Monday, March 20, 2017

UFT Executive Board March 20, 2017--CPE1 in House, JHS 145 Reso Watered Down

Secretary Howard Schoor tells us there will be five speakers tonight.

From Central Park East 1—James Schoff—Thanks teachers and parents. Says new principal came to school, was less democracy and teacher voice. Progressive school, practices do not match standard curriculum, principal was disruptive. Tenured teachers pushed back and were under investigation for various charges. Some unsubstantiated, others ongoing. Whenever she is challenged there is investigation. Supe refused to engage, but met some with parents. Only 3 tenured teachers left in school. 5 teachers left last year. 2 currently under investigation. As far as he knows, charges unfounded. New untenured teachers afraid to speak. If teachers can still teach we want them returned to our school. Without them our school will fail. They are talented and to make them ATR would be a crime.

Bonnie Massey—parent, UFT social worker, son went to CPE 1 because it was democratic and progressive, staff was empowered. Since new principal, kids are learning something other than democracy. 70% of parents want her removed. We have worked very hard, and been ignored and insulted. Principal has lied to parents, tried to pit them against one another, created unsafe environment. Oversaw largest drop of scores in city last year. Traumatized teachers and children over lies, targeted CL and delegate. Hostile and unsafe work environment. Asks for your support. Mulgrew said he would protect our children, and we need support. Offers info packets.

Marilyn Martinez—CL of CPE 1 sitting in rubber room, going through process. True they have not put in grievances. As school they wish to take care of issues in democratic way. Has been impossible with new principal. I am going through 3020a for my involvement and opposition. High teacher turnover rate should raise flags. Teachers disappearing. Teachers not receiving support, facing removal procedures. Teachers forced to leave. Fears for colleagues still in school, wondering who is next. Who is Monica Gart and why is she so privileged?

Fran Myers—Adult Ed.—Says it is weakest link of our union chain, can be used to break union. Expresses solidarity with CPE1. Says we need to be visible and support one another. Similar things happening in adult ed. since Rosemary Mills is supe. All old principals are out along with many APs. Some retired and other couldn’t take her directives to unfairly U rate people. Signed non-disclosure agreements. Asks for investigation of her hiring practices, says they are from one part of the world.

Schoor—Give us a list of issues and we will take it up with DOE.

Minutes—approved. EB and Adcom.

Mulgrew arrives—6:17

President’s Report

Federal—Budget—Says he will say 45 instead of President’s name. Was all we expected. Using this in Albany. Knew they would come after public schools. Title 2 gone, no community schools, no class size, no PD. Base title 1 left intact because it was in legislation. Suspended and killed ESSA guidelines and regs. Says they don’t want to open it up again. SCOTUS started today but no one listens because of Russia investigation. We want to use Fed things to gain state influence. NY Senate had egregious charter language, we’ve faxed and visited all over. We say they are DeVos puppets. Most well-know Sec. of Ed. is DeVos. If you know her you don’t like her. We have to push.

Dept. of Labor cut 20%, hurts seniors, jobs, safety.

I said there was a storm coming, it’s here and we are prepared. Saturday we had a para fest. We packed room with guidance counselors. Early childhood conference packed. All had PD, all were here, and we talk of how we have to work with parents and push back. We had faith based breakfast. Texas has no vouchers because ministers work to lobby for public schools. Texas minister came here and we will try to organize them here.

DC constantly in disarray. Some people say it’s on purpose to slide things through when no one is looking.

Second snow day. We don’t want a third. Snow days not contractual. Some members have to come in—all city workers except school based personnel. Two snow days next year. If we have to make up time they will add it at year’s end. Says members should know about snow day limitations.

Dave Hickey will do presentation on finances of UFT in a few weeks for EB. Says there is fake news about UFT being two months behind on dues. Says we are never behind on dues. In January city collects them and we don’t get them until March. We’ve always been on time. We have solidified financial shape of union. People who’d hurt us start investigations that we pay for.

Our expenses have gone down and extra money goes into service. We did a resolution when 45 won and we filed and refinanced our properties. We didn’t wait for interest rates to go up. We have our own politics with DOE. We still have friction. Our biggest issue is their lack of responsibility reigning in principals. Everyone has a boss and principals can’t do whatever they wish.

I am going after superintendents because they are responsible for principals. They are the reason we had to put up with bad principals. We have to also do work in Albany. This is not a fluke that’s going away. People in government want to kill public education and destabilize school systems, introduce privatization.

Our union will be strong financially, prepared for attacks, but we are the ones at the forefront of this fight. In state houses controlled by people who don’t like public ed., controlled by rich people, it’s a very tough fight. We will amp up the fight. Thanks us for work we’ve been doing. Amazing that our events are full. Activists know what is going on.

Mulgrew moves resolution up. So moved.

Refinancing passes.

Mulgrew says this is our fight and we’re not going to lose. Everyone loves neighborhood public

schools. DC wants to snuff out education for millions of children.

6:37 Mulgrew leaves

Catlin Preston—teacher at CPE 1 for nine years. First signer of letter to principal, eleven days later had first LIF for insubordination, 11 days later, second, one year ago was reassigned. March completed 3020a. Pattern of administrative abuse. Teachers suffer, no consideration for children, asks for action. 

Staff Director’s Report—LeRoy Barr

Speaks of conferences for paras and counselors. DA Wednesday. Saturday Men in Education Symposium. CL Training next day. EB next week.

Arthur Goldstein MORE—Regents week has become problematic for some large Queens high schools, including Francis Lewis and Bayside. It’s also hugely expensive for the city, which now has to pay a whole lot of money for things we used to do as a matter of course. I’m thinking money like that could be better used, for example, to preclude higher medical copays for UFT members. In any case, I’ve been told that if the Exec. Board passes something and it doesn’t go the DA it becomes UFT policy. First, is that true?

If so, I’d like to ask when you are going to discuss Janella’s resolution about Regents week with the DOE.  IF not, I’d like to know when this is going to be introduced at the DA. (People on dais seem to think it's not true. Michael Shulman, from audience says it is and Schoor says he stands corrected.)

Schoor—Will be resolution 2 next week.

Janella Hinds—Regents has been problem for last two years. Is high on agenda. Hoping to pass it Wednesday.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—Thanks speakers, says President spoke to issue. CPE was a particularly progressive school People who applied wanted to work there. Family at my school said it’s important we support Marilyn. Would like this to be poster child for Public School Proud campaign. Gratified to hear superintendent would hear from us. Would like to hear reports on supe who undermines type of school she runs. Looking forward to report. Can we hear specifics about this?

Schoor—We are open and respond to questions. We will respond.

Mike Schirtzer
MORE—We got an email from Mulgrew about Trump plan that we could lose 140 million in funding. But we are going to the state and NY State Government owes us, according to AQE, 1.9 billion dollars based on CFE. Are we doing something about that on Lobby Day? What’s our plan going forward. If we get that money we could give big middle finger to Mr. Trump.

Paul Egan—Lobby Day is always about budget. That’s why DOE allows us to be released. All our discussions will be about that. Will we get 2 billion? I don’t think so but we will keep pressure on them. We want NYC to get its fair share. In Albany more elected Dems than GOP but GOP controls. We need to get along with IDC but will hold all accountable.

Reports from districts

Janella Hinds
—reports event that took place March 9th—College and careers. Students from 30 schools. Got great feedback and very proud. Will be second next year.

Ellen Dreisen
—District 20—May is public school proud arts month. Schools will do performances. We’re very excited. Superintendent invited DeVos

Shelvy Abrams
—Saturday over 1000 members. Many new, had never been to such a function. Many honored by their peers. Thanks everyone.

Arthur Goldstein MORE—A few weeks ago several teachers and I joined Vice President for Education Evelyn de Jesus at the NYSABE, or NY State Association for Bilingual Education Conference., I’ve never been in a group so large where everyone had such a razor sharp focus on the kids with whom I work every day. Everywhere I went were people focused on their future. We sat at tables with superintendents and principals, people of whom I’m generally suspicious, and the thing we mostly discussed was how we can keep our kids safe.

Michael Mulgrew told NYSABE if they came for our kids they’d have to arrest us. I was very happy to hear him say that and I’m ready to join him if it comes to that.

Evelyn can’t be here right now, but one thing I heard her say several times, was that she was ready for whatever happens. She said in Spanish, better than I could, that she could dance if they wanted, or fight if she had to.I’m happy to say, though, that in this union, in this city, and at NYSABE, there seems to be no sunlight between our positions on protecting the children we serve every day.

Paul Egan—Legislative report—Lobby day postponed because it was on blizzard day. We started again and booked again. As of now we have 750 people. Sadly day before testing. Still time to sign up.

We will also be doing district meetings at month’s end talking about budget issues.

We will be doing many endorsements. This month we are doing for comptroller and public advocate. Recommends Scott Stringer and Tish James.

Schoor—We recommend that.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—Do they have opposition?

Egan—not significant.


Tish James endorsement—

Paul Egan—Petitions haven’t been circulated yet. There may be opposition later, but no one who hasn’t started now is serious.


Resolution—57 anniversary of UFT

George Altomare—NYC special, never know where you’ll get inspiration. Real inspiration comes from within. In 1960 we had nothing more than dreams. 1200 of 50K teachers wanted collective bargaining, equality at table, had dreams. Was crowded on train today. Gentleman, well dressed, started chanting or singing. Said over and over, in the land of dreamers, dreams come true. That’s what we were as NYC teachers 57 years ago. No one expected us to survive or grow. We are a citadel of good will and humanity. We won a strike, won a union, won collective bargaining, and we thought that’s it, now we can just teach.

That wasn’t true. We had some big strikes. Strike of 68 tested us. In 75 the fiscal collapse, when we thought it was over, we survived and so did the city. Then we faced Bloomberg, and now we have today. We have to remember one thing Jefferson said—Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. When we get to a situation like this—Vigilance is price of liberty. Are we willing to pay the price?


Mike SchirtzerMORE--Raising resolution in support of JHS 145. Threatened with closing. On PEP agenda, will vote whether to close. Have been in media. Rich Mantel has been fantastic on this. Community made it to Brooklyn, Bronx. JHS is a community school. Should not be closed. Wasn't provided what it was entitled to as renewal school.  We’re endorsing de Blasio Fariña should be on our side. This is Trump-DeVos agenda. A non-unionized charter would replace it. Latino and Muslim students. We ask to adjourn DA early and go to PEP to show support as union. We need to do more, to come together. If we can send a bus to DC, we need to go to Tweed and say closing community schools is unacceptable.

LeRoy Barr—Wants to echo comments. Rises to amend. First resolved—UFT will continue to take stance against closing. Strike rest. Strike second resolved that DA attends. Says many people will attend. We are up against a lot and can’t adjourn business of DA, but I will encourage all to show at PEP.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—supports original resolution, supports edits to first resolved but wants to keep second. How often can we give union support to our brothers under attack? Person who receives solidarity gains much. Person who participates also gains. No business more important than letting our members stand in support to each other. Nothing more important than giving that sense to all our members.

Eliu Lara—supports amendments. Says Lehman open because we fought. Clinton HS open. We fought for that. A bunch of people from that school will go. We are supporting 145.

Janella HInds—speaks in favor of amendments. We only have DA once a month and need to get through agenda. LeRoy will announce from podium.

Marcus McArthurMORE—Speaks in favor of original resolution. Understands we have important business. We live in peculiar times. Normal protocols no longer apply. Politics of our country, political leaders, don’t respond to a seat at the table. Don’t address our concerns in democratic and respectable fashion. This is why people are hitting the streets all across the country, Occupy, BLM, Women’s March, our institutions are disconnected. We have public schools in neighborhoods that serve low income black and brown students. We’re talking about closing that schools with union-busting, segregated corporate model. That’s catastrophic. We’ve gotta draw a red line at some point. Our union is formed out of fight, protest, solidarity. This is our calling right now. We’re in a generational fight for soul of our city and country.

Karen Allford—Supports resolution as amended. We know how to balance our priorities. We have to get through DA and have folks there. We have a good enough ground game that we can finish at 6 and have people there. We are smart enough, we can juggle schedules, and get both things done. We have to get through business of budget, alert members about DeVos and we can balance both.

Kuljit AhluwaliaNew Action—Stands in support of original resolution. We need to get involved. We can pick a time that doesn’t interfere with union business.

Vince Gagli—Moves to close debate.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—point of information—Why are we striking part about march and rally?

Schoor—Mr. Barr said what he wanted. Not open to debate.

Debate closed.

Schoor—Resolution before us, keeps whereas, strikes last resolved and amends first.

Passes resolution as amended.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action--Did we vote on everything?

—Calls vote. Says yes agrees with Barr.


Revotes for resolution as amended.


Resolution passes.

We are adjourned.
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