Thursday, April 7, 2016

This is What MORE Does

Over the course of the course of the last week or so there has been a tiny, whiny background noise asking "what does MORE do?"

In reality it's an insignificant noise more akin to the buzz of a gnat flying around your head. You want nothing other than to swat at but you know that will give the gnat the attention it wants. Soon, the gnat will lose it's energy and drop to the ground where it will soon be back to serving it's purpose. Just being walked over, no one knowing it's there.

But we know MORE is there. We know what MORE does. Yes, MORE doesn't send a bunch of people to protest a principal on a side street somewhere in Brooklyn or Queens where there is no foot traffic or cars driving by. MORE doesn't send threatening or intimidating emails to principals. MORE doesn't habitually send text messages or emails obsessively to other UFT members. Or go to PEP meetings to kvetch, alone, about some injustice (I did this twice. It was a waste of my time. I might have just as well read The Great Gatsby).

I mean I guess this stuff can be considered being "active" but it doesn't accomplish anything. If you think about it nothing changes. Nothing has been accomplished. This stuff is all on the micro level. What about macro?

Last night on WNBC-4 news we saw what MORE does, how MORE operates, what MORE believes in. Three teachers, all MORE members, all teachers with true core beliefs appeared on the 6 PM news and shared what they did, what they are doing to affect change when it comes to testing.

Jia Lee, Lauren Cohen, and Kristen Taylor drew a line in the sand and dared Chancellor Fariña to cross it. Basically they told parents to opt their children out of the state tests.

According to the WNBC website;
“Parents should definitely opt out,” said Jia Lee, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at The Earth School in Manhattan. “Refuse. Boycott these tests because change will not happen with compliance.”

“I want to tell parents that I’m not going to get anything out of the test. Their kids aren’t getting anything out of the test,” said Lauren Cohen.
Kristen Taylor added that the tests are “fundamentally harming the education system”.

Think about this. Is this not what, and whom, we want as teachers and leaders? The energy that Jia has put into the Opt-Out movement shows how much of a leader she is. What she can bring to the teachers and communities of New York City.

There are no gimmicks or illusions such as some app that sends a form letter (and probably exists just to gather email addresses. I mean, seriously, how is that helping the cause? It's nothing other than just a bogart of the Opt Out movement. Micro.

Another gimmick is sending out an email to the Chancellor that one will not participate in proctoring or anything when it comes to the tests. Yeah, big whoops. It's all micro.

Just this past Sunday, Jia was featured in the New York Post as a teacher that has...
"...been sending emails to parents the past week encouraging them to boycott the state English and math Common Core exams being administered citywide starting Tuesday."
Oh, and while we are at it, a contingent of MORE members were out in Chicago on April 1 to support our CTU brethren in their one day strike. This is bridge building, not bridge burning.

Thin about it. From Chicago, to Long Island, to Upstate and Western New York Jia Lee and MORE are not only recognized as leaders, but game changers as well.

Watch the last few seconds of the report. Chris Glorioso says;

"They are members of the UFT and vying for leadership positions"

MORE builds. MORE looks long term. MORE leads. 


Anonymous said...

Psst!!! Don't let NORM hear you say that about PEP MEETINGS!!!!!!!!!!!! ROFL

Anonymous said...

Don't look now but it looks like a bunch of MORE people are going to a PEP meeting this month!

Pete Zucker said...

See, a bunch of MORE people are going to PEP meeting. Not just some hangers on and non UFT members with nothing better to do.

Yeah, I went, it was a waste of time. THEY DONT GIVE A SHIT hearing from one person.

I forget which PEP meeting The Leader of Solidarity spoke at and he told the panel (I'm paraphrasing here) setting to the effect, "I'll be watching you." Yeah, that helped. Farińa soiled her old lady bloomers.

Another Solidarity member who I actually like and feel sorry for got sucked into The Leader's convoluted vortex and made a complete ass of himself at PEP screaming and frothing at the mouth demanding answers "right now."

The thing to do, IMHO, is play their game. Make a mockery of them.

ed notes online said...

There are possibly 2 actions at the PEP meeting on April 20 but is also the day of the DA so there will be MORE people doing lots of things that day. Some will be going to the PEP but the key point here is that both of these actions are being organized by people on the ground and some MORE people - some of whom have been part of the organizing - are going to help where possible.

Having been part of attempts over the years to organize rallies it is a rare occasion that one group can pull it off. In the past we linked with other groups to build for an event. The key is collaboration and to only take your shot when conditions are ripe.

When we met with people at a school with an abusive principal and these people showed an ability to organize we suggested that this PEP meeting might be the place for them to present Farina with their grievance instead of sending her private letters which she ignores. I don't have details on what might happen but if they do use the PEP it will certainly be interesting. I will share what I know and when I know it on ed notes.