Monday, October 13, 2008

An Open Letter to the Delegates at the DA

Dear Delegates

ICE supports the actions of the ATRs at the Delegate Assembly. Please read their handout, "The Real Facts About ATRs," listen to what their reps have to say and sign their petition. If you have ATRs in your school point them in the direction of the ad hoc ATR committee. The stronger the group becomes the more chance the UFT leadership will listen to their gripes.

All teachers are potentially ATRs as the DOE can manipulate which schools will be closed by piling in kids and withholding resources.

ICE also supports the Justice Not Just Tests "NYCORE" attempts to organize effective opposition to high stakes testing.

The UFT/Unity Caucus leadership makes statements about the evils of highs stakes testing, but their actions belie their words. Last year they took the first step toward rating teachers based on student scores by agreeing to school-wide merit pay based on a narrow use of student test scores. The recent agreement with Klein that individual teachers could be compared based upon student test scores put us on a dangerous road that will marginalize the complex variables that explain student achievement. Join the JNJT and ICE campaign by helping distribute materials in your schools.

Who are we?

Within the UFT, there are various political groups (caucuses). The Independent Community of Educators is one such caucus.

ICE, since its founding in late 2003, has been a persistent critic of Unity Caucus, the ruling party of the UFT, which has been in power since the founding of the UFT in the early 1960s. Unity has controlled the UFT with an iron fist, using its total control of the UFT staff to attempt to stamp out opposition points of view, even going so far as to have its members pull literature out of mail boxes and harass opponents. We ran in the 2004 and 2007 UFT elections in coalition with Teachers for a Just Contract "TJC." Our differences with the Randi Weingarten led UFT/Unity Caucus leadership are extensive.

Our core positions

• Reduce class size though contract negotiations, not legal gimmicks, the preferred method of the UFT leadership.

• Support the concept of small schools but not at the expense of other schools. Charter schools have been flat out used to undermine public education and pull an end run around the union. That the union runs two and signed a contract with Green Dot only serves that purpose.

• Oppose renewal of NCLB and its one-way teacher bashing accountability. Teachers and schools should only be held accountable if they are given the resources.

• ICE views the standards movement and the high stakes tests that go along with is as a way to narrow the curriculum, force teaching to the test "deskilling teachers by asking not much more than the ability to do test prep" and the market based results of merit pay and measuring teachers based on test scores. The UFT/Unity leadership has agreed and supported the Joel Klein administration on many of these initiatives.

• A more democratic union. Currently every single member of the 90 member Executive Board is Unity endorsed.

• Oppose mayoral control, which has been supported by the UFT leadership since 2001.

• Opposition to the disastrous 2005 contract with its massive givebacks: the longer school day/year, the 37.5 minute extra class four days per week, the loss of the ability to grieve material that is inaccurate or unfair, the loss of seniority and SBO transfer rights which created the ATR crisis, weaker tenure protections, hall patrol, cafeteria duty and more.

• Fix schools, don't close them.

• ICE opposes GHI/HIP privatization and supports efforts to examine reasons for a major drop in the percentage of Black and Hispanic teachers hires under Bloomberg/Klein and the struggles of the FMPR teachers in Puerto Rico.


Anonymous said...

Great summary of what ICE is. I hope every delegate reads it.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that, but you should add... Call for a vote by the people on ending Term Limits.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

hey unity hack,

i before e except after c


you're right doesn't say anything about randi being a sell-out.

Sean Ahern said...

Defend our learning and working conditions! For a progressive, democratic, and militant labor movement of educators, join the Independent Community of Educators!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sean!

Anonymous said...

Who is the ass the wrote the sky is not falling. I'm an ATR and I was kicked out of my school after 19 years! Oh now say something stupid like oh your still getting paid! I lost my students and many great friends I use to work with. YOU SHOULD BE WERE THEY DOE PUT ME NOW! YOU WOULD BE SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE!BUT YOU MUST SUCK A ALOT OF UNITY ASS SO YOUR JOB IS SAFE.

Anonymous said...

Anon "The Sky is not Falling" --

How many cups of coffee did you have today? Are you tired of sitting down waisting your time? Bet so, you must be a UNITY member.

Do you know that there are more than 1,400 ATR teachers?

Unitymustgo! said...

To be clear I am an ICE supporter. I agree with where you stand on most issues having to do with our union. That being said I believe that if you want to begin building a base of teachers that will vote for your candidates in the next election, then you might need to adjust your language to be more “PC” for lack of a better term. Instead of language such as “has been a persistent critic of Unity Caucus”, perhaps language such as, “consistently tried to be an alternative voice against what we perceive as ineffective leadership” might play to your audience better.

On a separate issue, I think I almost popped a blood vessel in my head yesterday when I read the Randi’s latest editorial in our UNITY (oops I mean union) newspaper. The nerve of this woman saying the words “once a teacher, always a teacher.” Is she freaking kidding!! Randi if you’re reading this, I’m a teacher, I work with many hardworking teachers and you madam are no teacher.


Anonymous said...

Dear Unitymustgo,

I couldn't agree more with you regarding Randi's message. It's an awful attempt to distort and rewrite history.

These subtle lines of propaganda are aimed at all the newbies who have entered the system.

Current conditions, I think, may serve to expose her for the fraud that she is and the sham of a party that is Unity.

Very disturbing. The time is now to build our base and not when elections come around.

ed notes online said...

Unity Must Go:
"To be clear I am an ICE supporter. I agree with where you stand on most issues having to do with our union. That being said I believe that if you want to begin building a base of teachers.."

To build an opposition there is a need for people to go beyond supporting ICE with comments on blogs and become someone in the schools who will distribute info to people to counter the Unity propaganda machine. Sometimes you think you alone but speaking out, you find allies you never expected. Without challenging the Unity machine at the school level, nothing will get going.

Also - ICE is an open group and will respond to criticisms. But this is done at meetings where ideas can be hashed out.

I wouldn't worry about the PC issue until a base of the most critical people of Unity are activated beyond blogging.

At some point if something takes off, some kind of demo at the UFT where 5 hundred or more people come out would begin to make a point. Until then, it's all theory.

Unitymustgo! said...

Norm, as usual I agree with you. For the record I do pass out ICE material at my school, and I do act as an active voice in my school. I go to all Chapter meetings and events and try to keep my chapter leader in check. Sadly my home situation doesn't afford me the opportunity to attend ICE meetings. I've wanted to meet you, Jeff and all the others keeping it real and shake your hands and say thank you. I've tried to establish an identity on the blogs. I do not post anonymously, and don't forget you even have my personal e-mail, which clearly identifies me to you and ICE.

Regardless of motivating bloggers, I stand behind my suggestion of considering the tone of some of what is said by ICE. Be clear, I know what ICE says is true and accurate and I agree with almost all, still the tone at times makes it easy for UNITY to dismiss them as they so unfairly do.

On another side note, anyone else getting annoyed at Randi's clear attempt to support Bloomberg, by going through this whole dog and pony show over the city council vote. Her language is so perfectly worded so as to feign being upset once the city council does give him the right to run again, yet still never really doing anything which actually had any chance of stopping it.

Not that I actually think they will actually count any of the ballots their asking the Chapters to vote on about term limits (what an F'n joke she even thinks she needs to ask), but at my school at least the whole things a joke. My Chapter leader put the ballot box and Ballots out on the Front desk in the Principals office. I had 2 teachers report seeing my Principal stuff 3-4 ballots into the box herself. Not to give away my school, but my Principals brother is a city council member on his 2nd term!!!!!! Small world huh. I don't know where he stands, and I don't have the guts to ask my Principal about it. This is one time I will just shut my mouth in my school.


Anonymous said...

Unity Must Go,
I agree with you and have been telling ICE since '05 to do the same thing. PR is very important, and coming across in any militant fashion scares the little elementary teachers to death, and they control most of the votes.

Anonymous said...

james Eterno and Jeff Kaufman are disgusting traders to their own union:

And now friends with reports of the the NY Sun?

Anonymous said...

To Randi's butt kisser who wrote the sky is not falling. Have you been reading the newspapers or listening to the news during the past few weeks. I hope that you have and if Bloomberg gets his way you will be an ATR next year and i hope that you take my place at the school that they sent me to.
You probably will not go there since you work for Randi and monitor this blog for her and write misinformation at randi's request. But you will not be an ATR or change your school since you have you head so far up Randi's ass it will not come out.Hope that you report this to Randi.