The reform agenda within MTA, led by Barbara Madeloni, continues to develop strength. On Feb. 7, a super-charged Collective Bargaining Summit (the first in memory) drew hundreds of members and local officers, in teams from 40-50 locals. St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Portland Association of Teachers, and Chicago Teachers Union sent speakers who made highly focused presentations with a focus on internal, site-based organizing (including caucus-building from Jen Johnson of CORE) and engagement with parents and students.
St. Paul teachers, in addition to presenting at the Massachusetts Teachers Association bargaining summit on engaging with parents and teachers and open bargaining, are focused on school board races in their district.
Along with teachers across Wisconsin, Milwaukee teachers are in a fight over another attack on public schools. Four hundred parents, teachers, and community members came to the MTEA’s organized community meeting to strategize against Governor Walker’s draconian budget cuts—and also against legislation that would rapidly convert public schools deemed failing into charters.
Chicago teachers are focused on the mayoral election, which takes place February 24. The Chicago Teachers Union and its allies are making a bid to channel the spirit and unity of the teachers’ 2012 strike into unseating “Mayor 1%” and his city council allies.
NEW Caucus is starting the new year focused on putting together a slate of candidates for upcoming Newark Teachers Union elections. After the gains they made in 2013, they hope they can win control of the union this time.
MORE caucus members are organizing on the school level to oppose New York Governor Cuomo’s attacks on public schools and teachers. This year already he has called for raising the cap on charter schools, extending teachers’ probationary period from three to five years, putting struggling schools into “receivership,” and basing half a teacher’s evaluation on student test scores.
Teachers in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, have been taking on the governor’s imposed testing agenda. They are holding emergency building meetings to discuss Cuomo's proposed education reform agenda, its impact on members, and how to fight back.
Port Jefferson Station union leaders have also been central to forming the statewide caucus, Stronger Together, to engage with New York State teachers locals. They are working on ways to overcome the geographical challenges of organizing an entire state.
Philadelphia teachers are facing another threat from their school district. State courts offered the union a reprieve by ruling that the school reform commission (their appointed board) had no right to cancel their contract. But at the next school board meeting, the board will vote on 39 new charter school applications. WE caucus is turning out teachers to hearings to make public comments on the issue.
With contract negotiations intensifying, teachers, counselors, and Health and Human Services members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) are escalating their actions against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). More than 850 schools throughout the LAUSD will be picketing outside their schools on Thursday, February 12. As part of the Schools LA Students Deserve campaign, parents and community members will join UTLA members by walking the picket lines and signing an open letter directed at the LAUSD School Board.
Organize 2020 is working a new layer of leaders of color into the center of the organization through a four-month anti-racism workshop series. The goal was to deepen an anti-racist analysis/skill set among the founding leadership (almost all white), and create a context where a new multi-racial leadership crew (still majority white, but with a quickly developing group of women of color stepping up to lead) develops an analysis and skill set together.