The UFT Opposes Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address Proposals – Now we Need a Real Fight!

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the February 2015 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: February 2015 Leaflet Front

In mid-­‐‑January 2015 New Action spelled out the dangers in Gov. Cuomo’s blueprint for educators:

• Raising the charter school cap
• Extending the time to get tenure to 5 years
• Two ineffectives and you’re out –eliminating due process
• Merit pay
• Raising standardized tests to 50%
• Putting “failing” schools into receivership –

ending collective bargaining agreements

The union has not and will not blast NYS School Chancellor Meryl Tisch for being the “architect” of this plan. Back in December, Tisch wrote a 20 page letter, laying out the proposals above. Tisch prior to this, threatened to close 94 NYC “failing” schools.

The UFT’s Unity leadership proposed a social media campaign, but realized quickly and correctly that such a campaign alone would not cut it. Now the question is what kind of a campaign will we/they engage in? Forums on February 12 and the call for every chapter to meet is a good start.

When we were battling Bloomberg, the union established a “War Room.” Isn’t a War Room needed now? Include rank and file members, independents, and members of our various caucuses.

For our part, New Action will support every anti-­‐‑Cuomo action the UFT leadership puts forward. But we are concerned about mobilization, and we are concerned about half-­‐‑measures

This fight will take a full mobilization of the entire membership to be successful. It needs to be coordinated from the school level, the district level and from the top leadership. We call on the delegates and chapter leaders to support our call for real membership mobilizations including, but not limited to:

  • Get out in front of our schools (informational picketing)
  • District rallies
  • Unite with nearby schools and plan actions
  • Call our legislators (friendly and unfriendly)

• Organize Solidarity days (including ‘color days’ – black seems appropriate)

• Demonstrate at the Governor’s office in NYC • Unite with parents in the fight
• Unite with our allies in labor

To mobilize our members, we need to be engaging in meaningful fights. In districts that have been riddled with charter schools, members are opposed to lifting the cap, but would be energized if the fight were against charters, not just the cap. Teachers don’t want evaluations to be based 50% on test scores, but would be far more motivated to act if we were fighting against using test scores in evaluation, period. And none of us wants five years of probation, but by combining the push against Cuomo’s proposal with a campaign to end the DoE’s arbitrary, unfair, and capricious extensions of probation, we would be reaching out to members who might otherwise feel isolated.

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