Eric Severson for VP of Special Education
-Graduate study in History, UConn (2 years as teaching assistant)
-Peace Corps Volunteer, West Africa (Mali)
-MS in Special Education, CUNY Brooklyn
-Nine years as special education teacher with a dual social studies license at Clara Barton High School. Have taught social studies, English and science and every type of setting: Basic II, team teaching, self contained, general education and Advanced Placement
-Chapter leader at Clara Barton, elected in May 2014, fought unfair investigations, mobilized members to protest Cuomo’s war on teachers, won grievances on behalf of members who were not paid or were unfairly harassed and falsely accused
What issues do you feel are most critical for our union?
Teacher Autonomy- Teachers must be allowed to develop lessons and deliver them with minimal outside interference, must be respected and trusted as professionals
Taking on administrative bullying and abuse- the current UFT leadership does not back up teachers who are harassed and bullied by petty, vindictive admins. The grievance process must be retooled to make the union more effective in pushing back when principals try to push teachers around.
Evaluations- There is no fair way to rate teachers based on student test scores. MOSL must be fought and eliminated. The Danielson rubric should only be for teacher reflection, not a required rubric used as a weapon against classroom teachers.
How would you engage the membership in implementing the changes that are needed in our union?
As chapter leader I have found many ways of reaching the membership: email blasts, newsletters, social media posts, blogging. I have also coordinated and participated in demonstrations against the Cuomo attacks. As a chapter leader at a large Brooklyn High School I work with Paras, teachers of every academic specialty, secretaries and psychologists. I am well aware of how to energize and mobilize people and why our current UFT leadership is incapable of fighting with and for teachers.
You can ask Eric Severson questions below.