I do want to celebrate the last day of school for all of you after what I am sure is a tough year. This day was always the happiest day - and in some ways the saddest day (when I was teaching my own class for 18 years) of the year. We would party and then I would wake up the next morning in the most relaxed state of the year - until I realized there was now only 67 days left before we had to go back.
ICE often meets on June 30 to tie up the year and discuss issues that don't get discussed in depth at the crowded MORE meetings.
There is an interesting discussion going on around the way forward for MORE. Some people think MORE should focus in social justice issues. Others think the primary role of a caucus is to focus on issues of concern to the rank and file while not neglecting social justice issues. I believe there are very few people in MORE who think MORE should not worry about SJ issues at all, but there are some. Related to these issues is who is the target audience?
Depends on the extent you think you can really contend for power. Do you want to win over the right wing anti-Unity people by diluting your politics?
Some people in MORE are concerned about dilution. I am not. What concerns me is the use of naked rhetoric about some issues without explanation. I try to put myself in the position of a rank and file person in the schools.
I believe, as the discussion below demonstrates, that as long as MORE takes care of day to day school issues it can also take strong SJ positions. Some anti-Unity people will never vote for MORE as being too left wing. To them I say - go form your own caucus and do the work. MORE has proven itself as a viable alternative to Unity. If you are an ATR and don't think MORE is doing enough MORE is perfectly open to anyone coming in and making that an important issue. You can't do it from an anon comment on blogs.
There are certainly points of intersection where some of these issues clash -- I would say school discipline is a potential dividing point. If MORE takes a strong position on discipline for the kids it must also address the very real issues facing teachers and other school staff. It is easy to call for more resources and a viable (not bullshit) restorative justice program. But when you have an awful principal and a school out of control MORE must address that issue.
Sometimes I see some people in MORE salivate over issues like supporting the teachers in Mexico but get a dull glaze in their eyes when it comes to supporting the teachers in NYC. I get it. Going to a rally for Mexican teachers or raising money is easy. Figuring out how to fight an abusive principal is hard if not impossible. But enough people in MORE are trying - see my upcoming videos of the PEP meeting last week were we stood up and supported people.
Some of my recent posts about Brexit have raised the issue of Trump voters and MORE with some snarky Unity comments about Roseanne's support for MORE and Trump. Actually Roseanne and other Trump people do not actually support Trump - they just despise the Democrats, Randi and Hillary and the ed deformers. But still a vote for Trump in essence endorses and gets counted as a vote for white supremacy and therein lies my attempt to convince these people to vote 3rd party. I do believe that Trump will take away people's rights and get away with it.
So in that context I present the upcoming ICE meeting on Thursday with the email I sent out to ICE and MORE members.
ICE meeting Thurs June 30 3:30 - whenever the rice pudding is servedReminder for those interested - RSVP as space is limited.Another open-ended ICE meeting to talk about whatever is on your mind.For those new to MORE, ICE, founded in late 2003 and with TJC another founding group, won the high school exec bd seats in the 2004 election, was one of the founding groups and still meets a few times a year to discuss issues in depth and maintain a blog run by James Eterno.
Send agenda items - indicating we may go till midnight.1. Further analysis of the vote in the election. Where did those 11000 votes come from?Make your best guess. How many due to SJ politics of MORE, how many due to knowing someone in MORE they trust, How many due to MORE support for teacher rights? Consider the 1400 votes for Solidarity in the equation.2. ATRs - updates and proposals for solutions. Getting ATRS involved in their own battle.
3. Fair Student Funding discussion - won't be discussed until 4:30 since some people can't make it until then. Understanding Fair School Funding - the complexities of calling for an end.
4. Prep for MORE July 6 summer event -- supporting chapters, training etc.
5. MORE and New Action and other caucuses.
New Action has proposed MORE and they sit down and talk. In that context ----
History of UFT Caucus discussion - Election coalitions and the big tent caucus
History shows that over time mere election coalitions don't work out and eventually lead to merger -- ie TAC and New Directions took 20 years to come together in 1995 into NAC and ICE and TJC took 10 years to morph into MORE.
What do we learn from those experiences? How can a big tent caucus operate with a wide disparity of views?
A MORE retiree committee - what would it do? -- can it work with New Action retirees?6. MORE as a caucus -- has it shown it can compete for power in the UFT? Does MORE have to compromise fundamental principals to do so? Can people who support Trump also support MORE?What exactly is a caucus in the UFT? Must you run in an election to be a caucus? Is ICE a caucus or a sub-group within MORE? Can a caucus be a lobby group in the UFT only? What is the future of the relationship between New Action and MORE? How is ICE different from New Action? Is there room in a left-leaning caucus for center right including Trump voters?
Is there is a non-left anti-Unity sentiment in the UFT and how does a left-caucus relate to it? Unity caucus comments on this issue - for 50 years they have branded the opposition as left wing fundamentalists - does Unity see the fact that non-leftists can support MORE as a threat?
Roseanne McCosh who signed up 30 MORE members in her school may vote for Trump out of her outrage at Hillary, Randi and the Democratic party - so are other teachers who are not right wing I meet. I think they are wrong and should vote 3rd party.
Unity people have jumped onto the comment section to chide MORE for allowing people who are not left fundamentalists - as the Unity hack put it. I guess they want MORE to have loyalty oaths like they do.
(You can follow the debate in the comments: http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2016/06/does-brexit-shock-and-awe-forecast.html#comment-form
Roseanne response:Let's take a look at what MORE is against. MORE is against teacher evaluations being tied to test scores. Against high class size. Against the persecution of teachers in the opt out movement. Against the 2nd tier status of ATR union members. Against a bullshit contract and delay in retro. Against abusive administrators who torment members. And---OMG! Against racism...how dare they? If knowing I support MORE gives you a chuckle then I guess you'll split your sides knowing I also send them a monthly donation. People like me support MORE because MORE supports working teachers---a foreign concept to you Unity shills.Roseanne McCosh