The Movement of Rank-and-File Educators, or MORE, is attempting to take over the teachers union in elections slated for April. They want to push the UFT more toward a social justice approach. “What MORE would do differently,” says Julie Cavanagh, a Brooklyn school teacher and MORE candidate for the UFT's presidency, “is change the philosophy and ideology of how the union functions.” That means building “real organic partnerships with the communities that we serve.”
MORE has modeled itself on the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, which took over the Chicago teachers union in 2010 and led a strike that fought back attempts to cut teacher pay last June. They attribute their success cooperation from the community. Parents and students joined the Chicago teachers on the picket-line. The strike was seen as being about more than a contract, but about the systemic racism within the city's underfunded public schools.Decked in red t-shirts, members of MORE were out in force at the PEP hearing, standing by parents and students where the UFT leadership was absent. Their hope is that those with a mutual stake in preserving public education can band together to beat back the privatization of learning and build a quality school environment for all.
The United Teachers Federation, which represents educators in New York, hasn't even bothered to mobilize its members, apparently preferring to bide its time until the mayoral election in November when, presumably, someone more amenable than billionaire Michael Bloomberg will be in office.
Nice article in Nation of Change. A few excerpts, but go read it all.
Published: Tuesday 26 March 2013A number of specialty schools were among those given the boot, including the Law, Government and Community Service High School in Queens.
Boos and hisses fills the auditorium of Brooklyn Technical High as the governing board for New York City's public schools, the Panel on Education Policy, takes the stage. It's March 11 and the PEP is meeting to consider a proposal from Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to close nearly two dozen schools.Parent after parent, teacher after teacher, student after student takes the microphone and pleads for their school to remain open.Similar scenarios are consistently playing out in many parts of the country. Officials in Chicago last week announced plans to eliminate fifty-four schools next year in one swoop. The city's mayor, former Obama White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, was on vacation at the time of the announcement and could not be reached for comment.Earlier this month twenty-three schools got the axe in Philadelphia, about ten percent of the city's total. Nineteen protestors, including American Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten, were arrested for attempting to block the entrance to the building where Philly's education reform committee dished out the guillotine treatment.In New York, these PEP meetings have become a tired ritual. Everybody knows what to expect, and this evening's turnout is not what it has been in the past.Tonight, there's a significant crowd on hand but it falls far short of years before. The United Teachers Federation, which represents educators in New York, hasn't even bothered to mobilize its members, apparently preferring to bide its time until the mayoral election in November when, presumably, someone more amenable than billionaire Michael Bloomberg will be in office.Following in the footsteps of many who came before him, Bloomberg systematically underfunded the city's institutions of learning. Simultaneously, his Department of Ed has ramped up standardized testing -- a cash cow for giant publishing houses like Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt and Pearson, who design the tests used to measure whether schools are making the grade or whether the DOE will toss them overboard.Meanwhile, for approximately every public school the DOE has crossed off its books, a charter school has opened up. Charter's are frequently non-union. They receive public funding but are privately run, sometimes by for-profit educational management firms.In New York, hedge funds have lobbed large sums of money into charters and often sit on their boards. “Hedge fund executives,” The New York Times has noted, are developing into a “significant political counterweight” to teachers unions and other advocates of public education.When it comes to an increased emphasis on testing, charters have a key advantage over traditional public schools: they can cross students off their grading sheets if they're not meeting their academic standards. Often that means students with learning disabilities get shown the door.By contrast, public schools have to take everybody. Public school teachers attest that students with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or who speak English as a second language commonly enter their classrooms well after semesters have started.----
Charter-friendly legislation passed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s helped the neoliberal education model grow roots in the U.S. In the following decade, President's George W. Bush's “No Child Left Behind” bill, followed by Obama's “Race to the Top” program, tied school funding to test results, further facilitating the dismantling of public education.
Yet while the city's Department of Ed has used test results to qualify the closings, they have likewise resisted testing classrooms for Polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCBs.
....bodies young and old shuffled out of Brooklyn Tech late on the evening of the 11th. On the stage panel members appointed by the mayor had executed 22 schools simply by raising their arms when it came time to vote. A number of specialty schools were among those given the boot, including the Law, Government and Community Service High School in Queens.Watching the proceedings, Noah Gotbaum wondered aloud, “What are we teaching our youth about democracy?”This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/shuttered-how-america-selling-out-its-schools-1364307870. All rights are reserved.