Archive for April 26th, 2013

UFT Elections – New Action wins 10 seats – Disappointing Turnout

Based on yesterday’s unofficial returns (and as expected), New Action will have 10 seats on the new UFT Executive Board. New Action returns Douglas Haynes, Francisco Peña, Maria Ramos, Michael Shulman (at large) and Bill Goldman and Jonathan Halabi (high schools), and adds Joel Garcia, Regina Gori and Kate Martin-Bridge (at large) and Keith Fessel (high schools).

New Action’s vote was 9.4%, a decline from 2010, but better than the previous two elections.

The big story, unfortunately, is the overall drop in turnout. Less than one in four UFTers returned ballots. Among in-service members, just 18% participated.

This is symptomatic of many members not feeling part of the union, not being involved. But that is where a union’s strength should lie, in an active membership. New Action will continue to prioritize rebuilding chapters and organizing at the school level, to involve members in the life of our union.

The drop in vote is also symptomatic of members being overwhelmed, angry, and confused: Overwhelmed by the unreasonable and unceasing demands of a system that seems designed to punish educators with paperwork and impossible requirements, not to allow us to educate children; Angry about colocations and school closings, about the threat of being forced into the ATR pool, about losing 20 or more days each year to testing and test prep, angry about maltreatment at the hands of abusive administrators; Confused that our union is not doing more, and is cooperating with Danielson and a new, potentially dangerous teacher evaluation system. Each of these is a challenge to our strength. New Action remains committed to addressing all of these issues – be it by supporting the leadership, by urging a more active approach, or by opposing the leadership where they have taken a wrong stance.

There is much work going forward.


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April 2013