Posts Tagged 'Andrew Cuomo'

Congratulations, after a long year

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

Congratulations to Reelected and Newly Elected Chapter Leaders!

What a big responsibility! Chapter Leaders are the backbone of our union. Take a deep breath, recharge over the summer, and let’s work together to build a stronger union and a better school system next year!

A long 2014 – 2015

This was Year 2 of the new evaluation system. In December Merryl Tisch recommended horrible changes – Cuomo took them, and tried to force them through the State budget. We tried to stop some, but he got his way on too much. We will see more changes to the evaluation system coming soon.

This year the opt-out movement became a union issue in New York State. NYSUT took a strong stance. The Delegate Assembly rejected a strong resolution, but eventually adopted an opt-out stance.

Year Two of the de Blasio and Fariña administration continued to produce friendliness at the top, but without positive change reaching the schools. We need to let them know we expect better for 2015 – 2016.

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Stand up for Public Education – Defeat Cuomo’s Voucher Bill

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

Andrew Cuomo continues his fight against public education and the students of New York State. We must continue to oppose him.

Support the resolution on tonight’s Delegate Assembly agenda, against the “Education Tax Credit “ bill (it’s just a voucher bill.) Support the resolution against Cuomo’s latest attempt to raise or eliminate the charter cap in NYC.

And join the NYSUT and UFT social media campaigns against both of these attempts by Cuomo to undermine public education.

Cuomo’s War on Educators

Andrew Cuomo got much of what he wanted in his attack on NY state’s teachers.   Tenure now will take four years. Fifty percent of our ratings will be based on standardized tests that our students take. It will be quicker to fire teachers. This set of changes is designed to “churn” teachers, to make teaching a short-term career – in some places. Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Cuomo’s partner, made clear which places do and which places don’t deserve experienced educators – April 1 she proposed exempting top (affluent) districts from the new evaluation system, and the next day she proposed exempting high-performing NYC schools.

It’s not just teachers who Cuomo targeted – the new system will lead to many more tests for our students.

It is impossible to ignore the role of our union’s leadership in this. The NY Daily News reported: “city lawmakers said they were told by Mulgrew’s team that voting for the package would not be held against them.” On March 29 Mulgrew e-mailed the membership, claiming victory. Once members learned the details, he backpedaled. On April 1 he sent out a correction.

New Action applauds the acts of protest and solidarity against Governor Cuomo’s “educational reform.” 150 schools linked arms around their schools. We must build so next time 1700 participate. But it is hard to get behind a campaign that says 50% tests is too much, but 40% is ok. The vast majority of teachers know that evaluating us based on test scores makes no sense. It is time for Unity leadership to discard its discredited, pro-testing stance.

Note:  
September 2014 New Action moved to
endorse Zephyr Teachout in her race against Andrew Cuomo.
Unity blocked this endorsement.

 

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.

Cuomo dumps on de Blasio and on NYC public school students

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the April 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: April 2014 Leaflet Front 2014 and back

This winter, when Mayor de Blasio approved most, but not all, planned co-locations, including several charter schools, he thought he had found compromise with the hedge fund billionaires, Moskowitz, and Cuomo. He was mistaken.

After weeks of unrelenting attacks in the media, Cuomo stood at the side of charter advocates in Albany and declared war on the Mayor and the public school students of NYC. He, with the State Senate, orchestrated a budget that robs NYC public schools to pay privately run charters. Former Mayor Bloomberg set the stage for this confrontation by destroying scores of public schools and turning over their buildings to charters.

Charters (privately managed schools that live off public money) operate on an uneven playing field. They select their own students, limit special education students, limit English Language learners, throw students out at will, and receive preferential treatment for co-locations.

According to Diane Ravitch’s recent post “New York Schools: The Roar of the Charters:”

On the same day that de Blasio organized a rally in Albany on behalf of raising taxes on the rich to pay for UPK, she (Moskowitz) closed her schools and bused thousands of students and parents to Albany for a pro-charter school rally. Governor Andrew Cuomo stood by her side, pledging “to save” charter schools and to protect them from paying rent; his ardent devotion to the charter cause may have been abetted by the $800,000 in campaign contributions he received from charter advocates in the financial industry.

This chapter is not yet closed. This Thursday, April 10, 4pm, parents, teachers, students and others will rally in front of the New York Public Library at 5th Avenue and 41st Street. They will protest awful provisions in last week’s State budget, including Albany forcing New York City to offer valuable public school space for free to all new charters. New Action urges our union to support this effort and calls on all staff and friends of public education to attend.