I'm taking a few minutes out of our 3-day 45th Anniversary celebration ----- we staggered home after a great dinner at Park Avenue Summer.
I have very modest goals for what MORE can realistically accomplish. I do not see us running the UFT in the near future. Nor do I foresee MORE having much more than a minor impact on changing UFT policy in the near future. So what's the point of doing all this work you might say? Call me a Debbie Downer.
My feelings are that a group like MORE must exist in the UFT - as a place to provide services and support the Unity Caucus leadership is not able or willing to provide - ie, effective chapter leader support instead of having union officials dictate their agenda.
MORE must also exist as a safe place for like-minded people to go - to share ideas, to talk about both the big and small things, to be in the same space with others who want to debate ideas, read books together - like MORE is doing this summer.
MORE cannot just be a debating society or book club. Nor can it solely provide services and support.
It must also continue to contend with Unity on all UFT playing fields.
Yet to do this kind of work takes dedicated people who are mostly full-time teachers, often with families. To accomplish an ambitious agenda MORE needs man and woman power to do the organizing work. And there are not a lot of people who are willing to do this work. Division of labor does work - where some people take on a small sliver of the work and stick with it.
Janice Manning is handling the organizing of the summer book reading. And there is quite a list of choices -- we are voting on it right now. The list is a mix of social justice and hard core union. Janice is serving her 2nd term on MORE steering. I had the chance to get to know Janice one evening when we were the only 2 people to show up to a study group. What an interesting lady with an interesting life - she has lived all over the country and abroad too. Getting to meet and know people like Janice is one of the great perks of being in MORE.
I may offer to host the Marjorie Murphy "Blackboard Unions" group if there is interest. Though I must put "The Art of War" on my list.
I also offered to do the MORE July 6 summer series event on the history of UFT opposition caucuses and how the lessons we've learned can be a guide going forward.
While you might not have time to engage in MORE on a regular basis you might find some of these other activities of interest. If you are around this summer you might enjoy taking part in some of these events.
Here are the suggested list of books that are being voted on by MORE members.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right
Rules for Radicals
The Teacher Wars
Reds at the Blackboard
Solidarity Unionism: Rebuilding the Labor Movement from Below
The Art of War
The New Jim Crow
Are Prisons Obsolete?
Justice, Justice School Politics and the Eclipse of Liberalism
What's Race Got to Do with It?
Police in the Hallways: Discipline in an Urban High School
The Strike that Changed New York
Reviving the Strike
Also don't forget this Thursday night's Skinny Awards dinner:
Please reserve your tickets now to our Skinny award dinner this Thursday night, June 9 at 6:30 PM at Il Bastardo/Bocca Di Bacco 191 7th Ave (21st St).The Skinny award dinner is always one of the most fun evenings of the year, allowing us to join together to celebrate the work of so many of our heroes and allies in the fight to support our public schools. Attendees will include historian/advocate Diane Ravitch, new Board of Regents member Luis Reyes, and a surprise special guest.
We will be honoring investigative reporter Juan Gonzalez, who is retiring from the Daily News after 30 years. Juan has uncovered some of the biggest scandals in the innermost workings of our city and our schools, saving taxpayers literally hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, and always standing up for the rights of workers, students and the marginalized.
We will also be giving an award to Robert Powell who recently resigned from the Panel for Educational Policy, after being the only PEP member to vote against a hugely inflated contract for a computer internet company originally slated at $1.1 billion and later cancelled by City Hall.
Please join us, but if you cannot, please consider making a donation to Class Size Matters to support our work going forward.
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011 212-529-3539