We're happy to share this post by Robeson High School Teacher and Caucus Member Andrew Saltz:
When I talk to my staff, the words we use in discussing the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers are removed from ownership. “The Union” or “The PFT” or “Them” or “Jerry”. That’s calamity. Love, hate, whatever – if teachers cannot say “my union” or “us” when they talk about fighting for strong schools, we lose. This is the first and most important battle. If you are reading this2 and you are PFT, I’m betting you’ve seen the same thing.
I truly believe words matter. And this, above all else, is why I am excited to be a part of the Caucus of Working Educators.
I’m not laying blame. There are wonderful people working in the PFT and I want to work with them. By forging an open and democratic union, we build trust and ownership. From ownership comes empowerment. And empowered teachers are a scary thing.
One item of the Caucus of Working Educators' platform is Transparency, Accountability, and Shared-Decision Making. To those ends, we are posting a collection of the commentary sent out on Twitter during today's General Membership Meeting.
This kind of commentary has been happening on Twitter for years, and by collecting it, we hope to inspire more members to get involved with our meetings. Less than 10% of the total membership was present, and there was a substantive vote on a member motion! All PFT Members should be informed of union business and present at meetings whenever possible.
Welcome to the new blog of the Caucus of Working Educators! This space will feature content that informs, energizes, and transforms our membership, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and public education in Philadelphia.
We're happy to share a recent post by longtime Philadelphia teacher (and recent transplant to New York) Brian Cohen:
Yesterday marked the first day I have seen or heard of a different caucus within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT). For decades since their founding there has been a group of individuals in control of the PFT and the collective bargaining rights of all its members. While that group has done a wonderful job of supporting and aiding teachers, nurses, non-teaching assistants (NTAs) across the city, there has been growing discontent in their lack of transparency and need for input from the membership. As a former member and activist within the PFT, I can attest to that. There is now a new group within the PFT attempting to affect change: The Caucus of Working Educators. I am glad to see their platform calls for more transparency from the union leadership and support for public education.
You can read the full post on his blog, where he goes on to describe how caucuses are commonplace and integral to the work in New York.