M.O.R.E – Movement of Rank and File Educators
Weekly Update #6 – 05.07.12
Greetings Movement of Rank and File Educators!
All out for our membership meeting on Saturday, May 12 at Noon at the CUNY Graduate Center – Room 5414 (New Location! 365 5th Ave @ 34th St, 6 to 33rd, B/D/F/M/N/R to Herald Square). Also, there is an important demonstration against teacher harassment on Tuesday, and a discussion of our election efforts on Friday (see below). Save the date for an end of year meeting/celebration on June 16.
Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/MOREcaucusNYC – and follow @morecaucusnyc on Twitter. We want to know what you are thinking! Post on our Facebook wall and join MORE’s discussion listserve here to get more emails and join in the conversation. Our new website will be coming soon…
Proposed Agenda for May 12th:
- Introduction 12:00-12:20
- Name/slogan 12:20-12:35 (See below; reply with suggestions)
- Committee reports 12:35-12:55
- Actions/DA 12:55-1:40
- Membership Drive: 1:40-2:10
- Principles of Unity 2:10-2:40 (See below; reply with suggestions)
- Wrap-up 2:40-2:45
Suggestions for the main “tag lines” or “slogans” to go with our name are below, as well as our draft Principles of Unity and specific amendments; please send amendments with specific wording to this email address by Wednesday, May 9th.
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, or reply to this email.
Also, Tuesday, May 8 at 4pm – 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.
Upcoming Committee Meetings: Elections:
Friday, May 11th, 4 PM
Skylight Diner (34th St. at 9th Ave., SW corner – 1/2/3/A/C/E to 34th St.)
1) A Social Justice Movement
2) “Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions”
3) MORE/UFT (or just plain MORE?)
Who We Are, What We Want
We, the educators of New York City – teachers, guidance counselors,
social workers, psychologists, secretaries and paraprofessionals –
insist on receiving the support, dignity and respect that we earn every
day, and that we seek for our students.
We serve all the children of New York, and we insist on our right to do
so without being subject to fear, intimidation, arbitrariness, loss of
professional autonomy and so-called reforms that mask pernicious effects
on ourselves, our students and society.
In demanding those things, we also 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, and that has led to the terrible situation we find ourselves
in. We oppose a leadership that concedes the language and assumptions of
our adversaries, that insists on collaborating with our adversaries
despite their continuing attacks against us, resulting in educators
feeling abandoned while they are attacked in the workplace and the
4. We insist on a better educational environment for ourselves and for the students whose lives we touch every day.
Because of this resolve, we have established the MORE Caucus, which
will educate, organize and mobilize the UFT membership around the
Union democracy and organizational structure
We stand for a democratic union. Democracy means more than the right to
vote every three years. Rather, we stand for an active, participatory
and mobilized rank and file. It means that an educated and involved
membership from the chapter to the city levels democratically set and
control the priorities and shape the actions of our union. In order to
survive, our union must build ongoing and mutually supportive alliances
with parents, other labor unions, community groups and students around
issues of common concern, such as class size, school funding, and
funding of necessary social services.
Therefore, we insist:
7. – that the recent constitutional amendment overweighting the retiree vote be rescinded.
8. – that at-large voting be eliminated, and that officers be elected only by teachers within their division.
9. – that District Reps no longer be appointed, but elected by the Chapter Leaders within the District.
- that no officer or staffer be paid more than the highest-earning rank
and file member, and that double pensions for officers and staffers who
are DOE employees be eliminated.
Union strategy, working conditions
11. We stand for a union that recognizes that the teachers’ working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. 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 reject the utterly failed
strategy of appealing for favors from politicians, corporations, and the
ultra-wealthy. We must be prepared to take collective action, if
necessary, in defense of our interests, and to achieve a decent
Therefore, we insist on:
12. – overturning the Taylor Law.
- on getting a contract with retroactive pay, that is not obtained by
selling off what few protections remain and that restores rights lost in
14. – ending illegitimate teacher assessment and the tying of evaluations, tenure or pay to high stakes tests.
15. – defending tenure and due process rights, and an immediate end to the arbitrary denial of tenure to probationary teachers.
- ending the ATR crisis created by the Department of Education (DOE)
mismanagement, all ATRs should be given appointed positions immediately;
institute the restoration of seniority transfer rights.
17.- defending the pensions of all current and future UFT members; no new tiers.
We stand for a union that recognizes that children have a right to
well-trained teachers who intend to stay in the classroom, and who will
assess and evaluate them based on a wide and meaningful range of
criteria, including social development, talents and skills. We stand
for a union that supports a work-force that focuses its energy on
teaching and preparation.
Therefore, we insist:
- on an end to ever-increasing, data-related busywork that is of no
educational value, and which detracts from our ability to serve our
20. – that there be equitable funding for schools in low-income areas and for schools serving children with high needs.
- that reduced class size is a commitment to educational equity, is
deserved by all children, deepens our solidarity with the diverse
communities that we serve, and shall be a primary focus of future
- that policies that disproportionately affect teachers of color –
closings, transformations, reorganizations, etc. – immediately cease,
and on the immediate increase in the hiring of teachers of color.
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.
Therefore, we insist:
- that high stakes tests no longer be permitted to disfigure the
education of the New York City’s children, depriving them of adequate
exercise, play, exploration and exposure to foreign language, science,
social studies and the arts throughout their school years.
- that the curricula taught in our schools be mindful and respectful of
the needs and backgrounds of our students, that it nurtures in them the
potential for active, reflective citizenship, and that it is committed
to racial and gender equity, democracy and economic justice.
Factors beyond the school
We stand for a union that rejects a political consensus on endless
funds for testing, consultants, military spending, bank bail-outs, but
claims a crisis prevents adequate social spending.
We stand for a union that recognizes that social inequality and
inadequate resources negatively affect the personal and social
conditions in which children learn. We will no longer passively allow
ourselves to be blamed for the results of conditions over which we have
no control outside of school. Our union must always be at the forefront
of efforts to improve the health care, nutrition, housing and cultural
opportunities of the children we serve.
Therefore, we insist:
- that government has a responsibility to provide adequate pre-natal
health care and housing for all expectant mothers and mothers of young
29. – that universal school/community-based health and dental care centers be established.
30. – that universal, enriched pre-school be offered to all who seek it.
31. – that free, high quality after-school programs be provided to all children who need them.
32. – on an end to policies that stigmatize and criminalize students in the schools and in the communities.
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. By contrast, the mayor has
been able to push through his destructive program because he won mayoral
control from the state legislature. The current policies lead by
default because public discussion and debate is stifled. There is no
forum for public discussion or transparent presentation of policies.
We therefore insist:
- that mayoral control of the schools be abolished; we need a People’s
Board of Education, not a Pearson’s Department of Education.
Schools as a public, not private, resource
We stand for a union that defends the public schools as a bulwark of
democracy and a shared conception of the public good. We reject the
aggressive encroachment of privatization into the schools, and with it
the unproven and destructive ideology that the private sector can more
effectively provide these essential public services. These
policies have already had very destructive consequences, cutting a
swath of destruction through the city, and particularly affecting poor
communities with high proportions of people of color.
We therefore insist:
- that an immediate moratorium be placed on the opening of new charter
schools, and an immediate end to all charter school co-locations and
takeovers of public school space.
We stand for a union that recognizes that this mayor and other
politicians have pursued No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, the
source of the trends of the school closure, data-aggregation and
evaluation policy changes that are affecting our schools and our
Therefore, we insist:
38. – that the union reject the policies that have worsened our working conditions.
39. – that the union stop making political contributions to politicians that support these policies.