Monday, March 14, 2016

#MORE2016: Hard to Keep Up With MOREs All Over the Place

FULL HOUSE IN NEW PALTZ: Amazing job at public education forum at SUNY New Paltz tonight with Jia Lee, Marla Kilfoyle, Lisa Platt-Rudley, Bianca Tanis and Zephyr Teachout

I got there a bit late, but I heard Jia Lee talk about creating superior alternatives to testing in practice, as she uses in her school, and the risks she had to take in becoming an opt-out parent and teacher. Marla's dramatic ... See More
— with Jia Lee, Marla Kilfoyle, Lisa Platt-Rudley and Zephyr Teachout.
Over the weekend, MORES were involved in a meeting and also this event in Jackson Heights:
Good turnout today of concerned Jackson Heights parents who - like so many others - aren't happy with the current state of public education in NYC. MORE teachers were in attendance, and the opt out workshops had the greatest number of participants.....Katie Lapham

MORE's Kevin Prosen, standing

You know I was concerned that the UFT election would be a distraction for MORE and keep them from doing their basic organizing work. But as you can see above, MOREs are out there. Jia Lee was in some select company at New Paltz as reported by NYCBAT Jake Jacobs. The growing ties between MORE and the BATS is a move in the right direction and Jia deserves a lot of the credit for her tireless work in building bridges toward a movement that goes beyond a narrow caucus interested only in challenging the union leadership. I view the movement as building a wall around the leadership and trapping them in their own little world - a disconnected leadership head with no body.

Peter Zucker realizes the remarkable qualities of MORE and Jia in this incisive post that in so many ways expresses MORE in ways that people deep on the inside haven't been able to. Peter, coming from the outside after having left MORE for a while perhaps has a more perceptive view. I had to miss Saturday's meeting because of robotics but hearing from Marilena and Peter below gives me an idea I missed a good one. From what I know, Peter and Marilena are very different politically yet both had such positive feelings about the MORE meeting. Meetings, frankly, in the early days, often led to some friction. Hopefully this is a sign of smoothing the edges but I have to give Jia Lee a large amount of credit for helping smooth these edges.
Hey all,

If you didn't get a chance to attend Saturday's election rally, you missed a truly inspiring and inspired afternoon. I haven't been able to attend MORE events in a while but I'm so glad I didn't miss today. I walked outta the LGBT center feeling hope and pride. Executive slate members - your leadership, thoughtfulness, creativity and passion was truly felt. It's Saturday and y'all deserve a toast - along with everyone else who's been doing the hours and hours of behind the scenes organizing, discussing, emceeing, hosting, etc.

I Really Now Get It About MORE - I get it. I really, truly, finally get MORE. Driving home from the MORE meeting today I had an epiphany (If that is what you want to call it)

During the breakout sessions today I was commiserating with Jia Lee about this and that. The subject came around to how I had a shitty personal week and I started to share with her some of what I had gone through during my exile from the DOE.

Jia was so empathetic, so calming in her tone, her manner, and her words that I felt safe to open up. In fact so safe, I asked Lauren Cohen, knowing what she had gone through in the past, to join in.

And as the three of us were talking both their words and actions dawned on me which only finally hit me once I was in The Bronx.

MORE is not just a caucus looking to unseat the powers of the UFT. MORE is a place where teachers, educators, families, and the community can come and get support and not be judged nor looked down upon. Anyone can reach out to anyone at MORE and not be asked anything in return other than you walk away feeling better.  ..

Every time I talk with Jia I learn something new. Jia is a wealth of knowledge. Not just with education and unions. But of writers, historical facts pertaining to the working people, and to philosophies that affect us all. Isn't this someone that we need to lead a our union?
I'm happy enough to have Jia helping lead MORE.

Arthur Goldstein at NYC Educator says:
I'm very proud to be running on the MORE/ New Action High School slate, headed by James Eterno, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced unionists it's been my pleasure to know. This is who I want representing NYC high school teachers. We have not taken oaths to rep leadership in lieu of membership and we never will.
My former neighbor Josmar Trujillo, not a teacher, posted this on FB:
The best recognition you can get: young people.
MELS Middle School in Queens profiled a bunch of activists for their book. Lucky enough to be one of them! Big smile on my face now... And Timothy Ford & David Garcia-Rosen. Now that's good company!
So here's another MORE, David Garcia-Rosen, a fellow candidate like Arthur for the high school executive board, being recognized for his amazing work in organizing athletic leagues for underserved small schools. 
Eric Draitser

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