Archives For April 2013


Megan Behrent is in her 14th year as an English teacher at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn. She has been a UFT delegate for FDR since 2007. In the Delegate Assembly, she has raised resolutions to support the rights of ATRs, to fight school closings and turnarounds, and to show solidarity with other unions including Seattle teachers who recently organized a boycott of standardized tests. She also helped to organize solidarity in New York City in support of the Chicago Teachers Union strike last fall. As an education activist, she has appeared on the Melissa Harris Parry show on MSNBC and written for diverse publications including Socialist Worker, New Politics, Labor Notes and the Harvard Education Review.

“I am running with MORE because I believe we need to build a rank and file fight back against the scorched earth policies of the corporate education deformers. For too long, we have seen a one sided attack on our union and our schools. I believe a strong, rank and file driven union committed to social justice unionism can lead the fight for the schools our children deserve. We need an alternative to the Unity leadership’s disastrous strategy of concessions which has led to deteriorating working and learning conditions in our schools. I believe MORE is that alternative. MORE will fight for greater democracy and a union that is responsive to the needs of rank and file members while also fighting for more resources for our schools, and for quality public education for all students.”

peterLPeter Lamphere is a Mathematics teacher at Pan American High School in Elmhurst, where he is Chapter Leader, and has been a delegate and chapter leader at a number of different schools in the Bronx and Queens.

At the Bronx High School of Science, he was part of a fight against supervisory abuse, leading to twenty of twenty-two math teachers filing a harassment grievance against their principal and assistant principal, and successfully overturning a unjust unsatisfactory rating in the courts.
He has been a consistent advocate against the new evaluations scheme, which will add to the capricious whim of supervisors the equally capricious results of standardized tests.
As part of the union’s Delegate Assembly since 2004, Peter has raised resolutions to support the Puerto Rican Teachers union and for racial justice in admissions policies for the specialized high schools.
He has served on the union’s negotiating committee for the 2007 and current (unsettled) contracts, where he has been a voice for
demands like lowering class size, and against relying on fact finding and instead in favor of membership mobilization.
“I am running with MORE because I have seen our working conditions worsen dramatically over the course of my career, while our union has limited its protest to lawsuits and lobbying.  We need a different approach that relies on strengthening our chapters, mobilizing the membership around a contract fight and allying with parents communities in the fight against mayoral control.  This approach has worked for the teachers of Chicago and a vote for MORE is a vote for that same social justice strategy in New York City.”

Peter’s writing has appeared in Socialist Worker and Gotham Schools.

MORE’s New Video

April 9, 2013 — 6 Comments

Please share our new video with all your friends, post on facebook, tweet, text, add to your blog, email wide, and  share the link anyway you can!

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The UFT ballots have arrived or will come in the next few days. Place an X in the MORE box if you believe in Positive Leadership of our UFT that will save public education from profit driven reform. If you believe the UFT should organize with parents and communities to serve the best interests of our students then you believe in MORE. It’s time for a new contract that improves our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions. Our students are not test scores, nor are they “common” or “standardized”. We will not sign on to policies that harm our children and turn teachers into test prep machines. Our schools are not businesses that should be closed. Educators need a strong union that stops the onslaught of paperwork and denial of tenure to good teachers. The UFT must protect our members from administrators who harass their staff each and everyday. Our students deserve smaller class sizes and better schools, a union led by MORE will fight day and night until our children get the education they deserve. Vote MORE- tell your colleagues to the same because every vote counts!

The UFT ballot was mailed out Wednesday 4/3, you should have it by now or in a couple of days.
If you do not receive call 1-800-529-5218
We hope you will cast your UFT ballot for a positive alternative to the current leadership. MORE will lead our union by fighting for educators, students, and parents and against profit driven reform that harms our public education.
VOTE MORE’s slate for UFT Leadership 
1. On the front cover of your ballot put an X in the MORE box

2. Tear off front page and place in envelope marked “secret ballot”- seal it.

3. Place the envelope in the pre-addressed envelope with your information on the reverse and seal.
4. Postage is pre-paid. Drop in any mailbox BEFORE April 24th.

 UFT Ballot

Interested in learning about MORE? Want to help us get out the vote and think about the next steps for our movement?


Saturday, April 13

Noon to 3pm

224 West 29th Street, 14th Floor

The UFT elections are here, ballots have gone out. Help us make one last push to get our fellow UFTers to vote for the positive alternative leadership of MORE.We will also decide which public education issues need to be focused on and what our strategies will be moving forward.

There will be two proposals for electing a steering committee to be voted on. A steering committee will ensure that MORE has a vision and decision-making body to keep us as a vital active grassroots movement.

Bring your cell phone and join us in phone banking. We’ll call from our contact lists and tell our colleagues why they must VOTE MORE.



Fighting for real teaching and learning in our schools


Sunday, April 14th

The Earth School
600 East 6th Street
NYC, NY 10009
Between Ave B & Ave C
F train to 2nd Ave
15M bus
must show ID at the door

Teacher and lead organizer for the boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test boycott this spring at Garfield High School in Seattle. Despite repeated threats from the superintendent, the teachers who refused to administer this test attracted so much community support that they remain unpunished.



UFT Presidential Candidate for the Movement of Rank and File Educators, teacher, Pro-public education advocate

Public school parent and manager of the Correctional Association of New York

Public school parent and member of Change the Stakes

sponsored by the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE)
the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers

MikeMichael Schirtzer is a UFT Delegate at Leon M. Goldstein HS who has spent the last few years battling the crippling budget cuts that hurt our students and communities. Mike led several protests with faculty, parents, local community leaders, and students against these cuts to classes, staff, and after-school programs. He built alliances with educators, parents, student groups, local politicians, and community organizations to hold joint pickets to rally against the budget cuts that impair our schools and neighborhoods. Mike has been a recipient of several awards honoring his teaching, an active member of the school leadership team for over 3 years, and is proud to work in many after-school programs.

Mike organized with teachers, counselors, and staff to support the locked out Con Ed workers, striking Verizon workers, and Firefighters who fought to stop the closings of local firehouses. He mobilized UFT members to join him on the picket lines in solidarity with CWA, UWUA, and ATU school bus drivers. He is proud to be the grandson, son, brother, and friend to union delegates and shop stewards representing TWU Local 100 and Local 101, UFA, PBA, Garment Workers, Postal Carriers among many other locals. A dedicated unionist he firmly believes that “Labor unions are an important part of American society, we will fight for workers to maintain a fair salary, benefits, and a good retirement. I pledge to be a student advocate and defender of educator’s rights”

MORE’s slogan of “Our working conditions’ are our students” learning conditions is why he joined this caucus. “I joined MORE because I want a union that fights for public education instead of being co-signers to policies that hurt our children, common core, Danielson, closing schools, high stakes testing, and mayoral control.”

As UFT Vice President Michael will

  • Lead a Union that fights back, does not give back. Mobilize teachers to have rallies, pickets, and job actions at every school to protest school closings & unfair policies! 
  •  Continue to create alliances with community organizations, parents’ associations, students groups, and local labor unions to stop under funding and over testing our students, turning our teachers into test prep machines.
  • Sign a fair contract that guarantees job security, raise in wages, a just evaluation system, medical benefits, smaller class sizes, and stop the destruction of our pension system by refusing to agree to new tiers
  • An immediate halt to the union busting agreements: no more scab charter-schools, excessing teachers/guidance counselors, denial of tenure, co-locations, or “closing” schools.


Michael Mulgrew, the current President of the UFT, represents the Unity and New Action caucuses.

New Action has made an agreement to back Unity’s top leadership in exchange for officer/executive board positions.  This agreement dates back to 2003, predating when Michael Mulgrew replaced Randi Weingarten in the UFT presidency.

We cannot and will not differentiate between these groups. Unity and New Action have exchanged seats and cross endorsed each other. This is the type of back-room deal that epitomizes the dirty politics that has come to define this union leadership.

What has been gained for the supposed alternative agenda of New Action in this time?

Similar to the way that Mulgrew signs onto deform policies, and then cries foul when the effects become detrimental, New Action has criticized some of these moves. Yet, this critique becomes disingenuous when it has supported the leader that took these actions, and then criticizes these policies. When the leader’s core policies are so fundamentally detrimental to the membership and our students, we must ask, how is this stance a credible opposition?

In 2009 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew signed onto the Common Core; Mulgrew endorsed the extension of mayoral control.

In 2010 UnityNew Action’s Mulgrew signed onto the Race to the Top; Mulgrew made public lies that the rubber rooms were closed –in fact, detainees have been merely dispersed from large ones to district offices.

In 2011 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew signed onto the weekly rotation of ATRs and the observation of ATRs in substitute assignments. (This was approved by the Delegate Assembly at an emergency meeting held after school on the last day of school, June 28, 2011. No ATRs were involved. The ATR pool itself was created by loss of senority excessing rights from Unity’s 2005 contract.)

In 2011 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew, without a membership vote, endorsed the Danielson Framework for evaluating teachers.

2012 and 2013, in defiance of a rising clamor for a membership vote on the issue, Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew has endorsed the use of high-stakes tests as the basis for teacher evaluation, a methodology proven to be junk science.

In 2013 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew has reaffirmed his belief in the failed policy of mayoral control which has led to the closing and/or privatization of our neighborhood schools and has left thousands of teachers as ATRs

Unity/ New Action endorsed Race to the Top

In 2010 Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew said that New York’s Race to the Top (RTTT) application had teachers’ support. But just where did that race take us?

RTTT expanded the leadership academies; it took New York City’s burdensome data systems and network models state–wide, proving to be a failure everywhere.

RTTT mandates constant assessment and data management, spiking administrative costs and depriving teachers of proper preparation time.

RTTT pressured New York State to have high-stakes test-based educator evaluations, resulting in more testing and less learning for our students.

RTTT pushes districts to have destructive turn-around programs, school closings, and increases the number of charter schools.

Unity/New Action didn’t have to endorse RTTT.

13 states did not participate in the last round of Race to the Top applications.

The California Teachers Association criticized RTTT because its “One Size Fits All Hurts Students” and it said that RTTT requirements hold school systems “hostage by their purse strings.”

RTTT – Not worth the costs.

RTTT – Wrecking our working conditions and our children’s learning conditions.
Vote the MORE slate to improve working and learning conditions.
In each of the years of the tenure of Unity/New Action’s Mulgrew, the UFT has failed to stop dozens of school closings and even greater numbers of charter school co-locations. The privatization of our schools has led to fewer resources for our public schools, inequality in learning conditions, and the loss of union protections.

While New Action claims that it supports Mulgrew on some points and opposes him on other points, one must ask oneself: how could New Action be considered an opposition caucus when it will not challenge the fundamental betrayals of leadership that brought about the conditions that they complain about in their literature?

Unity claims they are “seasoned leaders in troubled times”, yet they are years removed from the classroom and their willingness to sign onto failed profit-driven reform is proof-positive that Unity has been the cause of these “troubled times”. They claim to fight school closings and co-locations, but cannot hide from their record of lack of mobilization against these policies (for the antithesis of Unity, please see the Chicago Teachers Union/Karen Lewis’ response) and agreeing to run their own charter school. Unity has allowed our members to go without a new contract for over four years; this is not leadership.

MULGREW/NEW ACTION/UNITY - disastrous management in a time of historic attack on teachers

CAVANAGH/MORE - positive alternative leadership to restore dignity to our profession and compassion for our students


Rosie Frascella is in her 6th year teaching English Language Arts to English language learners.  She currently works at the International High School at Prospect Heights where she is a union delegate. Before becoming an English teacher, she was a labor organizer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She graduated from the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Teachers College. She is member of the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) and the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE).

“I am running with MORE because I believe in unions and I want to continue to work to make my union stronger and more democratic. I am inspired by the potential for vast improvements in education by the vision of educators, school staff, parents, and students collectively organizing and working together. I believe all education stakeholders deserve a voice in the decisions that affect our schools. It’s time to build a MORE perfect union.”

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The UFT Elections are NOW!  

UFT members have a choice for new officers, and MORE believes that this choice can make a difference.  The Movement of Rank and File Educators believes the teachers union can and should be the fighting force to defend public education for all students.  In the classroom we will fight for small class sizes, rich curriculum, push back on the testing regime and an end of harassment and incessant paperwork.  Outside the classroom we will demand a fair contract and democratic governance of our schools instead of simply waiting for a new mayor.  We will partner with parents, communities and other unions because we understand that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions, and together we can make a difference.

Ballots are mailed out April 3 and are due back April 24 by mail.

We urge you and all UFT members you know to vote for a positive leadership for our UFT.  In past elections less than a quarter of the active UFT membership voted for their leadership.  Please spread the word to Get Out the Vote and vote in a positive alternative leadership.

Vote MORE!

Demand MORE from the UFT.  

No more waiting, no more concessions to billionaire mayors and his corporate reform agenda that ignores the needs of students, teachers and communities.  Together let’s build a movement to fight for the quality public education that every students deserves!  

 “In the last ten years, in a departure from the roots of our union’s founding, the leadership has failed to organize and mobilize the membership at the time we have needed their leadership the most. The tidal wave of unprecedented attacks on our profession, our schools and our children will not stop with a new mayor. It is time for change. It is time we demand MORE from our union.” -Julie Cavanagh, MORE’s candidate for UFT president





Vote MORE in the election and encourage all the UFT members you know to do the same.
Distribute our latest campaign flier at your school – Email [email protected] to arrange delivery of hard copies to put in mailboxes of your school, give to other UFT members, and leaflet in mailboxes at public schools nearby your house and/or work.
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