I pride myself on being independent and objective and have explored the policies and planks of the three UFT caucuses and have come to some decisions on who I will be voting for in the UFT election. This post critiqued the different caucuses running in the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) elections and how I came to my decision. I hope this guides many of you to make the right choices.
MORE: This is a dynamic and vibrant organization and many of my favorite educators and bloggers are running under the MORE banner. While I really want MORE to do well, their emphasis on the leftist dogma of "Social Justice" is very disturbing to me. I suspect many educators who are "moderate" like me will have a problem with MORE's "Social Justice" part of their plank and is the main reason I cannot join MORE. Nevertheless, MORE may be the first caucus that could garner enough votes in the high schools to capture a seat or two and maybe more since the hayday of ICE.
New Action: This caucus, despite its leftist origin, has drifted into the center and is probably most closely aligned with my own philosophy. While I really do understand why New Action "sold their soul" to Unity for some limited power, I would never have made such a deal and despite how closely I identify with the political goals of New Action, I cannot join an organization that sold their "soul to the devil".
Unity: The most dominant caucus and likely winner. However, the Unity caucus is a "top down organization" and fails to allow its members to vote on important matters that affect the classroom. I have personally experienced the smug attitude and down right arrogance of the leaders and how they lack democracy and transparency when negotiating member rights. . Examples are the ATR crises which they created from that very same 2005 contract and then changed to make the ATR's life a living hell by rotating weekly to different schools, supporting the badly flawed "race to the top" program and allowing the DOE to use Charlotte Danielson's rubric which will have a detrimental effect on the classroom teacher. Who can forget the terrible 2005 contract that made teaching in the classroom a nightmare. I could never join an organization that requires an oath that stifles dissent as a condition of advancement.
Listed below are my picks
President: Julie Cavanagh - MORE While Michael Mulgrew is a step up from Randi Weingarten, his failure to bring more democratic and transparent policies to better reflect member concerns was the determining factor.
Secretary: Brian Jones - MORE The co-star in" the inconvenient truth of Waiting for Superman" really impressed me and he deserves a chance to bring the union into another direction.
VP Special Education: Carmen Alvarez - Unity. She has done a great job and never replace what works. District 75 in particular believe her advocacy has made their life easier and the driving force to get paid for working on SESIS.
Assistant Treasurer: Michael Fiorillo - MORE Few teachers are as intelligent and knowledgeable than Michael. The other two cannot compare to Mr. Fiorillo.
Treasurer: Camille Eterno - MORE Mel Aaronson was a very effective Treasurer but has been long retired. I want an active teacher who understands the present day realities of the classroom to handle my money. Being married to James tells me she is a good decision maker.
Executive Board: - High School -
Jonathan Halabi - New Action/Unity He really tries and has been a dissenting voice in the past.
Kit Wainer - MORE Is an effective advocate for the classroom teacher.
James Eterno - MORE - The best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be.
Peter Lamphere - MORE. We all know his story and I hope he wins.
Other people I will be voting for:
Amy Arundell - Unity. She really helps teachers. One of my heroes.
Peter Zucker - MORE. A blogger and a fighter.
Rona Feiser - Unity. A good person to have in your corner.
Norm Scott - MORE A one person information center and that's important.
Debbie Saal - MORE. Great teacher, nuff said.
Richard Skibins - Unity One of the original bloggers.
Angela Artis: - Unity. She's always helpful, very knowledgeable.
Fransesco Portelos - MORE. Rubberized and we need him to represent those teachers in trouble.
By default, I will be voting for MORE candidates when I have not identified a candidate because we need a change, despite their wrong headed "social justice" plank. Remember, if you pick a caucus slate by putting an "X" on the first page and try to select candidates, you invalidate the entire ballot. Therefore, either pick the candidates individually or select a caucus slate not both!
One last point is the absense from the UFT election process is the education deformer sock puppet and "fifth columnists" Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) and the reason is that they would have been exposed as a fraud with only the fringe (less than 100 TFA educators) who would actually vote for E4E. My advise to E4E just go away, your failure to participate in the election makes your organization irrelevant to New York City teachers.