Friday, October 28, 2016

School Scope: How Democrats and Republicans Lost the Working Class Leading to Trumpism

I had two pieces in The Wave this week.

Norm in The Wave

School Scope: How Democrats and Republicans Lost the Working Class Leading to Trumpism
By Norm Scott

A number of articles have been published on the Trump appeal to the white working class which used to be solidly Democratic and often pro-union. There is no way I can fully cover this issue in a short column but I want to touch on a few points and include links for those readers who want to delve deeper. Both parties bear responsibility which is why Trump supporters reject the traditional Republican Party which has been pro-free trade and anti-union. The Dems have been ostensibly pro-union but in reality have done little for unions since they came under attack in the first days of Ronald Regan in the early 1980s. (I’ll explore how the Dem betrayal, especially regarding their support of the union busting charter schools, undermined teacher unions in a future post.)

Let’s look at free trade. It was the left and some unions that rose up in November1999 to protest globalization, leading to 40,000 people protesting and riots in Seattle at the WTO conference. (Wiki at China’s admission to the WTO at the end of 2001 (under the Bush administration) basically led to the wipe out of the American steel (and coal) industry since China could make steel much cheaper and efficiently (the American steel industry had not upgraded for decades). A lot of Trump support comes from the areas where people were affected. Cheap Chinese furniture also wiped out the entire North Carolina furniture industry along with others.

NAFTA, which was pushed hard by the Clintons and the Republicans, led to the movement of industry to Mexico with no penalty on the corporations. There are estimates that at least 3 million jobs were lost. On the other hand, free trade has allowed the American consumer to buy cheap at the cost of American jobs. So there is a yin-yang. Now this is not the first time that our industries have been savaged. Both my parents were garment workers and my father (a presser) was still doing some work into the early 1970s as that industry was on life-support. Some industries are gone due to technology (printing). With 80% of our jobs being service, Trump’s promise to bring back dead or dying manufacturing is a myth.  The coming threat is that service jobs are being savaged by robots and technology. The largest growth of jobs currently are low wage home health care workers. As I reach my dotage I expect to be taken care of by a home health care robot, a long-term threat to even these jobs.

The failure of both parties is evident in both NAFTA and the WTO, both of which have their merits in lowering consumer costs and keeping inflation down, but in not taking good care of the massive number of workers affected by increasing the safety net. European workers have also been negatively affected but they have a much stronger safety net. Strong unions are a reason and since they have been weakened by Republican attacks and Democratic inaction, the safety net here is weak and left millions of people vulnerable. That was why Bernie Sanders, who offered coherent programs, was also so popular in areas where Trump is also strong.

Even though I find Donald Trump abhorrent, some of the points he raises are very valid and resonate with the non-deplorable segment of his supporters. We were at a family wedding this past weekend with some Trump supporters and did get to hear their reasoning, in one case due to how negatively they were affected by Obamacare, a very legitimate point. My relative recently reached 65 and is now on Medicare which he loves. My response was that even though a flawed plan – we agreed that the insurance companies basically wrote the bill in a way to maximize their profits – I did try to point out that if  the Republicans had tried to fix what was wrong instead of spending 6 years trying to kill Obamacare things might be working a little better. He pointed out that Obama was so desperate to get something passed he was willing to accept any piece of crap and is defending that piece of crap for his “legacy.” But I don’t really want to defend Obama care since I’m for a single payer system – Medicare for all – and Obama pretty much gave up that ghost from day 1 because the insurance companies would have lobbied that to death.

Now there is no little irony in that my relative loves single payer and I believe the entire nation would love single payer if it were gradually extended. (There are ways to pay for it and remember that every advanced Western nation has such a system – and rumors that people die under it because of long waits is belied by examining the death rates of these countries.) Remember, most people are insured by their employer, not Obama care. More irony is that early assaults on Hillary Clinton began when she was assigned the job under her husband of shepherding in a health care system in the early 90s and was savaged for urging that it be single payer. She has apparently learned her lesson and came off to the right of Bernie Sanders on this issue.

If interested in exploring some ideas raised, here are some links.
A left-leaning current NYC teacher and former West Point grad who served in Iraq writes:

West Virginia used to vote solidly Democratic. Now it belongs to Trump. What happened?

Trump: Tribune Of Poor White People | The American Conservative

Check out this hot book: J.D. Vance - 'Hillbilly Elegy,' a Tough Love Analysis of the Poor Who Back Trump and "Deer Hunting With Jesus" by Joe Bageant about the southern white working class.

Norm blogs at

CB 14 Education Committee Meets

Community Board 14’s Education Committee and School District 27’s Community Education Council (the successor to the pre-Bloomberg local school boards) have initiated a series of meetings aimed to attract parents from every Rockaway school where they get an opportunity to share issues of concern regarding their schools.

The joint committees will follow up with politicians and Department of Education officials as an advocate for the schools. One common theme that emerged is the school safety issue around the schools -- from broken sidewalks to unsafe traffic patterns. Some schools don’t have an after school program. Another has seen a major spike in children from Central America with little or no English in the home yet have not received the services needed to address this issue. Another issue that emerged was the question of how many homeless children from shelters attend Rockaway schools, as these children often need a high degree of services and schools with high numbers are under resourced. While the numbers of shelter children are not high, it was pointed out that there are a high number recently of shelter students who have moved into housing in Rockaway, a sign that schools with these children may need some extra support in assisting with the transition.

CB14, whose members are appointed by elected officials, addresses a wide variety of concerns related to Rockaway and education is often left on the margins. The activation of the education sub-committee in reaching out to CEC 27 should bring more focus on the schools.

On SLTs: UFT/Unity Back Farina Over Rank and File and Leonie

UFT bear in hibernation on SLTs
Theoretically, School Leadership Teams had the potential to curb the power of principals. In reality, SLTs enhance their power and the UFT in its zeal to back the Farina admin, after supporting a parent lawsuit under BloomKlein, have gone dormant on the issue.

In a recent post I asked: Why Does DOE Fight Open Meetings? What is Farina Hiding?

Also see Leonie Haimson's blog:

A busy day: Protesting billionaires pushing charter schools & then winning our lawsuit vs the DOE on School Leadership Team meetings

Michael Fiorillo had the answer:
The DOE fought this because it doesn't want the public to see that SLT meetings are a sham, a way for the Principal to work her/his will on the school, with the ostensible (but largely meaningless) participation of parents, students and teachers.
And James Eterno ties the UFT eternal support for whatever Carmen wants Carmen gets:
The UFT, in its recent "We don't publicly take on de Blasio-Farina-CSA" incarnation, did not join the parents in the 2014 lawsuit. However, the Union should now use its resources to teach parents and teachers on SLT's how to use their authority as part of the governance structure of schools.
Good luck with that.

James continued:
As for the city-DOE, they can appeal again but their chances of prevailing cannot be that great now that five judges have ruled against them. We'll let Leonie have the last word:

"The law is crystal clear that School Leadership Teams are public bodies, with an important governmental role to play. Parents and the public have a crucial stake in SLT decisions, when it comes to class size, the use of technology, or any other school-based policies. Both the Supreme Court and now the Appellate Court have ruled that these meetings must be open to the community at large. Any attmpt by the DOE or principals to ignore this decision, subvert it or appeal it to a higher court would be unwise, would further delay the public interest and would waste precious taxpayer funds that are far better used in improving our schools," concluded Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.
I'm waiting for the day when Leonie has had enough of the UFT bullshit and slams them publicly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Randi, the Fairest (Labor leader) of them all --WikiLeaks on Hillary Campaign and Randi

“This might annoy Trumka and Lily,” Budzinski wrote. “But honestly, Randi’s early endorsement deserves a lot of credit.” A staffer responded, “We will really upset folks if this feels contrived as part of a big plan that is taking on Trumka.” 

What The Clinton Campaign Talks About When It Talks About Labor: Emails show what the left can expect from a Clinton presidency....  Based on the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks so far, here’s a breakdown of the informal pecking order, from the bottom of the pile — those organizing hourly workers at Walmart and fast-food chains — to the top, where major union presidents get plenty of time at the candidate’s ear.... Buzzfeed on wikileaks report

The coziness between Weingarten and the Clinton camp even led to worries over the appearance of favoring her over other labor heavyweights, like the leaders of the AFL-CIO union federation and National Education Association, another teachers’ union.
In July 2015, Budzinski exchanged emails with the campaign on the optics of having Weingarten introduce Clinton at an upcoming labor reception, worrying that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García might feel upstaged.
“This might annoy Trumka and Lily,” Budzinski wrote. “But honestly, Randi’s early endorsement deserves a lot of credit.” A staffer responded, “We will really upset folks if this feels contrived as part of a big plan that is taking on Trumka.”
Podesta concurred: “I think this is actually a problem. More natural if she takes a couple questions and Randi is recognized in that setting. If we want to avoid that, ie questions, I think best to just to recognize her. Otherwise, very hard not to piss people off.”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook agreed, writing, “it’s going to create tension if Randi gets special attention.” Ultimately, Weingarten did not end up introducing Clinton, who instead gave the union chief a shout-out in her speech.
Tuesday, Weingarten told BuzzFeed News, “You see the kind of bumping and grinding in these emails that you would normally see in a race.”
“Frankly, people were really really spirited,” she said. “Both the Hillary and Bernie supporters. And I’m really grateful that most of us have come together, including Bernie. We were very proud of what we did in July, we’re really proud of Hillary, and we’re proud of what’s going on now.”

Mike keeps the goodies coming.

Why Does DOE Fight Open Meetings? What is Farina Hiding?

Holy charter school-like secrecy!

Leonie Haimson and others have led the fight to open up school leadership team meetings to public scrutiny. Yet despite losing in court - twice- the de Blasio and Farina admin continues to fight the open meeting law. Why? What could possibly be discussed as SLT meetings that would be of concern?

Leonie proclaims: Victory at last! NY Appellate Court Affirms School Leadership Team Meetings are Open to the Public 

Some people say that the DOE under deB and Farina is little changed from the way it operated under Bloomberg. Our UFT leaders may beg to differ since they think Farina and deB are just hunky dory.

More details at Leonie's blog.

Jeff Bryant: What New Challenges To The Charter School Industry Reveal

“Not only have charters consistently overpromised on the academic deliverables, but they have also introduced a business model into a noncommercial public arena that encourages nepotism, self-dealing, and self-enrichment based on diverting taxpayer funds and government-backed revenues,” the report concludes. “Americans are beginning to catch on,” the report suggests. So should the charter school industry.... Who controls our schools?
Take a look at this pdf and read an excerpt below by Jeff Bryant.

What New Challenges To The Charter School Industry Reveal

Marking a 25th anniversary, charter schools and the industry that’s become synonymous with these schools expected big things in 2016, with the help of continued growth and funding, recent legislation lifting regulations and opening up new markets, and a mostly favorable regard for these schools among the public.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Making America Great Again – For White Supremacists: Norm in The Wave

I've been reading too much right wing crap in the Wave, our local
Rockaway paper,  that doesn't get responded to. People are pushing local Republican candidates who must be held accountable for the fundamental beliefs of the party they are representing. No worries, Democrats also have to be held accountable for abandoning unions and the working class. Maybe this week's edition.

Published in The Wave, October 21, 2016
School Scope
By Norm Scott
I’ve always been bothered by the fact that there was never a mainstream presidential candidate that neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, racist, misogynists could feel comfortable supporting. Now, with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, finally, our long national nightmare is over.

Now this is not to say that the majority of the 40 percent of the American public that still supports Trump are any of these things, but if I were a Trump supporter I would certainly think about what attracts people who wear white sheets and hoods when they go out to dinner to the candidate they support.

Since the Trump kitty-cat tape was released we have seen some Republican leaders abandoning Trump. I find that funny, given all the other negatives attached to Trump. I mean what’s grabbing a crotch or two - or 10 when you put everything in context? They bring up the past. Didn’t Bill Clinton do a lot of grabbing? They tied up the entire country for a year over impeachment over the blue dress. And they bring up all those Clinton women and how Hillary attacked their credibility. But when women come out of the woodwork Republicans tell us how they are either not credible or “why bring up the past” when they feel perfectly comfortable bringing up 30 years of the Clintons’ past with every single conspiracy “believable.” Hillary murdered people you know. And ate babies. And probably assassinated JFK when she was in high school.

When Hillary’s 30,000 email deletions are brought up we often bring up the millions of emails the Bush administration deleted to cover their war crimes. My Republican friends reply, “Why do you always bring up Bush” who drove this country into the biggest depression since the ‘30s with lies about weapons of mass destruction. Republican “values.”

You see, this is not just about the values, or lack thereof that Trump brings to the table but the general view of people who decide to attach themselves to the Republican Party, which is as far from Abraham Lincoln as we can get. Trump said he would like a Supreme Court judge like the late Antonin Scalia, known as someone who adhered to the original constitution. Remember Hillary’s somewhat dubious claim at the debate that she was referring to Lincoln’s public and private actions in getting the 13th amendment banning slavery enacted? Prior to that the constitution so revered by Scalia counted every black slave as 3/5 of a person for purposes of taxes and representation. Our white supremacist Trump supporters must be hoping for a return to the good old days when America was great and we had a fugitive slave act. The Republican dominated Supreme Court has already weakened the voting rights amendment until a right wing Republican court takes them away.

Republicans generally value the life of an unborn fetus - until the day it is born and then it’s “go screw yourself” especially if you are poor or Black. Read some of the letters in The Wave or other right wing articles. Let’s go back to the good old days where women used coat hangers to abort a fetus. "The poor live off us while the corporate welfare and enormous costs of defense and corporate welfare are good uses of our money." Republican “values.”

Republicans don’t like big government – or any government, especially when it comes to helping the poor. Unless they need the government to bail them out. Let’s get government out of our lives – unless it means taking away a woman’s right to choose or stopping gay marriage. Remember the good old days not all that long ago where it was illegal in many states for a black and white person to get married. Make America great again.

I have a relative who says we have to cut government, clearly thinking of that welfare queen with three kids living high off the land in the projects. When I point out that he works for a defense department major contractor that is almost solely funded by the government he goes silent. Republican “values.”

Republicans like war but not taxes that might pay for the wars they like – or even for keeping the trains running or bridges from falling down. Super Trump supporter, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a paragon of Republicanism, a Mussolini wannabee, couldn’t keep the Jersey trains running on time. Starve the NJ transportation system while keeping the NJ gas tax 30 cents lower than the rest of the nation so he could say he didn’t raise taxes. It took a woman dying in the recent Hoboken train accident to shake this guy loose and pass a gas tax.

Republicans think global warming is a hoax. Gurgle, gurgle as sea levels rise and we set new heat index records every year. Republican “values.”

Trump humps coal, the dirtiest fuel that polluted so many cities for a century and killed thousands of miners with black lung disease. Hey, let every Republican Trump supporter replace the burner in their basements with a coal burning one as a way of showing support for the coal industry.

Trumpism seeps into the pores of American society. According to, The Southern Poverty Law Center released a survey of 2,000 K–12 teachers. More than half of them responded “yes” when asked whether they had heard “an increase in uncivil political discourse at [their] school since the 2016 presidential campaign began.” Two-thirds of the surveyed teachers agreed with the statement, “My students have expressed concern about what might happen to them or their families after the election.” One-third observed an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment…

As a Bernie Sanders Social Democrat (SD) I am not a big fan of the other party or of their presidential candidate. (By the way, an SD like Bernie is not a communist but a believer in multi-party highly regulated capitalist system with a high degree of government services like the opportunity for free college tuition, which I and my generation enjoyed at Brooklyn College in the ‘60s. But most of us were white.) I was going to vote third party, then moved to “hold my nose and vote for Hillary” and increasingly pro- Hillary as I watch Trumpism and Republican “values” in action. With all her faults, Trump and Republicans are making a candidate with massive faults look like Joan of Arc.

They say all politics is local. I wonder where our Rockaway Republicans stand on Trump and all the related issues to Republican “values.” If you see one of them around ask them.  

Norm blogs about politics and education and whatever weird thoughts come into his head at

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Veteran Newark Teacher's Descent into "The Tyranny of Sight Words"

My sight words for the upcoming week are "is, this, no" for my kindergarten ESL unit on transportation... Abigail Shure, Newark teacher 
There is no need to create works of fiction related to the particular hell so many teachers are subjected to in the world of Aggressive Monitoring by clueless supervisors. It seems the more experience a teacher has the more aggressive the monitoring, inversely related to the amount of actual teaching experience the monitor has.

You see, these supervisors really don't need to interact with children, since they see teachers as children, the more experienced these teachers are, the more they are treated as infants.

Our Newark teacher correspondent comes up with yet another tour de force.
The Tyranny of Sight Words

On Friday, I met with my vice principal for the umpteenth critique of my lesson plans. The slow learner child buried deep inside of me can never seem to get it right. The focus of the latest iteration of lesson plan torture is sight words. 

I can hear you all saying, "What? Really? She doesn't know what sight words are? How long has she been teaching?" 

You may breathe a collective sigh of relief. I do know what sight words are. I merely did not understand their centrality in the nightmare of lesson planning. I am now cognizant of the fact that sight words must last for the duration of one week and the presence of those particular sight words is required in all intentional read alouds for that particular week. My sight words for the upcoming week are "is, this, no" for my kindergarten ESL unit on transportation. The words were conveniently gleaned from the confluence of the book Is This the Bus for Us? and the list of 114 sight words. 

A problem emerged, however, when I naively attempted to add Iggy Iguana's Trip to the reading list. I favor Iggy's trip because he flew in an airplane. Unfortunately for my charges and me, "is, this, no" make no appearance in this sacred text and the book has been relegated to the maybe read later pile. Due to my ineptitude in locating enough books with the week's sight words, I am scheduling the hideous practice of repeating a read aloud of Is This the Bus for Us? albeit with a new focus of instruction. I managed to squeeze in Curious George because that classic contained "is, this, no" and George traveled by car, row boat, ship and balloons.

As part of my district's wise initiative of Aggressive Monitoring, I am expected to assess my children three times each net forty minute period. It was suggested by my administrator that I vary the assessments to include word writing, arranging magnetic letters, labeling and circling the correct word type activities. I spent five and a half hours yesterday devising two weeks worth of sight word central lesson plans for my kindergarten and first grade charges. Did I mention that I already have 49 students? I live in terror that my top favorite books will not be replete with the appropriate weekly vocabulary as I enter the realm of the Tyranny of Sight Words.

Abigail Shure
Next week's sight words for Abbie's principal of vice: are, you, an, asshole.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Education Notes: Art & Design HS Staff in Revolt, Unity Tables Reso on Abusive Principals, Schirtzer on Ex Bd Experience and more

The October 2016 edition of Ed Notes, downloadable for any readers wanting to share with colleagues, was distributed at the Delegate Assembly on Weds and they were going like hot cakes.

The most pressing issue to me is the situation with bully principals. People have been coming to me for advice. The striking thing is that many of these vet UFT members who have often dealt with principals are shocked when they get one who had an agenda of wiping out the staff in a coordinated assault. They have been totally unprepared by the UFT to respond. The union doesn't look at this as a conspiracy and views each school and individual action on teachers by themselves. Last month I featured a school where this has happened with a 90% staff turnover in 2 years without a peep from the UFT. You can download the Sept. issue here.

I believe if there was a coordinated response and the UFT leadership made it clear to Farina and the CSA that they were in for a war at every school where the principal engages in these actions, much of it would stop or be curtailed. In the meantime entire careers are being destroyed, often senior teachers or untenured, and chapter leaders. 

This is the situation going on at Art and Design HS - a CTE school in Manhattan where the new principal who came in in January caused 16 people to leave the school by June. That is the focus of this edition of Ed Notes.

People seemed more receptive than when I hand out MORE lit. Interesting. I think that some people don't want to read something clearly labeled as opposition lit. I also brought back the jokes which used to be so popular. Thanks to the delegate who I didn't know who told me she was a regular reader of this blog.

I decided to republish Education Notes a couple of times this year at the UFT Delegate Assembly after a decade of absence. Why? I feel there needs to be a targeted newsletter addressing certain issues in greater depth than is done in MORE lit, which in going through a vetting process of a committee loses some style and substance. The current MORE newsletter is basically devoid of information, with a full-page ad about the upcoming social justice curriculum fair next week. With so many issues on the minds of UFT members, I felt using 50% of the ability to communicate with people for the ad was a bad decision and left the newsletter scanty (there could have been a quarter page or even a separate flyer for the conference). One MORE member on the way in offered to help me hand out Ed Notes. When I suggested handing out the MORE newsletter, the response was "It doesn't say anything."

I too felt it was just not something I felt like spending time handing out. If I am going to schlep in to the DA I want to hand out something that says something to the delegates or else it isn't worth going. I want the freedom to be critical of MORE, if necessary. At my age I'm too ornery with a libertarian tendency to get locked in to "caucus think" - loyalty to a caucus over everything which is an unofficial loyalty oath.

You can view or download the October 2016 edition here:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

While NYC Charter Teachers are Forced to Rally Today, Chicago Charter School Teachers Threaten to Strike

Chicago has been a hotbed for charter organizing. The Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS), an affiliate of the AFT that launched in 2009, now represents 32 charter schools, about one-fifth of the city’s total.
How many charters has the UFT organized here in NYC?

Today NYC charter school teachers are going to rally for doubling the number of charter school students to 200,000, thus disenfranchising and disenunionizing another batch of teachers.

Some of them will be there willingly and many will not but are forced to attend. Charters close their schools on Wed. afternoons so they will be on the job. But the rally, backed by astroturf groups will be sold as genuine. If the press were legit it would ask these teachers if they would want to be unionized - and watch their faces as they respond or refuse to.

I would go over there but nearby will be the UFT Delegate Assembly, where instead of listening to Mulgrew bloviate for an hour, the entire place should go over to the charter teacher rally and show them what union unity is all about instead of the every man and woman for themselves.

In the meantime, in Chicago, where the union has done a much better job of organizing charters than the UFT, teachers at a 14 school charter chain are threatening to go on strike.

If charters ever get massively unionized, watch the ed deformers cool on the charter alternative and shift to something else that will not include unions.

Here is a piece from In These Times.

In a Nightmare for Neoliberal Ed Reformers, Chicago Charter School Teachers May Strike This Week

When the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) struck in 2012, then-CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) Juan Rangel took the opportunity to sing the praises of the city’s charter schools, which remained open as CTU members walked the picket lines.

"I think parents are going to be frustrated when they see 50,000 kids (charter students) having an education, going to school without interruption and their kids” are not, Rangel told the Chicago Tribune.

Four years later, the tables have turned. An eleventh-hour agreement between the CTU and the school district headed off a second strike in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) last week. But there’s another teacher walkout still brewing—this time, at the UNO Charter School Network (UCSN), a group of 15 publicly-funded, privately-managed schools established by Rangel’s organization, from which he resigned in 2013. For the past seven months, UCSN teachers have been in a tough contract fight with management. If no agreement is reached this week, teachers plan to strike starting this Wednesday.

A walkout by charter teachers would not be totally unprecedented. Former American Federation of Teachers (AFT) organizer Shaun Richman notes in Jacobin that teachers at a Philadelphia charter school engaged in a “sick-out” during contract negotiations in 2011. But disruptive labor actions are a rare sight in the traditionally union-free charter industry, and UCSN teachers’ overwhelming vote this month to authorize a network-wide strike breaks new ground.

As education reformers have aggressively pushed the nationwide expansion of charter schools in recent years, teachers unions have fought back on two fronts. In addition to opposing continued charter growth, they have poured resources into unionizing existing charters in order to thwart what many believed was the central rationale of charter schools: chipping away at unions and driving down wages and working conditions in the industry.
“The city thought they were going to use charters to break the unions,” says Erica Stewart, a 5th-grade teacher at UNO’s Sandra Cisneros elementary school. “It didn’t work.” Stewart, who has taught within UCSN for six years after being laid off by CPS, helped bring a union into the network in 2013 and now serves on the bargaining committee. 

Chicago has been a hotbed for charter organizing. The Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS), an affiliate of the AFT that launched in 2009, now represents 32 charter schools, about one-fifth of the city’s total. Chicago ACTS’s numbers and leverage got a major boost when UCSN’s campuses voted to unionize in 2013. Though Chicago ACTS isn’t part of the CTU—under state law, charter and public school teachers can’t be part of the same unit or collectively bargain together—the two groups have a “service agreement” through which the latter provides bargaining and grievance representation for unionized charter teachers.

This fall, charter and non-charter teachers have also rallied support for each other’s contract fights. In preparation for a possible strike, dozens of UCSN teachers, parents and supporters from the CTU and other unions picketed in front of the charter network’s swanky downtown headquarters last week. The building’s $250,000-a-year rent is a sore point for the union, United Educators at UNO (UEU), which says it suggested relocating to a less expensive space and reducing administrative staff as alternatives to classroom cuts this year. In August, UCSN laid off dozens of teachers and support staff, citing budget constraints

“I want to point out these beautiful offices,” said Stewart. “The money being spent on offices and administrators needs to trickle down to education for our kids.” UCSN schools serve about 8,000 students, who are predominantly low-income and Latino. The union represents 532 teachers and support staff.

Among those laid off were Jorge Cisneros, who taught technology classes at the network’s Esmeralda Santiago campus. He picketed along with his daughter, Marisa, who is in 6th grade at the Daniel Zizumbo campus in Archer Heights. Cisneros has since found another position teaching 1st-grade at a different UCSN school, but he worries that the elimination of technology teachers network-wide will impact students’ education. Indeed, says Marisa, many students in her school have struggled to learn basic typing this year, even though they will soon have to take standardized tests that are administered on the computer.

While the schools pride themselves on making technology available to every student, Cisneros notes, “If there are no technology teachers, what good is it?”

The layoffs also removed graduate support advisors, who help guide prospective UCSN students through the complicated selective enrollment process and aid graduates in applying for college. The union is demanding that the layoffs be reversed, and is resisting attempts by UCSN to remove a cap on class sizes and to shift additional pension and healthcare costs onto teachers—issues that also surfaced during the CTU’s contract battle.
In a statement released following last week’s protest at its headquarters, UNSC management said the network’s finances necessitated these cutbacks. “Unlike CPS, UCSN does not have access to TIF (tax increment financing) funds for additional revenue, so any agreement we reach has to be cognizant of our financial constraints.”

Among them is the financial fallout from a messy divorce with the scandal-plagued UNO, the Latino community group that was founded more than a decade before it began establishing charters in 1998. Until last year, UNO directly managed the schools and the bulk of the $80 million allocated annually to UNSC by CPS. But the two entities cut ties following a series of revelations about UNO’s misuse of public funding, including a $98 million state grant to build schools that the organization channeled, in part, to companies led by political allies. After years of dizzying success in promoting the charter-school model, this saga resulted in Rangel’s forced departure as CEO, as well as eventual fraud charges that he paid $10,000 to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission this year.

Also this year, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos revealed that UNO officials, including Rangel, had spent public money on lavish meals and travel. In a September letter to teachers and staff, the UCSN board said that it would operate as a “lean organization” going forward, but that as part of the split with UNO, the schools had incurred more than $1 million in legal fees and transition costs, in addition to $7.8 million paid to UNO for the final year of its management contract. System-wide budget cuts this year also resulted in a $5.7 million reduction in CPS funding, according to the board.

Meanwhile, the union suspects that the network is “broke on purpose.”  UEU says it is still waiting for the full picture to emerge, and that UCSN has not yet produced relevant financial information. In the meantime, bargaining will continue down to the wire on Tuesday night.

“The ball is in management’s court,” says Stewart, the 5th-grade teacher. “Either they’re going to get serious about supporting the employees they claim to value and the students whose educations are in their hands, or they’re going to force us to strike to protect the quality of education in our classrooms.”


Monday, October 17, 2016

Ivana Trump Divorce Deposition Chronicles Trump Rape But $14 Million Bought Her Silence

For his 1993 book, “The Lost Tycoon,” Harry Hurt III acquired Ivana’s divorce deposition, in which she stated that Trump raped her.

The part of the book that caused the most controversy concerns Trump’s divorce from his first wife, Ivana. Hurt obtained a copy of her sworn divorce deposition, from 1990, in which she stated that, the previous year, her husband had raped her in a fit of rage. In Hurt’s account, Trump was furious that a “scalp reduction” operation he’d undergone to eliminate a bald spot had been unexpectedly painful. Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon. In retaliation, Hurt wrote, Trump yanked out a handful of his wife’s hair, and then forced himself on her sexually. Afterward, according to the book, she spent the night locked in a bedroom, crying; in the morning, Trump asked her, “with menacing casualness, ‘Does it hurt?’” Trump has denied both the rape allegation and the suggestion that he had a scalp-reduction procedure. Hurt said that the incident, which is detailed in Ivana’s deposition, was confirmed by two of her friends.
Full story at The New Yorker:

Matt Taibbi: The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump

Maybe we've reached the point where Trump opens the debate by going for Hillary's crotch. Or maybe she does a reversal and goes for Trump's crotch. Matt Taibbi doesn't go that far - but the illustration from Rolling Stone leads my twisted mind to come up with this one. Taibbi's point about looking at Hillary as a way to preserve the status quo as the alternative to lunacy has been operating on even major critics of Hillary, as evidenced by this meme we picked up on our trip to the finger lakes.

Great piece by Taibbi in Rolling Stone.

A few excerpts:
Trump's shocking rise and spectacular fall have been a singular disaster for U.S. politics. Built up in the press as the American Hitler, he was unmasked in the end as a pathetic little prankster who ruined himself, his family and half of America's two-party political system for what was probably a half-assed ego trip all along, adventure tourism for the idiot rich.

That such a small man would have such an awesome impact on our nation's history is terrible, but it makes sense if you believe in the essential ridiculousness of the human experience. Trump picked exactly the wrong time to launch his mirror-gazing rampage to nowhere. He ran at a time when Americans on both sides of the aisle were experiencing a deep sense of betrayal by the political class, anger that was finally ready to express itself at the ballot box.

The only thing that could get in the way of real change – if not now, then surely very soon – was a rebellion so maladroit, ill-conceived and irresponsible that even the severest critics of the system would become zealots for the status quo.

Lie No. 1 is that there are only two political ideas in the world, Republican and Democrat. Lie No. 2 is that the parties are violent ideological opposites, and that during campaign season we can only speak about the areas where they differ (abortion, guns, etc.) and never the areas where there's typically consensus (defense spending, surveillance, torture, trade, and so on). Lie No. 3, a corollary to No. 2, is that all problems are the fault of one party or the other, and never both. Assuming you watch the right channels, everything is always someone else's fault. Lie No. 4, the reason America in campaign seasons looks like a place where everyone has great teeth and $1,000 haircuts, is that elections are about political personalities, not voters.

The only thing that could get in the way of real change – if not now, then surely very soon – was a rebellion so maladroit, ill-conceived and irresponsible that even the severest critics of the system would become zealots for the status quo.

In the absolute best-case scenario, the one in which he loses, this is what Trump's run accomplished. He ran as an outsider antidote to a corrupt two-party system, and instead will leave that system more entrenched than ever. If he goes on to lose, he will be our Bonaparte, the monster who will continue to terrify us even in exile, reinforcing the authority of kings.
 Read it all:

Billy Shakespeare Message to Randi - Ed Notes Redux, October 2001

Billy S - needs certification in English
In 2001 when Randi was moving towards supporting merit pay - which she called "school based incentives", one of the essential planks of ed deform, I tried to get a resolution up at the DA calling for the UFT to refuse to support merit pay in any form. Up to this point Randi had called on me regularly but this time month after month she shut me out. She clearly didn't want this reso to come up. I would say that a veil lifted as I saw her constant manipulation in a new light.
Burying merit pay

Those were my creative days (I have no capacity to do this kind of thing now). I wrote this as the Marc Antony Caesar funeral oration was an apt way to express my thoughts where a discussion of merit pay- er -school based incentives - substituted for the dead Caesar. Reprinted from Ed Notes, Oct. 2001.
The following was written by Billy Shakespeare., a native of Stratford-0n-Avon, England, who is currently teaching chemistry at a high school in Brooklyn. Billy is uncertified, as he has not yet been able to pass the NY State certification exams in English, his specialty. 

Delegates, Teachers, Fellow Unionists
Lend me your ears!
I come to praise Randi, not to bury her.
The evil that union leaders do lives after them;
The good is oft interred within their speeches.
Come I to speak at the funeral of the merit pay---er---school-based incentives--- discussion.
The noble Randi hath told you that opponents of merit pay--er--- school-based incentives--- were ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath we answer'd it.
Randi is an honorable union leader. They all are honorable union leaders. 

We dreamed of discussing this issue in Dec. ought ought.
Randi says that was ambitious and Randi is an honorable union leader.
An attempt was made to bring the issue up in January but Randi hath decided we were in a dearth of time and cancelled such opportunity.
You didst all see that in Mar, April & May thrice were attempts made to discuss merit pay--er----school-based incentives-- And thrice wust we refused.
Did this seem ambitious? Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
In March prepareth were we all to speak on merit pay--er---school- based incentives.
Yet, you all did see that on the dais were comptroller candidates Billy T. and Herbie B who doth speaketh for 30 minutes
And we runneth out of time as the bell tolled for automatic ad- journment at 6.
Randi said extending the time was ambitious and Randi is an honorable union leader. 

Thus cometh April and expecteth us to see the merit pay---er---- school-based incentives--- discussion reach fruition.
And saw the honorable Tom Pappas put on a fabulous festival of fashion shows of arm bands and tee shirts

Whilst the merit pay--er--school-based incentives---- discussion issue fell like sands of time.
And we raiseth a question about these wasting sands and were quickly chastised by the wise Randi.

Were we ambitious? Randi says we were and Randi is an honorable union leader.
I speak not to disprove what Randi spoke
But I am here to speak what I do know.
That the April merit pay discussion began at 6:15 to the sounds of stomachs growling and Unity Caucus revelrers departing for the
palace of the Hilton to celebrate their great and noble victory over the Goths of Shulman.*
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for the death of the merit pay---er---school-based incentives--- discussion? O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And Unity caucus men and women have lost their reason. Bear with me; 

Doth came May:
Avi of Lewis placed the battle of District 23 in proper context: That booty doth seem fairly inconsequential Unless shall be granted across the board increases
By the mean God Giuliani.
Yet we watched the minuscule 15 minutes of discussion time trickle away
Oh! What will come of such discussion, which lacked depth and magnitude
As was left many speakers deserted at the alter?
I fear I wrong the honourable union leaders
Whose daggers have stabb'd the merit pay---er--school- based incentives discussion; I do fear it. 

Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you. 

I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts: I am no orator, as Randi is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man, For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech, To stir men's blood; I only speak right on;

I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet merit pay---er--school-based incentives discussion’s wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me.
But were I Randi, And Randi I, there wouldst ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of the merit pay---er--school-based incentives discussion that should move
The stones of the UFT to rise and mutiny. 

O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Randi wrong, and Tom wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable union leaders:
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose to wrong the dead merit pay-- er----school-based incentives--discussion, to wrong myself and you than I will wrong such honourable union leaders.
My heart is in the coffin
With the merit pay--er---school-based incentives--- discussion. 

*The 2001 UFT election victory over New Action had been completed by April and Unity was heading to the Hilton for a celebration ("The Goths of Shulman"). 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Panic in the Charter Lobby: Families for Excellent Schools (FES) Attack Public School High Scoresl Test Gains, Ignore Charter Phony Gains

Kittredge and FES will soon be calling for a ban on immigrants who might raise test scores in public schools.
Several charters had notable jumps but Families for Excellent Schools didn’t target them. They include Imagine Me Leadership Charter School in East New York, where 71% passed in math in spring, up from 41% the year before.... WSJ, Some Brooklyn Test Scores Jump, Sparking Call for State Investigation
Pro-charter group sees big gains as ‘suspiciously high’
Following on their loss at the NAACP (NAACP Sends a BIG FU to Charter Lobby), the charter lobby is increasingly in a state of panic.

Oooh, the poor boobies at the slimebag astroturf  FES led by the ultimate piece of shit, Jeremiah Kittredge, are scared that high test scores from public schools in neighborhoods with clusters of charters are becoming a threat to them.

As public schools begin to rise in test scores they present an inherent threat to the pro-charter narrative. So now FES is asking for schools with jumps in test scores to be investigated.

How funny considering charters mark their own tests, toss low-scoring kids back into public schools and in their closed environment can cheat like hell. A charter school teacher caught cheating probably gets an award. At most they will get rid of a teacher but cover it up. A public school teacher caught cheating not only can lose their job but go to jail - see Atlanta.

Some public schools threatened by charters have figured out ways to attract some of the parents who might go charter.

PS 147K, my former schools, is listed by FES. I had to laugh. I was in the school stuffing mailboxes during the UFT election on one of the testing days and the principal not only gave me a tour of the building to show me all the new stuff they had - hydroponics lab, state of the art library, a hot stuff computer lab - and then invited me into her office for a long chat about education policy. I remember my old principal in the 80s-90s being neurotic on test days and poring over the test papers to make sure everything was OK. No signs of that at all.

She took me in to see the Japanese dual language program which, as the only school in the city, has attracted Japanese parents. I'll leave it to readers to figure out if that has had an impact on test scores. And as we know that if you get a critical mass of kids who can function academically it raises all boats.

Kittredge and FES will soon be calling for a ban on immigrants who might raise test scores in public schools.

Yes Kittredge, let's open up Eva's schools for total scrutiny and watch you guys squawk. 

In some cases the opt-out movement might be having an effect. The assumption has been that the better scoring kids opt out - and in many areas that is true. But some of the low-scoring kids who have enormous struggles with the tests might also be opting out to avoid the trauma of tests that are so clearly unsuited for them. 

Lisa Rudley commented on the CTS listserve:
No surprise the charter schools are upset that they can't take over more schools to line their pockets and disrupt local communities. To call for full transparency is an insult when charters are the most secretive, non-transparency entities themselves with laws that protect them to be so.

The WSJ clearly is clearly not being balanced as charter school scores 'supposedly' went up even more.  Should they be investigated? In the end, these scores are not even comparable! 

Lastly, there were several charter schools across the state that had students opting out and did not meet the 95% threshold. .. Lisa Rudley, NYSAPE
Here is the WSJ article in full.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

NAACP Sends a BIG FU to Charter Lobby

The charter lobby has been going wild, spending lavishly and running PR campaigns to try to stop the NAACP Exec Board from opposing charter expansion. They failed. After lobbying the
NAACP unsuccessfully, they will now turn to attacking the NAACP as being irrelevant.

Black Lives Matter has also called for a moratorium on charters.

The woim is toining. More signs tomorrow.

From Ravitch:
The national board of the NAACP endorsed the resolution passed by its 2016 annual convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion!
October 15, 2016
CINCINNATI – Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors ratified a resolution Saturday adopted by delegates at its 2016 107th National Convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice.

“The NAACP has been in the forefront of the struggle for and a staunch advocate of free, high-quality, fully and equitably-funded public education for all children,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”

The National Board’s decision to ratify this resolution reaffirms prior resolutions regarding charter schools and the importance of public education, and is one of 47 resolutions adopted today by the Board of Directors. The National Board’s decision to ratify supports its 2014 Resolution, ‘School Privatization Threat to Public Education’, in which the NAACP opposes privatization of public schools and public subsidizing or funding of for-profit or charter schools. Additionally, in 1998 the Association adopted a resolution which unequivocally opposed the establishment and granting of charter schools which are not subject to the same accountability and standardization of qualifications/certification of teachers as public schools and divert already-limited funds from public schools.
We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:

(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools

(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system
(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and
(4) Cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

Historically the NAACP has been in strong support of public education and has denounced movements toward privatization that divert public funds to support non-public school choices.

“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” Chairman Brock said. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”
While we have reservations about charter schools, we recognize that many children attend traditional public schools that are inadequately and inequitably equipped to prepare them for the innovative and competitive environment they will face as adults. Underfunded and under-supported, these traditional public schools have much work to do to transform curriculum, prepare teachers, and give students the resources they need to have thriving careers in a technologically advanced society that is changing every year. There is no time to wait. Our children immediately deserve the best education we can provide.

“Our ultimate goal is that all children receive a quality public education that prepares them to be a contributing and productive citizen,” said Adora Obi Nweze, Chair of the National NAACP Education Committee, President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP and a former educator whose committee guides educational policy for the Association.

“The NAACP’s resolution is not inspired by ideological opposition to charter schools but by our historical support of public schools – as well as today’s data and the present experience of NAACP branches in nearly every school district in the nation,” said Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP. “Our NAACP members, who as citizen advocates, not professional lobbyists, are those who attend school board meetings, engage with state legislatures and support both parents and teachers.”

“The vote taken by the NAACP is a declaratory statement by this Association that the proliferation of charter schools should be halted as we address the concerns raised in our resolution,” said Chairman Brock.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

The NJT disaster is a vision of this nation under Trump/ Should Chris Christie be charged with murder in NJ Transit Crash?

“It was an excellent railroad and running quite well until the last seven years, and it has been in constant decline,” said Martin E. Robins, a former deputy executive director of the agency. Under the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, the state subsidy for the agency has plunged by more than 90 percent... NY Times
From the first I heard that a woman died in that Hoboken crash my immediate thought was that Trump thug henchman Christie played the major role in the NJ Transit catastrophe - starting with his cancellation of the new tunnel under the Hudson when he took the money for his own political use -- mainly to keep the Jersey gas prices down so he could say he didn't raise taxes. Now the one over 100 year old tunnel is a disaster and the tunnel that Christie delayed for all these years still has to be built at a much higher cost - and we in NY have to help cover. I read somewhere a comment that the state took control of schools in Jersey so maybe the feds should take over the NJT.

Remember hurricane Sandy when the trains in NY were put on higher ground while the trains in Jersey were left to drown?

The NJT disaster is a vision of this nation under Trump.

It is no accident that Christie quickly tried to cover his tracks by finally agreeing to a big hike in the gas tax which was 30 cents below most of the rest of the nation for decades.

Yesterday, the NY Times did a major piece showing the neglect over the past 7 years of Christie admin - people who moved to Jersey who have to commute are rethinking their choice.
The railroad’s falling reputation, some fear, could push people out of the state and turn others off from living there.
My friend's daughter and her husband are thinking of moving from Brooklyn to Jersey, assuming a certain commute time since they both work in the city. I would rethink if I were them.

Poor Jersey transit clogs the entire northeast corridor. This is definitely worth reading despite its length.

New Jersey Transit, a
Cautionary Tale of Neglect

The swift decline of one of the nation’s busiest commuter
railroads is a story of failures and mismanagement, and
ominous for mass transit systems across the country.

In the 1990s, New Jersey Transit was riding high.
Its ridership was increasing, and its trains were new and running on time. It won a coveted award for outstanding public transportation three times. In the years ahead, faster routes to Manhattan and double-decker trains would put it at the forefront of the nation’s commuter railroads. Even as recently as 2007, it won a leadership award from New York University.
That all seems like a very long time ago.
Today, New Jersey Transit is in crisis. Its aging tracks and trains need billions of dollars in improvements. Delays and fares are rising along with ridership, with passenger cars packed to the breaking point. The century-old tunnel that carries its trains to New York is crumbling. And the agency has gone nearly a year without a permanent leader.

“It was an excellent railroad and running quite well until the last seven years, and it has been in constant decline,” said Martin E. Robins, a former deputy executive director of the agency.
Under the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, the state subsidy for the agency has plunged by more than 90 percent. Gaping holes in the agency’s past two budgets were filled by fare increases and service reductions or other cuts. Plans for a new tunnel under the Hudson River — one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country — were torpedoed by Mr. Christie, who pushed for some of the money to be diverted to road-building projects.

 Read more:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The UFT as a Management Corporation - Sean Ahern: UFT Incorporated

What difference does it make to UFT Inc if the corporate reformers figure two for one ain't bad?  What difference to UFT Inc if turnover in the teaching ranks increases and the median salary/seniority level is lowered?  It doesn't matter if a member makes 40 or 100 thousand per year, if they have 3 years seniority or 30,  UFT Inc collects the same amount  per capita!   The more the merrier!   The two newbies for one old timer approach of the corporate reformers means  more members,  means more dues!  More customers for the health plan (and they are younger and less costly)!   .... Sean Ahern
I met Sean Ahern in May 2003 when he sent me a snail mail letter after finding a copy of Ed Notes in his school mailbox. (How it got there I have no idea). We began to hang out and by September we were talking about a need for a new voice inside the UFT because the other 3 groups operating as caucuses weren't addressing a number of issues. We touched base with other allies and thus the Independent Community of Educators was born two months later. Over the years we have had our falling outs and coming back together, ultimately in MORE.

I don't always agree with all of Sean's points and don't agree with some of them in this post but they are usually very thoughtful. He recently posted this piece from 2007 -- with a whole load of predictions that came true --  to the MORE listserve and is worth checking out. He questions the concept of a traditional opposition caucus, something I and others have raised at times. In my visit with Julie Cavanagh the other day we touched on some of the issues related to MORE as a caucus. He argues for a flattening of the teacher salary schedule and predicts that senior teachers would come under attack due to their high costs.
I wrote this in 2007 when I was a member of the Independent Community of Educators.  Some things have changed but much more remains the same.  It may offer a new generation of MORE activists some food for thought.
Sean Ahern

President of SEIU Local 73: SEIU Officials Imposed an “Illegal” Trusteeship after I Supported Bernie Sanders

During SEIU’s trusteeship hearing, Boardman described how she blew the whistle on “corrupt and unethical behavior” by Local 73’s Secretary-Treasurer Matt Brandon after he cut a “backroom deal” with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that “sold out” Local 73’s members. .....
 I was removed from office was because I disagreed with the International leadership on a number of issues. The most recent was when they called me from Washington to assure themselves that I supported Hillary in the Primary which I did not. I supported Bernie Sanders. Both times they called I told them that I supported Bernie Sanders. They told me he would lose. This was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for them. For years I have disagreed with them on major issues of democracy within the union, organizing new members and servicing members which the International sees as in opposition to organizing new members.
She goes on to describe how SEIU officials in Washington DC “regularly criticized me for ‘taking too many cases to arbitration.’”... The International’s main focus is to extract as much dues money from the members which it promptly turns over to the DNC. This deprives locals of operating expenses, as well as funds to support local candidates who actually support unions.... Stern Burger With Fries
Sound familiar? Our AFT dues?

Hey, we know about the decline in unions. No one blames the lack of democracy from autocratic union leaders as a factor. They should. The underhanded threats against Bernie supporters in unions won't come back to bite them this time due to the Trump disaster, but I can see a primary campaign springing up against Hillary for the 2020 elections if she acts totally like we expect her to act. We in the UFT/NYSUT/AFT need to keep applying consistent pressure.

Randi: We will get the NNU and their little dog too...

I reported on the Randi response to the Clinton campaign re: the nurses union support for Bernie Weingarten to Clinton Campaign: we will go after NNU [nurses union] for endorsing Bernie and there high and mighty sanctimonious conduct...

Someone left this comment:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Talkin' About MORE: Hanging With Julie While Prepping for Fast

If this post suddenly trails off, you'll know it is due to weakness due to fasting. (I am dreaming of tonight's herring in cream sauce).

Tuesday, I spent a few hours with one of my favorite people, Julie Cavanagh, who is home recuperating from an operation. We rarely get together since she has such a busy life since Jack was born so I took advantage of her time off to get a much-needed dose of Julie rationality. I've been questioning my continuing commitment to UFT opposition politics and whether a continuing investment of time in trying to build MORE as a significant opposition caucus that can one day contend for power in the UFT is worth it, considering the realities. I put serious time and energy into the UFT 2016 elections and winning the high school seats was about the best outcome we could expect. Maybe that is enough for now. Maybe for the foreseeable future. I also have had issues with MORE itself over the years and still do but have tried to be a good soldier.

Talking to Julie is always illuminating and clarifying. We discussed some ideas for projects. The movie we initiated 2010-11 was one of our best experiences and how the movie had such an impact far beyond what we expected. She pointed to how well the process worked for the entire team. I would jump at a chance to do something with the same people. We all got together this summer for a soccer game and it was so much fun. There is nothing compelling on the table right now but maybe getting the gang together over some wine and beer will shake something loose. 

I do find myself less interested in going to meetings.  But then I also talked to James Eterno last night and we agree that union politics is in our DNA and hard to walk away from. My immediate project is occasionally putting out an issue of Education Notes at delegate assemblies with information I think people are interested in. Information that MORE doesn't address.

And then there are the other projects like the theater, robotics, gardening, traveling, some Rockaway based projects and exploring new areas of interest.