The single most important thing in defending teachers and public education we can do from inside the UFT is building a broad-based movement from the bottom up that can reach deep into the schools. I don't have to agree with everything that will emerge but as long as the process is democratic and everyone has a say I can live with not having everything go my way. This is impossible in Unity Caucus or the way they have run the union for 50 years.
Really nothing will change in the UFT until there is a viable alternative to Unity Caucus. As a matter of fact it will get worse.
I won't list the unwillingness or unwilligness of the UFT leadership to fight back. How ironic that principals are doing more to defend us on the evaluation menace?
(Today will be another dreary Delegate Assembly and nothing gets one more depressed - or motivated - than these monthly travesties of democracy.)
It will take work and commitment. As in Chicago's CORE, this can be done with a few hundred committed people.
Are you ready?
Share the leaflet with your co-workers and help build this group from the ground up. Email me for a copy of the leaflet.
WHY WE NEED A NEW CAUCUS in the UFT
We believe our strength lies with our members, organized into strong chapters.
This requires an active effort to educate our membership about how their union works, and involve them in democratically determining its direction.
We believe in social justice unionism.
We fight for equitable public education and against racism in the schools.
Building an alliance of students, parents and community members as a key part of our strategy. The UFT must fight for our members and our students.
Our working conditions are our students learning conditions.
We prioritize members working together to build power in our schools.
Through collective struggles, our members will gain confidence and organization to mobilize an escalating series of actions, in our communities, city-wide and nationally, that can begin to take on the bigger challenges facing our union, educators and public education as a whole. Every educator in America knows that our profession, and our students, are under attack.
The onslaught of high-stakes testing, privatization, weakening or elimination of job protections, school closings and charter co- locations threatens the very existence of public education as we know it. Unionized teachers in particular have been singled out for demonization.
The strategy put forth by our union leadership to take on these challenges is inadequate. UFT officials rely primarily on lobbying, media blitzes and procedural lawsuits. When occasional mobilizations are called, they are organized without a long-term plan for escalating actions or increased membership involvement. The union leadership takes a concessionary stance in order to maintain its "seat at the table” with politicians and corporate forces like Bill Gates, who turn around and attack teachers and the union at every opportunity. Union leadership then sells serious concessions to the members as victories claiming - "It could have worse”.
Some of the key policy failures of the UFT leadership:
• Supporting mayoral control even in the face of the devastating impact
• A weak stand against closing schools
• A compromising position on charter schools and co-locations
• Giving up on the fight to reduce class size
• The acceptance of rating teachers based on high-stakes tests
• Agreeing to merit pay even though every single study shows the failure of this policy
• Steadily deteriorating working conditions and power in the workplace
• Erosion of job security and tenure protections
• A one-party undemocratic system that shuts out the voices of the members
We need something different. A union that fights for the rights of students, teachers and communities. A union that fights for racial and economic justice inside and outside our schools.
Find out more. Join us for: An Open Meeting
Sat, April 21st 12 – 3pm
Graduate Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway
For more information email: email@example.com or look for State of the Union on Facebook.