We have learned this afternoon that Arthur Goldstein, who has been referred to by none other than Diane Ravitch as “NYC’s best teacher-blogger” is throwing his hat into the NYSUT election ring with the intention of running against incumbent Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. Pallotta, who curiously thought all NYSUT officers but himself needed to be changed, recently cobbled together the “Revive NYSUT” slate to challenge the other incumbent officers. Coincidentally, I am sure, he made sure to leave himself in a position he believed would be uncontested. Now, however, he will have a contested election on his hands against a very qualified candidate.
Goldstein will be familiar to readers of this blog as the author of the blog NYC Educator where he has been blogging about education since 2005. It is a blog we frequently have referenced on this site. Additionally he has written articles about education for the Huffington Post (see here) and the Daily News, among other publications. Goldstein works as an ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School in Queens where he is also a UFT chapter leader. Those of you on Twitter may very well be familiar with him as he is a frequent participant in education related topics under the handle @TeacherArthurG. Be sure to give him a follow if you don’t already. While a member of the UFT, Goldstein has been outspoken in his criticism of the Unity Caucus leadership of his local.
Via his guest post on our blog, “Reviving Unionism”…
It’s funny to hear people in NYSUT complaining about democracy. I’m chapter leader of one of the largest schools in NYC, and neither I nor anyone in my school gets to vote or participate at all in NYSUT or AFT. Though I’ve been elected twice, that means nothing. The only way a city teacher gets to be part of NYSUT is to be part of Unity, an invitation-only caucus that has run the union for over 50 years. I’ve never been invited.
The reason for that, I suppose, is my public point of view. I’ve been published in the Daily News, at Huffington Post, at Gotham Schools, on Schoolbook, on multiple blogs, and in local Queens newspapers taking positions contrary to those of UFT leadership. For example, I wrote a column labeling mayoral control mayoral dictatorship. Though giving Michael Bloomberg absolute power was a bad idea, the UFT supported it. After he used it to close schools all over the city, aiding no one but privatizers, we supported it again.
I also oppose value-added ratings for teachers, since they have no basis in science, and since great teachers have lost jobs as a result. I can’t support Common Core, no matter how many millions of dollars Bill Gates pours into it, as I don’t believe it helps the students we serve when we fail most of them and use said failure to label working teachers as defective. Brilliant education historian Diane Ravitch shares my positions, and it’s ironic to be excluded from not only UFT, but also NYSUT and AFT for the crime of sharing her opinions.
It appears as though Goldstein will now circumvent the lack of a Unity Caucus invitation as he attempts to have his voice heard in his state union.
This, ladies and gentleman, is an example of true grassroots unionism. A rank and file teacher, who has been in his classroom teaching today, finding an avenue to make his voice heard. Bottom up, member driven unionism at it’s finest. Goldstein will now give NYSUT delegates a very appealing alternative to Andrew Pallotta, who has seen Tiers 5 and 6, along with the tax cap on his watch. Goldstein’s frequent and harsh criticism of Andy Cuomo also stands in stark contrast to Pallotta who used $10,000 in VOTE COPE funds to secure a table for his Revive NYSUT cronies at Cuomo’s birthday party.
We will have more on this situation as it unfolds and as we move closer to April’s NYSUT election.