Thursday, November 9, 2017

Another View in The UFT - Our New DA Newsletter

  • If APPR Is So Great, Why Do People Want Out? By Arthur Goldstein, CL Francis Lewis HS,
  • What We Do at the UFT Executive Board By Mike Schirtzer, Delegate Leon Goldstein HS, UFT Ex Bd, MORE/UFT
  • High School Teacher Emily James Makes The Case For Paid Maternity Leave
  •   Unity Caucus/UFT Leaders vote down resolution to reduce the 4 observations the UFT agreed to down to the 2 in the rest of NY State
  •   Mulgrew To Delegate Assembly: These Are Best Of Times For NYC Public Schools By James Eterno, Delegate, MORE/UFT, ICE
  • Chalkbeat: Lack of Knowledge, Lack of Experience By Jonathan Halabi, CL School of American Studies, UFT Ex Bd, New Action/UFT
  • Tottenville HS Teachers Castigate Principal Scarmato; 

Email me for pdf if you want to share with your colleagues.

I like standing at the DA handing out something I consider relevant and something that over time people may want to read even if they disagree. I enjoy the interaction with people, some of whom I've known for decades. But I also like to hand out content I am comfortable with and also that I think is relevant. At times I go back to my own production of Ed Notes. But I've been looking to partner with people who can continue the project when I decide to hang up my spikes. Thus----

Arthur Goldstein, Mike Schirtzer, UFT Ex Bd members, James Eterno and I, all members of MORE, have begun a newsletter, "Another View in the UFT", aimed at attendees at the Delegate Assembly. The 5-700 people who attend DAs regularly are not the average UFT members. They have committed their time and energy to taking a more activist role in the union, whether they are in the ruling Unity Caucus, opposition groups or independents. Thus we all have something in common even when we disagree.

Most of the content will be abridged versions of the issues covered on our blogs but also some additional content. Newsletters will be timely and often last minute based on breaking news. Content will be aimed at  informing chapter leaders and delegates of issues that have come up at DAs and UFT Exec Bd meetings.

Over the past 20 years I have been at most DAs handing something out - Education Notes, ICE lit, GEM lit and less often MORE lit, which has been very spotty over the years despite the fact I have urged people in MORE to establish a regular publication at the DA. I have pretty much given up preaching that message. Unity puts out a piece of worthless trash each month and most months New Action has something to give out, which over the past two years has been getting better and better. The DA, no matter how lame it may be, is still the 10 times a year where people from the schools get to gather and even though probably 60-70% are Unity and a handful are opposition there are still a 100-150 independents. The Oct and Nov DA has no new motions, which was very frustrating to see. Many of use even when we were in ICE used the time to push into issues being neglected. The spotty presence of MORE as an organization and the MORE CLs and Del who don't bother attending DAs over the years has been a serious concern to the older ICE members and some of the newer activists.

In Ed Notes publications, I focused very often on the foibles of the union leadership. When MORE has lit to hand out I often do it but find it devoid of the analysis of the action of the leadership, which I believe an opposition party must take on if it is to be taken seriously. MORE wants to put forth more of a positive alternative. Some MORE's feel there is a need for a more critical piece of lit about the Unity Caucus control of the union. Thus this new limited edition newsletter --- if any readers want it for their school email me and I will send a pdf.

The problem with MORE Lit is often an unwillingness to take on the union leadership or even mention Unity Caucus. MORE often has bigger ideas it wants to emphasize and wants to avoid coming off as negative. Like take its "Save Our Union" campaign which a minority in MORE feel is better left to the leadership because it puts MORE in the ticklish position of trying to be an opposition and critic - in theory - while in essence urging people to back the Unity party in power. (Some MORE people did show up to hand out a Save Our Union leaflet yesterday.)

I have no qualms about going after the union leadership and am withholding a blanket "Stay in the Union" pending some signs from the leadership of democratization. I am in my 51st year of UFT membership (and will remain a member) and over decades have seen too much on how the ruling party operates. Some of the younger MOREs may need a few more decades of seeing how they operate before they get riled up like me.

Howie Schoor's response to my speech (see Arthur's report) at the EB meeting the other day where I called on the UFT leadership to be held accountable for he failures to challenge awful principals more aggressively and for the climate of fear in so many schools was that they are held accountable every three years in the UFT elections.

I was already off the mic  -- I wondered how many teachers at Port Richmond and Flushing and Tottenville HS feel that way --- just wait until post Janus.


  1. I just looked at the MORE steering committee minutes.
    These two parts struck me on how MORE is in its own world:
    -Implementing 6 priorities
    -gentrification/school closings
    -Parental leave
    -cl/dl elections
    -Save Our Union
    -Black Lives Matter Week of Action
    -Defending immigrant students

    Are they serious? Nothing on abusive administrators, next contract or teacher evaluations. More out of touch than Unity. May as well join Unity. Take those priorities to most schools and you will be laughed out of the place or ignored.

  2. Norm - Excellent newsletter. send me the pdf for my school. I will email you.


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