SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

MORE Misjudges It's Priorities Yet Again

It's June 20. The school year is about over. What's happening in the world of the NYCDOE?

We got family leave. I will write more about this tomorrow. ATRs are getting the rating sheets in. Some are not very happy. I had to counsel one very pissed off ATR the last few days. The Open Market is out but as we know it's a scam. Regularly assigned teachers are find out whether or not they are ineffective, developing, effective, or highly effective. Teachers are being denied tenure or having their probation extended. Teachers city wide are taking copious amounts of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. ATRs are concerned if the next contract will be their end. Teachers are facing abusive principals. Teachers see incompetent and crooked principals get away with everything. The list can go on and on and on and on.

But where there should have been leadership, a light to guide the rank and file by, to grab the bull buy the proverbial testicles has once again taken an opportunity to miss the opportunity.

MORE again stretches a triple into a single.

At tonight's Delegate Assembly MORE is bringing up a resolution (in which none of the above, nor anything that was not mentioned that would be 100% beneficial to the rank and file) matters one iota to putting food on a teacher's table, putting a teacher's children through college, or just having a teacher not dread going to school in the morning.

What is this resolution? It's all about the upcoming New York State gubernatorial election y in September. More so, in my opinion, it is more to get Howie Hawkins name out there.

Look, I think Andrew Cuomo is a complete putz. As for Cynthia Nixon, I want more information. I think she is a stalking horse and put in there by De Blasio to piss off and pull Cuomo to the left. But Hawkins? He's turning into Lyndon LaRouche or Gus Hall. Just running for the sake of running. Besides, his policies are fantasy land.

It really needs to be realized that a teeny, tiny, percentage of the rank and file has true Socialist inclinations. Most have nice egalitarian lives and those are fine. Then there are the Evangelical Socialists that are completely out of touch with reality and seek out young impressionable teachers that still live on mommy and daddy's dime to convert. I get it with these kids. They move to New York City Brooklyn, they are own their own for the first time, they want to save the world. But they are missing the bigger picture.

Any UFT caucus must do right for the ENTIRE rank and file, not just their little corner of the DOE world. MORE in essence has become a top down organization just like the UFT and it's agenda now only benefits a select few.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mike Mulgrew Comes to Yankee Stadium

I was cordially invited to attend a function, an party, or whatever the heck one wants to call it, at the Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium, this past Tuesday. The reason? Our UFT President Mike Mulgrew was their to speak to the teachers of districts 7 and 9. In retrospect it seems that the invitations were for CL's and their few select favorites. I felt like Cinderella crashing the ball. But it was nice that the person from within the UFT who extended me the invitation thought of me

As usual, it's good to see one's union dues put to good use.

The Hard Rock was closed to the public for a few hours and had about two dozen staff on hand. We were served sliders, which compared to White Castle, were just plain gross. Teeny tiny pieces of chicken served on a teeny tiny waffle with some syrup, and some kind of egg roll. Oh, and there was a nacho bar with all the fixins. The nachos came in several colors. It was nice. I mixed the sour cream and guacamole together for a nacho dip.

Mulgrew came out and started his spiel. I didn't take notes, I should have, but I am just going to free wheel from memory Mulgrew's remarks in bold and mine in italics.

"Janus...very bad. Next their going to come after our collective bargaining rights.  Look how bad they have it in Wisconsin."

Yeah, very bad. But as for our collective bargaining rights, this Janus decision might backfire. Read here. I'm going to say it again. You have every right to be angry with union. But leaving union will not help it will only hurt in long run. Best way to change is from within. 

"For the first time we have a Chancellor that is not from within and knows no one. This is good for us."

Wait, Joel Klein was from outside the DOE and look how well that turned out. 

"The chancellor wanted to meet with negotiating team in his office. Told him his office is not big enough for our 400 member team!"

So these 400 members actually have a say? I was under the impression it is only 10 people who decide. 

"We can't negotiate how schools spend their money. If schools have 42 classes they should have 42 teachers."

Right there is telling us to forget about fair student funding. 

"When I was chapter leader I complained to my principal. I soon was observed 18 times!"

I guess that is worse than Mulgrew negotiating up for us to 4 observations.

"Observations are being used to punish."

Really? He just figured that out?

Updated 5/27/18 10:48 PM:

I almost forgot. This got me laughing....

Mulgrew says: "...And in Albany they are about to pass law that does away with evaluations being tied to testing..."

Obviously he didn't read NYC Public School Parents blog!

In between all his points, his highlights, the blind were cheering and whooping it up. Maybe I see things with another set of eyes, but this was to much of a revival meeting for me. Might has well have had it in a tent and have some gospel singers there.

No mention of ATRs, Open Market fraud, fraud in general, teachers suffering, fair student funding, class size, 3020-a, grievances. Basically the shit everyone cares most about.

He did bring up parental leave. He's all for that. Has yet to say how it will be paid for. Or if there will be givebacks.

I'll give Mulgrew credit for one thing. He didn't cut and run after he finished. He stayed around and mingled. I got to meet him and he said "I finally get to meet you."

I should have bought him a beer.Gotten him drunk.







Saturday, May 19, 2018

Are Jews Truly Welcomed at the MORE Caucus?

I am not a supporter of the current Israeli government. I believe they have done nothing but damage any solution to a peaceful solution to the Occupied Territories. I am sickened at the governments actions at the Gaza border last week.

I do not like white Christian males who think they know what is best for Israel. They, in my opinion, are anti-Semites and the craziest ones want to stir the shit so the "End Times" will come faster.

I really have no place for the Hasidim nor any ultra-Conservative Jews as well. I see what is happening in towns and school districts just across the river from me in Kiryas Joel, New Square , and the East Ramapo school district. And let's not forget the yeshivas across New York State and New York City.


I'm not the greatest Jew in the world. I just go to services on the High Holidays, I don't keep kosher, and my wife was the first and last Jewish woman I dated. But I had a bar mitzvah, we do Passover (though I eat leavened bread during the eight days), my son had a bar mitzvah as well as a briss. I am proud to be a Jew. When my son met former Yankee Ron Blomberg about 10 years ago Blomberg told him, "Always be a proud Jew!"

Is it any coincidence that of my two favorite bands, Rush and Van Halen, their lead singers, Geddy Lee and David Lee Roth are of the tribe?

But I will not sit idly by when outside agitators and a self hating Jew decided to bash Israel. It takes two sides to tango and it will be nice for once for the outside agitators to take a deep long look at what the Arabs and Palestinians have done all these years.

On March 22 just after the new Steering took place we received this request to vote on for MORE support....

Proposal for MORE. 

This is from Michael Letwin of Labor for Palestine who helped organize another national mobilization effort for Labor for Standing Rock, which is how some coordinated our presence. 
He is a former president of a local upstate.

Michael Letwin must be a self hating Jew. Whatever he did for Standing Rock (Which I fully supported their right not to have a pipeline through their land) pales in comparison to this.

The above email came at his request...

Subject: Urgent request for endorsements: Boycott study abroad in Israel! Sign here to take the pledge.

Greetings XXXXXXXX. Would you and/or MORE like to endorse the statement below? If so, please click here.

Solidarity!

Michael

What Michael wanted MORE to endorse was a cultural and academic boycott of Israel, to join in on the BDS of Israel.

And people wonder about MORE? About it's motivations? What the fuck was the purpose of this other than to test the new members of Steering?

Why when teachers across New York City are under enormous pressure and being led about by a clueless union does a BOYCOTT of Israel become a priority?

There are Jews on Steering, what is this brought to Steering? Yes, two of them kind of fall into the Letwin category of Jew, but nonetheless, we are told bombarded time after time to be sensitive to others...


a. Assume good intentions.

g. Respect all viewpoints, perspectives and social identities.


Again, some rules are for all, some rules are for others. But there are no rules for what one can say or do concerning Jews or Israel. Big deal, MORE thinks, so we offend a few Jews.

Jews, and this is my honest opinion, are tolerated at MORE, those that are  the 1st or 2nd generations Jews who are part of MORE. As long as we keep our mouths quiet and go along. The Jews that are loved are the ones who sold their soul along time ago, like the special little boy. Nothing better than the Judenrat of the Ghettoes.

Little does MORE realize that the real socialists are the Zionists. The Zionists who created something out of nothing in Israel. The Zionists who put their people first and not their leaders. MORE wants to keep on laying blame on the Jews and Israel, look at how the other countries and peoples of the mid east have pissed on and used Palestine for years. Take a look at how Israel pulled out of Gaza left the Palestinians everything, the farms, the greenhouses, etc... to have a full blown economy and society and it was all pissed away by them.

Want Israel off the land? Look across the Jordan River. The entire Kingdom of Jordan was part of the Palestine province during the Ottoman Empire. Why does not MORE start a boycott of Jordan? Think Jordan has treated Palestinians any better?

Want Israel to support the Right of Return? Does MORE support those that were left their homes and property behind in 1959-1960 when Socialist Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba? Aint' going to happen Will MORE support any Native American that makes a claim at their mommy and daddy's door for their land back? Ain't going to never happen.

I think this was a micro-agression on MORE's part and MORE should take sensitivity training.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Manor Farm and the MORE Caucus Are Becoming One

It's has become sad watching MORE turn into a caricature of itself as it slowly, but surely, sinks into the depths of collective desperation as it turns into Manor Farm.

Rules aren't made for breaking at MORE, rules are made now by a select few for a select few. If those are of the "approved" than the latest whimsical rule they need not worry. They are amongst the anointed, the privileged (for now) and need not worry about banishment.

As we know, I have been taken out the the proverbial woodshed and forced to search for my own switch for openly publishing in a quite neutral manor the "sacred parchment" and the "Dear John" get lost email. Let's not forget me publishing the "You Are to Go to Bed Without Supper Punishment" email as well.

Well, the shit done hit the fan again. I broke another rule and and received a punishment based on someone's whim. Here it is:


Peter,

You have received warnings and been sanctioned in the past for violating MORE's norms of behavior. Recently, you have recently repeatedly violated MORE's norms again -- including accusing the 'crack team' at MORE of trying act like 'God'; and calling MORE 'repressive' when we enforced our norms.  

"In addition, you published a private email sent by MORE members to our steering committee on your blog. 

"You are hereby removed from MORE steering and banned from our listserves."


First off, The Crack Team only is part of this blog, not MORE. The Crack Team is a cross between the Jedi Council and the Kryptonian Council (The men who sentenced Zod, Ursa, and Non to the Phantom Zone). The Crack Team takes umbrage on its misrepresentation and demands an apology post-haste.

As for as the accusation that I claimed that MORE is acting like God, nothing can be further from the truth. What was written was...
"This is what MORE wants the rank and file to get behind eventually, akin to God handing down 15 10 Commandments to Moses at Mt Sinai."
At no time was did I mean the REAL God, but rather the God of Mel Brooks 1981 laugh fest, "History of the World Part 1." A very politically incorrect movie if I must say with one of the funniest song and dance numbers ever, The Inquisition ( I shall not comment further on this! wink wink nod nod!!) But sadly one person in MORE is seeing themselves as a type of deity (And no it's not that special little boy).

Again, private email? In landed in my email. It makes it mine. I chose to share it.

Now back to my violations. Yeah, I made a snarky comment to a female (OMG!!!!!!) aligned with Solidarity on the listserv. This female is part of Solidarity and trolls. But on April 6th I just typed "go away" in which I did get the warning according to the forum rules and suspended for 1 week for again saying, "Please. Go Away." Big whoop. But notice this. I am not running away from what I have said nor was punished for. MORE keeps on running from itself.


Yes, there is a rule that says one can't disseminate any emails on listservs without permission.

The MORE list should be a safe space where members can share comments and ideas without fear that words meant solely for a MORE audience be reprinted in a public forum. To that end, we ask that all participants on the list agree NOT to publish any email, email address, or comment posted to the MORE list without prior, written authorization of the author.
 Ask? Agree? I guess I was asked and didn't agree. Doesn't say you must. Big difference in a court of law.

But to follow the listserv rules...
1) Warn the person off-list (this should only be done if the violation is a minor, borderline, or grey area issue - clear and major violations need a public warning starting with the actions below so everyone is aware).


2) To notify the listserve that a post violates the norms.

3) To close a particular thread if there are rapid multiple violations.  Posting on a closed thread is a separate violation of the norms.

4) To move the entire listserve to moderated mode temporarily (for no more than 24 hours), and approve messages as they come through, 

5) On a second offense, remove a members posting privileges for 1 week

6) On a third offense, remove a members posting privilege for 1 month

7) Propose to Steering that a member be banned from the listserve


Should I not be at level #6? In fact, not only am I banned now from the listservs I am now, yeah you guessed it, another extra-judicious whimsical ruling, off of steering. Darn!

This was planned from the get go. As soon as myself, John G. and Mike landed on Steering along with two other like minded members a "Beer Hall Putsch" was planned. What we have been witnessing is a coup. A non-violent coup, bit a coup nonetheless. In fact throwing the three of us off of steering shows that we are just being used the same as Marinus van der Lubbe.

Where is the Steering committee vote on my being kicked off of Steering? In fact, what has happened to Steering? As far as I know Steering hasn't met since April 14. There was supposed to be a Steering phone meeting May 6 but when I inquired I heard the chirping of crickets.

Again, MORE is making up it's rules as it goes along. Those who toe the party line are safe. Those who dare to question the direction of MORE, or worse, are part of MORE because the rank and file are deemed most important are blasted with frivolous and false accusations, have their character questioned, and are plotted against behind their backs.

The imbroglio that begat all this tyranny at the hands from MORE was launched by a favorite son who had the temerity to take a PRIVATE EMAIL to him from John G and publish it in the Steering listserv. Yeah, you're right. MORE does say...
We also ask that no direct email sent from another member of MORE be posted to the lists without the author's written permission.
WTF??? What's good for the goose is not good for the gander? This is the same person who threatened Mike and John G on the Steering listserv and all that was heard were crickets. 

MORE now has officially an equivocally lost it's freaking mind. It is neither a democratic organization nor is a bottom up one. It is now lorded over by one, assisted enabled by those who know whose colon to live in. 

Pathetic.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Why We Choose to Leave MORE By John Giambalvo and Mike Schirtzer

For those that don't know John and Mike are the Tony and Barry that I had written about last week.

The three of us went into joining MORE's steering with an idea that our positions were not to be tolerated and we saw first hand the systematic wrath incurred upon us for daring to speak up and think different.

I can't blame them for this. Both have had their characters debased and their ethics questioned. I have come to know these two men better in the last 2 months and say without a doubt that if I was starting a baseball team based on having teachers backs that both John and Mike would be in my starting lineup.

But like Arthur Goldstein had finally gotten fed up with MORE so finally have John and Mike.

This here is their opus (Bold has been added by myself).


Why We Choose to Leave MORE
By John Giambalvo and Mike Schirtzer


We became involved with teacher unionism after a few years of working in the schools as a result of our classroom and school-level experiences where we saw public school teachers and students being cheated out of the resources needed to provide them with an adequate education. Sparked by the general lack of response from our union, the United Federation of Teachers, our involvement led us to join the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), an organization that we believed would respond to concerns of UFT members by allowing them, as well as members of their school community, a space to voice concerns about our schools within the political structures of our union and the Department of Education of the City of New York. 


We joined MORE during a time when few voices within the UFT represented the needs and interests of our colleagues. 


We joined under the premise that our union had the potential to be the most powerful vehicle of change for teachers, students and families in New York City and beyond. 

We joined MORE to create a more assertive union, where member voice was the greatest priority and, when heard, would lead it to action for the entire education community. 


We joined MORE to strengthen the UFT for the betterment of the teachers, students and families we serve. We were aware that the UFT apparatus, under the almost 60 year stewardship of the Unity Caucus, had developed more than a bit of sclerosis, had not been adequately serving the needs of its members, and that that power structure needed to be challenged from the ranks. We believed MORE offered the potential to engage in that challenge.

We joined MORE and were faced with working with people with many different political backgrounds and ideologies, including some differing from our views. We made concerted efforts to function collectively with other members of MORE to improve conditions in our schools. We learned the basics of their ideologies and did our best to find middle ground. We genuinely believed we were learning to struggle together in order to improve conditions, especially for those who were affected by hurtful policies on a daily basis.


We joined MORE to prioritize making connections with teachers throughout all five boroughs; to construct and devote our work towards an agenda that would have wide appeal to a majority of members of our union who have been shut out of influence. In order to be successful MORE would have to, not only offer a way forward by leading in a new direction, but do so by being responsive and interacting with UFT members in our own schools and beyond to transform a union that operated in an absolute top-down manner.


We have been disappointed.


Unfortunately, we’ve seen that MORE has been increasingly dominated by one group with a definite pre-formed unyielding ideology. We’ve come to understand over time that these voices do not represent the needs of most of our members, or even our students or parents. MORE has devolved into an organization that uses anti-democratic and secretive methods to push the agenda of this faction and marginalize, isolate and push vocal opponents out of the caucus.


There were many opportunities for the members of MORE to analyze the results of our work in order to determine the course of the group’s direction, but it has chosen not to do so. There were meetings with varying topics, causes endorsed, social media/blog data, and the results of the 2016 UFT election which provided data on voter turnout by division and district which clearly showed a much higher turnout in the Queens high schools (36.4% compared to 12.8% in the Bronx and 14.5 in Manhattan, boroughs where key leaders of the current leadership in MORE are based.)


Queens high school voter turnout was clearly the crucial difference in winning the high school seats but admitting that would be counter to the narrative being pushed.
This turnout was mainly due to the organizing efforts of two key MORE members. (Ed Note: Details and analysis of 2016 high school elections at http://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/district-by-district-breakdown-shows_3.html?m=1). 


This should have been an important lesson for MORE
about the kind of activism by some more members that reaches out and resonates with rank and file teachers. Yet, these people are the very people who are being pushed out of MORE. One of these people is the chapter leader of the largest high school in Queens with 300 UFT members and an elected UFT Executive Board member.


The other was a former chapter leader of a closed school who led a valiant battle to keep his school open but who was forced to become an ATR. One of the most respected voices in the UFT for almost 30 years who developed hundreds of contacts in schools all around the city, and served for a decade on the UFT Executive Board. He too is being forced out of MORE.


Along with one of us, two of the four MORE Executive Board elected high school representatives are being pushed out of MORE. What does this mean for MORE as an organization when it feels activists with this history and stature and the overwhelming support of their colleagues don’t belong? 


Instead of revisiting different petitions we advocated for or addressing the way we have utilized our positions on the UFT Executive Board to create voice for colleagues, the small group taking control of MORE chose to purposely ignore these results, criticized us, and attempted to micro-manage us over issues like class size and the defense of ATRS and rank and file UFT members over abusive principals because this work did not fit their preordained agendas. 


Attempts to build a large, robust organization, including the creation of newsletters produced for wide distribution, planning meetings with topics related to school-based issues, like the nuts and bolts of enforcing the contract or running for chapter leader, and attempts to compete in union elections (both at the chapter level and for citywide officers), have been met with obstruction, in-fighting, frustrating layers of bureaucracy and the gradual disappearance of democratic decision making. 


All this is a direct result of the group’s lack of democracy and failure to connect with members in our schools.


Predictably, instead of growing into a member driven movement, MORE has seen its numbers dwindle to levels rivaling our earliest beginnings in 2012. Instead of examining and discussing the reasons for the shrinking of MORE, such as the inability to develop a newsletter and distribution network or even a regular handout at the UFT Delegate Assembly, the constant excuse has been that all the problems in MORE have been due to some rude emails by a few people. 


In fact, dozens of people have abandoned MORE
over the years due to the rigid ideological framework imposed in MORE. Their “solution” to the crisis in MORE has been to actively move to push out even more members who do not go along with their line, many of them older and experienced in union politics, obviously a threat to their ability to win over new and inexperienced teachers who enter MORE to their ideological line. Rather than engage in discussion, including historical reference and analysis, they want to promote their own political positions, positions that are rarely open to debate.


It is especially difficult for us to remain with a group that no longer honors the principles of democracy. There was a glaring lack of due process involved in our recent suspension from the MORE listserves and the caucus’ steering committee, which just happened to remove our ability to vote on crucial decisions concerning the direction they wanted to steer MORE in. There is no provision in the by-laws from suspension from steering.


This decision began as a disagreement over political process and the tone of some emails. The suspensions were decided without either of us being present. Just four people out of nine on the committee created, ex-post facto, new rules. Since MORE is on record as opposing suspensions and calling for restorative justice for students, calls for the use of restorative justice practices in lieu of suspension in our case were voted down.


As union members, social justice activists, and New York City public school teachers, we cannot compromise the principle of due process. We must expect from ourselves the rights we demand for our co-workers and our students.

The loss of trust in the people who made these decisions will be difficult to repair. The realization that a caucus dedicated to the principles of social and restorative justice but can no longer muster enough respect for basic due process portends a future for the group that is far too troubling for us to be part of. 


It is simply not acceptable to be involved with an organization that does not hold itself to the very values of democracy upon which it is premised and for which we have both worked. 

There are many good people in and around MORE and we are proud of our past work with them. But too many priorities have changed over time, both for the group and for ourselves. We seek out the serious work of helping to build a more robust union, one that can affect policy as it improves the conditions under which we teach and our students learn. We have concluded MORE as a caucus is not capable or willing to build this movement. In order to work with rank and file UFT members and other stakeholders, we feel it’s better we separate ourselves now. We are leaving the organization and disassociate our names from it. 


We still intend to spend time learning from our from past successes and failures in future endeavors we pursue.


There is a Janus decision on the horizon, a well financed effort by corporations and interest groups to undermine unions, and a relentless effort to privatize our schools by forcing out veteran UFT members and closing schools in our poorest neighborhoods, which harms our children of color and immigrant children. It is imperative that our union fights harder than ever against these forces. 


We are dedicated to defending members unfairly under attack,
ensuring our children are provided a great public education in well resourced schools, fighting for racial integration of schools, defending immigrant, African-American, Latino, Muslim, and LGBTQ union members and students. We will continue our work in our chapters, Delegate Assemblies and Executive Board meetings to educate and activate union members, defend public education, demand due process for our students and colleagues, and advance the cause of labor unions for all workers.


In Solidarity,


Mike Schirtzer: UFT Executive Board, UFT Delegate, Social Studies Teacher

John Giambalvo: Social Studies teacher, Coordinator of Student Activities


=======
John Giambalvo will is completing 18 years of service teaching social studies. He teaches in a Queens high school.

Mike Schirtzer, is a member of the UFT  Executive Board and a delegate from his school. He has been teaching social studies at Leon Goldstein HS in Brooklyn for 11 years

*=========
District 71 Manhattan High Schools: 683 votes= 14.5% of total HS turnout

District 72 Bronx High Schools: 594 votes=12.6%

District 73 Brooklyn High Schools: 729 votes=15.5%

District 76 Brooklyn-Staten Island High Schools: 984 votes=20.9%

District 77 Queens High Schools: 1712 votes=36.4%


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tyranny Running Amok at the MORE Caucus


MORE is slipping further and further into one person rule, with extra-judicial policies and
penalties, and rule by the few and not the many.

As many might know by now to prominent teachers and activists were retroactively punished and humiliated for going against the norms whims of a few. This led to ICE at first putting out a resolution to suspend support for MORE and then ultimately, after being democratically voted upon, to follow through.

The following landed in my email yesterday. This is what has sadly become of MORE. No dissent. No contradictions. No nothing except conformity. My thoughts will appear in red.

Dear Fellow MOREistas,

As some of you may know, many of the Independent Community of Educators (ICE) were integral members at the formation of MORE along with others. Over the last few years, while everyone has worked hard to organize around issues that have plagued our working conditions, internal tensions have also deepened. There have been some fundamental differences that have taken us back to debating some of our stated values over and over again. Differences in opinion and disagreements are absolutely normal and part of healthy democratic spaces. However, some disagreements have crossed the line to personal attacks and questioning of intentions. It has made it quite difficult to focus on what brought us all together in the first place.


No, there has been ZERO discussion about working conditions. No nothing by MORE. Nada. Bupkus.This argument made here is specious and disingenuous. However, MORE has spent an inordinate amount of time furthering left wing propaganda, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist screeds, and trying to churn up race wars within the UFT. 

Again, how does this benefit the rank and file?

To be fair, we have not had a clear process for when conflicts have become personal between individuals, though efforts have been made. In the last few months, things have come to a head, and ICE issued their decision to withdraw their support of MORE as a group. Some of us, listed below, have come together to respond. This response is an attempt to acknowledge their decision and agree to work amicably together as separate organizations into the future. We want to be clear that the folks here came together organically without any intentions of leaving specific individuals out. (Most of us were at the last few general meetings or worked on a committee. Others expressed their concerns at previous meetings.) 


No. ICE voted to SUSPEND support for MORE, not withdraw. Big difference. 

This statement is intended to propose a solution for us to be able to move forward, during a time when we need each other the most. This has been a learning opportunity about the need to develop a healthy organizational culture and something that we must do together as members of MORE. 


Response to ICE suspension of support for MORE


ICE (Independent Community of Educators) has voted to suspend their support for MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators). We respect their decision to do so and we believe that both MORE and ICE will be able to achieve more in coalition than we can in the current situation.


We look forward to continuing to working together with ICE and its members on joint projects where our interests coincide - including in the CASCADE coalition, on the Chapter Leader Meetup listserve, and the UFT Executive Board.

Why should the grown ups on the Exec Board cooperate with MORE? After reading Arthur's blog yesterday, I was appalled that those few in control at MORE were upset that Arthur dared to bring up a class size resolution.


However, ICE members have coalesced around specific disagreements with the majority of the active MORE members. The current situation, with constant infighting and a toxic and mistrustful environment, is destructive for both MORE and ICE members. 

The majority of MORE members or the majority of those that were at the last MORE general meeting? Big difference. If this statement were to be true, a vote should go to the entirety of MORE, not just a few select followers. 

Better yet, after the coup d'etat on steering by the ex post facto rules and shaming of Barry and Tony, that (for lack of a better word) faction of MORE's steering lost it's majority and only the the insentient and one special little boy that is easily suggestible, followed orders. From the looks of thing these attacks on both Barry and Tony were pre-planned and possibly conspiratorial so the very faction they represent (teacher's rights, bread and butter issues, reality) would be effectively silenced and better, publicly flogged. Which in turn will be a warning to others who dare run afoul of individual thought


1. ICE has publicly rejected the decision by MORE steering, which was supported by MORE members at the General meeting on April 28, to enforce norms of behavior for MORE members.

Incorrect. It was not about enforcing the norms! It was about the whims! Read here. We asked that the suspensions be rescinded. We respected the vote. We, ICE, did nothing to do an end run around the vote. More bothersome is those that signed onto this letter to ICE and those that voted on the extra-judicious penalties many are chapter leaders in their schools. How would they react to a principal or administrator acting in such a way that they continue to condone? I voted my conscious on Steering and in the general meeting. Is that against MORE by-laws?

2. Some ICE members have publicly attacked MORE’s democratically-decided positions and organizing campaigns -- such as our "No Givebacks" position on Family Leave (a position which is consistent with MORE's Mission Statement) and our recent criticisms of the Unity leadership of the UFT for saying the Black Lives Matter Edu Week of Action was "divisive." Some ICE members have also posted internal MORE documents and discussions on their blogs and social media, despite being specifically asked not to, thus undermining our ability to decide together how to present our campaigns and positions. 

Publicly attack? Prove it. What does MORE consider "attacking?" To publicly question MORE and it's defacto leaders? To think as an individual and not as a drone collective? And yes, I did proudly publish it. When did MORE become an opaque organization?

3. ICE members who were present at MORE's April 28th General meeting rejected the "Contract Strategy" proposal that was voted on to be the central organizing focus of the caucus moving forward. 

Yeah, we did. I voted my conscious. I can't speak for others who voted no. But remember, there were also abstentions. Are these people to be vilified and punished as well? 

While ICE and MORE may be able to work together in the future, these differences indicate that ICE and MORE are different organizations with differing political visions for building a democratic, member driven UFT points of view. 

DEMOCRATIC? How has MORE acted democratically of late? If one wants to cite the United States Constitution as something to look to as an example of being democratic as a brought up at the general meeting attempting to rescind the suspensions of Barry and Tony, " that Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution that no law shall be made ex post facto." But alas, someone blabbered that it only pertains to the government. No duh! But is MORE above the government? Is MORE above what makes us Americans? Sadly, I am learning the answer.

Besides, the "contract document" is so unrealsitc and bereft of anything for the thousands of teachers and UFT members. All this document does is solidify for a select few the bonafides and aspirations for a select few in a minuscule amount of outside agitating organizations. 

As of now, we ask that all members of ICE active in MORE choose between the two organizations.  We believe that a better working relationship will be possible once this separation of our organizations is settled.

So one can't do both? In fact why is it not the opposite? Why can't the below 17 members who put their names to this "invitation to leave" just leave? If it's your ball, take it and leave. Start your own little club or whatever it is you wish to call it?

But here is the problem. Should this not be put before steering and then to the ENTIRE membership? Again, this is MORE making up its rules as it goes along. 

We are willing to meet upon request with ICE or with individuals affiliated with ICE to discuss the reasons for these decisions and the terms of our working relationships moving forward.

This comes of so condescending and patronizing.

Signatories: 

The 17 names have been redacted

 






Thursday, May 10, 2018

David Pakter Opines About the High School of Art and Design

David Pakter sent me the following a few weeks ago. I am now finally getting around to publishing it.

For those who don't know who David is or have forgotten, please read here. David is the OG teacher of taking on the NYCDOE.Not only was he thrown under the bus but the bus backed up and forth several times over him.

David retired and left for points unknown. I have always thought of him as the Frank Serpico of teachers and figure he did like Serpico and moved to Europe incognito.

David had taught at the High School of Art and Design and must've read of the shit show that is happening there.

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE-
PETE SEEGER, 1955

I have read with much shock and sadness at SOUTH BRONX TEACHER, what has become of the High School of Art & Design and its UFT Chapter since I was illegally removed in Sept. 2004 on trumped up charges.

I had become a Whistle-blower of serious New York City, NY State and United States Federal Civil Rights Violations that had been taking place for years at the school, and with the full knowledge of both the Manhattan Superintendent's Office as well as the NYC Dept. of Education itself.

I strongly urge your readers to read the letter I sent to former Chancellor Joel Klein, Esq. in Sept. 2003 detailing my well documented allegations- because NOTHING has changed in all the years after I was driven out of the system, worn down from years of battling all the entrenched corruption in that 25 Billion dollar "Enterprise"  euphemistically titled the NYC Dept. of Education.

Readers are strongly encouraged to read the Letter I sent to Chancellor Joel Klein and the reply I received in return which speaks volumes.

Please read now.



After my removal in Sept. 2004 and despite having been subjected to TWO separate 3020-a Kangaroo State Hearings, both of which I survived, I finally in 2010 arrived at the painful conclusion, that my career with the NYC DOE was effectively at an end. 

Although at the conclusion of my Second 3020a "Trial" virtually ALL the knowingly Fraudulent charges against me were Dismissed and Thrown out, by that point my Award winning Medical Illustration Program had been utterly dismantled and destroyed. 
It was clear to me that my illustrious 35 year career at the High School of Art & Design was effectively over.

Following my first 3020a Trial I was reassigned to a different HS but within 19 days I was once again removed- this time based on the Charge I had brought plants into the school building without official Permission.
Of course other similarly absurd charges were added to embellish the list of "allegations" against me.

This Second 3020a Trial was highly followed by the entire country and even by news papers in Europe including the FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON.

Some of the Hearings were even attended by a certain highly respected individual connected to the SOUTH BRONX TEACHER.

The trajectory of this years long campaign by the NYC DOE to drive me out of the "system" was Published in horrifying detail by all the important Teacher Blogs including SOUTH BRONX TEACHER, Norm Scott's legendary Blogs and Betsy Combier's equally legendary Blogs, especially at:


But why am I taking the time to revisit these facts at this time.
It is because the "Past is always Prologue"

All the mind bending horrors that the NYC Dept. of Education visited upon my totally undeserving head, beginning 14 years ago have now returned to fall squarely on the undeserving heads of so many of the splendid Teachers at my former place of teaching, the High School of Art & Design.

Reading the letter that the UFT Chapter Leader, Jason Agosto sent to Michel Mulgrew, President of the UFT, nearly brought tears to my eyes.

For it is now clear to me that the sadistic plan to destroy my own celebrated Career (I was personally Decorated by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in City Hall), that same type of vicious behavior on the part of the NYC DOE is now being visited upon legions of present Dedicated NYC Teachers including at the HS of Art & Design.

Any teachers who expect and demand that their UFT Contract should be upheld and Honored by the system that agreed to that Contract, are attacked relentlessly and continuously and with a sick vengeance by forces emanating it would seem, from the deepest bowels of Hell.

And the once vaunted Teachers Union, the UFT stands by and does nothing.
Even worse the UFT appears to appease and even support the sadistic and illegal attacks on teachers who simply wish their Contractual Rights to be enforced.

So what has transpired over the past few Decades ???

And WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE ???

When I entered teaching in 1968 in the South East Bronx it was literally in the midst of one of the largest Teacher Strikes in American History.

A District in Brooklyn has mistreated UFT Members and UFT President Albert Shanker, called an IMMEDIATE City wide Strike.  Almost 100,000 UFT Teachers walked out of their schools, here, there and everywhere in new York City.  It was a spectacular and momentous event.

In those days no one in NYC doubted the clout the United Federation of Teachers wielded.   It was known nation wide the UFT was a titanic force to be feared and reckoned with and one violated the UFT Contract at their distinct Peril.  The NYC Board of Education knew this Fact well.

In every school in NYC every Principal and Assistant Principal knew the one Teacher they must always fear was the UFT Chapter Leader.

But over the years something changed.  The Legendary UFT President Albert Shanker, as all things with time, moved on and passed the torch to Randi Weingarten.  For a long time she appeared to walk in Al Shanker's footsteps.  But gradually as time passed things began to change.

More and more it was clear that Principals were beginning to mistreat Teachers with impunity  and without a "peep" from the UFT.
Principals gradually stopped having the least fear of the UFT and/or their local UFT Teacher Representative based at an individual school.

More and more Teachers and especially Senior, Veteran Teachers were starting to be mistreated, written up for nonsensical reasons, and more and more frequently given U Ratings for the year and then brought up on "Charges" based on the most flimsy and fraudulent allegations.

During the long years I was consigned to four different Rubber Rooms  I met Teachers who had been pulled from their schools for reasons few would ever believe possible.  One teacher I met, a 28 year Veteran with a perfect Satisfactory Record, was removed because a Second grader began running around the room and ran straight into the Teacher.

You guessed it !  The Principal decided it was the fault of the Teacher who apparently exhibited poor Classroom Management.  That charge has been used hundreds of times to axe innocent Teachers.  Perhaps thousands of times.  During the years I spent in several different Rubber Rooms I heard stories so insane you did not know if you should laugh or cry--or perhaps both.

The war against NYC Teachers began in earnest after the year 2000.
I was once told by a well known Journalist, that the big purge of Senior teachers at the top of the Pay scale, was the result of a deal between the City and the UFT.  The UFT would get serious pay Raises in exchange for closing their eyes to the purging of thousands of Senior Educators.

And indeed most of the Teachers I met in several Rubber Rooms were the more Senior Teachers.  It was a fact as clear as day.

When I look at the Teacher signatures on Jason Agosto's letter to Michael Mulgrew I only saw one single name from the time I was removed from the HS of Art & Design in 2004.
Apparently most of my former colleagues were eventually driven out, harassed out or brought up on 3020a charges of one type or another.

This is the new NYC Dept. of Education protocol.  Higher them young at dirt cheap salary prices, squeeze them dry and then set them up and harass them out after just a few years.  These poor hapless Souls do not have a clue going in that they will never survive long enough to earn a serious Pension.

It is all Smoke and Mirrors.  And during those few years they are in the "system" they learn early on to live in abject Fear with a capitol "F".

Eyes front, mouth kept tightly shut.  See NO Evil, Hear NO Evil, Speak NO Evil.  Avert one's eyes from observing wrongdoing and blatant corruption of any and all kinds.  And NEVER, NEVER consider for a second, saying or doing anything to "Rock the Boat"- as I did and for which I paid the ultimate price of seeing my celebrated Medical program destroyed and my enormously ultra Gifted students scattered here, there and everywhere who I could of gotten into Ivy League Colleges with full Scholarships.

From under what dark and clammy rocks do failed Human Beings like the present Principal of Art & Design come from.  Sub humans who make the life of their dedicated Faculty a living Hell on Earth.

And how did a once venerated Teachers Union gradually fall from Grace and resort to the barbaric outlook that they have every Right to take the hard earned money of their Union Members and then abandon them, even spit in their face, when those dues paying Members have the nerve to expect their Union to Defend their Contractual Rights clearly written in Black and White.

What happened ??  How did New York City's hard working, Dedicated Teachers ever end up in this truly Tragic situation where on a daily basis they are caught, even trapped, between a hard place and a stone.

The human maggot who now serves as the Principal of the High School I proudly reported to every day for a quarter of a Century, is simply just another mindless, vicious lackey, stooge, enforcer for the NYC Dept. of Education.  And the poor Faculty that must serve under this heartless, pathetic creature, have little say in the matter.

But what is most tragic of all is that their Union, to which they must pay their hard earned dues could NOT care less about the Trials and Tribulations and extreme Pains that the Teachers at Art & Design must endure every single day of the year. 

I wish to here and now and most Publicly salute and state how Proud I am of people like UFT Chapter Leader at Art & Design, Jason Agosto et al. who despite having a multitude of reasons to openly rebel against the UFT, nevertheless stay in the game, attempt to work with the "hand they have been dealt" and fight for the Contractual Rights of their fellow Teachers.

All this in spite of the fact that it clearly appears to be the case that there is wide spread collusion between the UFT and New York City.

Why else would the UFT avert their gaze and attention from the desperate Plea of the Teachers at the HS of Art & Design, my former School of 25 years, to intercede and protect them and their trampled Rights from the ongoing, sadistic and Dictatorial behavior and dark agenda of a Principal from Hell.  In a fair and Just world such a person would NOT be allowed to get anywhere Teachers or students.

And finally, looking at the present State of Public Education in America and the despicable forms of treatment to which Teachers today are subjected and must work under I find I must ask UFT President Michael Mulgrew a simple question- to wit:

"Have you no Decency?   Have you at long last no Decency at all and feeling of Obligation to Defend your Dues paying Members who pay your Salary ?"

What happened to the field of Education in NY and in all of America ?
What dark forces conspired to allow and cause 100,000  hard working Dedicated Teachers throughout our City to be forced to work under such despicable, failed Human beings as the present Principal at the High School of Art & Design ?

How do we, how can we get back to a place called Respect for Educators ?

And once again, why does the UFT, which collects millions of dollars in Member Dues, NOT step up to the Plate and Defend Teachers who are illegally attacked for Demanding that their Contract be adhered to.  Has the UFT no understanding of their Fiduciary Responsibility to their 100,000 Members.  

Has UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, at long last no shame at all ??


And "WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE ? "

The flowers that once graced the desks of so many proud Dedicated NYC Teachers.

And will they ever Bloom again ?
______________________________
_____________________________________________________

David Pakter, M.A., M.F.A.
Former Teacher of the Year
Still Standing