Sunday, April 20, 2014

Teachers Unite: What's Your Story? Features Old Pal Matthew Guldin

We were at Sally Lee and Josh Heisler's wedding when right there in front of my eyes was Matthew Guldin who I hadn't seen for a while. We began jumping around like teenagers. He and I were in the same political group in the 70s/80s - The Coalition of NYC School Workers and hadn't seen each other in a while. Turns out that Josh and Matthew had worked together. Then he retired and has been working with Teachers Unite, which Sally founded. In this bio they even included a photo of me with Matt at one of Teacher Unite's events. Whenever we see each other we just break out laughing -- we always had so much fun. Gee, I even remember when Matt had red hair. And I had an afro.

Day 4 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 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
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What's Your Story?

Matthew Guldin

Well, I never planned on being a teacher, it just hit me, in the form of the Vietnam War and the draft that would snatch us boys after high school or college. Not being a conscientious objector, nor wanting to move to Canada or jail or go to med, dental, law school or work in a defense plant, my only out was the classroom. So, I hurriedly took ed credits in my last term of Bklyn College and over the summer of '68 and joined the ranks on Sept 6, 1968. I had started an education career which has spanned most of the last 45 years and has seen me involved, happily, in most of the progressive/radical initiatives of these years. 

From the struggle for Black and Puerto Rican community control of schools in the late '60s to the alternative school movement of the '60s and '70s, to the original small schools movement of the '80s and '90s led by Debbie Meier and Ted Sizer, (before it was corrupted by the Bloomberg/Klein 'franchising' of our movement in 2001), to the fight to keep the 'Regents free' 5  year waiver that Consortium Schools were granted in 1995, I've been there and participated actively, even taking leadership at times, in these struggles. At the same time, I was a delegate to the
UFT's Delegate Assembly for 10 years and a Chapter Chair for 5. 

Right now, I'm focusing my energy on moving the city's discipline policies from taking a Zero Tolerance approach to behavior infractions to one which bases itself in building each school into being a caring community and using restorative approaches. I believe that this 'sea change' will help us disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline. This is the reason that I've joined Teachers Unite. I've seen too many poor, Black and Latin teens drop out/be pushed out of schools and into the jails over the years. The increasing demonization of Black and Latin@ youth throughout our country and in particular in NYC, since the 1989 frame up of the Central Park 5, has led to the schools being semi militarized and zero tolerance policies being adopted as the way to handle "anti - social" (rebellious?!) behavior. 

Thank goodness there's a growing coalition across the country which is reversing this trend and moving schools and school districts to transform their buildings from being alienating institutions to caring communities where kids and adults can grow together academically and emotionally. Through participation in the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC), I get to do this work as a Teachers Unite member.

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Please donate to Teachers Unite today. 

Teachers Unite is the voice of NYC teachers who have limitless hope for the role public schools can have in creating a just society. 

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.
There is no other member organization of teachers doing this work. In fact, young people who meet our members are surprised to learn that there are teachers who don't just want to push students out of school. 
We have to show parents and young people that teachers are opposed to social and economic injustice.  Please click here to add yourself to this movement today!

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