Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Video – MORE Summer 2013: High Stakes Testing and the Schools Our Children Deserve

MORE kicked off the summer series by taking a look at the effects of high stakes testing in our schools. Parents from Change the Stakes joined us to discuss why a growing parent movement against the high stakes nature of these tests is mounting not just in NYC but statewide and nationally. We discuss HST and its use as a vehicle for enabling destructive policies such as school closures and ranking and sorting students that leads to the school to prison pipeline. The socioeconomic and racial disparity in these policies has been downplayed and must be brought to light. This was a great opportunity to discuss teacher and parent concerns as well as ways in which we can support each other and build a movement towards enabling schools that our students deserve.

The video is an hour and a half extracted from about 3 hours. Breakout groups are not included. Thanks to Jia, John, Janine, Marissa and Gloria.

Commentary below by Norm Scott

Frankly, for all you UFT election freaks. I consider events like this way more important for MORE to do than run in elections -- because the first stage of organizing and mobilizing is educating ourselves and others who may not be aware of the full impact of high stakes testing which is behind all the assaults on public education, teachers and their unions.

I want to point out that MORE is more than a caucus just running in an election and then going away for 3 years. MORE is committed to engaging in open discussions that do not seem to take place in many places inside the union as part of the "educate, organize, mobilize" theme.

This was the first in our summer series of 4.

Coming next July 25: UFT Leadership, Friend or Foe - an analysis of the somewhat delicate relationship between a minority caucus with the leadership. How far do you go without helping the anti-union enemies? See the current amazing debate on Diane Ravitch blog which has generated well over 200 comments. Thanks Diane. http://dianeravitch.net/2013/07/10/my-friend-randi-weingarten/

I extracted Michael Fiorillo's response to internal attacks from teachers on the union which i posted at ednotes:

Fiorillo: Better Randi than no union at all

I made this point:
The fundamental nature of the lack of democracy internally is a bigger threat to the life of the union than the external - in the long run.
Unless the UFT/AFT starts thinking about democratizing - I won't go into the gory details -- they will find more and more calls for things like desertification coming from the ed deform plants in the teacher corps and even some dedicated unionists who have had enough. When our people on our side start calling for the right not to pay dues or for the union right of dues checkoff to be taken away we are in dangerous territory. The lack of interest in voting in the UFT is a warning. (In Chicago 60% of the teachers voted - and retirees do not vote.)

[Note Peter Goodman's response that the UFT is forming a committee to study the issue -- one of the big jokes that will lead to things like "more robo calls" more ads on TV, etc. -- like we don't really need to change anything structurally, just nudge people - discounting that the Unity Caucus Ch ldrs held bagel parties to encourage the vote but Unity suffered a major drop in votes.]

MORE is committed to find a way to counter these anti-union calls while fighting for internal democratization.

Shame on New Action for giving up the fight for a democratic union, something that was high on their agenda until 2003 when Randi bought them off.

For those not familiar: MORE got around 5000 votes in the last election and gets no Exec Bd seats or any the 800 delegates to the AFT convention while New Action which got significant less votes than MORE in every division gets 10 Exec Bd seats (out of 101) as a reward for endorsing Mulgrew.

Given that only 18% of the working teachers voted, what does this say to those people who did bother to vote for MORE?

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