Monday, May 30, 2016
Why MORE's Social Justice Plank Is Crap!
My colleagues at MORE are mighty unhappy with my stance on their "social justice" plank and have made great strides in "putting lipstick on the pig" by claiming that their social justice plank is part of teacher justice. Be it NYC educator, Ed Notes Online, or the ICEUFT blog. Moreover, they claim that a narrowly based teacher union is doomed to fail since it cannot attract enough members to make a difference and I agree. However, the problem is that I do believe in social justice, just not the social justice MORE advocates. This post explains the social justice that should be part of the teacher justice program while some of MORE's major social justice plank deals more with Socialist or Communist political ideology and not education and that's why its "crap".
My perfect caucus would first and foremost be about "teacher justice" that is demanding respect for the teaching profession and the professionalism that goes with it, allowing for a teacher voice on all decisions, and negotiating a contract that is fair and equitable to all the members. No winners and losers. No longer will there be an ATR pool or second class citizenship. The caucus will bring back respect and pride to the teaching profession and teacher autonomy in the classroom.
The "social justice" part would be working with the community's parents for smaller class sizes, so all students have a better chance for educational success, adequate resources, for the schools, a fair and enforced student discipline policy that removes disruptive students from the classroom and set up suspension centers (remember the old 600 schools?) for these students so the rest of the students can learn. My "social justice" plank is a parent voice, a peaceful classroom, a climate of respect for all, an environment for optimum student learning, and most importantly, the proper resources and support for all students to reach their educational potential.
By contrast, MORE's "social justice" plank includes too many ideological issues. including increased restorative justice funds and staff, as if these useless circles really work. They don't! Just read my previous post on Flushing high school. Furthermore, MORE apparently advocates affirmative action for hiring teaching staff, regardless if they're qualified. In other words, instead of hiring based on teacher quality MORE actually wants race, culture, and religion to be considered in the composition of a teacher staff I thought that nonsense was outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court? If you don't believe me, just read what MORE's Presidential candidate Jia Lee told the Gothomist about teacher staffs. I personally dislike any discrimination be it from the left or the right and selecting a teaching staff based on factors other than on a teacher's ability is plain wrong om any level, no matter how noble the idea is. Finally, MORE is strangely silent on the revised and more lenient student discipline code that has resulted in more violent acts in the New York City schools. Is their ideology more important then their member safety? Even the clueless and disconnected UFT President Michael Mulgrew realized that the revised student discipline code is making schools increasingly unsafe for both students and staff. Finally, MORE (so did Unity) supported the Al Sharpton led march against fellow union members, a case where ideology trumped trade unionism. A major no, no to me.
While I am happy that MORE has won the high school seats on the executive board and possibly added a level of transparency to the secretive Unity caucus that dominates the union, I cannot in good conscience be a MORE member until they change their "social justice" plank to supporting teachers and not the ideological aims of the left. To me their "social justice" plank its just "crap".