Thursday, November 21, 2013

UFT Delegate Assembly: MOREistas Comment and MORE

Lets just say the truth. Our union leadership has turned their back on it's members. It rules in a non-democratic fashion. Unity, randi, aft, mulgrew openly advocate for common core, Danielson, and test based evals- NOT ONE teacher I have ever spoken to feels the same.... A MORE Delegate
When I was elected by my colleagues to serve as a delegate to the UFT Delegate Assembly, I believed that it was my job to represent them by voting for or against resolutions with the wishes of the chapter in mind. Today I voted for a proposed resolution that called for an end to the new teacher evaluation system. Again, I voted with the wishes of the chapter that I represent in mind. Every teacher that I have spoken with in numerous schools dislikes the new evaluation system. So how is it that most of the delegates at today’s Delegate Assembly voted against an end to the new evaluation system? Were they actually representing the wishes of their chapters? Is the UFT Delegate Assembly actually the representative democracy that it claims to be?

The new evaluation system: Stifles teacher independence and creativity in the classroom. Is not the objective tool for determining teacher performance that we were told it would be. In fact, it is more subjective than ever before, especially in the hands of inexperienced and poorly trained supervisors. It was pushed on us without a vote from the membership. From the UFT website:

“The union is run as a representative democracy. Each school has at least one person, elected by the union members in your school, who joins your chapter leader in representing you at the monthly meetings of the UFT Delegate Assembly. The number of delegates in a school varies with the size of the union membership.”
----- A high school delegate responding to the DA yesterday
Robert's Rules...You mean Mulgrew's rules. The only way to teach the suit about Robert's rules is to hit him with the book... Jeff Kaufman

There is a lot to write about the DA yesterday where MORE placed a resolution calling for repeal of the state ed eval law. MORE was attacked by Unity in their brand new propaganda sheet newsletter obviously in response to the MORE newsletter. They call themselves UNITY/UFT. Volume 1, Issue 1 -- but the same old 63-year old song. In this one they attack MORE - I hope they distribute these to all the schools instead of just the DA because it can only help MORE -- but I gotta rush out to the Portelos hearing (I have to post reports from last week's - hopefully later.) Will try to do more analysis later.

Start off with James Eterno's report at the ICE blog:


The positions of the two main  caucuses (political parties) within the UFT on the topic of teacher evaluations emerged clear as day at Wednesday's UFT Delegate Assembly in Manhattan.  Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus passed a resolution calling for small changes in the teacher evaluation system called Advance to be negotiated with the new mayor. On the other hand, the Movement of Rank and File Educators introduced a resolution calling for a full scale repeal of the evaluation system law (Education Law 3012c) that ties teacher evaluations to student test scores. 
Most of the Unity dominated Delegate Assembly, including a huge group of retirees who do not have to work under the new system, agreed with the President that evaluations only need to be tweaked but there was strong support for  MORE's position to scrap the whole system among the Delegates.

As usual, President Michael Mulgrew ignored Roberts' Rules of Order in conducting debate. No speakers were permitted to oppose a Unity Caucus resolution reinforced the UFT's support for the evaluation law.  However, the UFT is calling for a moratorium on using the results of high stakes tests for teacher evaluations until alterations to the local portion of the Measures of Student Learning portion of the system can be worked out in contract negotiations.  The Unity sponsored resolution was on the regular agenda.  It was introduced a few minutes after Delegate Megan Moskop from MORE introduced a resolution for next month during the new motion period calling for the UFT to support legislation to scrap the entire teacher evaluation law.
Just to be clear - Megan is on the left
Read James' complete - and amazing given he did this so fast -- report.

And kudos to the MORE and MORE amazing Megan Moskop who first came to us in July and is now getting up at a DA and going straight at Mulgrew. Megan is also a TFA alum, a sign that the quarter (maybe) of TFAs who remain in the classroom beyond a few years are real reformers. Megan and her ilk must be Unity's nightmare: Twenty-somethings creating a new face of the opposition.

Here are the comments from the MORE listserve. I'm posting without names because I don't have time to ask everyone.

Below are comments that Mike Mulgrew made about Common Core.  If you want to read more about the UFT Delegate Assembly then click on the link below.  MORE had a resolution to repeal the evaluation system.  The DA is controlled by the Unity Caucus of the UFT.  All of the UFT leadership is Unity.   The vote on the  MORE evaluation resolution did get many more votes than usual.  I would say that over 1/3 of the DA voted for it.  

Mulgrew on Common Core:
How did you all like the talking up of the Common Core?  WE are in a big time competition with" those" countries.  Our kids can't compete.  The big companies are going to "those" countries because our kids don't and won't have the skills.  Those countries that we are competing with started up grading their education years ago.  He even said that RIGHT NOW in NYC there are 110,000  jobs that cannot be filled because there are NO workers with the skills? Really?  Of course he also threw in the part about not going back to the days when Alabama and  (another state) did such a "great" job of educating their students that ALL students graduated from HS. 
Lisa- your retelling of Mulgrew's talking points are sickening. I watched a short segment on WSJ TV last night about education out of curiosity and they had/used the exact same talking points. When the president of our union sounds exactly like a talking head/some edu corp CEO being interviewed by the WSJ, something is very, very wrong.

One of the most disturbing things about Mulgrew today was the way in which he kept saying that our members were "tired" and "not ready for action"  I feel like this came up several times.  WHAT???  I think people are tired of stupid systems, and ready to take action against them. 
Let's not forget to throw this back in their faces. The UFT's own high stakes testing task force that Lisa and Terry were a part of in 2007 found that the research does NOT support the use of hst to make any major decisions. I forwarded this to Mulgrew and Unity members I've known over the years, and I still have not gotten a response or explanation.

To add to what's been said, Mulgrew also threw in that the test results will be even better measures once class size is put into the equation. Yes, of course, he always adds that testing should not be the only measure. But if class size is such an important element, why has our union not pushed for this in our contracts?

Lets just say the truth
Our union leadership has turned their back on it's members.
It rules in a non-democratic fashion
Unity, randi, aft, mulgrew openly advocate for common core, Danielson, and test based evals- NOT ONE teacher I have ever spoken to feels the same
Unity wanted this  eval scheme- just ask Leo Casey
They rule without the consent of the governed -'15 percent active UFTers voted them in
They allow mayoral control
They sold off our rights
Time for a change
Time to expect MORE from our union

Assailed Teacher on the ICE blog proposes an idea that John Elfrank-Dana has been floating for years

Assailed Teacher said...
Thank you for your report James, as always. As a Chapter Leader, I refuse to go to most DAs because of the way Unity makes up the rules as they go along. Whatever Unity wants, Unity gets. I really think MORE or another dissident caucus should hold their own DAs, pass their own resolutions and implement them as if Unity does not exist. If another caucus acts as the union long enough, people will start to believe it. That is how CORE won in Chicago.


  1. It makes me wonder if this sorry approach for a union is already acting on deBlasio's behalf......crossing my fingers it isn't so.

  2. Campaign Seeks to Recruit Top Students to Become Teachers | The New York Times - The AFT and NEA leadership are collaborating with Advertising Council, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance, and Teach for America in ads for new teachers.


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