Nothing will change in the UFT or the DOE unless teachers get active and involved as organizers and agents of change starting at their own school level, whether in the classroom or in the UFT. A
And there will be little change unless younger teachers get involved. We often find very dedicated teachers are wary of the union or outrightly hostile, viewing it as anti-children. While we have been extremely critical of the UFT, we are also extremely pro-union and feel an influx of these teachers into a movement for change within the UFT will have an impact. We must reverse some of the anti-teacher union propaganda. But we must also build a more progressive union to make their involvement more meaningful.
So if some of these teachers float on by this blog,I ask: Feel isolated in your school environment? Change begins by starting to work with other people who feel like you do. Here is an opportunity to get started through the upcoming NYCORE ITAG (Inquiry to Action Group) on labor.
I and Angel Gonzalez from ICE (Angel's 4th year teacher daughter has been working with NYCORE this year) are going to attend as many of these Thursday evening sessions as possible, starting with Jan. 22, which we hope we can combine with the big conference on organizing in the UFT at CUNY (details later in the week.)
The duality of NYCORE's announcement below which ties union organizing to the classroom experience has some interesting possibilities. I have questions myself as to exactly what this might mean.
What organizing lessons can we learn from the labor movement in order to create a collective work ethic in our students and ourselves? This inquiry to action group will provide a setting for educators to reflect on the role that educators play as organizers in their classrooms and as union members. We will explore how power dynamics affect our government, communities, school system, schools and classrooms through analyzing labor organizing strategies and campaigns as a way to break down power dynamics for us as educators and for examples to share with our students. We will discuss readings, ideas, and materials to help us find new ways to bring these ideas into our classrooms and connect our students to current movements. In addition to looking at global and local collective actions and campaigns, we will explore some turning points in the history of the UFT and challenge ourselves to reflect on our own orientation to the union as individuals and as part of a collective of social justice educators.
Facilitators: Rosie Frascella is a former labor organizer, a teacher at the High School for International Business and Finance and a member of NYCoRE working group NYQueer.
Seth Rader is a teacher at the James Baldwin School and a core member of NYCoRE.Click on leaflet to enlargeLocation: James Baldwin Academy, 351 West 18th St
Dates: Thursdays 6-8PM.
1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/26, 3/5, and the finale on 3/13.
Register at NYCORE and check out the other ITAGs.
Want to know more?
On Friday Jan. 16 from 6-8, NYCORE will be holding an ITAG kickoff event at NYU.
Contact them for details.