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Veteran educators form a caucus and call for member-driven teachers' union

By David Limm on Mar 14, 2014 10:36 AM

Seeking to fortify the ranks of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which is currently waiting out contract negotiations with the School District, a number of veteran teachers and school staff have announced the formation of a group within the union called the Caucus of Working Educators

The caucus, which also includes nurses, counselors, librarians, and other support staff, says it wants to make clear to a district seeking major salary and work-rule concessions that teachers' working conditions translate as students' learning conditions.

The group's platform lists six guiding ideals, the first of which is a union empowered by a strong member base, not by top-down leadership. Other principles include educational equality, transparency, and teacher autonomy.

"The objective of the caucus is to support and further the mission of the PFT by tapping into the energy of its members," said a Friday press release announcing the group's launch.

“We want to build a member-driven union whose mission is to ensure a great education for our students and ensure the viability of teaching as a lifelong career,” said member Peggy Savage, a longtime teacher and PFT building representative. 

Other rank-and-file teacher groups with a social justice focus include CORE in Chicago -- whose members were elected to leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010 -- and MORE in New York City.

Here is the platform of the Caucus of Working Educators:

Member-Driven Union
WE work to respond to, represent, and amplify the voice of our members. We believe that the true power of our union to make change comes from strengthening the web of relationships between members, not from waiting for or responding to top-down decisions. 

Transparency, Accountability & Shared Decision-Making  
WE believe in open governance, communication, and information exchange within the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and all institutions that influence public education. Those most affected by the decisions concerning public education must be at the table as decision-makers, namely educators, parents, students, and school community members.  

Defense of Publicly Funded Public Education
WE support measures that ensure every student has access to a high quality, fully-funded public education, regardless of family income, racial background, or neighborhood.  We demand increased funding to meet students’ actual social, emotional and academic needs, as well as make up for the lasting impact of racial discrimination and economic disinvestment that has left our schools under-resourced.

Transformed Curriculum and Autonomy to Teach, not Test
WE support the reclaiming of teacher autonomy and professional discretion to develop a transformative curriculum and pedagogy that promotes critical thinking, creativity, and compassion in our students. We work to stop the over-reliance on state-mandated high-stakes testing and curriculum as a means to sort, label and punish students, teachers, and schools.  

Education for All
WE are a social justice caucus that opposes institutional racism and organizes with students, parents, and other working people to hold schools and government accountable for providing a quality education for all students.  We work to stop the attacks being waged on low-income students and communities of color, massive layoffs of school staff, and the punitive policies which push students into the school-to-prison pipeline.  
Strong Contract + Rights of Members
WE believe that our working conditions are students’ learning conditions. We must have a strong Agreement between the PFT and the School District that ensures that we are respected, supported, and compensated fairly to provide for the best learning environment for our students.

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Comments (182)

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on March 14, 2014 12:42 pm
Is the PFT supporting this or are you all attempting a coup?
Submitted by Andrew Saltz (not verified) on March 14, 2014 12:46 pm
We are the PFT. We are all PFT members. We want the current CB team to succeed (our jobs and paychecks depend on it!).
Submitted by huh? (not verified) on March 14, 2014 5:10 pm
Why would a caucus be formed if it is supporting the caucus in power?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 9:41 pm
I agree. We don't need someone to join the CB slumber party. We need an independent caucus with an independent program from what we have now. That doesn't mean people don't unite when the SRC tries to impose conditions, but if the current leadership isn't ready to do battle we need an alternative.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 3:52 pm
Where can teachers join?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 4:42 pm
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:51 pm
Caucus of Chaos. Shameful.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:21 pm
Really?? Did anything really get accomplished tonight?
Submitted by Peggy Savage (not verified) on March 19, 2014 11:06 pm
There is no , "coup." We are a caucus within the P.F.T. W.E seek to support and energize our wonderful union as well as work alongside the students , families, and communities of Philadelphia. There isn't no division at all just a strengthening of collective forces.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 11:41 pm
I applaud what the caucus is doing and encourage members to sign up and hear how they can help. I strongly encourage members of the caucus or anyone who is serious about being heard in these meetings to become familiar with parlimentary procedure and They will keep ruling you out of order if you don't know the proper way and time to make a motion. The exec board is playing chess and the body is playing checkers.. Get on their level if you want to be heard.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 20, 2014 6:42 am
You had my support until you started tweeting the what was said at our closed door meeting. That was a shameful act!!!
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 20, 2014 7:32 am
I would not use the term "shameful". I think the reaction to tweeting reveals just how frightening the notion of "all connected all the time" our world is today. Many members can text during a meeting. We have this same problem in our classrooms with students and their cell phones. This is a dilemma and a challenge to all of us. We need to see how this inevitable change in our society can still help the labor movement. I continue to applaud the creation of the caucus of WE. I want us PFT members to continue to listen to each other as we chart these waters. SOLIDARITY
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 1:07 pm
Was anyone of this group elected by the overall membership? Please in these times do not split the PFT. We have common enemies and they are Corbett, Harrisburg Republicans and certain SRC members.
Submitted by annon (not verified) on March 14, 2014 1:37 pm
When was the last time there was a real (not Philly style party machine) PFT election? The CB team has been in power for decades. Jordan was appointed by Kirsch.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 2:10 pm
Was anyone elected in the current administration? I never voted for Jerry, because there was no election. He was just magically head of the PFT. Let's be real. We need someone stronger leading this union. If this caucus unites the PFT and brings more people out to the meetings than I am all for it.
Submitted by Mayday (not verified) on March 17, 2014 4:45 pm
Agreed. A caucus is simply a subset of a larger group, aimed at a specific goal. For instance, the PFT negotiating team is already a caucus. No one is trying to split the union. We would like a more productive and proactive union and no "permission" is needed to attempt to achieve that. PFT members ARE the PFT.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:55 pm
Not if they are tweeting events from a closed door private meeting.
Submitted by union member (not verified) on March 14, 2014 5:36 pm
Please read the by-laws of the union. A caucus does not have to be elected; they do not hold office. They are a group of union members who want to see change. It is so long since we had any that most members do not even know it is possible.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 9:06 pm
You don't have to be elected to form a caucus. That comes later if they have support.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 1:20 pm
How do I join? This is exactly what the PFT members need!
Submitted by Kelley Collings on March 14, 2014 3:34 pm
You can join on our website: Spread the word!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 7:38 pm
I am sooo sorry that I joined this caucus. How dare they tweet what was happening at a closed door union meeting. Such a disgrace. This is not about transparency in the union. The public does not need to hear about the dissent among the members.. Shameful!!!
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:11 pm
A union that does not allow a robust debate because it is equated with a lack of solidarity cannot make room for many of its members. There is not secrecy in this world. The truth is not as fearful as people believe. This union has the capacity to embrace the diversity within its members and the strength that has been there along will emerge. I am happily participating in this caucus. We need to grow the PFT.. We need to be strong. Over 90% of members did not show today.That is not a secret. Just a fact. The contract is a pressing issue and after the contract the next fight awaits us. Join the Caucus of Working Educators today. A breath of fresh air. WE are members of the PFT. Embrace you union brothers and sisters. SOLIDARITY without fear.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:03 pm
It's not about secrecy. It's about us having the ability to have private, non-public meetings to discuss what should be a fair and proper contract. If we wanted it to be public, the press would have been invited. By leaking out the various tweets we are giving the upper hand to the other side of the negotiating table. To put it in terms you might understand, "loose lips, sink ships".
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:16 pm
I have to say I disagree, respectfully. We are killing ourselves from within when we fear democracy itself. We have the power within our union to wage an awesome battle against the foes of public education. I have faith to believe we will eventually do so. Solidarity comrade.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:46 pm
The caucus proved themselves to be a bunch of imbeciles. Glad I didn't join. How dare they tweet the events. Imbeciles!!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:35 pm
What about members who couldn't be at tonight's meeting? Perhaps the tweets are for people who couldn't be there but wanted to know what was going on.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 8:07 pm
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 9:38 pm
The smartest thing would be to let the SRC impose then Deborah Willig and Ralph Teti can finally go to the PA State Supreme Court and challenge ACT 46 constitutionality. Then, PFT wins then SRC can't impose anything again. I think Kirsch and Jordan are afraid to. Who in their right mind besides the Principals is giving up salary that was already earned through our degrees???? No teacher will vote for salary being taken away.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 19, 2014 9:14 pm
Last year, I said the same thing about a PFT meeting with regard to people not coming. However, I could not make the meeting because I had after-school obligations at my school involving students and I could not make the meeting. I don't see any problem with the tweets. One of the criticisms that many people have about organizations like the PSP are the lack of transparency. Well, the same could be said for the PFT. The PFT needs to be more communicative with members. The PFT needs to mobilize members. If it takes social media to do this, then so be it. I like that the CWE is really trying to make a grassroots efforts to mobilize the union members.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 9:36 pm
Anyone that thinks they can control information in the age of the internet does not understand how the world has changed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 11:48 am
Someone from the caucus made a conscious effort to pick up their phone and tweet the private discussions of the meeting. It has nothing to do with controlling the information. It is all about self control. Tweeting is shameful!!! I truly hope Jerry speaks to this because they crossed a line.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2014 10:53 pm
The tweets were unacceptable and clearly self motivated. Many of Jerry's responses were not tweeted. Shameful. The quest to divide was clearly understood by most!
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 22, 2014 5:22 pm
Tweets during the meeting are nothing new. Teacher Action Group and many members have been doing this quite some time. While I disagree with it, I don't get the outrage. It seems like it was okay when the meeting was a pep rally and not what it should be, a place for different ideas to be heard and debated.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 6:58 am
Anyone who is outraged at this tweeting does not understand how the world has changed since the internet started. Bureaucrats can no longer control the message in any area whether it be government, business, or a labor union. As with any bureaucrats who react hysterically to whistleblowers the issue becomes what are they trying to control and hide? If what a tweeter is saying is not true it will come out in open debate which is the essence of democracy.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 8:59 am
My issue is tweeting events of a closed door member only meeting. I'm a millennial I know all about tweeting. It is inappropriate to tweet events occurring in a closed door member only meeting point blank period. That demonstration of tweeting by the caucus makes me doubt their leadership ability, integrity and purpose. I was interested in joining but will not because of the tweeting.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 9:41 am
Unfortunately, some PFT members will whine about this tweeting at a union meeting, but will not say a peep when the PFT officials side with the District, with substantiating why a violation of the contract was done, on the many breaches of the collective bargaining agreement. Maybe if those members used that energy and spoke up to Jordan, Kempin,Harris, Phillips, Kirsch, Weingarten about the way we are represented by them and permit the District to get away with so many violations of the contract,we would have stronger, more persistent union officials at the bargaining table to get a fair , successful contract. The Tweets that I read during the first about an hour of the meeting- were not damaging .Just tweets talking about a strike , transparency from the union to read the contract beforehand, (which you think would be a given- but not with the PFT officers) and why under Jordan's watch there was so many charter schools that opened ,once again, a fact that seems to bypass Jordan as he sits idle on that topic, and why so many jobs have been lost in the PFT during Jordan's tenure- again a true fact . I think it's good the District sees these issues being raised since I do not see the PFT officers up in arms about a lost of jobs or charter, private operators schools being opened in droves. These issues could have been already addressed by beong taken to arbitration or the courts. Nope, that didn't happen just more excuses , justification and passiveness by the PFT officials. Members don't be afraid of some transparency from the PFT , they are not all knowing and a lot of stuff they do behind close doors is not in members best interest. That's why they keep it secret. The union needs a caucus or members that question their moves. My personal experience with them is, and would be yours when you personally have to seek their assistance, is refusing to answer questions they think is too direct , or give an honest evaluation of your grievance or issue, just passive to follow up with issues by just substantiating why the District violated the contract instead of arbitrating or taking it seriously, discourteous when you are persistent in getting answers, will not communicate with you-even after many calls or emails to them .In short, just total arrogance since they are not held accountable to anyone, mainly members since we do not directly elect the officials at the PFT. The PFT officers definitely need to be reigned in to address the real concerns members have and not the ones they want to address -which is hardly anything Email Jordan,Harris, Kempin,Kirsch, and Weingarten and ask him them their strategy for a decent CBA is or about a issue you have .I would love to know if you get a reply.I am sure you won't though. That tells us you (member) aren't important to us ,we know what we are doing,don't tell us what to do or give us advise. Obviously you don't union officials since the union is collapsing under your tenure. Mass email all the officials in the AFT/PFT. Time to make them accountable to members.Let us know if anyone of them gives you a reasonable, non-scripted response.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 10:34 am
"I am William Hite and I approved this Political, Union Busting ad."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 1:14 pm
So expressing a point of view is union busting? Sounds like thought control to me!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 6:32 pm
Thank you, Jerry for approving democracy .the SDP and PFT both need to practice that concept.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 7:21 pm
Like the last "election"?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 6:50 pm
Jordan's email
Submitted by Annonym. (not verified) on March 23, 2014 10:38 am
Far too much of the PFT "business" is behind closed doors. We need a caucus to have a voice. To date, the PFT appears to represent those that work at 18th Street - safe and secure in their offices. We need working teachers, nurses, secretaries, etc. to provide a voice. Transparency is good. If we complain about lack of transparency by the SRC, we need to do the same with the PFT. The tweets did not reveal anything more than what is already known.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 11:58 am
Tweets are unacceptable!!! Closed door meeting for a reason.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 4:03 pm
Keep up with the tweets.You are doing a great job.we need lots more tweets. Do not let anyone tell you that you can not tweet.thank you
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 5:05 pm
Unbelievable that we have people like you in our union. It's no wonder the public has no respect for Philly teachers. Your ignorance is appalling. Tweeting ANYTHING that happens at a closed door membership only meeting is more than deplorable.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 7:27 pm
Only if you have something to hide.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 8:49 pm
Information has been leaked out of closed door meeting way before tweeting was invented.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 8:13 pm
Even the NSA can't stop whistleblowers!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 8:01 pm
Close door or open door meetings does not matter because the SRC will know soon or later everything that was talked about in these meetings.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 11:41 am
I have been to every meeting and rally. I am a daily notebook reader. I have never before seen any tweets about our closed door union meetings before the caucus. Again it is unacceptable!!!! Quit the union if you can't control yourself.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 1:45 pm
So should all cell phones, laptops, iPads be checked at the door before entering a union meeting?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 2:44 pm
If people can't use self control than I am all for checking media devices. We do NOT need to show our hand to the enemy. This conduct is continuing to divide us and that is something that we can not afford.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 2:14 pm
You don't think they don't already have eyes and ears in the meeting? When does this "solidarity" become a means for the silencing of all disagreement?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 5:44 pm
There is a special kind of hell for moles.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 9:12 am
You never joined the caucus. Please.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 6:57 pm
Tweeting at a closed meeting may not have been the best choice,but nothing that was said was anything we shouldn't be discussing in public anyway. Strike, charter school expansion, lost on PFT jobs all under Jordan's tenure as president . I hope all the people worried about a few unrevealing tweets are just as concerned about how the SDP violates the contract all the time as the PFT officials sit passively by. Why would the District honor the CBA when they have a wimpy ,wuss of a mouse Jordan as a union head? Take the time and ask Jordan why he let's breaches of CBA bypass without any follow-up.look what they did with seniority without any action on PFT officials part.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 7:14 pm
It doesn't matter what was said at the meeting. It was inappropriate to tweet from a closed door, member only, meeting. I actually was very happy that a caucus was formed. I agree that we need to stick together as a union. Tweeting only embraces divisiveness.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 7:55 pm
I have asked Jerry, personally and through email, what the union plans to do in response to breaches in the CBA. I have walked in every march. I have attended SRC meetings. I have gone to every union meeting. I believe the tweets crossed a line. Solidarity!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2014 10:59 pm
Awesome and Jordan response was what in reference to constant and abundant breaches of the contract was?
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 24, 2014 7:27 am
To the one person who keeps going on and on about the tweeting hurting the PFT,:what did the tweets really show? There are many members who are interested enough to read any contract proposal before voting on, there are many members who are engaged enough they they are willing to strike right now, and there are many members who are passionate about fighting for their Union brothers and sisters' jobs, their lives, and they aren't afraid to get up in front of hundreds of others and speak up about it. All of that makes me proud of the PFT members. Stop worrying about the people in the PFT office, since you probably see one. Stop fighting for everyone who is facing yet another budget crisis, but this time without a contract. Quit whining and fight!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 2:27 pm
There is nothing worse than a bunch of people not knowing what they should know. These people don't have a clue. At least Jerry and his team have kept the SRC from imposing since the contract ran out August 31, 2013. The problem isn't the PFT it is the enemies of the PFT. This isn't a popularity contest it is a test of wills. Aren't you people supposed to be teaching children? Running unions and being leaders obviously is not your strongest area.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 5:03 pm
You sound like the person who doesn't know what you should know. The SRC has already imposed things; they took away seniority rights, they refuse to pay step raises, and they are turning more of our schools over to privateers. All this while Jerry and his team stand by "shocked". We need to fight and we should have hit the picket lines a long time ago. We need to abolish the SRC.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 14, 2014 5:06 pm
For what it's worth, I believe this caucus is a very good thing as it will galvanize more members into action. Having said that, ACT 46 must be challenged through a strike. Otherwise, the dictatorship that Diane Ravitch warns us about, is already here. She predicts that unless "action" is taken, several urban areas will have no real Public Ed. within the next few years. To paraphrase her, "If we're still a Democracy, we have to win this."
Submitted by Gtown_teach (not verified) on March 14, 2014 6:58 pm
Joe, I'm wondering how the PFT will strike if they impose terms. Will Jordan simply sue over the fact that the PFT can't strike if terms are imposed? Wait for a court injunction or decision and then strike? Or, will we just walk out? Very dicey, and I'm wondering if people aren't super scared of having their certs pulled if we do walk out. It's one thing to lose your job, it's another to lose your cert. There have to be alternatives to striking. I don't doubt for a second that Corbett wouldn't force our current Ed secretary to pull our certs if we went on strike.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 7:34 pm
The state cannot just pull your cert. They have to have an individual hearing for every one of the teachers. I doubt that they could handle 12,000 hearings. We need to stick together.
Submitted by Gtown_teach (not verified) on March 14, 2014 8:31 pm
I don't want to sound defeatist, but the state can do what they want. It's all Republicans from the house to the governor mansion. Again, very dicey. Might it be smarter to take a strike vote, and then sue to strike? In the end, we need to hold on. DO NOT ACCEPT a bad contract now. You know that Hite and Green will be toast when Corbett is out of office in November.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 14, 2014 8:45 pm
You make good points.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 8:40 pm
True we all know Republicans in control like to do just that-control workers,voters,and so on. The courts should uphold due process of each certification that is suspended , if that is the case. Remember for the educators caught in cheating of state tests they only suspended most of certs, less than 2 months mostly in the summer,so they could teach or be administrator again in Sept. If the state did anything with certs, before due process in court it would be very temporary just to save face. I honestly doubt they would do anything and case won in court in the end. Same thing happened in Louisiana with years of back pay won for the teachers until court date when they fired them all without due process.
Submitted by Gtown_teach (not verified) on March 15, 2014 8:06 am
Yeah, but that doesn't matter since New Orleans is like 85% charters now. They might have gotten their back-pay, but do they even have their jobs?? I'm just thinking that Jerry should do a strike vote soon, and fight it in court to see if we can get act 46 ruled unconstitutional. Also, if the charters are fighting the SRC's power, maybe we should jump in from the other side and sue regarding the constitutionality of their powers.
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:47 am
It does was too late for New Orleans but it helps others have legal standing in the same type of argument. It gives us a little leverage in our argument against privatization. The rule says hey you cant just fire everyone and do what you want.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 24, 2014 4:40 pm
I totally agree with you on this. Personally, I would let them impose then be able to finally challenge this thing in the PA State Supreme Court. The Union Attorneys are confident it will be overturned. However, I think the SRC know this and that's why they aren't pulling the trigger yet. Green will make a move soon. I see something happening by May.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2014 12:31 pm
They haven't actually gotten any back pay in NO, have they? It is under appeal and in any case, the district will file BK before paying a billion plus liability.
Submitted by annon (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:00 am
Anthony Williams is a Democrat. Many of the charter / privateer supporters are Democrats. Our fight is bipartisan for democratic control of PUBLIC schools that benefit the community versus the hedge funders of the Phila. School Dictatorship. (Look New York State - Democratic governor Cuomo is trying to usurp the power of the Democratic mayor of New York - De Blasio - to give charter corporations more power and funding.)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:06 am
Anthony Williams is a demagogue who subtly seeks to inject racial divisions to promote charters. He was on full display Friday at the Auditor General's hearings at City Hall on charters as he bullied a leader of a community organization for not supporting charters. He constantly asks why no one did anything about the conditions of schools in the low income communities in the last few decades. There is legitimate criticism to be made about how everyone allowed the problems of schools in low income communities to fester, but his implication is that it is the fault of the teachers. The fault for these conditions is the politicians in Philadelphia and Harrisburg who for decades have allowed the Philadelphia School District to be inequitably underfunded. While Senator Williams did not personally support that, he now turns to the very people who created these conditions as the saviors of the children of low income families. Does Senator Williams really believe that the right-wing politicians he is aligned with and who are members of ALEC and hedge fund managers, and are responsible for the inequitable funding of schools in low income areas, have suddenly taken an interest in the children from low income families? They are in the charter scam because it is the latest gold rush to get rich quick by destroying the public schools and opening up education to private profit from public funds. Neoliberalism is as reactionary as neoconservatism. They both depend on opportunists who hope to gain a track to the wealth of the 1% at the expense of the common good.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:00 am

Dude or Dudedess, You are so right about Anthony Williams and everybody who knows him, knows that. He's not even a little bit good at hiding it.  "He has an uphill climb to reach the bottom."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 10:08 am
Williams is my stata senator and he is awful at representing his constituents . Contact his office and worst staff too. Williams wants to run for mayor we cannot let this egocentric person win that seat.
Submitted by PFT Has Had Its Chance (not verified) on March 15, 2014 3:31 pm
He rode his daddy's coat tails all the way up to his current position. Even named a charter after his pappy only to have it taken away because only 30% of the student made it on the PSSA. Embarassed the other charters so they had to take it away from him.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:35 am
Yes, this money grab is unprecedented, replete with pols of the SAME party giddily and openly short sheeting one another in pursuit of the spoils. DiBlasio deserves a lot of credit in my mind. In any case, this is why the people need to force change. The pols are almost all on the money grab regardless of party and I ain't seen dat in my life time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 24, 2014 4:01 pm
The State cannot just pull all 10,000 certs. Each case would have to go before a Judge and that ain't happening. People stop using the "pulled cert" talk to scare teachers. Your cert will not be pulled.
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on March 15, 2014 8:36 am
Legal precedent in New Orleans proved that a city, a state cannot do whatever they want. Public school teachers in New Orleans who were on the job at the onset of Hurricane Katrina won a lawsuit against the city for firing all of them in one foul swoop. The state supreme court of Louisiana sided with the teachers in that if you have tenure, you must be given your due process rights which includes a hearing. We also need to be clear that the School District cannot take our certs away, they have to petition the Department of Education. This is definitely an issue we should seek support from colleagues across the state for. If they can get us then they could get anyone. I certainly stand on the side of the odds being in our favor. Even if they did pull our certs, how would they finish the school year? If they cut salary and benefits, who is going to come work in Philadelphia? They might be able to replace a few hundred of us, but they would never be able to replace thousands. We need to convince the community that keeping seasoned educators on the job is in their children's best interests. We can change our situation here in Philadelphia, we just have to be willing to do the work. If we are able to get through each day in the classroom then fighting for our jobs should come naturally and it shouldn't be such a battle among each other.
Submitted by ShowMetheProof (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:44 pm
Unless a teacher has specifically signed something saying they will not strike and are willing to lose their certification if they do the state cannot pull that teacher's certification. A blanket deal between the union heads and the polticians cannot be used against those who didn't sign anything.
Submitted by ShowMetheProof (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:47 pm
Unless a teacher has specifically signed something saying they will not strike and are willing to lose their certification if they do the state cannot pull that teacher's certification. A blanket deal between the union heads and the polticians cannot be used against those who didn't sign anything.
Submitted by ShowMetheProof (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:05 pm
Unless a teacher has specifically signed something saying they will not strike and are willing to lose their certification if they do the state cannot pull that teacher's certification. A blanket deal between the union heads and the politicians cannot be used against those who didn't sign anything.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:01 am
A West Philly charter challenged act 46 in court this week stating it was unconstitutional. Martha Woodall covered the story.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 8:38 pm
Jordan unfortunately is no union leader. A union leader backs, communicates, sincerely tries to make sure the CBA is adhered to. Jordan and PFT officers have not done that in many years. Btw, Jerry only resisted a little during negotiations because members held his feet to the fire. He would have loved to impose pay cuts ,abolish work rules and say that's the best I could do and move on with his retirement,leaving us stuck in the mud.
Submitted by PFT Has Had Its Chance (not verified) on March 15, 2014 3:50 pm
Sounds like another PFT plant making excuses again! The PFT has aided our enemies for too long by failing to stand up every time our contract has been violated by principals and the 440 posse. Where the hell do you get off asking, "Aren't you people supposed to be teaching children?" We do! What we aren't suppose to be doing is paying for supplies the district claims they are paying for, disciplining the same children over and over again because the school district is too cowardly to deal with them, having photocopy material for hours because there are no books to use, etc. Obviously the ability to think things through is NOT YOUR STRONGEST AREA. Sounds like you are afraid you might be put back into the classroom and forced to work for your paycheck.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:12 pm
Spoken like a true SRC "Plant" trying to divide the Union membership again. SMH.
Submitted by Brian Cohen (not verified) on March 14, 2014 2:18 pm
As a recent transplant to NYC I can tell you that caucuses are definitely needed in order to strengthen teacher input into the Union. In the United Federation of Teachers there exist some undemocratic processes implemented by the current leadership and there are caucuses trying to gain ground to defend against them. It is not the same situation with the PFT by any means, but there are definitely pieces of information not being shared by the leadership that there should be as well as input from the members that is not being taken into consideration. Plus, they could just use the help of more actively motivated people. I view this as a good thing and will work hard to support from afar.
Submitted by Alison McDowell (not verified) on March 14, 2014 3:18 pm
As a parent I applaud the creation of the Caucus of Working Educators. I have had the opportunity to meet in person and virtually many of those involved in the creation of this Caucus. I have been truly impressed by their dedication to their profession, their enthusiasm for our children, and tireless support of our schools in the face of terrible, terrible circumstances. This is how the democratic process should work. In my opinion they are serving as great role models by organizing, engaging, and making their voices heard. I am happy to lend my support in any way possible. There is great strength in teachers and parents working together. This news really brightens up my day.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 4:52 pm
Divide & conquer.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 5:01 pm
Another way to look at it is to not be passive sheep being lead to the slaughter! This is what democracy looks like!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 5:53 pm
Exactly!! Too many sheep in the union waiting for something good to happen. We need to take back the PFT and make it the strong union it was when I joined over 20 years ago.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 11:37 am
What is mind boggling is why PFT members are not more fired up to fight against all the oppression Corbett, legislature, Nutter, Council, SRC, Hite and numerous other players in destroying the union and decent pay , work rules ,etc. that is being fed to us. If this battle is not won this year- we will go back 40 years plus and that time will never be made up. We are suppose to be showing an example to students to fight for your rights and good causes -so let's show them by standing up to all the outside forces that are aligned with the SDP for self -destruction. We cannot be passive bystanders to the SDP leadership bullies and our other enemies. We see these other countries, like Syria, Ukraine, Iran,Egypt, and others protest loudly for their causes and wonder when we will see that same fight here in Philly and throughout all the US . We are busy, drained and have little time but we have to make time to squash these forces,mainly from the rich and groups like ALEC,before time is all we have with no jobs or jobs for measly wages while the wealthy line more of their pockets with our money. It's disgusting many rich get so greedy and power hungry they are never satisfied. Look at the multi billionaires like the Koch bros. they literally don't know what to do with all that money so they invade our lives with their evil destruction. We got to stop nasty people like them NOW.
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on March 15, 2014 8:57 pm
HEAR, HEAR!!!! You can repeat this sentiment over and over.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:32 pm
There is nothing that the PFT Leadership would LOVE more than to walk out on that stage in Girl's High's Auditorium on Wednesday at 4:30 and see members in every seat, lined up against the back walls and right out into the parking lots. BUT, past experience shows that it won't happen. People love to B & M, but will not make the effort to even attend a simple membership meeting. There are 12-13,000 members in the PFT, let's see how many actually bother to show up. There should be PFT members backed up out to Broad and Olney trying to get in Wednesday night, but. . .
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:13 pm
The membership got tired of being played like idiots by the leadership. People decided the union meetings were a waste of time. But it's D-day. No matter what crap is thrown to discourage and demoralize people they got to be there to fight it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 1:47 am
The only division I see is Jordan ( PFT, Pres.) dividing the union between his brown- nose buddies (who are his plants at meetings) and he will go out on a limb for and the other members that he ignores.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 6:23 pm
It didn't take them long to play the race card. This caucus is dead on arrival.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 9:54 pm
The only person bringing up race is you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 12:00 am
Did you even bother to read the platform? Race is brought up in points two and five. As if there isn't too little public support for the PFT already, the race card has to come out, alienating even more people. Pathetic.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 12:52 am
I read it...but didn't think any thinking person could be against what it said. So you are for discrimination? The only people it alienates are people like you who are not in touch with our common humanity. Pathetic.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 10:01 am
Understood. So you admit lying about this group not being racially charged. And now you are trying to provide justification for lying. Even more pathetic.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 15, 2014 11:46 am
The caucus is not playing the race card. The CWE mentions racism in the following context: WE support measures that ensure every student has access to a high quality, fully-funded public education, regardless of family income, racial background, or neighborhood. We demand increased funding to meet students’ actual social, emotional and academic needs, as well as make up for the lasting impact of racial discrimination and economic disinvestment that has left our schools under-resourced. The Caucus raises legitimate points about combatting institutional racism. Combatting institutional racism is a social justice issue, not "playing the race card."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 1:43 pm
"the lasting impact of racial discrimination" is exactly playing the race card. There is no disparity in opportunity today and there hasn't been in decades. If anything, white people could claim that through programs like affirmative action, they are the ones being discriminated against. Allowing admission or giving a job based solely on race is discrimination.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 2:10 pm
The covert racism that this comment shows when saying there is equal opportunity in this country is worse than the overt racism of the past. It depends on obscuring social and economic reality. Read "The New Jim Crow" to understand what is going on.
Submitted by Marc Brasof (not verified) on March 16, 2014 1:53 pm
That is just not true. Certainly the struggles with schools are related to socioeconomic conditions. While not every black or latino child, for example, are not institutionally discriminated against, the numbers that are remain quite troubling. Thus, an equity-based argument is necessary.
Submitted by George Bezanis (not verified) on March 15, 2014 11:01 am
Are you serious? Do you even know what using the "race card" means? By discussing what is clearly occurring in our urban schools and the concentration of charters in low-income, high-minority neighborhoods, WE are not using the "race card" but, on the contrary, address real and legitimate concerns on segregation. I guess The Washington Post is playing the "race card" too when they print articles addressing the issue after it has been studied thoroughly by research fellows at George Washington University: "The link between charter school expansion and increasing segregation" "Even apart from the negative effect of increased segregation, justifying federal advocacy of charter school expansion is difficult when there’s no evidence that charter schools, on average, are academically superior to traditional public schools or even that they can be more innovative given the Common Core State Standards and the testing associated with them. The finding in Brown v. Board of Education that “separate education facilities are inherently unequal” has been demonstrated repeatedly in the United States and throughout the world in the 60 years since that decision. It has also been demonstrated in the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment. It is ironic that the political rhetoric surrounding this assessment focuses almost exclusively on test-score differences among countries, which account for only about 11% of the variance, while little attention is paid to the far more important finding that the remaining variance is accounted for by differences within countries. On average, almost 60% of the differences in reading test scores within member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are explained by the SES of students and schools. In the United States, the SES of students and schools explains almost 80% of the variance in performance. That finding is certainly not a strong recommendation for policies that further increase the segregation of schools."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 7:11 pm
I know what I saw at the last general membership meeting and I know that a lot of other PFT members saw it as well. A strong leadership team does not need to use plants in the audience in order to make things happen. I don't want to be in a union where my voice doesn't count and my intelligence is insulted. I have joined the Caucus of Working Educators in order to have my voice heard.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 8:39 pm
We sure do need a member- driven union. Currently the PFT is not because of the officials at the helm of the PFT now. Members are ignored. Grievances not executed. Communication lacking. Not accountable or transparent. Disrespects us at meetings by using kiss- up plants. Not elected democratically. Caves in over and over again to the wishes of the District. Jordan ,Kempin, Harris , Phillips ,kirsch ,Weingarten ,etc. do not align themselves with members and caused apathy among the rank and file. Making members feel powerless and not fired -up,like we should be , at all the bs the SDP is throwing our way. ThIs caucus is way overdue . Jordan and crew need to be accountable to members and stand up against the monster he help create,aka SDP ,by letting them breach the contract year after year with no consequences. Remind Jordan that on March 19 we want to be respected and no plants in audience with his lame agenda . Have a strategy and do your job by guiding members with a fair contract or he should tell Green, Hite, SRC, to shove it. Let's go Caucus for Working Educators. Email Jordan at: Email Weingarten at : Email Kirsch at:
Submitted by Ray P (not verified) on March 14, 2014 7:51 pm
From what I understand, at one point the PFT had two groups who within its ranks who ran for office during each election. I don't recall this having happened in the past five years (since I've joined the PFT). I don't understand why people are opposed to the idea of a group of teachers forming a caucus, not a competing union, but a caucus within the union. I'm speaking only for myself, but I didn't vote for Jerry in the last election, in fact I didn't vote at all. I didn't know there was an election until I got an e-mail celebrating Jerry's recent re-election. There are people who are committed to the union who are tired of the first five or six questions at every general membership meeting praising the current leadership, then "asking" them to not give up. I think the statement above summed it up pretty well when the commenter wrote "we are the PFT". Again, I am not writing this on behalf of the group, but the way it looks from where I stand is that no one is trying to end the PFT, just add more perspective. This isn't some kind of 1920's cement shoes, gangland takeover. If anything it might add to the union.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 8:10 pm
I never voted for anyone in the current PFT leadership either. I'm thrilled that a group like this has emerged. Just think back to that last membership meeting at the Licouras Center and how that played out. They put on a dog and pony show, planted someone at the mic to praise Jerry Jordan, et al for their leadership and motioned to continue negotiations. Who are they kidding?!?! Completely deplorable to intentionally silence the members. We see right through that. I hope this caucus lives up to what they say they will do. Lord help us otherwise!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 14, 2014 9:57 pm
All teachers support the PFT and its current leadership during these difficult times. Why would anyone want to go against a leadership in the midst of contract negotiations? We are, after all, in the same boat together. The point of a caucus is simply to let the leadership know that there are other opinions within our union and dissenting opinions on how to reach the goals we all share... and why shouldn't there be? What is this? North Korea where supporters of our "Dear Leader" need to be planted at every microphone?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:31 am
Divide & conquer. Personally I'm going to stick with the real PFT. I think that a caucus is simply a distraction. I'm pretty sure that Jerry and the other union officials know our concerns. Operating as a renegade group will simply accomplish nothing. You don't represent me and cannot represent me. I see that so far your numbers are at 46 not interested in making it 47 at all.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:35 am
I don't care what your opinion on this matter is as long as you show up to meetings. And tell all your coworkers to show up.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 10:49 am
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 10:25 am
As soon as I get back to school on Monday and spread the word, I can assure you that the numbers will go up. I am no longer willing to be treated like a child in "Father Knows Best". Take a look at some institutions where blind allegiance is/was expected and then look at the very undesirable outcomes. No thank you. I think that this newly-formed group will strengthen our union and make the PFT more accountable to ALL of its members. Look at what Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers Union were able accomplish when they formed a similar group. I can imagine that many of their members had feelings similar to those that you are expressing, but their union's results speak for themselves. Only time will tell if things play out the same way here. Personally, I'd rather go down, fighting for what's right, than crouch down, put my tail between my legs, and hope for the best.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 11:45 am
I agree with you about not going down without a fight but I just wonder if the caucus could've engaged union leadership first before publicly declaring themselves. I just want us to be united & strong. A legal challenge of Act 46 was filed last week by a city charter school. My first thought was the PFT should've filed that a long time ago. I know that factions have the ability to divide and I know that our strength is in our numbers. I'll be at the mtg on the 19th and will spread the word at my school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 11:44 am
Absolutely we should be united. However, we cannot sit idly by as the officials at the PFT have for so long .New members forget what it is to fight back. Their mindset is becoming this is a given and no action can be taken, because the PFT leaders instilled that for the last fifteen years or so. No there are things we can do before it is too late. We already got to make up for lost time so we need to energize ASAP . Just look at history at the battles, fights, protest, deaths, injuries,strikes, and other tactics used to push back the powers for the rights we gained as workers, voters and citizens in general. We cannot let these rights just slip away by Some power hungry , non- caring forces,namely the rich and their incognito groups.
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on March 15, 2014 10:31 pm
I know most of the people who formed the caucus and I would place bets that they made PFT leadership aware of what they were doing. This is not a group looking to overthrow Jerry or perform a radical takeover. This is a group looking to Chicago's example of how to make some much needed changes in the PFT and it starts with this caucus. This whole attitude of, "did they check with PFT leadership?" is absurd. We are all members of the same union and we do not have to have the approval or permission of the CBT, the Exec board or anyone else to do things that will help in our fight against reform. Join, don't join, its your choice but stop questioning those are fighting on your behalf even though you choose to question their motives. The only thing to be gained from this is a stronger union that will fight against outside forces who are trying to take away our student's democratic right to a public education.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on March 15, 2014 3:34 pm
I am interested in making it 47. The PFT is weak and you are delusional if you think that Jordan cares one bit about you. Besides, caucuses are not about making the union weaker. It's about making it stronger.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 8:47 pm
I agree. I myself, and my other colleagues have called the PFT over great injustices in the schools we have worked in over the years. What has been done? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Everyone from Jerry to his team and their totally useless field reps do not want to go to bat for you. Jerry either ignores calls and tells you to deal with your rep, who does nothing anyway, or you get the ol' "What do you want me to do about it !" routine. Just like other people who have said that "these guys just want to hang on to the cushy job until they can retire," I can't say they are totally wrong. The only time a rep stood up for my rights was about 14 years ago when I started out as an intern. But, since then they just give everyone the run around. I've dealt with three incompetent principals over the years, they couldn't manage a brownie troop through a cookie sale, one had forced the staff to cheat on benchmarks for years, then made the staff slaves to over documenting stuff to create a paper trail to make it look like she wasn't cheating on anything. We had to create the illusion that we had real in house stats and proof that we worked that hard to make AYP. She was fired eventually, for cheating on the PSSA's. When I called to complain to the Union, what did I get, first a surprise reaction and then it was ignored. I was told that our building rep, useless and scared, should deal with this. Most of the building reps do not have any testicular fortitude either. This woman would send her moles into our PFT meetings to find out if we were planning something she didn't like and then would disrupt the meeting and start yelling. What was done. Nothing. The building rep was riding her coattail to a job outside the classroom, so she didn't want to piss her off. I told her she ran the school like a concentration camp for teachers, she just laughed and said "We do do a lot of work here!" Well-she was introduced to the land of early retirement. But, the PFT had no say in it whatsoever. I could go on and on about the other psychotic creeps I've had to work for. And you all know the story. I think we've been beaten down way to long as a Union and something had to be done before our local democracy is bye bye.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 8:58 pm
Sadly, that is a common commentary of many PFT members. Our leaders just passing the buck and ignoring our help and issues for a long time now. I worked in other schools before getting a job in the SDP and the union representation at those schools would try hard to resolve issue- not just be complacent or make up excuses why the union can't resolve issues at with Jordan and staff. I' m not saying other district unions are flawless but no where near the pathetic support you get with our PFT officials.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 16, 2014 10:17 pm
If the PFT had any muscle, then teachers wouldn't have to spend money out of their own pockets to buy cases of copy paper. I've had to buy the copy paper for printing my own IEPs. Some principals budget more for copy paper than others, but it shouldn't have to come down to what the principal budgets. The District needs to provide more money for basic supplies.
Submitted by Alison McDowell (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:59 am
I love many things about Philadelphia. What I cannot understand is that in the cradle of American Democracy some would try and squelch the efforts of individuals to organize and have their voices be heard. We are in the midst of tumultuous times. We need everyone to be engaged. We everyone to exercise their talents and to build community so that we can have the schools we all want. I admire those who are willing to step up and take on this important work. In my mind creating a caucus should be considered a "both/and." I want empowered teachers in my child's classroom and empowered staff in her school. I want my child to have role models who are engaged in making the system better. These folks are bridge builders. In fact, I just joined as a supporting auxiliary member. It's just $15. I encourage other parents to join and support them as well.
Submitted by Seth Kulick on March 15, 2014 10:04 pm
What Alison said. As a parent, I am happy to see the formation of this caucus, and just joined as a supporter.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 15, 2014 11:42 am
The Caucus of Working Educators is a welcome addition to the PFT. I love the name---it reflects the fact that members are currently WORKING as educators. Hopefully, this grassroots effort will energize educators who work in the District and help to improve the situation for our schools and the students we serve.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 12:33 pm
The issue is not whether more activism via a caucus or any other method is a good thing. It always is. The issue is whether it serves the better good. I think the timing of a caucus--regardless of its implied support for PFT leadership--could not be worse. If we can agree on anything, it is on these: Reform efforts here rest of two goals, 1) to privatize education to enrich charter and EMO providers, and 2) to divide and conquer unions which serve as the financial backbone of of those who oppose a national conservative agenda. By any stretch of the definition, a caucus simply is a faction within a union or organization. In our case, it signals to the SRC and Green that Jerry does not have the support of all his members. This is akin to the scent of blood in the wilderness. It doesn't matter what the caucus' intent is; that message is unavoidable. Ironically, we might be closer to an agreement if "activists" were present at marches, rallies, etc. I don't doubt some are. But those of us who have done any organizing know that 10% of us fight for the other 90% who do nothing but complain and criticize "the union." In conclusion, I think such activism is great--so long as the caucus shows solidarity with the PFT leadership, warts and all. To think that another group, there's or any other's--without any of Jerry's considerable and deep political connections (which he has if you are objective about it) is going to achieve a better outcome, especially by creating in the minds of the SRC and Harrisburg divisiveness within the union, is probably playing exactly into our adversaries' hands. The PFT is not perfect, but we're all we have. Let's stay united through this and then work to achieve some reforms within going forward. Any for the record, I was support a strike in a heartbeat. We've kicked the can down the road for too many years. It's time to face the playground bully and let will be, be. They've threatened to impose (but haven't) and I think they lack the balls to do so if for no reason than it will create the mayhem and court challenge they never want to have heard. But if they do, I say "It's on."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 2:02 pm
"Deep political connection"?? The PFT supported Nutter in both elections! All it got us is a kick in the teeth. When is labor to stop begging for crumbs and take an independent political course?
Submitted by annon (not verified) on March 15, 2014 3:37 pm
PFT leadership has been complacent and out of touch. As other posters have noted, Jerry Jordan and most of the staff have sat at 18th and Chestnut (never been there - I think that is the address) for nearly 30 years. Jordan spent a scant few years teaching and then went to the PFT offices. They are clueless about our day to day situations. PFT staffers should have to return to the classroom every 5 years - this would give them some credibility. "Working Educators" is what we need.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 10:26 am
PFT leaders should have a limit of 5 years serving members then must head back to schools to teach or whatever position they represent. Being at 1816 Chestnut forever ,as most PFT leaders currently are or have been and since retired,is not conducive as they definitely become complacent and in their own world. I've seen this first -hand having been there a few times . Every time I contacted officials at the PFT I basically got the same story if they even responded ,which many times they didn't .Trying to get the union to represent me in a grievance they got a annoyed when I asked any questions they did not like or if I was persistent .They did not return email or calls, let grievance go on for over two years, substantiated the breach the SDP had violated.Finally, after I did all the work for them had a hearing with minimal representation from the PFT official and the SDP of course ruled in their favor since it is a SDP hearing officer used. This grievance could have easily been won if went to arbitration and sent a precedent for other cases but the leaders at PFT ,which they have done for many years failed to do anything or arbitrate it . They did not even have the courtesy to contact me to give me the status of this grievance after numerous communications to them. PFT intentional will not execute grievances ,it's too much trouble for them or they just justify why the SDP violated the contract- hoping you will go away or wear you down with their delays and discourteous,non transparent,non communicating to tactics to you. Union leaders should not giving members justification why the District violated the CBA blatantly. Stand up and take action.PFT just let's the SDP get away with these breaches one after another.This is one main reason the District craps on the current leadership and the contract. They just look at how they handled all this the past few years and say well we got away with it before so let's do it again but this time we will do more forcefully and breach the contract even more. Let's see how far we can push the weak PFT leadership since their response and actions are usually dismal. We definitely need solidarity but Jordan does not illustrate that to his members or able to rally up his rank and file the way he treats members. Maybe other members or a caucus could help unify the PFT more and get ALL members standing together.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 10:36 am
Thank you. ALL PFT members should show up for the union meeting at Girls High on March 19 at 430 pm. How many PFT members are reading this blog? I do not know. Please, PFT members, get yourselves and each of you colleagues to Girls High on Wednesday. Not enough room in the auditorium you say? No problem. Thousands of teachers flowing into the streets would be a welcome sight. The city of Philadelphia needs to see the working educators in the streets standing up for the working conditions that are the learning conditions of the children in this city. See you there.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 3:29 pm
"By any stretch of the definition, a caucus simply is a faction within a union or organization. In our case, it signals to the SRC and Green that Jerry does not have the support of all his members. This is akin to the scent of blood in the wilderness. It doesn't matter what the caucus' intent is; that message is unavoidable." The message which is unavoidable is that the union needs to be stronger than it is and that happens with an empowered membership. Join the caucus of Working Educators, I just did.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 5:25 pm
I stand by my earlier sentiment that above all else the timing of this PFT "competition" could not be worse. There have been many opportunities and modes to challenge change in the PFT. The CB team ran unopposed because these new "activists" were either not very active or at least not organized. There's a mechanism in place in the Constitution for an opposing slate, so let's not cry hopeless despair that there was no opportunity. Now, NOW, when we are at such a critical juncture and solidarity is so vital to our success, now this coalition get's it together for much needed "change and competition." You can argue the need for these, but you cannot sell me on the timing. This coalition is fooling themselves to thing they would achieve better outcomes. Instead, they should be pooling any time, resources, and energies into bolstering the negotiating team's position and having their back. I am NOT a blind loyalist. But a house divided will get conquered and this is division no matter how you try to massage or justify it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 5:10 pm
Please, you know that "election" was a scan, Last week Jerry stood by as it was announced that two more schools are being taken over with half of their staff or more removed. I'm sure seniority will be ignored with their replacements. All Jerry did was write milktoast protest on his blog. I have long stopped believing it is weakness. I think it is intentional at they are not going to fight privatization.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:02 pm
In case you missed what I said, there was NO election. The CB ran unopposed. So where was this band of "activists" calling for union reform, then? Put yourself in Jerry's position: He's arguing that X, Y, and Z is needed by his members, and we see disgraceful turnouts for rallies, Labor Day, marches, etc...everyone is so busy and can't make it, but it's easy to be an armchair union you. Stick together or you'll have plenty to bitch about.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:32 pm
Amen, brother or sister! You watch, there won't be 200 or 300 members (out of 13,000!!!) at Wednesday's meeting at Girls' High. All of these SRC "plants" will be too busy sitting in thier underwear banging away on their keyboards in the dark.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 6:21 pm
Nice attitude both of you have towards the membership of your union. Says a whole lot.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 8:17 pm
Nice attitude by you towards your Union Leadership. That says a lot about how loyal you are when you disagree with a strategy. What's the matter, cannot face facts? PROVE US WRONG on Wednesday.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:52 pm it's the leadership against the membership. Very telling!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 12:29 am
You sure seem to want to make it that way, SMH. Go back to your 440 cubicle
Submitted by ShowMetheProof (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:54 pm
We have plenty to bitch about already! Maybe if Jerry and Teddy had done something for us when our individual rights were being trampled on we would turn out for the rallies. No rallies or guilt trips. Time to occupy 440 and City Hall. Let these clowns, who think we are going to work for even less than we do now, watch these kids. Time for both Ted and Jerry to be put back in the classroom as well. It should not only be about killing these stupid contract proposals, but also making demands for a voice and muscle in any reform in the district. No teachers involved in school policy (starting with restoring discipline) then no teachers for the district. Look at them whine when they give a snow day away. How about two weeks of watching these kids? Bill Green and his ilk will soon change their mind about their asinine demands.
Submitted by ShowMetheProof (not verified) on March 15, 2014 9:24 pm
These new activists were too damn busy working in a school district that constantly tries to shortchange them. What as the CB team doing? They sure as hell weren't standing up for us. Nor were they in any classroom teaching. They wouldn't recognize a classroom it's been so long since they had to do any teaching. This is why we need to impose a five year cap on union workers. Five years out then five years back in the classroom. They truly have forgotten what we have to deal with day after day. . The last election was a scam. Jerry was elected by his secretary! That was the first notice I got about there even being an election. Let alone having a chance to vote for somebody else. Sorry, but the PFT has let us down too many times. It's time for action, something the PFT doesn't have to guts to do. I'd rather take my chances with somebody new. The SRC assumes they can walk all over us because they been doing it for years on the PFT leadership. Time to teach the so-called leadership of Philadlephia a lesson they will remember the rest of their miserable lives.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 8:27 am
Submitted by anon (not verified) on March 16, 2014 9:30 am
jerry's secret reelection is a shameful act. the planting of shills at the front of the line at these general meetings and them reading vague and confusing motions off a sheet of paper trying to cut off discussion and steer the meeting to whatever jerry's agenda might be is a shameful act. jerry immediately calling for a vote on said vague and confusing motion when 95% of the audience has no clue whatsoever exactly what power he's asking for and what power they are authorizing is a shameful act. having to vote on a secret contract that we are not given time to vet and are only presented with highlights of is a shameful act, jerry turning around later and complaining that he didn't realize the language in the contract (that his cba team alone negotiated and signed and that we were not allowed to preview), permitted arlene ackerman to privatize public schools and eliminate union teaching jobs is a shameful act. the pft's lack of protest in the face of drastic changes to the cba such as dissing seniority and nullifying step raises is a shameful act. well, a little organized dissent is long overdue. the chickens are coming home to roost. time to hold jerry's feet to the fire and see what he's capable of. put up or shut up. put out or get out. lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. and as for a dissonant voice undercutting jerry's bargaining position, well it just might make his position stronger…440, the src and gleason can opt to deal with his moderate positions now or wait and face a more radically-driven leadership down the road. r-e-s-p-e-c-t. the sleeping dog they've been kicking is waking up and baring its teeth.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2014 3:12 pm
What is infuriating is that you have to use whoever they send to represent you even if you don't want them. They have this "you're stuck with us" mentality. This is what arises out of a monopoly. Time to give the PFT some competition.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 11:37 am
This is off the subject but , Hoping all the CASA members on March 17 have the courage to vote NO on the contract your weak union president, McGrogan negotiated. Don't know why CASA and PFT did not stand together as union brothers and sisters are supposed to for a strong contract for all workers in the District. If the SDP goes down so do you CASA members. I think principals and asst. principals forget they work for the same District as PFT, and other SDP union members do. Show the District you are not going be demeaned or degraded too,just because they promise you more power in the schools you work. Let us all get this right and unite together for the betterment of the students.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 16, 2014 12:16 pm
Yes, The Principals Hite wants, are those who have no dignity, no conscience and no grace. Hite wants puppets who will do as the shot callers want without any self respect. They will have NO power of their own , of course, just as the teachers, will also have none. Last year, The PFT and CASA allowed the custodial folks to be abused and now CASA will rubber stamp the contract Hite has ordered McGrogan to accept and even support. ALL of this, is the antithesis of Solidarity and will naturally spell doom for both unions. By the way, I support very much this new caucus because it will tend to stir the troupes into action. If anything, I see it as a shot in the arm for The PFT. Just being "shocked" 24/7 isn't working to stop the abuse if that's the goal.
Submitted by Actinup (not verified) on March 16, 2014 1:43 pm
The troupes may be stirred into doing skits, but the troops will be the ones fighting! : )
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2014 3:00 pm
Agreed. Disappointed by CASA abandoning the PFT to stand alone, yet again. CASA does this every time there is a dispute, they preach "all for one", then cave at the first chance they get and look for the PFT to stand alone and set the bar for the next negotiations. How would they possibly run the schools without teachers OR Administrators? CASA needs to recognize that and VOTE NO! on Monday night

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