Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#MORE2016: Introducing MORE High School VP and Exec Board Slate

I'm way behind on sharing the list of MORE candidates for the upcoming UFT elections. The high school Executive Board slate below has a chance to win, though it is my belief that with Unity facing the prospect of dealing with a non-Unity endorsed group of people for the first time in a decade, they will pull out all stops to keep MORE/New Action from winning the high school seats. If that happened that would give Unity 100% of the Executive Board for the first time since 1994.

The candidates are:
  • Ashraya Gupta, Arthur Goldstein, Marcus B. McArthur, David Garcia-Rosen, Mike Schirtzer are from MORE.
  • Jonathan Halabi and Kuljit Ahluwalia, are from New Action.
The breath of experienced and more recent teachers is well-ballanced, ranging from 6 to almost 30 years. If they get elected, their range of experience will well-represent all points of view.

James Eterno is running for

James Eterno: 
UFT Delegate and Social Studies Teacher at Middle College High School, Queens. 18 year Chapter Leader at Jamaica High School, UFT Executive Board 1997-2007
Together, we can restore dignity to teaching. Every UFT member should join the fight to repeal horrific state laws that include rating teachers on cookie cutter 1-4 Danielson rubrics and student test scores, presuming teachers are guilty until proven innocent in termination hearings and replacing teachers without any due process in receiver schools.  Mulgrew thinks everything is just fine.
I've worked with James from the early years of Ed Notes through the founding of ICE and as one of the best chapter leaders ever, who led the battle to try to save Jamaica High School, you can't find a better candidate. Of course he won't win because all officers run at-large - every UFT member including retirees vote.The last time Unity had 100% of the Exec Bd in 1994 (they had lost the high schools and even the middle schools in the previous election) they pushed through a change in the constitution taking the divisional VPs out of the divisions and making them at-large.

Retirees do not vote for the high school executive board candidates which is why they have a chance to win.

But who knows what they will do this time if they have total control of the EB without opposition - find some excuse to make every Ex Bd position at large?

If people are over-confident that MORE/NA will win these 7 seats this time, they should not be.

Look at the high school numbers from 2013:

Unity: 1585, MORE: 1435, New Action: 450

That is out of 19000 ballots sent out to the high schools.
The low turnout is not an anomaly as we've seem roughly these numbers for a dozen years.

The New Action votes went to Unity in their cross endorsement deal in 2013. Let's not assume that what happened last time is a given this time.

People who have not had the experience I have in Unity dirty tricks may be making the mistake of extrapolating these numbers onto the 2016 election and thinking that if MORE/New Action put their 2013 totals together they will be close to 2000 votes.

I think they have to do better than that to win because I don't expect Unity to stay at 1585. They took things for granted and the fact that MORE was within 150 votes of their total shook them up.

I believe Unity is beating the bushes to get themselves a cushion. Unity has been using its control of the UFT to create various high school communications devices and send out employees to key schools to beat the bushes for high school votes. And this time they have Solidarity out there taking votes from MORE/New Action. While I don't believe that Unity is behind Solidarity the outcome will be the same. Unity can only be assisted in their goal of 100% control of the Ex Bd by every vote not going to MORE/New Action out of the high schools.

I actually have mixed feelings about winning these seats. I think asking an activist group of 7 people to sit in a room full of Unity slugs every 2 weeks at an Ex Bd meeting is problematical in terms of what can be accomplished there. Donald Trump is threatening to make attendance at these meetings as a replacement for water boarding as his torture of choice.

But our people seem enthusiastic about attending UFT EB meetings, so the more power to them.

I know some of the MORE/New Action candidates fairly well.

Arthur Goldstein is a colleague for over a decade and what a bonus having him on the EB it will be.

I have come to know Mike Schirtzer very well over the past 3 years and consider him my political son. Mike is a force of nature.

I've only become acquainted with Marcus McArthur recently and hearing him speak I thought that one day he could run for UFT President. I wrote about him last week: MORE HS Ex Bd Candidate Marcus McArthur.
Marcus Brandon McArthur is a New Jersey native and Brooklyn based writer, educator, and political activist whose work focuses on race, economic inequality, education and cultural politics.  He received his B.A. in History from Morehouse College in Atlanta where he focused on the shared historical plight of African descendants through studies in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, and Brazil.  Marcus received his M.A. in Latin American History from Penn State and M.S. in Special Education from LIU-Brooklyn.  He has published works with the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Journal and the MORE Caucus blog of the United Federation of Teachers.  He currently teaches English and Social Studies as a Special Education Teacher at City-As School.

Check him out on video at one of our opt-out rallies
I have also only recently become acquainted with Ashraya Gupta and every time I meet her I am more and more impressed.

David Garcia-Rosen I know for a long time, originally through Teachers Unite and more recently though his fight for the small school sports league which got him sent to the rubber room on the  direct orders of Carmen Farina. She was pissed that he turned down her bribe attempt job offer. She couldn't make anything stick and he's back in a school.

As for the New Action candidates, I have known Jonathan Halabi  for over a decade. We've not always been on the same page but I got to work with him on the petition campaign and we worked very well together. He knows a lot about everything and during the election process has seemed very comfortable working with the MOREs.

I do not know Kuljit Ahluwalia, who sas a chapter leader at Canarsie HS.


We need your support in order to win. It is time for a new, independent voice in UFT leadership that has different views from Mulgrew and his Unity caucus. You can help by distributing our literature, coming to our events, donating to our campaign, and urging people in your school to VOTE MORE/New Action!

As UFT members we are privileged to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of a monumental shift towards economic and social justice in America and around the globe. Through mass mobilization of our membership and our allies, we will steadfastly fight for teacher autonomy, student voice, and economic justice for the 99%.


Ashraya Gupta: 
UFT Delegate and Chemistry teacher at Harvest Collegiate High School, Manhattan.
We deserve a democratic union, representative of our members. For too long, teacher interests have been cast as oppositional to student interests. But our union should make it clear that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Let’s be the union we wish to see.

Kuljit Ahluwalia (1)
Kuljit Ahluwalia: 
Science Teacher at Queens Academy H. S.  Chapter Leader at Canarsie High School, Brooklyn  2003-2009.
As a high school teacher for the last 28 years I have seen the slow erosion of teachers’ rights and a sense of frustration.  As a former teacher at a phase out school I have witnessed how unfairly ATR have been treated.  We need to have a union that will provide equal representation and voice the concerns of all its members.

David Garcia-Rosen
Restorative Dean and Athletic Director Bronx Academy of Letters, Lead Organizer NYCLetEmPlay
Our students and UFT members deserve a union that fights for every school to have equitable access to resources regardless of zip code. For five years the  NYCLetEmPlay students and teachers stood up to fight for civil rights. MORE stood by their side while Mulgrew/UNITY refused to offer any support. On the executive board we will fight for better learning conditions for our students, which  are the working conditions for our members.

Arthur Goldstein: 
UFT Chapter Leader  and ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School, Queens.
It’s time for high school teachers to have a voice and I want to give you that voice. Let’s initiate things that work for us and our students rather than counter-productive reformy nonsense.


Jonathan Halabi:
UFT Chapter Leader and Math teacher at HS of American Studies at Lehman College, Bronx. UFT Executive Board 2009 – present
Teaching is an honorable career. We help kids learn and grow. Their success is our reward. But not if we are mistreated. Not if our voices are ignored. Not if decisions that affect our schools are made out of incompetence and malice. We are running to ensure all our voices are heard in our union.


Marcus B. McArthur:  
Special Education Teacher at City-As School, Manhattan
As UFT members we are privileged to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of a monumental shift towards economic and social justice in America and around the globe.  Through mass mobilization of our membership and our allies, we will steadfastly fight for teacher autonomy, student voice, and economic justice for the 99%.

Mike Schirtzer

Mike Schirtzer: 
UFT Delegate and Social Studies teacher at Leon M. Goldstein High School, Brooklyn:
“We Need New Leadership!”
Classroom teachers need a voice in our union and we will be that voice on the UFT Executive Board. Our leadership negotiated a poor contract, worse than other city unions. Micromanagement, Danielson, and 1% raises with delayed retro is not what teachers deserve.  


  1. You're mistaken, Norm. There is no pulling out stops. The vote is the vote. We're not sweating. We hope to beat you but it's hard to hate Eterno or Halabi. If we lose the seats life goes on. They're all good guys/gals. That said, we ARE going to beat you.

  2. It might be fun if you win and won't even gave the cover of new action to claim bipartisanship this time. In especially rooting for the per centage of retiree votes to go up so you can raise the cap once again. The more power in your hands the more arrogant you become.

  3. I define winning as being smart enough and ballsy enough to recognize and counter bullshit every time you hear it. I define losing as gulping down the Kool Aid. So by my definition Norm wins every time! Roseanne McCosh


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