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Black Lives Matter / United Federation of Teachers Resolution

November 17, 2020 am30 10:42 am

Thanks to Arthur Goldstein for sharing this in advance

Delegates and Chapter Leaders should always, where feasible, receive resolutions, memoranda, etc in advance of a vote. I’m not sure why this does not always happen. Perhaps our leaders are used to dealing with members of their political caucus, Unity, whose members always vote as they are told, and don’t need to see the documents. But perhaps the resolutions for tomorrow’s Delegate Assembly will be sent out early enough in advance (this afternoon or evening?) for us to have a chance to read them before being asked to vote.

In any case, this is a good resolution. I will support it. I am especially interested in the five points at the end:

  1. End Zero Tolerance discipline in schools
  2. Mandate Black and Ethnic Studies in schools
  3. Hire more Black educators
  4. Fund more counselors, social workers, and mental health specialists
  5. Fully integrate our schools with proper and equitable funding for librarians, PSAL sports, and access to technology.

Each of them addresses something that is really necessary today. I am glad to see #3 – not enough of us are aware how Bloomberg/Klein’s policies targeted Black educators, and shifted hiring away from Black educators. My school is working on #2 right now. And frankly, I would put #4 higher on the list. And am I reading 5 correctly, it calls, among other things, for integrating our schools? Wow, completely needed.

Black Lives Matter resolution

WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers reaffirms Black Lives Matter, and

WHEREAS, the statement Black Lives Matter means that until people of African descent are treated with dignity, humanity, and respect in all areas of our society and the barriers to their safety and health and full participation in the economy and wealth creation are dismantled, all lives do not matter, and

WHEREAS, our work is grounded in the fight for fairness so that every person we serve achieves their highest good, and

WHEREAS, throughout our history, our union has demonstrated that belief, time and time again, through our collaboration with and support for local and national organizations working toward the equity, access, and empowerment of every student and family we serve, and

WHEREAS, representation of and participation in heterogeneous communities allow each of us to grow in our understanding of the human condition and establish our role in the improvement of our society, and

WHEREAS, anti-Black police violence continues to take place in the United States without accountability; and

WHEREAS New York City represents nearly 60% of NY state’s total population of Black students, and

WHEREAS, we recognize that our students are harmed in our schools as the result of ongoing systemic problems, including segregation, funding disparities, and lack of equal access to academic, artistic, professional and cultural opportunities, and

WHEREAS, we know that these systemic barriers consistently, disproportionately impact Black students; and

WHEREAS, the UFT supports culturally responsive educational practices, including but not limited to, efforts to diversify New York City’s educational staff so that it more closely reflects its student population, and the expansion of Black studies as well as Asian, Latinx, Native American studies programs and LGBTQ history in our Pre-K-12 classrooms, and

WHEREAS, the UFT has supported recruitment, training and retention initiatives including, but not limited to, NYC Men Teach, the NYC Teaching Fellows, the Success via Apprenticeship Program, Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers, and the Young Men’s Initiative; and

WHEREAS, we are personally and professionally committed to the health and well-being of every student and staff member in our schools; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the UFT reaffirms our commitment to policies, initiatives and movements that promote respect for and inclusion of Black students and educators and move affirmatively to make it a reality, and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT continues to urge its members to amplify our demand for justice, change and equity by supporting Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action scheduled for February 2021 and other activities in the schools throughout the year and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will bring the 13 Guiding Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement* to the entire school year by participating in and sharing resources from the National Black Lives Matter at School Steering Committee’s new initiative, its Year of Purpose; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will join annually with the AFT, NEA and NYSUT and proactively encourage its members to invest in critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities, for people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will call for members to: participate in the planning of community forums and the creation and implementation of age-appropriate Pre-K-12 curricular resources; utilize the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework (CRSE); and initiate school and community discussions around the actions needed to affirm racial justice; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT continues to recruit, develop and retain a membership that reflects the demographics of the city in which we work and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will call for members to: use tools such as the AFT “Share My Lesson” website, including titles such as, Teaching About Bias, Diversity and Social Justice; exchange lesson ideas, instructional materials and resources about these socially relevant topics with one another; use the tools of the NYSUT Civil and Human Rights Committee and of the BLM at School Curriculum at www.blacklivesmatteratschool.com (in the public domain); and share resources from Teaching Tolerance, NEA Ed Justice during Black History Month and beyond, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT reaffirms its past, present and future commitment to providing inclusive educational opportunities including, but not limited to scholarships, community partnerships and events that support the advancement of students of color, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT seeks reapportionment of city and state funds to bring resources into Black communities to foster self-determination and awareness through education, entrepreneurship, home ownership and the means to reverse generational economic disparities and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT proactively engage in the necessary work to dismantle inequities in our systems through its coalition partners so that our students and families have access to employment, affordable housing and quality healthcare and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will continue to work with local, state and federal elected officials to secure permanent housing for our homeless students and students in temporary housing, and be it further

RESOLVED, the UFT stands in solidarity with Black students and educators as well as all communities of conscience, in the struggle for a more supportive, equitable and fair school system and society, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will commit to making demands along with student groups such as IntegrateNYC and Teens Take Charge and call on the NYC Department of Education and City Council to work towards undoing systemic racism and in so doing to:

  1. End Zero Tolerance discipline in schools
  2. Mandate Black and Ethnic Studies in schools
  3. Hire more Black educators
  4. Fund more counselors, social workers, and mental health specialists
  5. Fully integrate our schools with proper and equitable funding for librarians, PSAL sports, and access to technology.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gloria Brandman permalink
    November 17, 2020 am30 11:13 am 11:13 am

    Hi Jonathan In the email from MORE, it says that this reso was a collaboration with More and UFT. I find that very interesting as more has put forth a similar reso a few times already. Unity voted it down. Guess nows the time for unity to jump on the bandwagon. And get ready for elections as MORE is gaining some power. What ya think? Gloria

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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