Thursday, February 12, 2015

Testing Reso Voted Down at Delegate Assembly, New Action Squeals at MORE's Failure to Communicate

Did I tell you we got back from Singer Island and Delray beach Tuesday?
A commenter asked me to post appropriate photos for the blog and I can't think of a better one to show how dumb I am to be here in the cold at a UFT DA instead of staying in Florida. But the cat feeder went off to Costa Rica and we had to come back. And by the way -- I was treated to a nice coming up (70th) birthday lunch down there by the well-known commenter on blogs -- Schoolgal - which we got to do when my wife - who will brook no ed pol discussion in her presence - got into a mah jong game that afternoon. It was nice to get Schoolgal's perspective on things even though we don't always agree. Her optimism that Unity can be beaten is always refreshing.

The Unity gang pointed to procedural issues - as I pointed out they might in yesterday's post --Today's UFT Delegate Assembly: Jia Lee Will Attempt to Present Resolution to Support “The I Refuse Movement” to Oppose High Stakes Testing --- nice work Mark Corasham who at times pretends not to be just another Unity hit man. Yes, the reso was directed at NYSUT - but it called on the UFT to take this to NYSUT. And yes it said NY State Board of Education instead of Board of Regents or NY State Ed Dept. They just used procedural mish-mosh to mash the reso. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I got upstairs just as MORE's Mike Schirtzer took the floor to make the resolution -- Jia Lee had her card up but Mulgrew did not call on her - but nothing new for Mulgrew who probably sees Jia as a threat, just as he saw Julie as a threat and never called on her. Mike did me proud as my adopted political son -- I expect to see him in front of the DA handing out leaflets when he's 70 --in about 32 years - just in time to get that retro pay. He was so natural in front of the body --- I really haven't seen many people be able to do that over these years -- even from the opposition, who can seem so uptight. Not Mike. He told me he was speaking as if in front of his class. If Mulgrew ever calls on him again he will be a DA star.

Before getting to NYC Educator's report - Arthur and I enjoyed a nice Chipotle burrito after the meeting -- and I'm up at 1AM with heartburn - thanks Arthur -- Arthur and I do have people who go to the DA who read our stuff. I want to thank the chapter leader who I had never met before who came up to me before the meeting and told me he reads Ed Notes regularly along with all the major ed blogs. Sometimes I think I'm writing in a vacuum or for the usual suspects. He said I was often on point - which surprised me because I am told I write too much "fluff." Like now.

Anyway - before I get to No Action -- here is Arthur's piece on the reso -- his fuller report on the DA is at his blog:  DA Report—"I Refuse" Resolution Killed by UFT Unity—Supporter Shut Down by Mulgrew
Motion—Mike Schirtzer rises, raises motion for next month on behalf of MORE, to support I Refuse Movement. Circulates it. Mulgrew says it needs a simple majority to be placed on agenda. 
Mike says has been passed by several locals, that testing regime is out of hand, and that we should oppose high stakes testing. Says test prep saps joy from teaching, helps neither us nor our students. Kills creativity, critical thinking so we can do non stop test prep. Says we must starve the beast, that MOSL is junk science. Says if we’re gonna go to war against Cuomo, let’s take high stakes testing away from him.

Point of information—states we cannot make resolutions for NYSUT, and that there is no NYC Board of Education. Mulgrew points out other reference to NYSUT, makes disapproving noises, says DA does not have ability to bind NYSUT’s hands.

Sterling Robeson rises to speak against resolution, says we are against overtesting, but that we need tools to help drive instruction. Says parents need tests to ensure that they’re getting the “education they deserve.” Says we’ve supported this issue “from teachers of Chicago,” and in early grades. Says we’ve enforced it and reemphasized it over and over. States there is difference between opting out and refusing. Says it tells folks to tell their kids to refuse. Although there are pieces that are appealing to us, it goes to far. Urges this motion be defeated.

Mulgrew holds vote, I did not hear him declare outcome (it was clearly voted down, I would say 2-1) takes point of personal privilege, says he understands passion around this issue. Says resolution is out of order because it asks us to make decision about NYSUT. Speaks of how parents want tests. Says we’re in a fight and have to be smart about it, that we ought not to take a boilerplate resolution that was put together in other places. Says we should be against high stakes.

Supporter of resolution makes point of information—"Last resolve makes it clear that this resolution is only"—Mulgrew interrupts speaker before she finishes and says it’s already been voted on. Calls speaker out of order.
 Oh, and a post-DA conversation between Schirtzer and New Action's Shulman where Shulman complained loudly that if only MORE had communicated with New Action they would have fixed the reso and it would have passed. Sure. New Action has so much influence. They've been on the UFT Ex Bd through the grace of Mulgrew and in exchange for supporting Mulgrew or Weingarten in the past 4 UFT elections over a decade and we have seen so much "inaction" on the testing issue.

Julie Cavanagh and I represented MORE at a meeting with New Action in Nov. 2013 (which I audiotaped)  and made our position clear: We will be willing to work with New Action AFTER it renounces its deal of support for Mulgrew.

Still waiting.

What I find funny is that there is actually a group bragging about their cool relationship with New Action and how it gives them access to the UFT Ex Bd. Hope they have fun with that and see how far that gets them. NA will desperately try to cling to any group that actually does something.

Really, they should change their name from New Action to No Action. Shulman peeped a question at Mulgrew -- Sir, can you tell me if the New Motion period is over, Sir - and can I have some more porridge? Mulgrew said it was over and Shulman sat down -- like how about asking to extend? Next NA leaflet: NA makes strong point at DA.

By the way, communication means official between caucuses. New Action seemed desperate to establish official lines of communications with MORE. I told them to just come to any of our meetings. I might go to theirs - if they had any publicly announced.

Personally I have no problem saying hello and goodbye to most NA people (except Shulman). Since we had that meeting I no longer see them as evil. But when they try to pump themselves up into something they are not -- like a real opposition caucus that just happens to endorse their supposed opponents in UFT elections in exchange for gift ex bd seats - the truth needs to be told.

My advice is to just take those Ex Bd seats and those little UFT jobs - except for Shulman who gets around 15 grand a year from the union - and stay in their self-designed little cage.

They are what they are. No Action.


  1. The delegates seemed to be unanimous when it came to eliminating high stakes testing. They had already voted against high stakes on three separate occasions. The problem was the resolution itself. It had references to NYSUT and AFT which have their own legislative bodies that we can not speak for. Another resolved specified that members should have their kids opt out on the grade 3 to 8 exams. This was considered to be an unfair request for our members, especially because of the young age involved.

    1. What a crock. Why didn't you amend it the parts that you thought didn't work? Tell us you are not aware that NYSUT and the AFT are dominated by the UFT and nothing can pass those bodies without UFT support. Thus this reso called on the UFT to push this in those bodies. The UFT supports high stakes testing -- how else would teachers be evaluated through them? Which the UFT has supported with its 20% solution. And other unions around the state are joining the opt-out movement -- helping parents optout - those who want to. The UFT with its outreach is unwilling to take part.

    2. It was a pleasure meeting you as well, Norm....keep doing what you do.

  2. After the DA I overheard Mike coming down loudly saying something like "I won't talk to New Action if you paid me." Are those the words of a true leader right there?

    I was pleased to have some sort of back and forth with a member of the new MORE steering. New Action is right in saying MORE's communication is at fault.

    What's that saying again?

    "You get more with honey than with vinegar."

    Prov. It is easier to get what you want by flattering people and being polite to them than by making demands.

    Crrossing all fingers that if MORE wants to be something they open the channels of communication.

    Mike, you have to be more than just loud. Try saying hello to people you used to work with.

    1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. You should be doing stand-up.

    2. Let's hear more about what you've gotten with the sugar. If you can show it works I'm all for it.

  3. I am doing stand up. I stand up and fight and look to my left and right.

  4. Another Mulgrew lackey at it again--Cambell Brown and Andrew Cuomo could have written his lines...."tools to drive instruction" "tests ensure parents their kids are getting the education they deserve"... blah blah blah. That's Unity talk for "We're a bunch of wimps afraid to fight for what's really important." What useful data is gleaned when the struggling kids can't read the damn thing? What data is gleaned when the neediest of students miserably fail it year after year? What data is gleaned when they sit there and cry and say, "Miss, I can't do this" and then I tell them I'm sorry but they have to sit there for 3 hours and try? Why do I have to convince a TEACHERS' UNION that the likes of Cambell Brown and Andrew Cuomo are dead wrong? Our pusillanimous UFT leadership is a disgrace to unionism. Roseanne McCosh


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