Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teachers Unite Membership Drive

I was one of the first members of Teachers Unite and continue to support the work of the organization. Jose Alfaro was an early distributor of Ed Notes when I took it citywide in 2002 at Fannie Lou Hamer HS (it was only a publication for the Delegate Assembly for the previous 5 years). Teachers Unite provides the space for people like Jose to continue doing the work he did before he retired.

What's Your Story?
José Alfaro
I considered becoming a teacher in 1970, when I graduated from college, but my conflict with the traditional ed department at my college and the anti-child conversation I found in the staff cafeteria where I did my student teaching dissuaded me from teaching. 

In contrast I ended up working as a youth organizer for United Bronx Parents, one of the key organizations in NYC working for community empowerment in the schools. There, one of my responsibilities was advocating for students and their families in the schools.

In the mid 80's my son began attending the progressive schools in east Harlem and I eventually began teaching at the high school, Central Park East Secondary School. Teaching was great, but it also prevented me from continuing my community organizing, so when I was asked to return to my role as a social worker and help develop Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom H.S. in the Bx. I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I realize that the needs of the students meant that my position presented many challenges, but I was emotionally hooked and today, even though I've retired I continue to work at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School part time seeking to develop the use of restorative practices at the school as well as in other schools.

Since I became an activist in the late 60's I've always stressed the importance of working collectively in an organization with people from whom I can learn and build with. I've been involved with different education organizations throughout the years, but with Teachers Unite I've had an opportunity to combine my training as an education advocate with my training as a therapist through the work we do around Restorative Practices.

My vision for public education is that schools become significant learning centers that address the multiple needs of the community. This means deepening critical thinking skills, using authentic assessment in lieu of standardized tests, provide a rich variety of ways to explore intellectual, artistic and physical interests, make available culturally relevant health and mental health services, and become centers of youth and community empowerment.

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Your generous donation to Teachers Unite sends a message of encouragement to educators who take action to end school pushout and racial injustice.

Our members are not only speaking out, they are acting out!
  • They help schools organize Restorative Justice Teams.
  • They collaborate with youth organizations to change the city's School Discipline Code.
  • They produce media and resources that envision a humanistic approach to student discipline.
  • They transform their own school cultures and advocate to the DOE and UFT for help with doing so.
We have to show parents and young people that teachers are opposed to social and economic injustice.  Please click here to donate today!
Day 1 of our membership drive


Our members say that Teachers Unite keeps them motivated to stay in the classroom.

It is vital that we support them to continue. 

Your donation or your membership dues will:

* Ensure that 10 NYC schools hire Restorative Justice Coordinators through our Pilot School Campaign targeting the DOE

* Increase the number of TU workshops that train NYC educators to use and promote restorative practices

* Send our members to Washington DC to share their stories and support student testimony to get cops and guns out of U.S. schools

Together we can transform the popular idea of what it means to be a teacher. Please join us. Thank you!

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