Aixa: Social justice is not crap. Teacher issues are not crap. Actually they overlap, and intersect, you know, are connected. It would be nice if all non unity caucuses dedicated efforts to address common issues and build name recognition and real victories. How about ADA accessibility for parents and students and teachers. Join with civil orgs to check crosswalks for proper curb cuts, drainage, for ramps, for deploying school safety to entrances that are ADA compliant and accessible. Training and outreach to CLs, recruitment of retirees to update retirees on what is happening. Addressing slow unjust response to reassignment and discontinuance. Addressing abusive principals. How about addressing the calendar of DA meetings and PEP meetings happening on the same day across the city from each other? How about addressing school closure as a mechanism for ageism. How about massive waste and fraud in the school renewal initiative, and implementation of engageNY. How about unsafe working conditions ducttaped walls, labs without safety equipment, ceiling panels that are falling, leaks from pipes. How about engaging with gentrification activists to force tighter work between community boards handling zoning and local CECs to bring the truth out about land use and building new schools. How about addressing the issue of a lack of transparency in mayoral control and the disenfranchisement of nyc citizens. Lets see the intersectionality of the issues and work toward documenting and addressing them with our local elected officials. Lets unleash the power of our networks and social media.... Aixa, who has fought battles on all fronts, replies to Chaz comment on my post UFT Elections - Some thoughts.
Norm: Maybe MORE will now move away from that "social justice" crap and concentrate on "teacher justice" as James Eterno and Co advocate. When MORE eliminates the "social justice" plank, then I and others may become more involved... ChazThank you Aixa, who has been so wonderful to work with and never stops fighting for teachers, students, community - she is the perfect blend of people I hope MORE can attract - and by the way, I don't even know if she is a MORE officially but certainly she is in spirit. I hope one day she will run for MORE steering and keep MORE on track.
When we started ICE in late 2003, my friend and mentor, the late Paul Baizerman, one of the architects of the original ICE, said to me, "I'm not coming out of retirement to do this just to fight for teacher prep periods." He wanted ICE to address the defense budget and race - Paul crossed the 1968 UFT picket lines - but also was a major fighter on grievances and for teacher rights. The other retirees from our very SJ oriented group from the 70s - Vera Pavone, Ira Goldfine and Loretta and Gene Prisco came on board to work with getting ICE going - joined by Michael Fiorillo, John Lawhead, Sean Ahern, Julie Woodward, Lisa North and ask anyone - if not for these leftists, there would not have been an ICE. I would say I was the least left of the group. All of us were fierce defenders of teachers and the union - but if we stopped there we would have never got anywhere. Sorry, Chaz, you can't build an opposition movement on your politics - it has never been done and it will not happen, especially in the UFT. The right wing of the UFT will never be able to organize itself into a potent organization - but Chaz is welcome to try.
The just-completed UFT elections pretty much proved my point. Did Jia Lee, with all her SJ "crap" not get almost 11,000 votes?
Here is the comment Chaz left on my post UFT Elections - Some thoughts.
Norm: Maybe MORE will now move away from that "social justice" crap and concentrate on "teacher justice" as James Eterno and Co advocate. When MORE eliminates the "social justice" plank, then I and others may become more involved...Chaz doesn't get what drives people to do this work.
I have never been hassled as a teacher. My involvement in union activities came because I felt kids, not teachers were getting screwed. That was in 1970. Call me a social justice teacher - and I fought many battles with my colleagues over the fact that we had to not only defend ourselves but also the children we taught every day.
Thus I wonder when teachers seem to want us to ignore the issues of the students who supposedly sit in front of them every day. Are they teaching widgets?
Why would MORE move away from SJ when we just made progress in the election? James and Co support MORE - obviously - even with its SJ "crap." I join James and others in MORE calling or balance, not the elimination of SJ. I replied:
ChazOur pal Roseanne McCosh, who was one of two winners of the MORE award for signing up the most people in her school to join MORE, is not a lefty or focused on SJ - but she supports MORE. She emailed at one point that as long as MORE takes care of teacher related issues, the SJ stuff doesn't bother her.
I think you need to be clear. If more eliminates social justice I and most others will be out. You don't seem to get that Ice was social justice and most of us are leftist oriented. You will never find MORE as a pure caucus you want. Best you look elsewhere. What does it say that almost 11000 people voted for a group that advocates social justice crap alongside teacher justice crap. Focusing on just one or the other leads to a dead end. You are doomed to endless frustration because MORE is not going anywhere
MORE needs people like Roseanne and she is my weather vane - she will let us know if things tip too far into SJ without connections to the work being done in the schools. If they tip too far the other way -- we are only about teacher interests, I'm sure there are others to let us know.
Chaz wants a pure caucus devoted only to teacher issues - in a union that at this point where classroom teachers are a smaller percentage. Where there has been a major turnover in teaching staff over the past 15 years - younger and interested in social justice issues. MORE would not exist if it did not address social justice issues in addition to teacher issues. The problem for some of us in MORE is when things tip too far or are not blended into a unified whole. Chaz doesn't get it - that people like me would never be in a narrow-minded caucus that ignores the issues affecting our students' lives. That is what brought me to activism in 1970 -- my students, not some outrage committed against me as a teacher. A prime task for a union is to pay attention to its members but also to make the connections. All the things Chaz writes about are connected to the ed deform assault on the profession and the only way to battle that is through avoiding isolation by addressing the very issues that the deformers have used to attack all of us. Chaz wrote about the impact of the Opt out movement yet voted against Jia because of her SJ "crap". In the 2019 elections he may face the same choice. Maybe he can vote against Jia in advance.
I also want to point out that ICE and our group from the 70s did not push SJ into people's faces like some MOREs are want to do -- and I can sympathize with some annoyance. If I could I would get rid of the somewhat arrogant "We are THE social justice caucus" since I believe that Unity does some good SJ work too - I won't get into that now. I could live with we are A social justice caucus. I'm stuck with 5 MORE tee-shirts but I may find a way to white out THE.
I don't care if right wingers will never vote for MORE or Unity -- we saw some very graphic examples in the returns - over 1000 ballots were invalid due to all kinds of things written on the cover without a voting box checked - I guess the frustration of the right.
But I will point out that from hanging out with some leading Unity people during the vote count, MORE and Unity have a lot more SJ commonality with each other than with the right wing of the UFT.
So here's a message to the right wingers - go make a caucus and see how you do.
From an email to MORE: Numbers
There is a range because it's the total slate votes plus split tickets -
So to explain in high schools Each member gets every vote from those that marked off MORE/NA but then one member of our slate got 2292 while another got 2276 because their individual tallies were different, some voters do split ticket- where instead of marking off a slate they voted for individuals.
High schools: MORE-NEW ACTION 2276-2292
MORE-NEW ACTION : 882-904
Unity : 7041-7065
MORE-NEW ACTION : 2306-2333
Unity : 7651-7728
MORE -NEW ACTION: 2248-2333
Solidarity : 108 -323.
Some of our candidates went way over 10,800 votes with Lauren Cohen leading the way and Greg DeStefano and Camille Eterno right behind. These are the highest opposition totals since 2001 and we won the high schools.
Sorry I don't have slate numbers because unlike in past elections, the AAA didn't give us them.
Jia Lee, MORE/NEW ACTION 10,743.073
Michael Mulgrew, Unity 39,175.623
Francesco Portelos, Solidarity 1,455.958
Camille Eterno, MORE/NAC: 10,815.386
Howard Schoor, Unity 38,851.577
Michael Herman, Solidarity: 1,466.236
Carol Ramos-Widom, MORE/NAC 10,773.42
Leroy Barr, Unity 38,858.577
Christopher Wierzbicki, Solidarity 1,466.446
Kate Martin-Bridge, MORE/NAC 10,762.691
Mel Aaronson, Unity 38,991.073
Victor Jordon, Solidarity 1,387.992
Gregory Distefano, MORE/NAC 10,840.012
Thomas Brown, Unity 38,906.127
Felix Backer, Solidarity 1,368.992
Vice President At Large
Minday Rosier, MORE/NAC 10,714.317
Evelyn De Jesus, Unity 38,964.436
Scott Krivitsky, Solidarity 1435.755
Vice President Elementary Schools
Lauren Cohen, MORE/NAC 10,867.943
Karen Alford, Unity 38,901.127
Poonita Beemsigne, Solidarity 1,333.439
Vice President Intermediate/Middle Schools
Nelson Santiago, MORE/NAC 10,806.317
Richard Mantell, Unity 38,850.058
Nancy Zazulka, Solidarity 1,416.271
Vice President Academic High Schools
James Eterno, MORE/NAC 10,762.351
Janella Hinds, Unity 38,866.088
John Silvers, Solidarity 1,440.378
Vice President CTE High Schools
Christine Gross, MORE/NAC 10,748.557
Sterling Roberson, Unity 38.824.951
Judeth Napoli, Solidarity 1,474.137
Vice President Special Education
Margaret Hobson-Shand, MORE/NAC 10,626.622
Carmen Alvarez, Unity 39,119.34
Eric Severson, Solidarity 1,391.168
Vice President NON DOE
Anne Goldman, Unity 39,646.455
The fractions are there because retiree votes are capped at 24,000 so after that it is pro rated based on 24,000.