MORE's Jia Lee went up to speak to Mulgrew after the DA and filed this report:
At the Delegate Assembly, a few of us MORE folks went prepared to speak. Here's a summary from Arthur's blog on the April 16 Delegate Assembly: http://nyceducator.
com/2015/04/da-report-mulgrew- warns-against-opt-out.html so you can see what when down, and here's my take...
And here is a follow-up from a Change the Stakes parent activist:Long story short, Mulgrew appears to be very nervous about appearances- that is, while he claims to understand that high stakes testing is wrong, yada yada yada, we still need to administer the tests and parents want to know how their kids are doing. Civil rights groups want annual testing, and we don't want to upset them! Did you catch the huge contradiction? High stakes standardized testing is what perpetuates disparity and inequality! He also stated that some teachers, (ex he gave were 19 teachers in one Brooklyn school) under the teacher evaluation matrix, who were rated ineffective by their principals were saved by having high VAM scores. If he's so worried about appearances, he would understand that we cannot use unreliable and invalid metrics only when it serves us. In fact, it highlights for me a more concerning issue that our leadership is failing to support those teachers who are obviously working in a highly oppressive environment.
(MORE member) Francesca (Gomes) spoke against the soft resolution on testing- she spoke directly to the fact that we shouldn't be messing around with small changes to an evaluation system we know is a sham. It's heading us to imminent doom, and she called on our leadership to organize the power of the teachers. I saw several folks nod in agreement, and I noticed that while the resolution was voted in, many people did not vote, and a few voted against, all looking our way.
My head hurts from today's experience, but I wanted to tell you one thing before I fall asleep. I went up to Mulgrew afterwards to give him some information about what's happening on the ground and his missed opportunity by spending so much time trying to negotiate with politicians. You know what he told me about the 95% and loss of funding from ESEA?He said that Title 1 funding would be lost if there was participation below 95%. I told him to give me his source; he said it was Arne Duncan. I almost starting LOL. He also told me that the Civil Rights leaders are mad at us, the teachers union and the board of education, for years of what they call lies- for not providing equitable education promised 50 years ago.
All the more reason why we need to stand firm against the use of HST which has and will continue to widen the divide! He couldn't discuss it any further, but the last thing I said was that we are the educators and we should be doing the work of communicating what they need to know.
I got in an argument recently with [someone who works in community outreach for the UFT] -- and she told me the same lines about falling below 95% causing a loss of funding. They must have a book they all study from.And another report from a CTS person:
I told her she was wrong about the 95% rule and loss of federal funding--
and then she said to me, "No we would lose a lot of money, millions--or is it billions, I forget."
I asked her where she got her information about this question and she said, "We have lawyers!"
I said to her, "So does NYSAPE."
I think she simply didn't know what to make of someone contradicting her.
In what may be the most useless time I ever hit ENTER, I sent her a copy of NYSAPE's explanation about the 95% rule and asked her to show it to the UFT lawyers.
When Jo Ann Simon stood up to address the crowd at the forum, she said two things that stuck way out for all of us. And mind you, I feel for her, only in the Senate for 3 months, and she explained the package they were handed as bad and worse....Here is a NYSUT fact sheet with contradictory evidence on school defunding over opt out.
Anyway, she explained why her YES vote and then addressed opt outs with the "unintended consequences" that would effect the most vulnerable schools/students. She said though she believes it is the parent's right, she feels it will hurt the kids who need the funding the most. That did not go over well.
After a kick-ass panel of activists spoke, she was asked point blank to defend her position on this. She just heard from a parent on the panel how after doing all these other things (letters, calls, protests, etc, etc) opt out was the only thing left. But her response to what can we do was, write letters to your elected officials. We all looked at each other like holy shit, what planet??
In a small group afterward, it came up again. Parent said she is doing us a disservice announcing that threat an challenged it's validity. She said it could happen, we just don't know. I reminded her there was a time slavery was sanctioned by the feds and it was time to rise up and overturn such a system. She looked at me with a blank face. It's good to hear Civil Right's groups are angry. She suggested they supported this crap. Whatever the case, parents are going to call out Mulgrew. ...along with everyone else.
Q came up about teacher's union and why aren't teachers speaking up. Spec Ed teacher had a hard time finding words. Said it was not ok for her to say tests are bad, opt out. You'll watch the videos [NOT YET AVAILABLE BUT WILL UPDATE WHEN IT IS]. Spec Ed teacher (can't remember her name), Jody and Ann Cook were mind blowing. Actually, Ann Cook said charter school/privatization agenda AND racism out loud. I heard the angels sing! We need to use that footage in big ways!