Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DA Report—"I Refuse" Resolution Killed by UFT Unity—Supporter Shut Down by Mulgrew

Mulgrew opens with a report on various branches of government:

Federal—Mulgrew says we seem to be making headway in taking Feds out of mandating testing. Not sure whether ESEA will be reauthorized. GOP opposes which works in our favor. Democrats believe in testing but that it ought not to be used for high stakes decisions for teachers. GOP feels feds should stay out of mandates that make states do anything. Perhaps there will be no mandates for federalized testing, but GOP can want vouchers. If we have agreement feds ought not to mandate testing be done for teacher eval. we may be in better shape, and it may influence the Luv Gov.

Mulgrew says if children sit for tests they must be used for diagnostic purposes to focus instruction and inform parents.

Says our grassroots campaign is working, that legislators are hearing us, and that we are not stopping campaign. Also suggests there will be arbitrator’s decision on retro soon.

City—Fariña moving forward with field support services. Will be seven offices where special ed. compliance and school needs will be looked after.

Mulgrew says he’s in a hurry going to AFT Exec. Board meeting.Mulgrew complains about tweets and media that uses words against him. Says he will be careful about what he says.

State—there will be no deal. This is raw politics. If Luv Gov gets what he wants, we will be hurt. Many things not funded.  Calls Cuomo’s plan “extortionary scheme.” Says we will work budget process. Mentions UFT reception in Albany and his testimony. Says we can prove to anyone governor’s plan won’t work, and that Albany is very focused on ethics.

Mulgrew, who is not on Twitter, thanks those of us who are.

Mentions how Cuomo said he does not expect an on time budget and expects things done by executive order. Says this will place us in full scale combat mode, but predicts NY education system will drop dramatically and can be blamed on governor.  Says we will engage in conversations with governor’s staff. Says we will do, for three years, to Cuomo, what we did to Bloomberg. I’m trying to recall precisely what that was.

Mulgrew says governor will harp on pervert teachers, and that here in NY there is no such thing. Says that Cuomo doesn’t trust principals to evaluate teachers. Finds it odd that management ought not to evaluate employees. Discusse lack of preparation, supplies, curriculum, time, and class size. Forgets, apparently, that only instrument that controls class size is UFT contract, and that we’ve done absolutely nothing in decades to improve it.

Says governor wants to drag us backward and destroy education. Suggests we focus on teaching and learning conditions and how this will better education. Praises NYSUT for local meetings. States there will be week of action March 9th, that we will surround our school and hold hands. Says nothing of torches or pitchforks, to my disappointment.

Ends report by speaking of Illinois governor pushing virtual right to work.

Questions—Mulgrew discusses longterm planning vis a vis Cuomo, but states we have to first move toward April 1 budget deadline. Wonders how they will conclude session without meaningful ethics bill, but states we know what we will have to do if it all goes bad. Bemoans gubernatorial power over budget. Mentions Roosevelt and how state takeovers have not been productive.

CL wonders whether ethics conversation can be used to weaken governor. Mulgrew, sarcastically, says he will never say that publicly and that he will focus on education.

Mulgrew states if we don’t keep teacher torture on Mondays and Tuesdays that 37.5 small group sessions will return. Says he needs specifics to plan properly how to negotiate this.

Mulgrew says if constitutional convention opens to discuss pensions it will affect others beside teachers. Says we are good caretakers because we ensure our state makes contributions to pensions, unlike New Jersey.

Commenter says best teachers in his school hate their jobs because of paperwork, requests stoppage. Mulgrew asks what he has filed to district paperwork committee. Says he can use this, and if he has not filed complaint, school system thinks they are all happy.

CL Mary Ahern—glad that DN article has been refuted, and that there is no pullbacks on ads. Mulgrew says that’s what we elected him to do. Says if you’re going to take info from Daily News and NY Post, that’s your right, but they are not friends of teachers. Says they are as bad as we think they are. Asks about class size. Asks why UFT doesn’t ask to restore funding for class size and why fair student funding is not opposed.

Mulgrew says we tried to deal with this in contract, but that we were ruled against. Says we are continuing discussions with chancellor, but she is continually attacked by press. Says we lobby for class size funding every year. (Again, why not in contract?) Says it ought not to be responsibility of city council, but rather state, which owes us 2.6 billion dollars. Praises chancellor and mayor for also requesting CFE funds. Mulgrew says we will go to court for CFE.

—Mike Schirtzer rises, raises motion for next month on behalf of MORE, to support I Refuse Movement. Circulates it. Mulgrew says it needs a simple majority to be placed on agenda. 

Mike says has been passed by several locals, that testing regime is out of hand, and that we should oppose high stakes testing. Says test prep saps joy from teaching, helps neither us nor our students. Kills creativity, critical thinking so we can do non stop test prep. Says we must starve the beast, that MOSL is junk science. Says if we’re gonna go to war against Cuomo, let’s take high stakes testing away from him.

Point of information—states we cannot make resolutions for NYSUT, and that there is no NYC Board of Education. Mulgrew points out other reference to NYSUT, makes disapproving noises, says DA does not have ability to bind NYSUT’s hands.

Sterling Roberson rises to speak against resolution, says we are against overtesting, but that we need tools to help drive instruction. Says parents need tests to ensure that they’re getting the “education they deserve.” Says we’ve supported this issue “from teachers of Chicago,” and in early grades. Says we’ve enforced it and reemphasized it over and over. States there is difference between opting out and refusing. Says it tells folks to tell their kids to refuse. Although there are pieces that are appealing to us, it goes to far. Urges this motion be defeated.

Mulgrew holds vote, I did not hear him declare outcome (it was clearly voted down, I would say 2-1) takes point of personal privilege, says he understands passion around this issue. Says resolution is out of order because it asks us to make decision about NYSUT. Speaks of how parents want tests. Says we’re in a fight and have to be smart about it, that we ought not to take a boilerplate resolution that was put together in other places. Says we should be against high stakes.

Supporter of resolution makes point of information—"Last resolve makes it clear that this resolution is only"—Mulgrew interrupts speaker before she finishes and says it’s already been voted on. Calls speaker out of order.
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