Greetings SOTU Activists,
SOTU is now MORE!
Thank you everyone for coming to our membership meeting on Saturday. Although the democratic process was messy and long, we agreed to found the Movement of Rank and File Educators, approved a mission statement, decided to run in the 2013 UFT elections and take on a number of action campaigns!
The full mission statement, and meeting notes are below (please reply with any corrections).
Please consider joining one of MORE’s committees which are meeting over the next few weeks: Education (tomorrow, 4/24), Chapter Leader Elections (Th, 5/3), Action (Th, 5/3), Elections (Fri, 5/11).
The fight against Bloomberg’s Turnaround policies continues this week with actions against the PEP vote on Thursday. Many other important upcoming events are happening in the coming weeks, including a major citywide forum against Mayoral Control on May 5th(please distribute the flyer to your coworkers and communities) as well as a big march on May Day with an educators’ contingent as well, and there is an upcoming demonstration on May 8th against political harassment of teachers. Please see below for details everything that is going on.
To join the SOTU discussion group and receive additional emails, click here or reply to this email.
Meetings are organized by an open planning committee, which would love to have your input and voice. Click here to join and get details on the planning committee.
1) Thursday, April 26 – Actions Against Turnarounds – A number of actions will take place at the Panel for Education Policy starting at 5:30pm at the Prospect Heights Campus (883 Classon Ave, 2/3/4/5 to Franklin St.). There is also a UFT-sponsored rally at City Hall beforehand at 4:30pm.
2) Tuesday, May 1 – Join an Educators Contingent on May Day! Occupy the DOE will gather at 4pm in front of the main entrance to Washington Irving HS at 40 Irving Place between 16th & 17th St. (4/5/6/N/R to Union Square).
4) Tuesday, May 8 - 3:30pm – at Clara Barton HS – Demonstration against political harassment of teachers at Clara Barton High School (901 Classon Ave. 2/3/4/5 to Franklin, S to Botanic, Q/B to Prospect), for bringing students to the AFLCIO “One Nation” Rally in Washington in 2010.
5) Saturday, May 12 – Our May membership meeting. Time and location TBA.
Upcoming Committee Meetings:
A – Who we are and why we are forming
1. We are members of the UFT and members of school communities and their allies.
2. We insist on receiving professional dignity and respect, and we insist on a strong, democratic union emerging from an educated and active rank and file. We oppose the lack of democracy and one-party state that has governed our union for half a century. It has conceded to our adversaries’ agendas and has collaborated with their attacks on us, leading to the terrible situation we find ourselves in.
3. We insist on a better educational environment for ourselves and for the students whose lives we touch. Because of this resolve, we have established the MORE Caucus, which will educate, organize and mobilize the UFT membership.
B – For an improved contract
4. It is time to end the UFT’s concession to the language and assumptions of the so-called reformers and the wave of concessions and givebacks that result from conceding these assumptions. We must be prepared to take collective action, if necessary, in defense of our interests, and to achieve a decent contract.
5. We seek a contract with retroactive pay, that is not obtained by selling off what few protections remain. We insist on defending tenure, due process rights, pensions, and an immediate end to the arbitrary denial of tenure to probationary teachers. We oppose any teacher evaluations based on standardized tests.
C – For quality curricula
6. We stand for a union that recognizes that teacher working conditions are student learning conditions and that, after parents, teachers are best situated to understand the needs of young people.
7. We insist that high stakes tests no longer deprive New York City’s children of exposure to foreign language, science, social studies and the arts. We insist that curricula taught in our schools be mindful and respectful of the needs and backgrounds of our students, that they nurture in them the potential for active, reflective citizenship, and is committed to racial and gender equity, democracy and economic justice.
D – Our communities, our schools
8. We reject the corporate takeover of the public schools, and the wave of school closures in the city, which have particularly affected poor communities with high proportions of people of color. We insist on a moratorium on the opening of new charter schools. We seek to end the cuts to education which have led to increasing class sizes as well as inadequate social, health, guidance personnel and services.
9. The schools should be the people’s schools. We stand for democratic governance and popular control of our school system that fully reflects the needs, aspirations and diversity of those who make up its parent and student body. Mayoral control, which is inherently undemocratic, must be abolished , and be replaced by a an elected people’s board of education which represents the interests of teachers, students, parents, and community.
From Peter L. and Rosie F.
Attendance: At least 51.
First vote: MORE 20, NewFT 7, Abstain 10
Second vote: to adopt MORE now, and decide on slogans/mottos at the next meeting: Many for, 1 against, 1 abstaining
Points of Unity (Mission) Amendments:
Changing Point 1: “We are members of the UFT and members of school communities and their allies.” Passed unanimously.
Adding to point 5: “We oppose any teacher evaluations based on standardized tests.” Passed 28 for, few against.
Changing ‘equity’ in point 7 to ‘equality’: 36 against, a few for, 1 against.
Changing point 9: From “The schools are…” to “The schools should be…”: Passed unanimously
The end of point 9 was changed to: “Mayoral control, which is inherently undemocratic, must be abolished , and be replaced by a an elected people’s board of education which represents the interests of teachers, students, parents, and community.”
The small group discussions are summarized by the chart papers below
Motion to table the decision about elections to the next meeting failed with 3 for, many against and 3 abstaining.
Motion to run 2013 elections passed 39 for, 1 against and 3 abstaining.
Voted Yes to endorse and approve the following Actions/Events
- May 8th Rally in front of Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn in support of teachers being targeted for taking their students to a protest.
- People’s Board of Education event on May 5th
- To create a petition to the leadership of the UFT to have a vote on the 20% evaluation deal.
- To create an open letter to superintendents to not participate in the field tests
- Occupy the DOE – May Day event
Issues to concerning using and developing as our main focus for discussion at our next meeting:
- Mayoral Control
- The new teacher evaluation system
- The idea of High Stakes in general
Upcoming Committee Meetings: