Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Getting Out the Vote

Yesterday, as I walked into school, I met a colleague. She told me she had gotten her ballot and voted. Not only that, but she had voted for me. Of course I thanked her. Then I asked her why she hadn't waited to bring in her ballot on Thursday.

"Why would I do that?" she asked.

I told her I had organized a ballot collection at the school, and that we had ordered cookies baked by our resident baker/ librarian, and that they were the best in the world.

"Wait a minute," she said. "You have to bring in cookies to get adults to vote?"

 I told her a story about one of her colleagues, now retired. I was sitting in the teacher cafeteria with him about three years ago, and he was complaining about UFT leadership.

"Why don't you vote against them?" I asked.

"I will," he said.

A few days later, I asked him whether he voted. "Oh, I forgot," he said. "I left it on the refrigerator."

Then I told her that only 17% of working teachers bothered to vote in the last election.

"You're kidding," she said. "Well, if you don't vote, you shouldn't complain."

It's an uphill battle getting people to vote, no matter who you support. I've got two huge posters on our bulletin boards with the picture above. I've also emailed staff at least twice about this event. And yet my civic-minded colleague didn't know about it. That's not much of a problem, because she voted anyway. So I guess she isn't my target audience.

Everyone should vote. We are teachers, role models. I think if we want to set an example for our students, we have to make our voices heard. What's more fundamental than that?

Things like this are going on all over the city. UFT suggests a bagel for a ballot. Maybe you could buy pizza. Our school has one of the last functioning teacher cafes in the city, so we don't want to compete with it. That's why we're going with dessert. (Mayor Bloomberg, who had no interest whatsoever in teacher morale, decided if teacher cafes don't make a profit they needed to be closed. Doubtless he'd have done the same to kids if he could've gotten away with it.)

How do we raise consciousness in our union?
blog comments powered by Disqus