Skip to main content

UFT High School Reps Letter to Leadership on Opposing IDC

You've probably heard of the IDC, or the Independent Democratic Conference in the NY State Senate. They were elected as Democrats but caucused with the Republicans. There are a whole lot of bills that have been passed by the Assembly but withered and died in the Senate, not the least of which was one proposing universal health care for New Yorkers. We support candidates who oppose those who allowed this to happen. Here is our letter, to date unanswered.

Primary elections for New York State Senate will occur on September 13. NYSUT makes endorsements for state-level offices. The NYSUT Endorsement Conference is on August 6-7. At that conference, the UFT will be making some recommendations to NYSUT. We are especially concerned about NY State Senate primaries in New York City Districts.

We have not had an opportunity to speak to the recommendations that the UFT will make. Endorsements go through the Executive Board and Delegate Assembly. There is no such formal process for recommendations. But these recommendations carry nearly the weight of an endorsement, as NYSUT concurs with the UFT’s recommendation in the overwhelming majority of cases.

We are the elected representatives of high school members of the United Federation of Teachers, directly elected by those members. We would like to have voice on these recommendations. 

We particularly would like to urge NYSUT to endorse:  Alessandra Biaggi, Robert Jackson, John Liu, Zellnor Myrie, Jessica Ramos, and Jasmine Robinson in their respective New York State Senate primary races. Especially since the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there has been heightened interest and a groundswell of support for progressive challengers to the status quo. Each of these candidates is running on a progressive platform.

We would like to highlight the career and contributions of Robert Jackson in particular. Jackson is an activist who has dedicated his career as a public servant to public education and children. In 1991, as CSB6 President, Robert Jackson co-founded the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE). Jackson was lead plaintiff as CFE sued the State of New York for failing to properly fund NYC's public schools. The trial court agreed. Jackson walked 150 miles from New York City to Albany to dramatize the case. Jackson served in the NY City Council for a decade, where he earned our respect as Chair of the Education Committee. Jackson was honored with the UFT’s John Dewey Award in 2012.

Their opponents are former members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). Tbey helped the Republicans control the State Senate for several sessions. They rely on anti-teacher union funding, either directly from Democrats for Education Reform (anti-union, anti-public schools), New Yorkers for Putting Students First (Michelle Rhee), Great Public Schools PAC (Eva Moskowitz), or indirectly through the Senate Independence Campaign Committee, which may in fact be an illegal campaign financing scheme (

The Executive Board is not scheduled to meet before the NYSUT Endorsement Conference, nor before the September 13 primary elections. The Delegate Assembly is not scheduled to meet before the NYSUT Endorsement Conference, nor before the September 13 primary elections. 

We do not know how our voices can best be heard, but we have a few ideas:  an in-person meeting, a call-in meeting, an e-mail discussion, or by allowing one of our representatives to speak for high school teachers at the conference in Albany. We are open to others.

We look forward to your positive response,

KJ Ahluwalia, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division
Arthur Goldstein, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division
Ashraya Gupta, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division
Jonathan Halabi, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division
Marcus McArthur, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division
Kate Martin-Bridge, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division
Mike Schirtzer, United Federation of Teachers, Executive Board, High School Division


Popular posts from this blog

The Mysterious Case of the Missing District Reps-- UFT Exec Board Sept. 17, 2018

We are late because there was a contract negotiation meeting. Howard Schoor welcomes us at 6:13.

Minutes— approved

Staff director—LeRoy Barr
—-Welcomes us back, thanks negotiating committee. Thanks for good turnout Labor Day Parade. After parade event was successful. CL meeting Thursday 20th. Announcement of vacancies, for EB, today. CL training 10/13-14. Making Strides walk 10/14, Central Park. Next EB Sept. 24. DA 10/17.

Howard Schoor thanks Norm Scott for coming to Labor Day parade. Norm says he came for barbecue.

Jeff Sorkin, Welfare Fund,
on paid parental leave. 776 people have applied as of Friday, 446 approved. Wants to process checks as of Wednesday.

Q—Why weren’t some accepted?
A—not rejected yet. Just waiting on process.

Arthur Goldstein—There was a story in the Post the other day about a failed administrator accused of grade-fixing here. She moved to Baldwin, where she harassed young women about their clothes and posted names and allegations against suspended students…

UFT Executive Board June 3,2019--Norm Holds Court, MaryEllen Elia Is Public Education Enemy #1, and Adios to Smilin' Ben from Forest Hills High School

6 PM—Secretary Howard Schoor calls us to order and welcomes us.


Kamala Redd—adult educator, 26 year teacher—Speaks of how senior teachers want to contribute to success of students—Says commitment to teaching is lifelong, always teaching. Says when an adult learns, a family succeeds. Teaches in her own community, sees her students every day. Says she’s being forced into retirement, is not ready. Connects it to age and increase in salary. Says new admin took over and closed her class. In placement center, her job, which was closed, was open. In September it was closed again.

Says it’s a pattern, and that adult ed. needs our support. Says she got no support moving her class and 15 years of materials to another floor. Was suddenly rated U, after 15 years. Got an email, by accident, where AP said she was getting an S, but principal questioned it. She emailed back.

Says she’s just one of 30 senior teachers who’ve been targeted. Says it’s traumatic and unhealthy, form…

UFT Executive Board February 11, 2019--Principals Don't Like Contract, Prefer to Do Whatever They Want

Howard Schoor welcomes us. 6 PM

Speakers—Bob Mc Cue—35 year teacher—CTE celebration Friday, more than 600 people. While applauding participants mind drifted toward Walter Morris, CTE teacher. Had been in Lithographers Union. 1989 determined to get teaching license. Taught offset press work. Track coach 12 years, brought millions of dollars to school. Changed to teach law and forensic science. Became teacher of year. Even after tragic loss of son, channeled energy into serving students. Asks for moment of silence.

Patty ?—Walter bought a student a suit for interview, then bought him shoes. Loved every one of his students. We rise for moment of silence.

Yvonne Riesen—reps 10X213—BETA—dress in blue in solidarity for right of basic instructional supplies, no microscope, scales, money allocated not committed, no paper. Must dig through garbage for paper—principal verbally abusive, spreads fear, probationaries in tears, ATRs demoralized, take 4 in row or two C6 per day. Furnitur…