a priority again.

Personnel:

Who will you elect to the 7 high school executive board seats? With Unity?  Unity voters are only choosing 3 full-time teachers.

But when you vote MORE/New Action, you are filling 7 seats with 7 full-time teachers. We represent large schools, small schools, alternative schools, transfer schools, consortium schools, and a specialized high school.

Arthur Goldstein, Chapter Leader Francis Lewis HS in Queens. Teaches ESL. The best NYC education blogger there is. You might know him as nyc educator  http://nyceducator.com/

Mike Schirtzer, Delegate, Leon Goldstein HS in Brooklyn. Social Studies.

Ashraya Gupta, Delegate, Harvest Collegiate in Manhattan (that’s a consortium school). Chemistry.

David Garcia Rosen, Bronx Academy of Letters. Social Studies. David has been the driving force in getting PSAL teams for small schools.

Kuljit Ahluwalia, Queens Academy. Science. KJ was the former Chapter Leader at Canarie HS.

Marcus McArthur, Satellite Academy, Manhattan. Special Ed. Marcus is an activist, an advocate, and a writer http://nycwritingproject.org/2015/09/nycwp-voices-test-day-by-marcus-b-mcarthur/

And me. Jonathan Halabi.  HS of American Studies at Lehman College. Chapter Leader since 2002. Mathematics.

That’s me, at a DA, speaking against a Unity proposal. The proposal was good for me, personally, but it would have meant that new teachers would pay into the pension for their entire careers, instead of just 10 years.

Some people have to speak up for what’s right. You should vote for them.

Please mark the MORE/New Action box on your ballot, and return it.

Please urge your friends, members, and colleagues to vote, and encourage them to vote for MORE/New Action as well.

Jonathan Halabi

Chapter Leader, HS of American Studies at Lehman College

Arthur Goldstein, an old friend and blogger posted this:

I’ve been involved on and off with MORE for a few years now. I didn’t run with them in the last election, but I’m very happy to be doing so this time. MORE is not just Jia, or James Eterno, or Norm, or me, or anyone. It really is a working group of teachers with diverse backgrounds and beliefs, and it really is open.

I don’t agree with everything MORE does, and everyone who shows up. But I’ve come to see that it doesn’t matter. Small things keep us apart, but big things, like supporting our brothers and sisters in tumultuous times, are universal. We’re all in this pressure cooker situation, with guns to our heads saying, “Be highly effective or else!” Michael Mulgrew says it’s wonderful. Of course, he hasn’t got teachers coming to him on a daily basis telling him how tortured they are. If you’ve signed a loyalty oath, and all you value are free trips to Schenectady and your after school gig at UFT HQ, you don’t bother the President with such things.

No one in MORE has signed the oath. That’s why we not only know what teachers are feeling, but are also free to talk about it. And in these times, we need people who will see and tell the truth. Without that, how are we going to fix our problems? Mulgrew thought is was wonderful when we added junk science to our evaluations, and boasted of helping to write the law that enabled it. He thought it was wonderful when we “won” the right to be evaluated by all 22 parts of Danielson, and also thought it was wonderful when we reduced it to 8. In fact, when junk science rises from 40 to 50%, when outside evaluators who know neither us, our schools nor our students, when stakes become even higher, Mulgrew thanks the legislators for having passed the law that enables it.

Michael Mulgrew is not a teacher, has not been one for years, and has never worked under Danielson. We have. We talk to everyone, and we don’t live in the UFT Unity bubble. That’s why we see, know and lives what’s happening. Unlike folks pursuing gigs and trips, we know we are all in this together, and that we all have to work together to improve it. And unlike Mulgrew, we invite you to come and participate. You don’t have to sign an oath to do so.

The loyalty oath is a vestige of an old and dead system. It’s the cement wall that blocks out and quells teacher voice. It’s the flip phone that Michael Mulgrew uses so the present cannot intrude on his comfortable indifference to what working teachers experience every day. MORE is the future, and we invite you to join us as we work and fight together to improve it.

I’m proud to stand for change with MORE. It’s time to stop reading the propaganda, stop being afraid and stand for what we know to be right. Opt-out is the wave of the future. We’re all in the water while Michael Mulgrew is still stuck on a bench trying to tie his roller skates. We’re running an opt-out leader for President and we are not afraid. We’re tired of being afraid. We’re tired of having a leader who wants to punch us in the face if we don’t support his pet corporate reforms.

If you want to move into the future with us, you’ll have to break down, get offline for a moment, and use a US mailbox. Fill out the ballot you’ve got or will get in the mail. Tear off the front page, check the MORE-New Action box, place it in the secret envelope, place it in the main envelope, and drop it in that big blue box.

When we win, we’ll move the vote to your school because we want to encourage rather than discourage your participation. Meanwhile, get up, open the envelope, and VOTE.

 

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