Monday, November 23, 2015


My family, including my wife and two young kids, all came to last Saturday's MORE meeting in Manhattan.  MORE is the Movement of Rank and File Educators.  It is the main group opposed to Michael Mulgrew's majority Unity Caucus.  MORE is working in a coalition with long standing caucus New Action for the 2016 UFT election.

Oftentimes as MORE was growing the last few years, MORE meetings were little more than exercises in frustration. Many of were quite skeptical if the various different viewpoints within the organization could be reconciled to make a coherent movement.  My wife and I stuck with it and after Saturday's gathering, we could pretty much say on the way home that the group is maturing.  We didn't walk out in frustration; it was a productive meeting where there was a fairly healthy exchange about both process and product concerning the 2016 UFT Election.

MORE had divided into divisional committees (Elementary, Middle School and High School) to choose its candidates for the Divisional Executive Board and Vice President slots in the UFT Election. This after the caucus had already democratically decided that Jia Lee (conscientious objector to high stakes testing; Chapter Leader the Earth School)  would be the standard bearer to run for UFT President. South Bronx School is the latest blogger to support Jia.

The process for picking the rest of the top slate was a healthy way to vet candidates and then choose who the group wants to represent them in the election. At the end of the committee presentations, MORE voted on the candidates. The next step is to present them in committee to our coalition partners at New Action and allot the seats.  Since nothing is finalized yet except for the presidential candidate, I am not revealing anything about any candidates here in public.

The very difficult task of deciding a party platform was also tackled at the meeting.  While I am not happy with 100% of what was approved, I am happy with about 95% of the document which mixes traditional trade unionism with a social justice focus so that if MORE is elected, it would lead to a stronger union and a better school system.  Members were given a chance to look at the document which a committee put together in advance and propose amendments which many of us did. Again the process of trying to please the many constituencies within MORE was not easy but it was done quite democratically and openly. The debate at the meeting I thought was quite healthy.

Once MORE publishes the platform, we will print it in this space.

Contrast this group that is growing up with the state version of Unity Caucus, the majority political party in both the city and state teacher unions.  Apparently, one of our union's leaders could find nothing better to talk about at a NYSUT Board of Directors meeting than this blog post which criticizes Unity in no uncertain terms. MORE is moving ahead while one the people who runs our state union is worried about what a blogger is writing. These are interesting times.


Anonymous said...

This must mean South Bronx has pulled his endorsement of his cat Sparkles. Zucker's fickleness is an affront to cats everywhere. I would advise his current endorsement to be wary.
Yours Truly,

Anonymous said...

The last comment has to be from one of Porty's gang. Jai is an excellent choice. Sparkles would be a far better choice than the candidate running on the Solidarity slate. Both Jai and Sparkles are not POWER hungry. They care about the workers and children. All the Presidential candidate from Solidarity cares about is him winning the election. He has been crying and whining all summer and fall. I hope it doesn't continue into the winter. But then again his tears might just freeze.

Anonymous said...

Speaking for cats everywhere I would say it's much better for Jai to have South Bronx's endorsement than Sparkles. Sparkles has felt the sting of betrayal and the fickle wind that bursts through Zucker's famous brain.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Zucker (South Bronx School) just sees the facts and is persuaded by them. That is why he is supporting MORE.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he could use a good optometrist to overcome his myopia. Cats and UFT candidates everywhere are concerned.
Your Friend,

Bronx Teacher said...

I checked with Sparkles first before I, as well as The Crack Team, decided to go with Jia. Her disappointment lasted about a nanosecond. Soon she was off cleaning herself and taking her 20th nap if the day.

Sparkles has asked me to convey to Jia Lee the graciousness Jia has shown with a bouquet of cat nip and a the gift certificates for Tender Vittles.

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,
Sparkles is as much a disappointment as a cat as she was a candidate. I recommended that she distance herself from you when you endorsed her. (She is much too good for you.) Unfortunately she did not follow my advice and has been replaced in your pageant of candidates. Jai, I plead with you not to follow in Sparkles paw prints! Peter, give up your fickle ways and make amends to the cats and candidates you have endorsed.
Your Only True Friend,

Harris L. said...

Jeez, what is with all this insanity?

Anyway, I couldn't get into town for Saturday's meeting but it sounds like it was a good, productive afternoon.

I needed to take a 'vacation' from MORE for awhile but I am proud to have been a member for the last three years. The coalition with NAC and the formation of Stronger Together are very important steps in what James calls the 'maturation process.'

Props to the relatively small group of folks have done a remarkable job keeping MORE together through a difficult period and making it a stronger place for having gone through it.