Monday, July 13, 2015

MORE 15,000 hits re AFT Hillary Endorsement, Roseanne Response to Leo Casey, Email to Colleagues

BREAKING: Ed Notes has learned that Hillary will keynote AFT convention in Minneapolis in July 2016. Expect some dissent from the ranks.

Well, actually I'm just guessing but I think it is a pretty good guess. Getting into to see this will cause long lines at security, like they did at the Biden appearance in LA last year. Better pee early.

Note the flurry and fury the endorsement has stirred up a hornet's nest but Randi/Mikey are expecting that to go away by next year and Bernie to go away too after the primaries are over. So by next year the fait accompli will be over.

MORE if as expected will run in the UFT 2016 elections (despite my advice) will also be contending for some of those 800 AFT convention positions which go to Unity en masse. If MORE got 49% of the vote - the 800 Unity slugs go to support Randi anyway. Shanker knew what he was doing when he set up this structure. I don't think the Hillary issue per se will resonate next March/April during the campaign as much as it is indicative of the way the union operates.

Our pal Roseanne McCosh has not sat back silently. Roseanne is on the AFT/Randi/Hillary/Leo case after MORE shared Leo's petulant tweets: No Weekend at Bernie's for AFT - Leo Casey Gets MAD at MORE
Mr. Casey: I read your tweets re: AFT/Hilary and MORE’s response. Try some humility for a change instead of acting like a high-school mean-girl who claims she’s way cooler because she has more friends than MORE. BTW…. You forgot to count the 60+ people from PS 8 in the Bronx who joined ST. Your arrogant, ‘Unity knows what’s good for you’ tweets will surely inspire them to now support MORE as well. Keep alienating the rank and file and watch your opposition grow. MORE won’t have to do a damn thing to gain additional support. They’ll just have to sit back and wait for the blowback set in motion by Unity blowhards who make decisions FOR us instead of WITH us....... Roseanne McCosh – PS 8x
Roseanne is helping organize her school to support MORE as she did to support Stronger Together (Sixty One Members (and counting).

Roseanne sent this out to her colleagues (if more anti-Unity people did the kind of work Roseanne does in her school Unity would have reason to be nervous.)
The American Federation of Teachers led by Randi Weingarten endorsed Hilary Clinton without fully vetting her on the issues that affect our careers. The AFT endorsed her without getting any guarantee that she would change the teacher-hate climate and testing mania created by Bush and perpetuated by Obama. The MORE caucus of the UFT expressed concern over the unearned endorsement which resulted in a series of arrogant, snarky tweets from Leo Casey who works for the UFT. This email has nothing to do with who we should endorse. This email is about calling out our union leaders who always claim they know what's best for us and acting like we should just shut up and do as we're told and accept whatever they say we should accept. One of the snarky tweets from Leo Casey prompted my response below (I emailed it to Leo Casey and Mulgrew.) In September I will ask that we join MORE to show support for a NYC Caucus within the UFT who are fighting for the working teachers of NYC. We took the first step by joining the ST (NY STATE) Caucus. MORE is a NYC Caucus who is doing similar work for us, the working teachers, right in our backyard. Please share this email with anyone you like. I will have additional info on the MORE Caucus in September. In the meantime you can check them out on Facebook (MORE UFT) or follow them on Twitter. My email to Casey/Mulgrew is below:...
You know it is not about the question of whether to endorse Hillary or not but the undemocratic process that totally shuts out the potential Bernie supporters to make their case. Remember the 2008 support for Hillary and how pissed the Obama supporters were -- and where are they now? And watch Hillary waffle on the ed deform issues making similar vague promises like Obama did.

MORE posts on facebook have gotten a major response with over 15,000 hits in 24 hours.

Here is the MORE official statement on the MORE blog written by my adopted political son - I'm leaving Mike all my back issues of ed notes in my will. Mike connects the upcoming Supreme Court case on agency shop dues - which could cripple the AFT/UFT/NUYSUT -- hard to make a case for paying union dues to such an undemocratic organization -- see ICE and NYCEducator blog for commentary on this point.

Clinton Endorsement, Wrong For Our Union - By Mike Schirtzer Teacher/UFT Delegate- Leon M. Goldstein High School Brooklyn
Over a year before the 2016 Presidential election our AFT union leadership has already endorsed Hillary Clinton. The political move comes after phone polls and one town hall meeting which supposedly included the input of 1,150 members. Our AFT is made up of over 1.6 million members. This is not a very scientific study or a good sample size.

With the recent decision to by the Supreme Court to hear a case that may mean the end of public sector unions as we know it and the continued anti worker, union-busting policies from elected officials on both sides of the aisle from Scott Walker to Rahm Emanuel, now is the wrong time to be making back-room political deals that further distance our union from its members. This is the moment to engage our members, to make them feel like active participants in our union.

For far too long UFT/AFT leadership has been overly complacent and has allowed member interest in the union to wither away. With this critical election coming soon and the continued attacks on our unions, this should be the perfect moment to work to get all our members involved. We could have done that by offering more than a phone poll and website questionnaire. We could have used this election to galvanize our members, to remind prospective nominees that anti-worker, anti-union, and anti-public education policies are not in the best interest of our nation. In fact these very policies have widened the income gap and led our country to near financial ruin. We need to properly vet each candidate to know where they stand on testing, common core, union rights, tenure, charter schools, and then share that information with each and every AFT member. Our members can make informed decisions that will help our students, our schools, and our union.

It is fine if AFT President Weingarten is personal friends with Mrs. Clinton, but that is not a reason to give away our endorsement. The last twenty-five years of political endorsements has not helped our union or our schools, in fact we could argue it has done further harm. They could have engaged the membership in a vibrant discussion on strategies and whether political endorsements are in the best interest of those we serve.

None of this was done, instead another top down decision made in some backroom during the middle of the summer. We all understand that this endorsement really holds no weight due to the lack of organizing and mobilizing by  our union leadership which has led to the disinterest in union endorsements. But we could have used this election to change that. This could have been the very moment when our union leadership decided to change strategy, make our union more democratic, listen to voices within the union, even dissenters like ourselves who may disagree, but offer educated insights. Instead they chose to do what they always do, which is another top-down failure to engage the membership and then make a decision on our behalf.

It is time for new union leadership, one that is made up of members who are in the classroom, who speak with and speak for classroom teachers and school based educators. A leadership that has new ideas, new voices, and actively seeks member participation. While we are upset at this endorsement, it is just another example of the systematic failed leadership that has allowed our union to become weak, our members to become disinterested, and public schools to be attacked.
Mark Naison had an interesting point:
The same Randi Weingarten who pushed through the endorsement of Hillary Clinton by the AFT is single most important person responsible for the appointment of Mary Ellen Elia as Education Commissioner of New York State. Without AFT and UFT support, Elia would never have been appointed, much less unanimously appointed, in an "emergency meeting" In both instances, the public was blindsided because the process was closed and there was no debate. But this says a lot about how Randi Weingarten works. She likes to cut deals with people in power rather than mobilize her membership to be an active force in the public life of the communities they live in and to promote democratic decision making in her union. In that sense, she has much in common with the two most powerful people shaping education policy in New York State- Governor Andrew Cuomo and Regents Chair Merryl Tisch, both of whom think that policy is best made by "negotiations between CEO's" to quote Regent Tisch's favorite term.



  2. "Remember the 2008 support for Hillary and how pissed the Obama supporters were -- and where are they now?" Not only "where are they" but 'where are teachers?' Ans. fighting the privatizers.
    Also- FYI- Mercedes Schneider quoted one of your older posts in one of her recent posts.


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