Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On MORE and the UFT Election

I've been involved on and off with MORE for a few years now. I didn't run with them in the last election, but I'm very happy to be doing so this time. MORE is not just Jia, or James Eterno, or Norm, or me, or anyone. It really is a working group of teachers with diverse backgrounds and beliefs, and it really is open.

I don't agree with everything MORE does, and everyone who shows up. But I've come to see that it doesn't matter. Small things keep us apart, but big things, like supporting our brothers and sisters in tumultuous times, are universal. We're all in this pressure cooker situation, with guns to our heads saying, "Be highly effective or else!" Michael Mulgrew says it's wonderful. Of course, he hasn't got teachers coming to him on a daily basis telling him how tortured they are. If you've signed a loyalty oath, and all you value are free trips to Schenectady and your after school gig at UFT HQ, you don't bother the President with such things.

No one in MORE has signed the oath. That's why we not only know what teachers are feeling, but are also free to talk about it. And in these times, we need people who will see and tell the truth. Without that, how are we going to fix our problems? Mulgrew thought is was wonderful when we added junk science to our evaluations, and boasted of helping to write the law that enabled it. He thought it was wonderful when we "won" the right to be evaluated by all 22 parts of Danielson, and also thought it was wonderful when we reduced it to 8. In fact, when junk science rises from 40 to 50%, when outside evaluators who know neither us, our schools nor our students, when stakes become even higher, Mulgrew thanks the legislators for having passed the law that enables it.

Michael Mulgrew is not a teacher, has not been one for years, and has never worked under Danielson. We have. We talk to everyone, and we don't live in the UFT Unity bubble. That's why we see, know and live what's happening. Unlike folks pursuing gigs and trips, we know we are all in this together, and that we all have to work together to improve it. And unlike Mulgrew, we invite you to come and participate. You don't have to sign an oath to do so.

The loyalty oath is a vestige of an old and dead system. It's the cement wall that blocks out and quells teacher voice. It's the flip phone that Michael Mulgrew uses so the present cannot intrude on his comfortable indifference to what working teachers experience every day. MORE is the future, and we invite you to join us as we work and fight together to improve it.

I'm proud to stand for change with MORE. It's time to stop reading the propaganda, stop being afraid and stand for what we know to be right. Opt-out is the wave of the future. We're all in the water while Michael Mulgrew is still stuck on a bench trying to tie his roller skates. We're running an opt-out leader for President and we are not afraid. We're tired of being afraid. We're tired of having a leader who wants to punch us in the face if we don't support his pet corporate reforms.

If you want to move into the future with us, you'll have to break down, get offline for a moment, and use a US mailbox. Fill out the ballot you've got or will get in the mail. Tear off the front page, check the MORE-New Action box, place it in the secret envelope, place it in the main envelope, and drop it in that big blue box.

When we win, we'll move the vote to your school because we want to encourage rather than discourage your participation. Meanwhile, get up, open the envelope, and VOTE.
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