Monday, September 22, 2014

Comment from Roseanne McCosh a rank and file MORE and long-time Ed Notes supporter

A caucus that hopes to break free of Unity's control of our union will never get the support it needs from members when distractions such as the Sharpton march or whether or not to wear blue and support NYPD divide us. My colleagues range from left leaning liberals to right wing conservatives with most of us in the middle. We disagree on various political issues of the day but we are pretty much united in our disgust with the DOE and Mulgrew's UFT. That is the only issue that will unite us. ... Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X
Roseanne basically defines the divide in MORE- those who aim for a center/left caucus that appeals to people like Roseanne AND social justice people who won't put MORE in an ideological straight jacket. I am as social justicy as anyone but also a strong school worker advocate and a realist.

Much of what Portelos is about is himself with a lot of bullshit tossed in - his is a self-defined caucus and we know how one person rule ends up -- easy to do at first but when one voice dominates it doesn't attract activists and when it does the big voice in the room feels threatened and pushes them out -- but he is smart enough to define a cogent message and for that reason I joined his new caucus while remaining with MORE and ICE, which is looking for new ways to be active. MORE does not have the "advantage" of one man (75% of teachers are women) rule so it gets real messy - fast. My struggle in MORE and ICE and the UFT - and maybe Solidarity - is for democracy - because that is the only system that truly represents people's interests. Portelos had no patience for that system and working with others and grew frustrated - like I often am - over not getting things done. He can do that now - but at what expense? I'll stick with the mess.

Roseanne had her school in the Bronx mobilized for MORE in the 2013 elections and in the contract battle. Is MORE interested in people like Roseanne and the people she works with? If we don't reach the Roseanne's MORE is not a movement of rank and file but MOLE - Movement of Left Educators - which seems OK with people - apparently there is a determination by part of the left faction in MORE that more and more people are left and that is the fertile ground for MORE to troll in. OK. Try it.

Check the outcomes in terms of members, activists and votes in a UFT election over the next year and a half - and no excuses. The people pushing MORE in this direction must be held accountable for outcomes. I'm in this for 43 years and I know how these movies end. But I'm patient.

There is a counter view in MORE that a narrowly focused message is not the way to go. Portelos didn't have the patience I do to work things like this out - he can come see me in the nursing home when he's 69 years old and we'll chat about it. Portelos has his good points but frankly I saw too much at his hearings and know too much to say I can still give him unquestioned support.

I am going to be very forthright on Ed Notes and report things as I see them even of I have to be critical of MORE, ICE and whoever and whatever.

Roseanne's full comment on NYC Educator blog in a post written by co-blogger Arwin.

Note how she is critical of both sides - those who support police and those who marched.
I have not fought the fight as hard as some of you. I certainly have not been targeted and suffered as many of you have at the hands of treacherous administrators. So I humbly offer my opinion based on what the teachers in my school talk about... Teachers want a union that doesn't preoccupy itself with causes that do not directly affect their working conditions. These preoccupations includes marches for social justice and charity runs for breast cancer. There are many worthy causes out there but we feel we are at war and the focus should always be on us. A caucus that hopes to break free of Unity's control of our union will never get the support it needs from members when distractions such as the Sharpton march or whether or not to wear blue and support NYPD divide us. My colleagues range from left leaning liberals to right wing conservatives with most of us in the middle. We disagree on various political issues of the day but we are pretty much united in our disgust with the DOE and Mulgrew's UFT. That is the only issue that will unite us. Anything else put before us results in eye rolling or disinterest. MORE should not concern itself itself with Portelos' actions and the idea of UNITY dancing in the streets. MORE and any other caucus that hopes to gain momentum with the members on the front lines needs to fight the battles that affect those on the front line. Those battles and nothing else. At this point in my career I am readying for retirement. I have no agenda other than to speak the truth as I see it and get the hell out of this system as soon as I turn 55. It would be a sweet send off for me to see some group of union members unite us with an agenda/philosophy that is only about us. We can't save the world until we save ourselves. Perhaps Portelos is an arrogant, hot-head who isn't the best person to attempt this but he's the only one out there trying. But as a fellow arrogant, hot-head, I offer him my sympathy and good wishes. MORE too has my good wishes but Portleos has a point that I deem valid. Roseanne McCosh

3 comments:

  1. I believe my comments were similar in nature, but either were not posted or deleted. It's not a union's place to divide members, although Unity is doing a pretty good job at that. The focus of our union should be our working conditions which are also student conditions. Social Justice to me has more to do with helping the students and their families with access to good medical care, social services, after-school programs, small class sizes, and able to allow teachers to teach at the child's grade level rather than a test. School should be an enjoyable, safe place filled with caring teachers--no matter what color, creed, religion, etc. Those who want to express their political views outside of education issues have that right. But it shouldn't be a union issue. As for Portleos, I didn't even know what was happening until I saw the comment section at NYC Educator. I do know you and others fought for him. And even after that, he would post things on Facebook that made it difficult for those who defended him. I got the impression Randi and Mulgrew are trying to get him to form a new coalition. I doubt many teachers will follow him. I know I won't.
    But at the same time, I am losing my faith in MORE because I find them growing away from the everyday problems in the classroom to other issues that have nothing to do with fighting Reforms. Yes, there should be more diversity in our schools, but are we taking about Affirmative Action? (I saw this in a MORE email I received.) Or do we want the best and brightest and most creative in the classroom regardless of their background?
    If MORE is in turmoil, it's from within their rank than those on the frontline who are more concerned with making it through the school day. Maybe we do need a new coalition. But not one spearheaded by Randi or Portleos, but the ones Rose talks about in her comment. She speaks for me and the majority of teachers, and maybe should be leading MORE.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This discussion over Sharpton, police, climate control is frightful. Teachers all over the country are in deep trouble. Why start a new caucus now when we need to band together to protect our profession and ourselves? I know as an outsider I have no right to comment, but I am not that good at keeping my mouth shut.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice Post ! the above person is right that teachers all over the country are in deep trouble and why we are starting new caucus just when we have to band them together to protect there and ours profession?

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).