The UFT charter school came up for a vote at the Executive Board during a time period between 2003 and 2004 when opposition caucus New Action was solidifying their alliance with the dominant Unity Caucus. New Action's high school "opposition" representatives started going with the Unity party line on just about every topic. The exceptions were my close friend to this day Ed Beller and me however on the subject of the UFT starting a charter school, Ed was with the leadership. Therefore, I was alone so UFT President Randi Weingarten was poised to ridicule me. .... James EternoIn response to my post on the historical context of the UFT charter and New Action's support for the charter, a prominent member of New Action posted this:
I was at all meetings related to the UFT charter - the info meeting, the Ex Bd vote and the DA where Michael Fiorillo from ICE spoke and we handed out a leaflet I believe. James Eterno's memory corresponds to mine and contradicts the New Action fiction. He responded on the ICE blog with his personal account. DEMISE OF UFT CHARTER SCHOOL REMINDS ME OF MY OPPOSITION TO ITS FOUNDING.Norm claims that New Action supported the charter. He provides nothing in writing, since there was nothing. Rather, he refers to an anecdote of one vote by one individual, acting on his own. In fact, Scott overlooks years of New Action literature in opposition to charters, preferring his alternate "anecdote as history." This method of attack says more about Scott than about anything else.
James was still on the UFT Exec Bd as a high school rep on the New Action slate elected in 2001 but he and Ellen Fox had already been pushed out of New Action for not going along with the cowtowing to Randi.
James Eterno continues:
I recall vividly being called on after the usual Unity [AND NEW ACTION] sycophants praised the charter school. I spoke out against the UFT running a charter school because we would have difficulty publicly opposing the expansion of charter schools if the union was running one and money would be siphoned away from an already cash strapped public school system to charters. Randi stopped me in mid-sentence that evening and argued that I was making an argument against private school vouchers and not charter schools but I stuck to my position.I seem to remember Mike Shulman going over to the other New Action Executive Board members telling them Randi didn't want any opposition on this and to remain quiet. Luckily, he had no control over James.
More from James:
After our debate, I was the lone no vote. A UFT charter school was a no-win proposition. If it succeeded, the press would see it as a victory for charter schools. If it did not work out, it would be seen as union failure. That's what is occurring now. Being opposed to all charter schools on principle, not just some we don't like, is a position I am quite honored to have stood up for as a lone wolf at the UFT Executive Board.New Action claims to oppose charter. They have been on the Executive Board for almost a decade. Where are their efforts to raise the issue at the EB and the DA if they are opposed to charters? Where are they at the co-location hearings? Did they make a stand when the UFT/Unity leadership capitulated to Cuomo last year when he pushed through the charter support plan that undercut De Blasio? Show me one resolution or public protest they have raised.
Mike Schirtzer, who was in diapers when the UFT charter was on the agenda (he was a late bloomer) posted this response to the New Action whine:
Yes, all your support of Mulgrew, begging for ex bd seats, and all those resolutions really show commitment to fighting charters. I was at countless co-location/charter hearing, I must have missed New Action.
Now, here's the funniest thing. The leader of a new caucus is actually bragging about working together with New Action as a major way to distinguish the caucus from MORE (which refuses to work with New Action until it renounces its deal with Unity). As Mike has pointed out, Weingarten and Mulgrew were at the top of the New Action slate as their presidential candidate, as recently as 2 years ago and Mulgrew will head their ticket in the 2016 elections.
Working with New Action = endorsing Mulgrew, no matter what language is being used to cover this up.
My personal break with a guy to whom I gave supreme support came over his insistence that New Action must be worked with in contradiction to the entire history of that caucus over the past dozen years and MORE's established policy that it would only work with New Action when its deal with Unity ended. A constant barrage of emails to MORE steering over this issue that has continued to this day and a willingness to break up the opposition to Unity. The alliance with New Action and in essence Unity, is designed to make sure Unity controls 100% of the Exec Bd seats in next year's elections by keeping New Action on and MORE shut out. No matter what you hear, that is the bottom line.