But what really impressed me was the MORE candidate for UFT President, Jia Lee. I had only met Jia for the first time (at least to my recollection) at the famous (or infamous) "diner meeting" back in June. Even then, Jia was the voice of reason.
But one thing Jia said when she spoke to the packed crowd yesterday really hit home with me. Some thing that we should all ask ourselves as we charge ahead in the hope of changing the UFT.
"How are the children?"
So simple, so to the point, but so profound, yet so encompassing and important.
I brought this information back to The Crack Team last night and over pizza and Dr Pepper we voted to unanimously endorse Jia Lee as the next UFT President, as well as to make her an honorary member of The Crack Team along with all the perks that come with that.
Everything we do now, (and I am not discounting the roles we have as teachers, but this post is about an election) as candidates, supporters, or even voters of and for MORE boils down to the children. Everything that effects us as teachers will in one way or another, positive or negative, effect each and every child throughout New York City.
The children are affected by the summary discontinuances, the ATR's, the abuse of teachers, the abusive principals, the 3020-a kangaroo courts and more. Each and everyone of these horrors are an affront to education, the teachers, and the communities in which we serve.
But Jia, nor anyone at MORE, needs to wear these horrors on their sleeves to show that they care or can be effective as representing the rank and file as our representatives at the UFT.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jia and how she shared with me her effectiveness as a chapter leader at her school. She does not believe in histrionics, hyperbolic verbiage, or empty threats.
But, she does not believe in being silent, she believes in each and every teachers right to be treated with dignity, respect, and just as importantly, with due process. And, and this made me smile, she is thorough and does what she can to let those in power show how not in control of the situation they think they are. This is what we need, not a "Union Boss," but a Union Leader.
Jia, and I learned this only recently, saved (and I am sure there are plenty) a teacher's career but also lifted her up from the deep depths of despair to the point where this teacher is flourishing once again. I didn't learn this from either Jia or the teacher involved but from someone else. I mean, Jia could have gone around and beat her on drum at this actual (of many) accomplishment but she does not need to. Jia is comfortable and confident in her own skin.
And for those who are unaware, Jia testified before the United States Senate regarding the re-authorization of NCLB back in January. This is a woman that we know has the maturation to establish relationships with all, whether or not they agree with her or not. This is someone we must have as UFT President.
The children, families, communities, and educator's futures are at stake. Why risk it by not electing Jia Lee as UFT President? Why risk electing someone without the maturity and the skills that Jia brings?
We need Jia Lee as UFT President. A vote for Jia Lee is a vote for saving the future.