John Silvers for VP of Academic High Schools

John Silvers would like to be Solidarity’s  Candidate for VP for Academic High Schools. Please read his bio and post questions below.

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John Silvers
Pace University class of  2002
Pace University class of  2007
Taught 12 years at Manhattan Center for Science and Math High School. Spent the last two years in the ATR Pool listening to the complaints of teachers and what they seek from our union.
Married with two children
Taken to 3020-a hearing and fined $15,000 for one charge of insubordination with mitigating circumstances.

BIO: I am a product of the New York City Public School system, as are many of my colleagues. The things we learned in those public schools we attended gave us the ability to attend college and earn, at a minimum, a Masters Degree. Not bad for a school system that many have given up on. Thirty plus years ago I sat in the classroom of a teacher who was popular with staff and students alike. One day he looked at our class and made the following statement, “it is not students who burn teachers out, but the other adults in the building.” Thirty plus year later, I fully understand what he meant. Today, all of us can attest to this statement. Our truth is this: It is open season on teachers and our union has left us on our own. Like our Solidarity  presidential candidate, I too have been through the 3020a process. My principal brought me up on incompetent charges while I had a 98 % passing rate on the American History regents. I was found guilty of one charge of insubordination with mitigating circumstances and given a $15,000 fine. I was excessed to the ATR Pool in August of 2013. I have spent the last two years traveling from school to school in Manhattan and listening to the complaints of our UFT brothers and sisters about the lack of support they are receiving from our union and try to support anyway I can.

As a child, my grandfather who was a teamster, taught me that a union is a brotherhood and that together we are stronger. It is that feeling that must be re-established in our union. Our truth is that there is a war going on in our schools and the administrators are taking no prisoners and our union leadership is in the rear with the gear safely bunkered down at 52 Broadway. I and the candidates of Solidarity will be in front line not the sidelines.

Vote for John here

11 Comments

  1. Francesco Portelos

    John, Iris Blige has been crazy principal of Fordham High School for years. She ignores the contract, abuses and terminates. What would be your idea of how to remedy that situation?

    • I would set up camp at her building on a daily basis. I think principals today feel they have no opposition so they are free to abuse teachers at will, make up stories and observations. I believe that by sitting in her building and observing her routine our union would be able to place a check on her power.

  2. John, how would you go about empowering Chapter Leaders and Delegates to do their jobs in protecting/supporting their members?

  3. John, I can relate to lots that you say here! I am retired as of June 2014, after 31 years of service- I would have faced 3020a if I had remained in. Most of my career in Brooklyn, last 20 plus years at John Dewey HS, where most of those years were great, til a monstrous Principal was “brought in” to “change” the school, i.e., destroy it. So I was high on the Blacklist. Agree about the Unity-Posse being the “inner enemy”. I was a CL and a Delegate and they really abandoned and even fought me, when I tried to stand up to this creepo. Please join my FB Group, “Fed Up & Pissed Off UFT Retired Teachers”! I will be voting for you! Peace!

    • Sounds familiar! I can see there is a pattern in the system. I’m guessing the fish stinks from the head. I’m astounded at what principals get away with!

  4. Claudia F Giordano

    Hi John, the UFT membership is apathetic and disengaged. More retirees vote than do active members! UNITY which represent a fraction of the membership has succeeded in shutting down and turning off both veteran and “newbie” teachers alike. Many young teachers see their time in the DOE as subject to change without notice – either by forces out of their control, or because they do not regard teaching as a “lifelong” career. How will you shift the paradigm of apathy and distrust of the UFT and the DOE by the membership to one of empowerment and activism?

  5. What I’ve noticed in my time in the ATR Pool is that teachers both young and old are disenchanted with the union. One major complaints is that the union leadership is unavailable. I believe the only way to restore faith in the union is to make ourselves available. One of my goals would be to visit every school and show chapter leaders that they do have suport to fight for their members,our union brothers and sisters. I have watched as chapter leaders have been declawed in a sense. Leaving them with no way to defend their memebers. It is time for the union to start standing behind them.

  6. John what would/could you do about teachers being slammed for scholarship reports of students who are habitually absent, students who come from different countries and do not speak any english and who are functonally illiterate in their own language? Especially teachers in transfer HS, who are forced to choose between being an educator with integrity or an educator who saves their job?

  7. John, “What is your plan concerning Discontinued Teachers (tenured and no-tenured)?”

  8. John… What do you mean by “setting up camp”? How can you be sure visiting hostile schools for several days will work? In my former school, the administration hand picked students and teachers to talk to the state after being labeled as “persistently dangerous”. They also hand picked for quality review. How is this even legal?

  9. John, Are you suggesting that we should form a picket line in front of a school? I’m interested in your ideas on this matter… Legalistically it seems tough but doable. How would we all be able to meet at a school and protest when we have to be at our school teaching?

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