Friday, April 05, 2013

Handicapping The UFT Elections

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.




No matter which caucus you support.....VOTE!


I noticed that... said...

Excellent selection of very capable candidates. You are voting the way I plan to vote too. Thetr are individuals who are highly qualified in their positions, e.g. Carmen Alvarez, and those individuals deserve to be voted as continued incumbent.

I have to commend you Chaz for bringomg clarity and perspective in this year's UFT elections.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the vote of confidence.


Anti-District 30 Reps said...

Rona Freiser? The biggest shill in Queens.

NYC Educator said...

Thanks for a thoughtful analysis. I'm also a big fan of Amy A.

Anonymous said...

Great post but iff you vote for your picks and MORe, your vote will be invalidated.

Chaz said...

non 11:28

I guess I need to be more clear. What I meant was that I will vote for MORE candidates where I do not have a favored person to select, not "X" the MORE slate.

Michael Fiorillo said...

I appreciate your kind comments and support, Chaz, but your post might be taken to suggest that picking and choosing among slates and candidates is allowed, which it's not. It would invalidate the ballot.

Voter turnout among active teachers is already dismal, and the disallowing of anyone's vote based on understandable confusion should be avoided.

Since the voting period lasts for weeks, you'd be doing yours readers a service by eliminating the possibility of any confusion, just in case they're not following the comments.

Thanks again.

Chaz said...


I am not telling people to pick a slate. I am telling them to pick MORE candidates when not finding candidates to their liking.

I will clarify that in my blog.

Anonymous said...

Rona Freiser is a typical Unity shill. When the abusive and incompetent principal of a large high school was being investigated for trying to find romantic assignations on the internet during school hours using a school computer and was subsequently going to be featured as a "Principal From Hell" in a NY Teacher article, good ol' Rona had the article killed because she and this now ex-principal went to the same house of worship. She is corrupt and a perfect Unity poster child.

Anonymous said...

I voted for the entire more slate. Its not so much that I like this party but after watching Michael Mulgrew do everything he can to destroy the union I feel its time for a change.

Anonymous said...

I know James Eterno. He is the most competent and caring person I have ever met. If you want to be represented by the best person vote for James. I wish he was running for President.

James Eterno said...

Thanks for the support from both Camille and me.

Michael is right; please remind your readers not to pick a slate if they are going to vote for individual candidates. That will invalidate their vote. It happens too many times.

I am imagining a world if your preferred candidates won. It would be very interesting.

ed notes online said...

As a long-time observer of the vote count the split ballot (which I used to do) is basically a wasted vote in that in final tallies people only use the slate counts. So few people do splits they don't really get factored in. I agree on Carmen and Amy though. But I must say given the wide disparity and farce in the 2 against one UFT elections with 3 caucuses running and 2 presidential candidates and since most of your candidates are from MORE it is a shame that your vote will not be counted in any of the columns. Given these elections realities picking the slate with the most candidates you support would have the most impact. My 3 cents but of course I am biased. However if most of your candidates were Unity I would say the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I like you do not agree with everything MORE has on their platform, and have told Julie that their first responsibility is to the teachers and the welfare of our students--but that shouldn't allow for other external philosophies that are not about education.

I will be voting the MORE slate although their are people in Unity I also respect. But I am hoping should MORE win, and I hope they do, they too will recognize those in UNITY who should continue their work or have a seat at the table.

I will not split my vote because it will invalidate the whole ballot and that's like not voting.

NYC Educator said...

Splitting your vote won't invalidate your ballot if you don't check a slate. However, I did it one year, and it took a very long time. I do like some people in Unity, but I voted for MORE this year. Much as I respect Chaz for his patience and thoughtfulness, I don't really feel like spending 45 minutes hunting names.

ed notes online said...

I do want to say that in the heat of an election there is a lot of - well -- heat. I have known many Unity people who I like and respect and would even vote for some of them if the way the election was conducted did not make voting a slate necessary. I did in the past. But there is not one New Action candidate I would vote for because every one of them is willing to sign on to a corrupt deal with Unity and play the role of helping keep Unity in total control of the union. To pretend they are independent and working on the inside when they couldn't win even one ex bd seat without Unity support is outrageous.

ed notes online said...

On the social justice issue that seems to bother you. Did you see the New Action post saying they are really social justice not MORE. How come that doesn't bother you?