Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Student Perception Survey 2017

1. How high do you jump up and down every time you go to this teacher's class?

a. very high   b. high  c. somewhat high  d. a little bit  e. I don't jump at all. The teacher sucks.

2. What do you say when you raise your hand in this class?

a. OOH! OOH! OOH!  b. OOH! OOH! c. Ooh. d. Blah  e. I don't raise my hand. The teacher sucks.

3. Does the teacher give you candy?

a. always   b. usually  c. sometimes d. rarely  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

4. Does the teacher come over to your house and do your homework for you?

a. Yes. b. Yes, but only for his class. c. sometimes d. rarely  e. Never. The teacher sucks

5. How often does the teacher make you explain your answers?

a. always. The teacher sucks. b.  Usually. The teacher sucks. c. Sometimes. The teacher sucks.
d. Rarely. The teacher sucks.  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

6. How much do the teachers stupid rules cramp your style?
 
a. always. The teacher sucks. b.  Usually. The teacher sucks. c. Sometimes. The teacher sucks.
d. Rarely. The teacher sucks.  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

7. Does this teacher control the class well enough, or does she suck?

a. She controls the class well enough. b. She controls the class well enough, but she sucks anyway.
c. She doesn't control the class well enough, so she sucks. d. She sucks at controlling the class.
e. She sucks at controlling the class, and she sucks in general

8. Does the teacher roll out a red carpet every time you enter the classroom?

a. always   b. usually  c. sometimes d. rarely  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

9. How often are you so thrilled to be in the class that you don't think about food, sex, video games, or your iPhone?

a. always   b. usually  c. sometimes d. rarely  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

10. Is the teacher always bugging you to do stuff?

a. always. The teacher sucks. b.  Usually. The teacher sucks. c. Sometimes. The teacher sucks.
d. Rarely. The teacher sucks.  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

11. Does your teacher jump up and down because she's so viscerally excited to teach your class?

a. always   b. usually  c. sometimes d. rarely  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

12. When you're with your girlfriend or boyfriend, how often do you focus on this teacher's class instead of one another?

a. always. This teacher is ruining my life. b. often. Man I wish this teacher would get out of my face. c. Sometimes. This teacher really sucks. d. Rarely, but only to make jokes about her. e. Never. Why would I think about that moron?

13. When the teacher makes you do some ridiculous impossible crap, how often does he insist you finish it no matter how stupid it is?

a. always. The teacher sucks. b.  Usually. The teacher sucks. c. Sometimes. The teacher sucks.
d. Rarely. The teacher sucks.  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

14. How ignorant is this teacher?

a. very   b. really  c. extremely  d. a whole lot  e. This teacher sucks.

15. How boring is this class?

a. very   b. really  c. extremely  d. a whole lot  e. This teacher sucks.

16. Will this teacher give a golly gosh darn what you are doing three years from now?

a. No  b. Nah  c. Uh-uh  d. Nyet  e. Fugeddaboudit

17. How often does this teacher tell you how much you suck?

a. always  b. too much  c. every day  d. continually  e. a lot, but the teacher sucks more

18. Does this teacher genuflect when you enter the room?

a. always   b. usually  c. sometimes d. rarely  e. Never. The teacher sucks.

19. How bad is the teacher at controlling crazy students? We don't mean you, of course.

a. terrible  b. no good  c. negative  d. horrible e. awful

20. How hard is it to understand the stupid things this teacher says?

a. really hard   b. very hard   c. impossible  d. forget about it  e. The teacher sucks so I don't listen.

21. How good is this teacher at pretending to care about you?

a. not very  b. not at all  c. doesn't even try  d. Who cares? e. This teacher sucks.

22. Does this teacher care if you understand?

a. no  b. no   c. no  d. no  e. all of the above

23. Does this teacher write individual lesson plans for each of her 170 students?

a. no  b. no   c. no  d. no  e. all of the above

24. How awkward do you feel talking with this weirdo teacher?

a. very   b. really  c. extremely  d. a whole lot  e. This teacher sucks.

25. If you walked into the class upset, the teacher would...

a. ignore you  b. scream at you  c. throw a cheeseburger at you  d. make it worse  e. all of the above

26. Would you rather be with this teacher or a cute puppy dog?

a. Are you kidding?

27. How much have you learned from this teacher?

a. nothing  b. less than nothing  c. diddly-squat  d. nada e. The teacher sucks too much to listen.

Monday, May 22, 2017

UFT Executive Board May 22, 2017--Good News at CPE 1 y Problemas en Puerto Rico

Howard Schoor, Secretary calls Anika and Cindi from CPE 1, they thank us for our support. Principal asked to step down. Two teachers returned to classroom as of tomorrow. Giving CPE t-shirts for people in dais.

Schoor—CPE 1 great success for UFT, for our work, very proud. Day Marilyn went back he was there, parents were celebrating, great response from kids. Jackie Bennett was there today. Howard wears CPE t-shirt.

Speakers—


Aixa Rodriguez—on resolution for support for Puerto Rican teachers. Asks that all unions be named and FMPR be included. President coming in June, would be great gesture of solidarity to include them. Super important to create sense of unity with all parents, kids and teachers. Situation worsening daily. Would mean a lot if we stand with them regardless.

Schoor—says we’re with you.

Fran Meyers
—Adult ed.—says union members unite to fight abusive administrators—says adult ed. principals and APs have been abusing powers to give U ratings. Says they are impossible to fight, rigged at 99% rate for principals. Defines grievance as per article 22. Says admin needs to be honest. We shouldn’t be told we can’t grieve it due to post-ob. Supe Mills handpicked cronies who abuse powers. Reports written to denigrate teachers. Standards used as battering ram, applied without regard to level. We have to fight for this before we are fired. Day to day methods for individualizing instruction should be left to teacher. Many U ratings and unjust firings. Irrational and abusive use of observation system must be stopped to preserve dignity of profession. Asks union support grievances as per article 22, before teachers lose jobs.

Catlin Preston—CPE 1—Thanks UFT leadership, especially Howie and Ellen Procida. He is exonerated. Was long 14 months. Was reassigned as CPE 1 fight happened. Speaks of teachers languishing in reassignment, a twilight zone with no clear path forward, no guidance. Can be dispiriting, especially when you don’t know what you’re accused of. I am proof administrative abuse takes place, and that there are real consequences.

My exoneration indicates that charges were not substantial to begin with. Extremely grateful for due process rights, for salary, pension but dignity, professionalism were assaulted. Thought about quitting. I was found not guilty. I also have feeling of wanting more from UFT, ground level support, my mind stays with those teachers, They were dedicated professionals. We shouldn’t apologize for abusive admin. We need to balance investigatory power of admin.

Schoor—Minutes—approved.

Mulgrew arrives 6:15—


Schoor—only one person at UFT responsible for CPE 1. He made sure our members were made whole.

Mulgrew—AFT says they have none of those rights and are gone for allegations. Doesn’t mean it’s OK because we have these rights. You wanted your school back, you have it. Make it run, make it shine, and show everyone that’s why we do these fights.
Betsy DeVos giving speech, many cuts, charters vouchers, tax credits. PD cut. In our city we are the place that shows what public ed is. We will always have challenges and always learn something new. They have screwy ideas—they have ability to reassign but someone needs to monitor those who make the decisions. When it’s done from abuse, that’s why it’s in their interest to do better. If we’re all fighting DC, if LA controlled by “reformers,” that’s what we’re dealing with.

When I talk to city I tell them we’re in it together, and this is not good for public ed. Hoping there will be more changes. Was an enlightening process. We have to move forward. Will see what happens in DC. Thinks we can block but we may have to mobilize. Mayoral control now tied to tax credits. I am not involved because we don’t like this version. Was very smart to not tie to charters, to appeal to upstate. Working on good things up there.

To CPE 1, it’s your school, you have it back, do what you always wanted. We’ll make sure everyone sees that’s what happens when you treat ed. well.

Mulgrew is given CPE t-shirt, leaves, 6:22.


LeRoy Barr—Spring conference May 13, crowd applauds Dr. Barber. On UFT.org. May 15, immigration forum. Thanks E. de Jesus, Ashraya Gupta. Tomorrow Shanker scholarships 5:30. DA June 14, EB June 5. May 25 prom event. 3K dresses and suits, handbags, shoes, jewelry. Wed. in Bronx UFT.

Questions

Arthur GoldsteinMORE—We have now seen both Marilyn Martinez and Catlin Preston brought up on charges. Despite the fact that they seemed to have no validity whatsoever, and were in fact determined as such, OSI saw fit to take them both out of their classrooms. It seems like they will support just about anything that comes out of a principal’s mouth. Clearly, what with the various Principals from Hell we’ve been hearing about at these meetings, that is an issue. No one wants our members dragged through the mud for no reason. How many teachers are currently reassigned, and are we dealing with the abuse of the investigatory process by OSI and their friends at DoE legal?

Schoor—We will get number. We are looking at process. Found principals make decisions. If there is a complaint, OSI seems to ask principals. Seems to be problem. We will look at it.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—HS Applied Communication members continue to face attacks. Culture of fear. Looking for any help. What steps being taken to remove principal?

Schoor—Carmen Alvarez has been in school. Many special ed. complaints. Janella going next week—says DR in school weekly, we are in constant communication.

Schirtzer
—What are we doing right now. They are under constant attack.

Hinds—collecting info, visiting.

Rona Freiser
—another meeting today. 30 members in schools. Dealing mostly with two or three. Working with CL. Trying to figure what’s best for all. We are on top of everything and working with CL. Recall for CL didn’t pass. Many people going in building.

Schoor
—We can’t just say principal is terrible. We need facts, can’t generalize. Will take time we will get there.

Jonathan Halabi
New Action—Tremendous day when we can overturn something like this. Supe, Estrella, temporarily removed. If I have a friend, do I say you now work with decent person, but other returning. Bad supes real issue. This is not normal. Elaine Lindsay in Queens is not. When they show abuse, direct abuse, our strategy doesn’t work. What do we do with abusive supes?

Schoor—We have been looking at supes. We will be doing something. Stay tuned. We expect full membership of UFT to get involved.

Kuljit S. Ahluwalia
New Action—Seems to be concern over what’s going to happen in September to ATRs. What can you tell us?

Schoor—Still meeting, but don’t yet have agreement. Would be unfair bargaining to say now. City and we want agreement. Maybe next meeting.

Ashraya Gupta
MORE—Proud at immigration forum. Randi said we were no longer in control of populism narrative. What strategies are we thinking of applying? How are we reaching out to members? Forum was people already with us.

Schoor
—We discuss everything, working with NYSUT, AFT, everything connected, Will have something members can partake in.

Marcus McArthur
MORE—PD hours—what should teachers do to get CTLE hours they now need. They are registered but now want to know how to get hours.

Evelyn de Jesus
—Members need 100 hours. ESL need 50 in ESL, others 15. UFT in summer and September will have series of workshops, and we can go to your school and offer hours. We can do L or special ed. hours. Training people to turnkey in summer. DOE now provider. If you go to DOE workshop make sure there is approved provider.

Report from Districts


Pat Crispino—SVA grad, Bennie Lye, killed in head on collision. Moment of silence. Asks for gofundme contributions.

Dolores ?—Ed. liaison for Manhattan—There are many things union does—Ed. liaisons in every borough, help with licensing and certification. Have been able to reduce number of teachers in danger with support.

Janella Hinds—met with DOE about Regents scoring. Are awaiting response. Will share.
Missed name—12 annual scholarship dinner SI—raised funds for summer camp, tech devices.

Margaret Dalton—Thanks Manhattan staff for support with para day of learning. Gives Evelyn de Jesus thanks. Thanks Ellie Engler and presenters.

Mindy Carter B.—Thanks people for coming to speech and hearing month. Displayed in UFT lobby. 11th year.

Helen Greisen
—Spoke of Public School Proud celebration of arts. Been in many schools. Seen incredible things from children and teachers. Friday we had 7 or 8 schools perform. Will be video. Ended with Public School Proud chant led by supe.

Evelyn de Jesus—Thanks Queens office for visiting Lawrence Teacher Association. Issues with community, private schooling, tremendous turnout. Everyone thanked us. Attack on them is attack on us.

Political report—Paul Egan
—tomorrow is election day in AD 9—Christine Pellegrino running. If you live there, voter for her. 1K UFT members out there. Low turnout. With exception of 2 districts, all budgets passed. Thanks people on continuing basis for school visits to City Council offices.

Schoor—City Council members were here, hearing about programs we want them to continue funding.

Evelyn de Jesus—resolution about Puerto Rico, cuts in services, ed., health care, at heart of our unions. Been there 4X, 33K active teachers,48K members. Asked for help. 378 school closings. 3K teachers came to mainland. Average salary 17.5K. 6.25 gallon for milk No social security for teachers. GOP offering no help. This association shares our values. These are our people Puerto Ricans US citizens. 3.5 million.

Arthur Goldstein
MORE—If we’re gonna be public school proud it means standing up not only for ourselves, but also for our friends and neighbors.  I spoke to Mercedes Martinez, President of the Federacion de Maestros de Puerto Rico, who tells me another few hundred schools are to be closed to raise millions of dollars to pay the criminal loan sharks who’ve purchased the debt. Tens of thousands of teachers are facing pension loss, and also furloughs which will mean immediate cuts in salary. In Puerto Rico, vulture capitalists have converted human misery into a financial bonanza.

Puerto Rican teachers face criminalization of protests and years of jail time if they strike. In fact it’s likely they will do just that, and they need our support. Allowing this in Puerto Rico is tantamount to allowing it everywhere. It behooves us to do everything in our power to stop it dead right there. I urge support.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—Motion to amend. Wants to add FMPR to resolution in various places. Asks we add “collective action” to demand for collective bargaining. We know there are divisions among teachers.

Stuart Kaplan—Point of info—Can you clarify what collective action is?

SchirtzerMORE--aware of divisions, but when teachers under attack we have to show solidarity with ALL teachers. Students and professors have led boycotts, strikes, occupations. Talking about what George Altomare always talks about when he celebrates union. We must recognize and respect what happens in Puerto Rico.

LeRoy Barr—Speaks against amendment. There were emails about this with President Mercedes Martinez. Convo was she has to go through AFT. We do things through AFT for national issues. We come out with positions as they relate to NYC. When we invite others we always coordinate with agent responsible for bargaining or who has relationships at those levels. It’s AFT and NEA. Was back and forth. It was with President of the organization. Told them it has to go through AFT. Speaking in favor of all people in Puerto Rico. Against anyone making low wages, but this goes through AFT.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action--With all due respect, standing in solidarity means only we can speak. AMPR has relationship with us. We should find a way to reach out to brother and sister teachers.

Arthur GoldsteinMORE—Are we going to add collective action to our resolution?

(Evidently it is included in what Unity is voting against.)

Motion fails.

Original motion passes.

We are adjourned.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Screw Thy Neighbor

It's probably true that no matter how bad things look, there's always someone worse-off than you are. In no less than the alleged bastion of liberalism The New York Times, there's a piece by reformy Kevin Carey, extolling the virtues of value added. And while Carey pays lip service to the American Statistical Association, nowhere does he mention their key finding--that teachers affect the test scores of their students by a factor of 1-14%.

That's fake news, right there in the Times, on the topic that tortures working teachers more than any other. Peter Greene pointed out on Facebook (and now on his blog) that, despite the professed hope for more teachers on the right of the value-added bell curve, it could never actually happen, you know, because it's a frigging bell curve! Equally vexing, for reasons I will never fathom, our union leadership seems right there with Carey.

Exhibit A that things could be even worse is Lawrence, New York, where a bunch of parents who send their kids to religious schools have taken over the public schools. Screw the teachers, they say, as they deny them a contract for seven years. Screw the children, they say, as they demand reversals in class size restrictions. These people, in a town populated by veritable mansions, want to keep their taxes low, ensure services for their own children, and everyone else, evidently, can go to hell. They're building on the East Ramapo model, which ensures transportation for their own kids, and starves the schools full of other people's children to keep their tax rates down. This may or may not be exacerbated by the reprehensible Cuomo tax cap of 2% or rate of inflation, whatever is lower.

And while I was shocked by what happened in Lawrence, I'm even more shocked to see this model attempted elsewhere. I've received several letters now of failed attempts of school board takeovers in various New Jersey towns, but one is the most disturbing I've received, and I'll post it below. It's about an election takeover attempt at Ramapo Central:

They didn't get on the board but people are panicking. Our tax base is shrinking fast. We were afraid that they would get in as write-ins at the last minute. They've been buying up houses in the area and renting them. They have proposed a 2000 student yeshiva across from our school building on Cherry Lane Avenue. The Ramapo supervisor, who just got convicted yesterday enabled the permits for this monster on a two lane road in a residential neighborhood. When the district decided to curtail their insane bussing needs, they flooded our board meetings and accused our board of anti-Semitism. http://www.lohud.com/story/news/education/2016/09/16/state-denies-request-halt-ramapo-central-bus-changes/90508278/ We all fear that it is a matter of time before they try to take over our board. We have asked the State to allow us to change our name to Suffern Central to attract people into the district and differentiate ourselves from East Ramapo. We are fighting this but it feels hopeless! Thank you for any help you can give us.

It looks like East Ramapo is a model they wish to spread. While I studied religion as a child, I must've missed the Commandment to Screw Thy Neighbor. But there is indeed an explosion of private school students in need of busing, along with concurrent demands for enhanced services. I guess you can call it democracy when a locality decides to enforce policies that favor one ethnic group over others. You can look away from the outright bigotry inherent in such policies and say this is what the people want.

But when people want racist and bigoted policies, well, they kind of need to be stopped. History is replete with examples of oppressed minorities and I'm not even gonna try and enumerate them here. It's curious, to say the least,  that one such minority would think about it and determine the solution is to populate one small space, become the majority, of voters at least, and then decide to oppress others.

I guess that's one way to approach the situation. And these days, with an administration in DC whose watchword is "ethics-shmethics," it seems par for the course. Much as I believe in democracy, though, I don't think it trumps human rights or fundamental decency. I don't think there are many things more fundamental than educating children. While we've managed to screw up royally with health care, that's not justification for moving backward on something we've gotten right for the most part.

We as unionists are in a very precarious place, with national "right to work" a virtual certainty over the next year or two. There are several areas we'll need to assert ourselves in order to not only support our members, but also keep them within the fold. To me, this certainly looks like one of them.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sitting Here in Limbo

Yesterday, after calling in all week, Nassau County finally told me to report to jury duty. While my co-teacher gave a test we'd prepared, I drove in to parking lot 14 of Supreme Court Drive and reported. I went through the metal detector, filled out a form, and sat myself in a big old room looking at what appeared to be a judge's bench.

Actually, though, it was some sort of prop to make us feel the gravity of our situation. Above the bench was a huge screen that rolled down so we could learn about what a trial was. I watched the video, but I've also watched a lot of Law and Order. All due respect, the TV show explains the same process just as well, but more dramatically. I rated the video developing.

Then there were a lot of calls to our sense of civic justice. You would want to be judged by someone objective, like you. It was nice that they gave me such credit, not knowing me from a hole in the wall. It's important you do this duty, they said. It will just take a few days, usually, unless of course it takes longer. If your employers have more than ten employees they need to pay you the 40 bucks a day you earn, but just for the first week. I wasn't clear whether the county would pay you the daily 40 bucks after that, but I was pretty glad to have a union job where I get my full salary.

I watched the people around me. I had brought a book called Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen.  Hiaasen writes about Florida, about the outrageous people who live there, and about the incredible self-serving deeds they perform. I got a pretty good start to that book. At first I seemed to be the only one in the room who'd brought a book, but eventually I noticed two others.

Maybe some people were reading books on their phones, but most I saw seemed to be on Facebook. Naturally I too got on Facebook to make these vital observations. An hour passed. Another hour passed. I got on Yelp to see if there was any good place for lunch. They guy who spoke to us said 12:30 was lunch time, but that they wouldn't pay for our lunch or transportation. He suggested we go and eat in their basement lunchroom, but I didn't see any rave reviews on Yelp.

At 12 I started to wonder what was going on. As the minutes ticked by I began to become curious whether anyone was going to call us. 12:16 passed by. 12:26. At 12:27 a guy got on the microphone and said lunch would be delayed. I was disappointed because I had found some sort of cajun/ BBQ diner a few blocks from the courthouse worth checking out.

But the message was one of hope. Evidently, there was nothing whatsoever happening for us in the courthouse, and they were going to send us all home. Our jury duty entailed sitting around in a freezing fake courtroom for two and a half hours, and they weren't calling us again for another six years. They sent us to a smaller room and gave us all certificates.

I actually had a date to go out to a cool Korean BBQ joint in Queens with my department, and my friend Jia came all the way from Manhattan to join us. Before that, I actually reported to my school and helped my co-teacher grade our test. Well, it was in the neighborhood.

Today my wife, my daughter and I are taking a defensive driving course at our library, which means we'll all sit around in some room for six and a half hours. This should be yet another day of big fun, punctuated by a thirty-minute break during which I shall drive home very fast, walk my dog, and drive back very fast.

I guess, as a teacher, I will refrain from bringing my book to the all-day funstravaganza. I don't think I'd like it if someone did that to me.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

East Ramapo Comes to Lawrence, Long Island

You've probably read or heard about East Ramapo, where a bunch of private school parents took over the public school board and essentially decided to strangle the public schools to death, or drown them in a bathtub or something. They just had their budget rescinded by the state because they planned private school busing on days public school doesn't meet.

I had no idea this sort of thing was happening 20 minutes from where I live.  UFT VP Evelyn de Jesus asked if I would come out and stand with the Lawrence teachers, who've now gone over six years without a contract, and I did. I've been a UFT member since 1984, and I certainly remember various times we went years without a contract. So of course I sympathize. But after speaking to teachers on the picket line I realized this was more than just waiting on a hostile mayor.

Evidently the Lawrence school board is now populated entirely by parents who send their kids to yeshivas, private religious schools. And these religious parents appear to have determined that the needs of their children supersede the needs of the rest of the riff raff living there. So why not close down a few of those useless public schools and save a few bucks?

As for the teachers, the last time they got a contract, they had friends on the board. But those days are gone. I mean, a contract usually entails more money, and why should the current board give a dime for community? That would mean, you know, paying taxes and stuff. Do you have any idea how much it costs to maintain even a modestly sized McMansion nowadays?

One of the stumbling blocks to reaching an agreement is class size. A teacher told me the new board wants to raise it. Evidently they can't waste time even pretending to care about the children of their neighbors. The teacher told me that once they raised the class sizes they could then fire all the teachers they didn't need, which would leave more money to bus their own children and provide more services to the yeshivas, wherever they may be located.

Randi Weingarten got up and gave a speech about how basic tenets of Judaism entailed caring for members of our communities. I'm not very religious, but that's certainly a value I share. I respect people who are religious in general, but I'd deem people who say, "I've got mine, screw everyone else," to fail the spiritual litmus test, whatever it may be. I don't know what the school board members would've said to Randi's speech, but I also don't know how they sit in temples and expect God to respect them. In fact, I don't even know how they sleep at night.

I had another question, though, and this one bothered me even more. How on earth could this be going on maybe 15 miles from where I live without my even having heard about it? Why isn't this story plastered all over our local rag Newsday? Why isn't there an op-ed in the Times about it?

This is an outrage, and word has not really gotten out. Please consider this to be word one. I'm hoping to see more words about it elsewhere. I saw reps from unions all over the island today. I think it's a good start but it's not enough.

I'm more than happy to support my union when we do the right thing, and I was glad to be there. That's me with that big UFT banner, wearing red for public ed. For Lawrence teachers to get a contract, we're gonna have to do more than wear the correct-colored shirt. We're gonna have to drag that miserable school board into the limelight and let the whole world know what they're doing.

I'll let you know right here if they take another action, and maybe we'll call our friends in the press and let them know too. Nothing disinfects quite like sunlight. Honest to God, I haven't got the faintest understanding how anyone could consider themselves religious and treat their own community like garbage.

Say what you will about Donald Trump, but at least he doesn't pretend to be interested when he has to go to church. He states his concerns openly--chocolate cake, ogling his adult daughter, and pussy-grabbing. When he talks about the bible, or values it's hard to imagine even his supporters not recognizing that as empty lip service. But who knows? As Lily Tomlin said, "No matter how cynical you get, you just can't keep up."

Despicable people tend to remain that way no matter how frequently they sit in church, or temple, and pretend to be otherwise. If there's anyone around my neighborhood rivaling the "ethics-shmethics" level of Donald Trump, it's the Lawrence school board.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CPE 1 Victory Is Model for Us All--Garg Out, Marilyn and Catlin Back

 Update--All charges have been dropped against CPE 1 UFT Delegate Cailin Preston.

The NY Times, though its coverage is kind of terrible, features the remarkable victory of CPE 1. From this article, you'd have no idea that Principal Garg placed the UFT chapter leader on charges for no reason, according to an arbitrator's ruling. You'd have no idea their delegate is still sitting around cooling his heels in some rubber room somewhere.

What readers of this blog will certainly notice is the difference between how teachers and principals are treated in this system. Garg will retain her salary and title of principal, but will have no school to run. She won't face charges. No 3020a for her. She won't have to worry about making some deal with the DOE to retain her job, she won''t face suspension, and she won't face a fine. There is clearly a double standard at the DOE.

The larger story, though, the one the Times does not seem to grasp, is the incredible activism of the CPE 1 community. They stood strong against an abusive and power-hungry principal. They never wavered, despite ridiculous pressure placed on their teachers and even their parents. Not content to simply remove teachers for no good reason, Garg banned several of the parent activists from the school, making it difficult or impossible to meet their children, some of whom had special needs, at their school. I can understand doing this in extreme cases, but this appears to be nothing but abuse of power.

The aftermath here is tough to say. Will UFT Unity take complete credit for this? Probably. That's what they did for Townsend Harris. The fact is we from MORE/ New Action spent hours meeting with the CPE 1 community and tried to address their concerns. We were part of it. Unity was part of it too, but they were also the part that applauded someone who trash-talked the activist parents and teachers at last week's Executive Board.

The fact is that primary credit should go to the CPE 1 community. I spent a lot of time listening to one of the parents in particular, and I rarely see the sort of passion and dedication that came from both them and the activist teachers combined with the relentlessness it took to sustain this. The parents and  teachers who undertook this are fantastic role modles. Many of us are understandably disheartened and disillusioned, and unwilling to take a stand. Perhaps it's natural that many of us need a crisis like this to bring us to our feet. I saw much the same from Jamaica High School a few years ago, though Bloomberg's abuse of power ensured they did not win that fight.

Nonetheless, there is a fight and we are under assault on multiple fronts. Hopefully, your principal is not an insane vindictive lunatic. Maybe your principal is supportive and understanding. But even if that is the case, we are under attack from the lunatics in the Trump administration, who not only want to cut all the federal money that goes toward reducing class size, but also want to privatize public education. Just because that doesn't work in prisons, with health care, or even in education is no reason for them to halt the profits of their BFFs.

And while Governor Andrew Cuomo has been doing his very best impression of Bernie Sanders lately, the fact is he's imposed a vindictive and idiotic rating system on all of us. Who cares if the American Statistical Association says teachers affect test scores by a factor of 1-14%? Cuomo wants to fire more teachers and be a tough guy. And let's not forget Tier 6 or the tax cap. UFT leadership may be warming to him, but he has no moral compass and will say or do absolutely anything to become President. His ambition is the only thing that matters.

And the city, alas, is no bargain either. While it's come around on Garg, and while it can be pressured, the fact is it needs to be pressured. Common sense didn't work. Looking at the situation objectively didn't work. Relentless pressure and news coverage seems to be what finally took the Arg out of Garg.

And that, my friends, is exactly what we need to practice more of. I'm ready.

Are you?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UFT Immigration Forum May 15th

UFT Educational VP Evelyn DeJesus welcomes us, welcomes panel. Says you can see Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from here, reminders to immigrant history. Says in NYC our kids speak 150 different languages but tonight we speak in one. We are family now.

Introduces UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Mulgrew welcomes us, thanks Evelyn. Says this is simple for us. We heard what happened in Queens last week, trying to get actual story. Says we’ve spoken about it a lot here. Very proud of diversity. Hard to find a teacher who doesn’t have dreamers in classroom. Fact that we are dealing with this is surreal to us.

We always hear attacks on teachers, but every teacher knows we’re responsible for kids in our classroom. We will not stand aside. We protect and educate. Proud that we are doing this, in national debate this is big issue.

We have no idea what will be in the news. So much uncertainly. For a child to deal with this is absurd, immoral, wrong. Introduces Juan Gonzalez, moderator.

Praises Gonzalez for his writing. Says he found truth in his columns, as opposed to alternative, fake news, or lies.

Gonzalez—Tells UFT he is now member of AFT. Retired from DN, still hosts Democracy Now, but is not Professor of Journalism at Rutgers and union member.

Pleased to discuss this topic. Recognizes his HS social studies teacher, George Altomare, from Franklin K. Lane. Didn’t know he was union activist, but remembers his lessons.

Immigration critical issue with admin that wants a wall and to deport people. Human rights watch says 10K parents of immigrants being detained by ICE each year in CA only. Reported about man in Austin who as teenager marched with parents, now councilman in Texas, arrested last week sitting in while they were outlawing sanctuary cities in Texas. Arrested in protest of law that would have him arrested for enabling sanctuary cities.

Sanctuary cities and feds on collision course. One side must persevere. Crime rates in sanctuary cities lower than in others.

Nisha Agarwal—Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs—Bridge between city govt. and diverse communities. Mission to promote programs that improve well-being of immigrants. Feel more strongly now, since election.

Immigrant inclusion should be DNA of city life. Example is Municipal ID program, ID NYC, available to all, free. Important to get into schools, open bank accounts, over 1 million signers. Do pop up enrollments with schools. Emergency contacts on back for parents.

Access to justice—free, safe immigration legal services w schools. Action NYC based in schools. Students, faculty parents get services. Know Your Rights Forums established. Have done 100. Makes school safe place.

Advocacy—Can just be having right policy at right time. Protocol for non-local law enforcement. SSA must call principal and lawyers. Without warrant they are removed. Happened Thursday. School followed protocol, turned them away. School are place where children are protected, safest place for kids to be. Credit to educators.

Steve Choi—NYC Immigration Coalition—Umbrella agency for state orgs. President ran most anti-immigrant candidate in US history. Wants pointless stupid border wall, Muslim ban, declared war on immigrant communities. Disheartening he’d do that, but heartening that so many allies said this is not USA, not NY.

One week after he took office, signed Muslim refugee ban. Later we heard people were detained at JFK. Started hearing more and more being detained. One was Hamid Darwish, Iraqi translator who put life on line for us. Plane in air when order was signed. Kept him for 18 hours until Congress reps got him out. Hundreds, thousands came to protest.

At some point, they wanted to capitalize on this. They asked people to come to Battery Park next day. 30K people showed for rally and march. Still, President doubles down and attacks, but there is incredible response.

How can we protect immigrant community? Schools are the most trusted places. Thought about how to keep them that way. Weren’t pleased with original guidance from mayor. Wanted to make sure teachers and principals didn’t have to deal with ICE. To mayor’s credit, they listened. Said ICE agents were not to be let into schools.

But we can see there is more work to be done. Want schools to be trusted places, teachers and principals to be allies. There is still a lot more we can do. Mayor and city council have been champions. Need state to do more, need it to be sanctuary state. We can do that but have not yet. Cuomo can do it. This is critical in next few years.

Carlos Menchaca—City Council, Brooklyn—Chair of council on immigration—Today is important, but hopes it sparks dialogue. The sailboat we’re on, in tumultuous waters, that are dynamic and changing—we need to have trust. City Council reaffirms us as sanctuary city, is vision card for future. We’re not there yet. Hopes Trump is impeached, but meanwhile we need open dialogue.

Beyond legislation, wants people to have access to health care, legal service, education for all including adults. Wants to invite people who have been marginalized. Asks about participatory budgeting, says schools have benefited from it. Now there are more smartboards, more tech. This is what we can do to move forward.

We have to participate at local neighborhood level, block by block. In Sunset Park people are opening homes because some are scared to go elsewhere. This is where Know Your Rights sessions are happening.

José Luis Perez—Deputy General Council, Latino Justice—45th year of fighting for civil rights for Latino community. Big issue is increased immigration enforcement. President may have ideas, but can’t do it alone. Feds can’t do it alone so they pressure localities. Have succeeded in creating fear.

We are in communities and immigrant families are afraid to walk children to school. Says they are staying in more. “Sensitive locations” where ICE may be, want to restrict their presence. They may go to schools and hospitals, courthouses, though they should not, as they are emboldened. Says government must take stand against that.

Immigration warrants are not criminal. We ask that they follow constitution. ICE takes rogue actions. We saw them go into homes, but immigration warrants permit only consensual entry. They point weapons and take that as consent. 14th amendment says equal protection for all, not only citizens. At this time I’m happy and proud to be a lawyer.

President stopped for most part in courts. We will sue when we have to. Looks forward to engaging.

Tania Romero—School Social Worker, Flushing International High School—We are one of several international schools in city and country. Thanks us for being here and for our work. Says we have power to shift society.

Her students come from over 45 countries, speak over 25 languages, very diverse. Recent policies had huge impact. AT least 50% undocumented, and growing. Young people come for safety, to pursue dreams, but now all at risk. Big fear level. Hard for parents to come to workshops—they are afraid.

Academic impact as students drop out. They leave and save money in case they are deported. Level of trauma increased, even after what they’ve seen in home countries. Now facing more discrimination and oppression. Task is huge and will get bigger.

How do we move from crisis management, fear, to place of action. One is education. We need to train ourselves, attend staff development, understand how to serve diverse students. We need to know their history.

How do we move into action? We use counseling and groups, offer socio-emotional support. We want to move from fear to empowerment.

Student Faiza—Senior from Pakistan. Part of school’s dream team and various clubs. Says school is friendly. Whenever she’s lonely she can go to any teacher. They are friendly and supporting. They do circles and advisories due to political climate. They also do projects. Students focus on rights and share messages, for example.

Caremer Andujar—President, UndocuRutgers—Started it to provide resources for undocumented students. Had to appear before ICE on Tuesday. Was afraid, and was during finals. Interview May 9th, one day after last final given to accommodate her.

Came here at 4, does not know home country, English her best language, struggles in Spanish. Considers America home and wants to help others in her situation. Believes being undocumented shouldn’t hinder people. Majoring in chemical engineering.

Gonzalez—She got enormous support from AFT and NJ US Senators.

Randi Weingarten, President, AFT—When Caremer’s hearing was over, at AFT Executive Council meeting, I got an email saying you were out and not detained. Whole room applauded. What’s happening in AFT is your fight is our fight.

Met Carlos at JFK on line, lawyers inside kept telling us those of use who were outside were heard inside. Says of all protests she’s attended, terminal 4 at JFK was most important. People asked what they could do, and they went. Uber lost business when taxi drivers were in solidarity and Uber exploited it.

Trump knows what he’s doing, May not look like it, and thank God for lawyers, independent judges, AGs who take on flawed laws, but he spent a long time finding way to scapegoat.

Wants people to stand up if they are first generation American. 2, 3, 4, 5—Almost everyone up. Says if you were Jews coming from Germany in 1939 you wouldn’t have gotten in because of rules. When we say never again, we’ve already had this experience.

Scapegoating and demagoguery are about division. What’s happening now has happened to everyone who’s stood up. As educators we need to know this history. It’s not criminal malfeasance, it’s scapegoating intended to divide for political reasons.

People here care or wouldn’t be here. We must make others care to. I can talk about what we do, and we are doing things like training, preparing families, telling rights, pushing cities and communities to be sanctuaries, but also trying to educate.

Sanctuary city means community policing more important. Not about harboring criminals Fox 5 demonizes rather than educates. We are country of immigrants. Those of us who have been here, and have climbed ladder of opportunity, have obligation to lay it out for others.

We need to be there for our students to deal. We have to debunk scapegoating and demonization. Many newcomers worry rights will be taken away at any moment. Last admin said we need to protect those kids. This nation of immigrants cannot turn its back on this generation of immigrants.

Gonzalez—To members of govt.—on NYC ID—whose idea to give discounts, and what about attempts to grab documentation and use it to target immigrants?

Agarwal—Has been collaboration among communities, but wants to make sure NY residents all get ID, and are all members of NYC. Also, to democratize access to culture, we offer discounts. We have more than a million cards, half million who used it for discounts.

Was lawsuit asking for personal documents. Case moving through courts, but we won state Supreme Court decision. Still will go through appeals. We also changed policy to evaluate whether we hold on to copies. Now info is not even stored. ID card still in demand.

Menchaca—Wanted to build strong legislation, energy around ID came from grassroots. De Blasio and others had political will to do this. Came from community.

Gonzalez—looming collision between sanctuary city and feds—what are you doing to preempt?

Menchaca—outspoken commitment, on budget side, we are all doing several things. Making sure they have ed. and health care. Wants a good rainy day fund just in case. Thinks there is no constitutional ability for 45 to remove funding. Think it will be court battle, will be won.

Perez—Have already been court battles, bluster from 45 to throw fear into communities. Hollow promises and threats that they will remove funding. Will not happen, We must be outspoken, demand Cuomo do right thing and make NY sanctuary state. This is the Empire State.

Detainers are a request. Local law enforcement need not comply. Lawyers will be busy.

Weingarten—US Senators from NY and NJ, and Pelosi, say Senate could stare down obsessions and keep funding for sanctuary cities.

Gonzalez—Spoke to AFL-CIO Prez—expected to keep Trump out. In aftermath how do you feel?

Weingarten—Our membership voted 80% for Hillary. Notion that people are monolithic, but you have to earn trust. In election, what Trump did was run as populist but govern as corporatist. Those who don’t know him, how much did people put their own aspirations and hope into Obama? Think about when NYC voted against him by 95%.

Most people know Trump only from Apprentice. Got letter from member who regretted voting for Trump. Thought he would do something for economy, and asked for help. Thinks what we’ve been embarking on is talking about how elections have consequences.

GOP has effectively swift boated candidates. You need high level of trust. Comey’s actions hurt. When Trump can act like anti-free trade guy and labor is dismissed it’s about values and trust.

Gonzalez—Asks students—Conversations you’re having as you see dragnets, what are you talking about?

Andujar—When I initiate convo, people say, “Wow, you’re undocumented.” When I say I’ve been here since four it changes perception. We come for better life, create jobs, businesses, and go to school. People must see me as peer. They don’t know how many people they know who are undocumented.

Stereotypes are not true. I don’t fit, but I tell them I am. Much of what’s being said isn’t true. Many people set on notion we broke law, but don’t understand that sometimes law is unjust. They ask why I wait so long. But if there were way, I would have done it. Our system needs reform. People think it’s flawless and don’t understand gray areas.

There are no means for us to become documented. Our goals are the same. You don’t want undocumented people in your country and I don’t want to be undocumented.

Let’s fix this system. It needs reform.

Fazia—We speak about feelings and Regents. We are stressed. I always have this fear about how media shows Muslims. People wary when I don’t like school food. They think it’s because of my religion. Makes me angry when my religion or family is blamed for my mistakes, but I have to deal with it.

Gonzalez speaks of new book. Speaks of progressive movements and progressive people elected in cities.

Questions—

Don’t think anyone on panel didn’t mentioned fear—What can we do to avoid predatory legal services—where can people go.

Menchaca—City agencies cracking down, and we also have to get word out. Some communities hard to reach, including Asian and Latino. Gap we need to fix.

Choi—Action NYC, free legal, call 311. Office of New Americans on state level. 1 800 566 7636.
Critical resources.

Romero—council says we can’t ask but school counselors may know and can help. We have partnerships with non-profits. They come during parent-teacher conferences. They are perfect space. Translation important.

Q—We underestimate Trump in NYC, when 48% of us didn’t vote. How do we combat it?

Perez—We need to galvanize. Most who voted for him aren’t in his tax bracket. We must get out the vote, before they try to further erode our voice.

Choi—90% of city voted for Hillary, but every other county, almost, voted Trump. Many people don’t live with immigrants. They are susceptible to stereotypes. We are not getting our message out, have to do better job. This is hard task.

Q—Undocumented mother, to combat community problems, begins with parents. She’s been working in her community. It’s difficult, especially with fear they have now. I would like to keep working as volunteer, but it’s difficult without support or resources. How can we fix that? Forum isn’t enough.

Menchaca—We need to focus on what each community needs, we will connect you with your council member. Changes in each neighborhood.

Q—I understand if ICE shows with no documentation it’s one thing. What is proper?

Agarwal—Judicial warrant. DOE’s lawyers have to accept warrant. Says it’s high bar. Says principal would call lawyer while they wait outside of school. Sometimes they have administrative warrants. Confusing for people who don’t know.

Marjorie Stamberg—UFT committee in her school to defend immigrant students. We have to mobilize, not just GOP, 5 million deported under Obama. Doesn’t think judicial warrant is adequate, we must keep them out of schools. NYPD with broken windows defines crimes and criminalizes poverty. Has to be ICE out period.

Menchaca—agrees, everyone must have legal access. How we navigate will require ingenuity.

Gonzalez—Thanks us for being here, thanks panelists.

Evelyn de Jesus—AFT has outstanding training on immigration. On September 14th we will do that workshop. We had clinic in Bronx with lawyers to help people. Doing different things. Check UFT website. We are here to help. Thanks Gonzalez, panel.

Says dreamer told her, “I might not have the right papers but I have the right values.” Urges us to get involved.

Menchaca—June 26 ten AM hearing on dreamers. Asks us to come to city council chamber.

Weingarten—says there are really courageous people around country. Says city is ensuring it puts DOJ through all hoops in terms of probable cause. Difference between civil disobedience we will train people to do, and ensuring cities do all they can do to repel ICE. What city is doing is pretty terrific and we should give them some honor for it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Never Ending Class Size Saga

Our school is the largest in Queens, and one of the largest in the city. At one point, we were able to come to an agreement with the city to reduce enrollment. That's probably the best thing we could've done, but alas, the numbers soon exploded again. It's open warfare walking the halls at peak times. I avoid certain hallways and calculate shortcuts to make it to my classes on time.

Here's the thing, though--no matter how overcrowded we get, everyone in our district is entitled to attend. That's not a bad thing. It's great to have a neighborhood school, and every neighborhood should have one. We're one of very few surviving comprehensive high schools, the most requested in the city if I recall correctly, but we're a victim of our own success. There was a lose-lose mentality under Bloomberg--your school was either closed for low test scores, which indicate little more than zip code, or overcrowded as Bloomberg actually instructed students who chose so-called failing schools to attend schools like ours.

Forgive me for repeating myself, but this fall we had dozens of oversized classes, and the arbitrator ruled that this issue could be resolved by teachers missing one day of their C6 assignments. I found this outrageous and indefensible, and raised a little ruckus over it. This got enough attention that someone at DOE pulled about 40 selected seats from our school. That will help marginally, I suppose.

On March 28th, an arbitrator ruled that my school, Francis Lewis, along with Hillcrest, Flushing and Forest Hills, was to come into compliance or create classes so as to enable it. I was very happy about this, and shared it with my staff. This was the "plan of action" called for by the UFT Contract, and it was a pretty good one.  Alas, I then learned that the DOE had yet another step it could make if the "plan of action" was, you know, meaningful in any way.

So there was a "compliance call," a term mentioned absolutely nowhere in the UFT Contract. I don't know what happened at the other schools, but after numerous conversations with my district rep, I suggested that if it proved impossible to fix class sizes, I wanted qualified teachers to help out in oversized classes. That is, I didn't want them sending someone like me to help out in chemistry labs, about which I know nothing, at best.

So now, in our high school, there are a bunch of substitute teachers qualified in the subject areas helping out, Sadly, this will last for only four weeks of the entire school year, and will end when Regents testing begins. It's true we have those two days after all grades are in and recorded, as demanded by former Chancellor Dennis Walcott, but I'm not sure what difference they make.

So here's the scorecard at my school--for nine months administration was able to oversize classes in violation of the UFT Contract. Aside from sitting through a couple of hearings, there was no consequence whatsoever. Imagine what would happen if you or I acted in flagrant violation of the Contract for nine months in full view of everyone and then continued to do so with moderate compromise.

I'm gonna grant that the UFT class size committee helped a little, in that my district rep. took my input on what would be an acceptable settlement if we couldn't reduce class sizes, and that my idea was in fact enacted. I don't know if it makes me a pessimist, but I can't help focusing on the fact we lost 90% of the year as opposed to sort of winning the other 10%. I fail to see how this is much of a win for UFT teachers or NYC students who sat in and continue to sit in oversized classes. NYC already has the highest class sizes in NY State, and exceeding them is an outrage.

That said, UFT tells me that this ruling will color future rulings. Will my administration make sure class size regs are followed next year, unlike the previous eight years I've been chapter leader? Will the arbitrators be guided by this precedent, and/ or common sense in the future? Will Bill de Blasio continue the outrageous policy of dumping kids into public schools whether or not they have space to accommodate said kids? Will they keep surrendering space to Moskowitz Academies even as these insane policies are in place?

Keep watching this space and I'll let you know.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Taking the Arg Out of Garg

As you may have read on the ICE-UFT blog, or EdNotes Online, CPE 1 chapter leader Marilyn Martinez has actually won in 3020a. That's very unusual. I am personally acquainted with only one other such case. Generally the arbitrator tries to find some piddling little thing wrong and give a token fine, at the very least.

Of course, it appears the charges, the ones we've never even heard, were so frivolous that the arbitrator could not even fine her a few thousand bucks. And make no mistake, a principal who reassigns teachers simply because she finds them inconvenient is not acting in the best interests of students, let alone UFT members. This, sadly, does not put an end to the situation. The CPE 1 delegate is sitting around somewhere facing charges as well.

I'm curious as to why this doesn't constitute union-busting. I mean, if you want to be treated like that, why not get a gig at Walmart or Target as opposed to one of the most progressive schools in the city? It's kind of understandable that CSA defends Garg, since it is in fact their job to support their members. It's less clear why Fariña won't weigh in against this outrage, until you consider that she actually hand-picked Garg to run the school.

Me, I'm not sure exactly why Fariña is deemed such a remarkable educator. I'm not sure how turning around a school is much of a miracle when you reject six out of seven applicants. This is the same sort of miracle charters push, when they not only enroll strictly children with parents proactive enough to apply, but also dump the ones who end up inconveniently getting unfavorable test scores. My school takes everyone and I'm proud of that.

Of course Fariña is a remnant of the Bloomberg administration, and as such I have to question Bill de Blasio's vision for public schools. Sadly, he did not clean house of Bloomberg folk at Tweed, and I simply do not see Fariña's vision as sufficiently improved from that of Klein, Walcott, or even What's-Her-Name.  Appointing the short-sighted and vindictive Monica Garg as principal is a case in point.

I have a lot of respect for Marilyn Martinez. She's going back into the veritable belly of the beast, and facing a principal who has no issue reassigning people for no reason. She shows the sort of courage we all need, so sorely lacking these days. Can you imagine how powerful the union would be if we all showed that?

How can we empower members so we all stand proud, just like chapter leader Marilyn Martinez?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Oh Where, Oh Where Have the ESL Teachers Gone?

I'm often amazed by articles like this one, which states that there is a shortage of ESL teachers. This is an ongoing issue. I know because when I started as an English teacher it was almost impossible for me to find a position. When I became certified in ESL I got appointed immediately. I would never have moved except for the fact that my boss wanted to force me to teach Spanish or lose my second job.

Now of course it's a good idea to train and hire more ESL teachers. We have a whole lot of students who don't speak English and they need all the support we can give them. I'm proud to play a small part in that by doing my job every day. Alas, the piece does not, as far as I can tell, really think things through. It mentions a teacher with an MA in English who teaches them global history. Hey, I'm all for teaching kids global history. And the article gets one thing exactly right.

Two years ago, state regulations began requiring that students learning English be taught, at least part-time, by someone specially certified.

But it misses a much larger point. The fact is that these students are learning global history at the expense of direct instruction in English. English language learners, or ELLs, have had their direct English instruction cut by a factor of 33-100%. This is because the geniuses in Albany have determined that language instruction is somehow beyond the pale. Why waste time teaching children English when we can just dump them right into global? That way we can give them a state exam, and if it doesn't work out we can just close the school and give it to Eva Moskowitz. It's a WIN-WIN!

I love teaching ESL and I'd recommend it to anyone. But ironically, one of the reasons I'm free to teach it is that I happen to be certified in English. Because of this, I can teach without a co-teacher. It's different for quite a few of my colleagues, who have to sit with beginners just like those described in the article and help the English teacher while they study To Kill a Mockingbird, or Hamlet, or whatever.

This, of course, is because of Part 154, which degrades the teaching of English as a Second Language. New York State feels language teaching is somehow bereft of content. This is a very odd attitude in a country where few people bother to really learn a second language. To take those of us who actually teach it effectively and render us assistant social studies, science or English teachers is to render us second class teachers.

Teaching is pretty tough nowadays, and the odds are stacked against us in many ways. For decades the papers have vilified us pretty much no matter what. We now have a federal government more hostile to public schools and teachers than I've ever seen, and that's saying a lot because Obama was no bargain either.

So while I love what I do, I have to think twice before advising a young person to follow in my footsteps. There are few things more rewarding than watching the rapid progress of newcomers, but everything I know, everything I've experienced, and everything I've read suggests that dumping them in a global history class upon arrival will impede rather than encourage progress in English.

If NY State really wants to help ELLs, they will not only reverse the insane mandates of Part 154, but also expand direct English instruction. If it were up to me, I'd give every newcomer a year of intensive English immersion and save the state-tested academic stuff for the following year. Language acquisition is not about studying global history. It's about affect, it's about feeling. Imagine how you would feel it you went to China and someone handed you a global history book written in Chinese. That's exactly what the kids this article speaks of will have to do.

Language is a fundamental tool. It's not just something you use to pass a state test. Anyone who feels otherwise is uninformed. And frankly, it's a disgrace that people in Albany, people who are charged to help our students, are so uninformed. If I were that uninformed, I'd be incompetent.

I'm just a teacher. I can't find words right now to describe Regents who are that uninformed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UFT Delegate Assembly May 10, 2017

President’s Report

National—Says Comey had just requested additional funds for Russia investigation. Speaks of DeVos, says she is only in very secure settings, cannot answer question she hasn’t heard in advance. DeVos said if we started from scratch we would treat all methods, even untested, as viable options. Says we should not continue to support a system that has completely failed.

Says he loves NY compared to what’s happening in other states. Says next shutdown of federal government will be next Sept., must be loud and proud at all times. Says other states are having success with it despite long odds. Facing people who hate us funding everything, AZ, NM have all sorts of privatization. Texas fighting vouchers but dues deduction may be illegal. Kansas is disaster, though their supreme court declared their funding illegal and insufficient. Rolled back tax cuts to pay but governor vetoed.

However they say public school proud is working somehow. Things not good, massive budget deficits around country, big issue in Illinois where they have trouble funding pensions. We have to fight Constitutional Convention.

Plays video of bald piano guy singing about public school teacher v. US Ed. Secretary requirements.

Says now national report doesn’t seem so bad.

Paul Ryan visited Moskowitz Academy yesterday. Says Eva still trying to act like Democrat who cares about city kids.

State

Great Regents meeting. Preliminary regs came out. Says we had to explain to ed. Dept. It was 80% test scores. We have board that understands this stuff and now we are looking at multiple measure system, where we look at growth. Still more work to do, but ESSA regs more reflective of our values. Someone named Ian with NY Education Trust very upset. When Ian yells, we’re happy.

ESSA regs good because whatever happens nationally those regs will ID schools who are struggling. We always have best growth in NYC. Remember I said this to you.

We have preliminary new regs for CTE. Should make it much easier to get programs certified.

We still have to work on preliminary new standards. Three areas they have not tackled. special ed, ELLs, early childhood. Says teachers have had a lot of input in standards. We still have work to do.

Governor Cuomo had very good week. Signed education bill in NYC public school, in LIC. He thanked city teachers and union. Says union has always stood for public ed., that he couldn’t be a teacher because job was too hard, but we know other reasons. Big deal he wanted to do it in NYC public school. Two days later signed bill that NY State union dues are tax deductible.

City

Getting parking permits back. Not because de Blasio wants your vote, but rather result of arbitration. We still have work at city council because we need to create more spots. Some admin has not been collaborative. Now if you get there first, take their spot. Principal can’t show up at 11 and get a spot.

Mayoral control heating up, told mayor and everyone we don’t believe in your form of mayoral control. Senate GOP wants to tie this to charter cap. We say do neither.

Conciliation—Had a joint training, have joint conciliators, have had soft rollout for process, Article 24. Want to do a few before end of school year. Sure that principals will thoroughly enjoy explaining rationale to outsiders.

Informed city we will picket superintendent offices. If supe has a number of cases in district they are not working in best interests. Supporting a principal who needs to show he or she is in charge is not the way to go. Clear that after chancellor says she wants collaboration and they don’t do it, we will make noise.

Spring conference Saturday. Rev. Barber will receive Dewey Award. Has defended teachers and public ed. Has done so all over country.

Last night was Women in Need fundraiser. Always hear horror stories but over 70% of homeless are women with children. Difficult working with city agencies, says we’ve been supplying tutoring, GED, and help. We helped with prom dresses for 600 kids from homeless shelters. Sending to each borough, will do here and for middle schools.

Next week’s paycheck will have 4.5% raise. October will be 12.5% lump sum. Says no one gave us a penny. We earned every penny, fought for it and it’s ours.

National Educators and Health Care Workers week. All news about it gone because of Comey.

Says we do a great job, it is not simple what goes on inside a school. No one truly understands what it takes except those who do it. Cannot thank us enough.

Staff Director’s Report—LeRoy Barr


April 28, HS awards, thanks Janella Hinds, May 6 5K run, Secretaries luncheon, Parent conference same day May 6.

Coming up Sat. Spring Conference, in Bronx immigration clinic, Monday Immigration Forum here. Prom boutique May 25, over 3K dresses, suits. Wishes happy mother’s day.

Questions

When is Betsy DeVos visiting a school?

Mulgrew says he invited her, will talk to anyone. Says sooner or later we will get her into NYC public school. Met with student and teacher from school in Ohio she went to. Said very little. So they shipped her to Utah and gave her a prepared speech. Her family invested millions in online ed. and she says we need to invest in it.

We can bring her in, show her, take pictures with her near a child. What would she do with 40% living in homeless shelter. I consider myself a mild mannered easy going person. People say I’m direct.

Could you imagine if we take her to Riker’s? How’s your choice now, Betsy?

Delegate—On March 22 we passed res on grading in home schools. Where are we?

They were already set for this year. Takes five months for DOE to get anything right. We want this change. Waste of time and money. Members say they like it. Have to continue to work on it. Would be so much easier to follow state model. Believe there will be better treatment at sites as result of res.

CL—Updates on child care or SESIS money?

“Getting the runs” from city now on SESIS. We shouldn’t work on SESIS at home but it’s sometimes impossible. Workload impossible for members. Some now do other work at home and SESIS in school. We want everyone to get compensation. Tough question.

Talked to Office of Labor Relations, says they’re stalling on maternity leave. Says he will go public they want to make money on people having kids. Mayor spoke two years ago and not single union has benefit. Says he knows mayor wants it.

CL—Minutes say number of certified delegates—why don’t we get percentage of delegates attending?

We can change it. Next month we will have number.

CL—City has surplus—can we get lump sum payments early?

Issue is our lump sum is so large, other unions were much smaller, city made them pay to get it on time. Some unions gave up Welfare Fund payments. Sorry, can’t be early.

Motions

Delegate—Proposes that we defend anti-racist, anti sexist, anti xenophobic and other activism. Wants it to be part of Public School Proud campaign. Speaks of history of communism and teacher unions, how capitalism needs racism and segregation like we need air. Says saying we’re proud without saying we’re not proud of segregation is problematic.

Sterling Roberson—Speaks against. Highlighted particular school, we engage school community. Our CBE doesn’t say attorney reps at OSI. Issue is free speech and political speech, fine line, but this res does not speak to that issue. We have issues with chancellor’s regs, not new. We have history of anti racism, xenophobia, policing in schools. Urges vote against.

Point of info—What is special disciplinary case?

Only principal charged, not UFT member. My answer would be speculation. Say she’s active communist recruiting children. She denies. No such categorization for us.

Point of info—Are you aware that in public court hearing, OCI people…

No I am not.

Motion does not carry.

Mulgrew—Issue of how OSI is being used is something UFT will pay close attention to. Like what DC does.OSI under direct control of chancellor. Have to gather facts before accusation.

Resolution
s—

Janella Hinds—Janus resolution—Standard has been people repped by union pay. Last year was Friedrichs. Wanted to carve away agency fee pay. Abood 40 years ago said folks covered had to pay fair share. We want to insure our members understand we don’t take membership lightly, but unions need to be able to do jobs. Asks for support.

Peter Lamphere
—rises to amend—asks we do campaign to get people to stay union, and ask them to pledge to stay before Janus. Says we should not wait, that we start in September. Asks we amend

LeRoy Barr—Rises to amend amendment. Says instead of stay union, we stay public school proud. Says we should strike combatting abusive principals. Says continue the campaign instead of initiate, strike the pledge.

Says Public School Proud is our campaign and everything should be channeled through it. Says it involves Constitutional Convention also. Says we already mobilize members to combat abusive administrators. Says this is about Janus. Says we muddy waters by throwing everything in. Says we will go to supe and raise heck. Says CC is first.

Mulgrew asks whether Janus is Public School Proud or Union Loud and Proud.

Hinds—Important for us to go back for sake of other unions.

Barr—Says it’s Union Loud and Proud, not Public School Proud.

Stuart Kaplan—says some stuff about Public School Proud.

Delegate—Opposes amendment to amendment. Says it’s good if we don’t complicate issues, important how we are going to organize. Not complicated, but simple. Union loud and proud is cross-union. We want to mobilize members more. This is what it’s about. Problem because there aren’t enough UFT officials to go to every school, but it says UFT members. Everyone in union should be organizer.

Bernie Schwimmer—calls all questions.
Barr’s amendment passes, and that will be amendment.

Vote on resolution as amended. Passes.

CL—point of order—

Mulgrew says second amendment is voted on and passed.

Resolution as amended passes.

Move to extend for endorsement resolution. Passes.

Paul Egan—We have many endorsements. Agenda item number two all incumbents, all endorsed.

Mulgrew—interviewed in borough offices, recommended.

Egan—moves for as written.

Endorsements pass.

James Vasquez—Townsend Harris CL wants to speak.

Reads statement about Jahoda. Describes abusive behavior. Thanks Queens UFT for support. Thanks VPs. Says there is no foolproof formula, but important all stakeholders participate. Pays tribute to fellow teachers. Says we need to stay together. Thanks leadership. Invites Mulgrew to visit.

Mulgrew gives credit for keeping staff together, says he will visit.

We are adjourned.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Executive Board Takeaway


Last night was unusual in many ways. Not so unusual, in what's becoming a trend, we had speakers from various schools. The first was the High School of Applied Communication, which appears to have yet another Principal from Hell. Now the thing about Principals from Hell is they are not always universally despised. Sometimes they garner favor via the issue of perks. I suppose, to some extent, this is human nature. But when staff is under vicious attack for no good reason it's particularly egregious.

For example, a new teacher from CPE 1 stood up and defended Principal Monica Garg, who likely hired him. I've known principals I've liked when my chapter leader did not. When I was at John Adams my first principal was named Lou Acerra. He made himself accessible to me, unlike most principals when I was not chapter leader. I would go in, speak to him, and he would either help me or throw me out of his office. I kind of liked knowing where I stood. Now he was very much disliked by my chapter leader. I don't know why that was.

I do know, however, that my then-principal had not reassigned my chapter leader and delegate and made them face 3020a charges. I also know our principal had not banned parents from visiting the school. Whether or not he had done this, I would never have considered going to a union hall to denounce the activities of my chapter leader or activist parents. For my money, there is far too much apathy and far too few people standing up for their own people, and make no mistake I mean union right now. That's why Donald Trump is President of the United States.

It was remarkable to see this teacher complain that veteran teachers did not participate in PD, as though that were remotely the issue at CPE 1. Given the fact that Garg seems to reassign every teacher who speaks up, I can hardly blame them. It was even more remarkable to hear him say he and whatever teachers he may have been speaking for were willing to meet with the veteran teachers, but not off-campus. I'm not sure how teachers specifically banned from the campus were supposed to meet in the school. 

We saw a success story in Townsend Harris. This is a story in which the UFT joined parent and student activists and precluded a very special school from getting a principal much like Garg. This may have been easier because Jahoda had not yet been appointed. But this is a model to be replicated. Disappointingly, I saw a bunch of Unity Exec. Board members applaud the teacher who defended the anti-union Garg. I have to wonder whether they're instructed to applaud everyone except us.

And that's the thing--we are not enemies of the United Federation of Teachers. We believe in union as strongly as anyone in the room, and likely more so. We believe in standing up. If we didn't, we wouldn't show up twice a month to a forum in which we are vastly outnumbered. Someone needs to give voice to rank and file, and someone needs to say things whether or not leadership wishes to hear them. I don't know how many teachers will withhold dues when the chance comes, but I'd say 20% is low. In order to keep that number as low as possible, leadership needs to demonstrate it will act. Refusing to support resolutions for class sizes and against abusive principals is simply not the way to go. Whether they know it or not, it's good that we're there, even for them.

A case in point is the class size situation at my school. If I were not on the Executive Board I would not have been able to advocate for my members. In fact, if I were Unity I would not have been able to advocate for them either, as I'd have been required to support the rather miserable resolution to which we were subject to last Fall. Because I didn't sign the loyalty oath, I can get up and say how poorly the class size regulations have been working out. While it's great that we've won arbitrations that make them a little better, the fact is they are 50 years old. That's a long time to wait for improvement with no renegotiation. And as I told the body, even if we win, even if they have the compliance call tomorrow, we will have fewer than five weeks of relief for the entire year.

That's a pretty hollow victory, if you ask me. They say the DOE will be aware of us next year. Maybe next year we won't have oversized classes. My members can't hang their hats on a maybe. The indisputable fact is that the class size regs have not worked for my school or the three other large high schools covered by the arbitrator's ruling. How many other schools has it not worked for? Your guess is good as mine but given the regs and how they work I'd conjecture it's a whole lot more than zero.

And then there's the resolution we were sent by email. The resolution basically says that we will oppose Janus, and just like almost every other that's come up, I supported it. But there was no emergency, as in a last-minute endorsement. It's blatantly unfair that Unity can bring up resolutions via email. What if, for example, one of us wanted to get up and table it, or speak against it, or amend the guts out of it, as Unity has done to every resolution we've brought without exception?

Clearly there are two sets of rules in the UFT Executive Board--one for Unity and another for everyone else. While we may be far from the majority, we certainly represent the high schools. I'd argue we also represent a whole lot of the disaffected 75% of members who didn't bother to vote in the UFT election. I vote every chance I get, but in a system like this I certainly understand the cynicism that causes members to toss ballots in the trash.

What I don't understand is why leadership at least ostensibly concerned with Janus has utterly failed to show these people why they're wrong.

Monday, May 08, 2017

UFT Executive Board May 8, 2017

Secretary Howard Schoor welcomes us. We have three schools who wish to present. Will expand time to allow members to speak.

 HS of Applied Communication.

Frank Greco, ELA, introduces other teachers, Title one school, IA Principal Michael Weinstein, three student sit-ins, one walk out, PTA meetings canceled monthly, teacher received LIF for publicizing SLT meeting, two teachers have Art. 23 harassment complaints, two special ed. complaints, retaliation, Teacher student programs changed three times, one class has had 7 teachers, IEP classes 50% special ed., constant harassment of students without parental consent, peoples followed and watched—

Programmer had to redo entire program in retaliation, 40 observations for speaker.

Asks for visit from Mulgrew, asks leadership to speak for membership, asks for public pressure, review of all internal memos and observations, facilitation of PTA meeting at neutral locale, article in NY Teacher.

Christine Daly, social worker, Weinstein third principal. Change is not easy. Kept hoping it would get better, but hasn’t. Witnessed harassment of colleagues, following them around, waiting outside classrooms, following students, telling teachers to do so. Stated it was all political to make people happy. Can’t go to union rep because she reports directly to him. We need support. Our school was place to help students. Now adults abuse power and go after teachers with long record of helping students. Principal thinks teachers put students up to protesting. He covers windows and interrogates students.

Tells me students need help, things going on in homes but kids know what’s going on. We teach them to talk about their rights and he targets theses students. I let it go at first. School was my safe place. Not anymore. Thank God for my colleagues. Took a lot because I’m terrified Mr. Weinstein will now target me. Please help.

Schoor—Someone will come. CPE 1 here

Casey Keefe—special ed. teacher and parent at CPE 1. Teacher for 16 years first year here. Representing self, newly hired teachers who do not support save CPE 1. Says we are misrepresented, they want Garg replaced. They feel under attack. These teachers have said because she hired her we are complicit. Because of their assumptions they have created hostile work environment in which we are asked to choose sides. We were not conferred with when they wrote email. They have honored our request not to send it.

Claim core value is teachers working collaboratively. Same group who drafted letter sat in silence during PD. We want to move forward as team. They say they will talk when Garg is not present. We have been trying to set up meeting. They insist we meet outside school so union leader can be included. We don’t want to meet outside because of parent hostility to Garg. We support Garg. Professional supportive and resilient considering campaign to remove her. We hope you will support us as you support our colleagues. We do not agree with agenda or tactics of Save CPE 1. We don’t want people to hate principal because friends tell them to. We are doing our jobs and following Garg leadership. Veteran teachers do not want us there. CPE 1 belongs to all families not select few.
Franco Scardino, CL Townsend Harris—Here to share good news—together our chapter, with much support, was successful in replacing IA principal. Wants to put in context—she wasn’t appointed, and had to do C30, which we leveraged as best we could. Didn’t know full story about Bronx Science, but it was quite alarming. Like to think that people can change, saw opportunity.

Franco Scardino, CL Townsend Harris—Here to share good news—together our chapter, with much support, was successful in replacing IA principal. Wants to put in context—she wasn’t appointed, and had to do C30, which we leveraged as best we could. Didn’t know full story about Bronx Science, but it was quite alarming. Like to think that people can change, saw opportunity.
 

By October we knew she had no use for me, or union.  Had never been in situation. Thanks DR  James Vasquez for guidance and reassurance. Principal also wanted to bring anyone she wished onto consultative committee in December. Rona Freiser and Vasquez advised them to walk out if she brought people. We asked APs to leave, she wouldn’t let it happen, and we left. That was December 1st. On the 8th, when C-30 happened, we also had PPO. We also had Janella Hinds there and unannounced student protest. Students had taken over 4th floor. 300 kids, all programmed for lunch—no one cut class. 

Brian Sweeney
—Townsend Harris--Advisor for school newspaper—From December 8th—my students have not been censored for 30 years. Was expressly hired as advisor, not censor. I watched livestream. 30K people watched. I was terrified. Would’ve been easy for me to tell them to calm down. Instead we just respected their First Amendment rights. Thanks everyone. 

Schoor thanks Rona Freiser. Said he told DOE this is one of jewels of school system. They said they never did Google search on Jahoda. Was travesty to put her in there. Thanks them for steadfastness. Will be in UFT paper.

Minutes—passed

Exec Board by email—

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—I understand urgent matters that are time sensitive. Why didn’t this come to board?

Schoor—Sometimes we want to make sure it’s on record. No rationale or reason.

President’s Report
—Mulgrew not here.

Staff Director’s Report—LeRoy Barr—Thanks people who came to May Day rally, held flag. Last Saturday 5K run, Secretaries luncheon right here. May 11, speech and hearing month celebration. May 13 two events, Spring conference. Bronx UFT immigration clinic. Legal representation—if you know someone who needs it, send them, on Monday immigration forum here. Juan Gonzalez moderating. Friday May 19 be brave against bullying conference here. May 23 Albert Shanker scholarship awards. Giving 1 million from dues. Next Exec. Board May 22.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—Folks from HS Applied Com—current principal my former APO. We had several incidents with him in consultations. Never had to file grievance because principal clamped down. Same supe Townsend Harris has. We know Mona and James are doing great work but what can we all do from Goldstein HS to assist? Seems like pattern of odd hiring under Elaine Lindsay.

Schoor
—Make list of his behavior. We will be involved. Not guaranteeing resolution

KJ Ahluwalia—New Action—Seems to be trend of teachers coming in with problems. Why can’t UFT be proactive in vetting principals before they wreak havoc?

Schoor—met with borough reps. President blames superintendents. We will look at them. Problem is admin doesn’t want to go to school and be bosses.

LeRoy Barr—Boroughs have been proactive, particularly with Harris. Queens office has been engaged. Had many reps at various schools. We’ve been proactive, question is what else we can do. Congratulates and thanks UFT staff that has engaged. We will continue.

Jonathan Halabi
New Action—hearing that we’re not doing very well with our grievances. Step one and two. Thought they would go better with new admin.

Ellen Procida—Grievance Dept—Are doing better at some grievances. Resolving many more at arbitration. Have been pushing back. Many cases that are ridiculous we get arbitration date back


Arthur Goldstein
MORE—Thanks paperwork committee. Classes in my school and at least three others covered by our arbitrator’s ruling have been oversized since September. At first, we were told, via a “plan of action,” by a previous arbitrator our members could have one day off from C6 assignments. I thought that was nonsense and placed an op-ed about it in the Daily News. On March 28th, a new arbitrator ruled our schools were to come into compliance, or creating new classes to do so if necessary. I liked that plan of action and informed my members they were to get relief as per the arbitrator’s order.

I was then told there would be something called a “compliance call,” something mentioned nowhere in the UFT Contract. For at least three weeks I’ve been hearing it would happen this week. It’s another week now and we’re still waiting. If the call happens this week, and I have no reason to believe it will, my members will get five weeks of contractual compliance before Regents exams.

I understand we have a committee somewhere that does something, and I’ve been to meetings related to that committee where we’ve discussed how we’d like to resolve things. Thus far, they have made no difference whatsoever.

My members count on the contract to find relief and they have an absolute right to it. They’ve been denied it for eight months. How are they going to get it, and what are we going to do to preclude nonsense like this in the future.

Ellen Procida—Grievance Dept—Conference call day after tomorrow. Board has five work days to come back. Not called compliance call. Based on work we did, because arbitrator said action plans would not be good forever, arbitrator made this ruling. We will be on this call. We believe your school will come into compliance and be warned for next year. Your school has been part of discussions to preclude this next year.

Keira Kursey—James Vasquez attended all meetings, has been proactive. Has communicated that CL and other members say there is space for new classes. Can’t promise what will happen. We will push for compliance for your school and others.

Marcus McArthurMORE--Mulgrew said UFT would file lawsuit for CPE 1. Please tell us about it.

Schoor—Marilyn Martinez—we filed suit on her behalf. DOE has sent her letter that she can go to any DOE meeting in school or elsewhere.

Martinez—in role of teacher or parent?

Schoor—Any meeting open to public. Will sign stipulation.

McArthurMORE--What is DOE response to popular pressure and documented grievances?

Schoor—Mayor commented on Friday—asked from picket line—not necessarily on side of removing Garg. Mayor is in charge.

Barr—Have been to school, heard me say there are many sides but DOE has responsibility to resolve it. Mulgrew is ratcheting up. Said we have problem there are targeted teachers, with parents, and comments becoming more intense. If they don’t respond, intensity will increase. Will be more than comments. Trying to get them to resolve all issues for benefit of kids. In this case, real losers are kids. They have responsibility to resolve all.

Schoor—In contact with parents, satisfied with our statement. First job is to protect members.

McArthurMORE--Do we look at attack on CPE 1 in connection with other issues, LaGuardia, my school had issues, we had supe that didn’t understand model, attacked curricular and instructional model of democratic governance. Are we having a dialogue about how they can better understand progressive schools before they destroy model.

Schoor—supes are focus. When principals do bad things, supes are bosses. They aren’t taking care of problems. More paperwork issues from Queens HS, and they have to look at pattern.

Reports from districts—Rich Mantel—5K run, great event, good weather, 200 people. James Vasquez kids first and second kids category, raised few thousand dollars

Janella Hinds—April 28 schools honored, including Townsend Harris, great evening with Christine Quinn as keynote. April 29 prom boutique, will be another May 25. May 2, safe talk with health and safety dept., suicide prevention.

Ellen Dreisen, DR 20—May 1 day of democracy. Immigrant families kept kids home. Population had dropped to 70%, teachers held day of democracy instead this year, community invited in, city councilperson came. Presentation about keeping children safe. Lawyers and paralegals did intake for people with immigration questions. 40 people waited. Will follow up.

Mona Gonzalez—Secretary luncheon—two special awards given. Thanks everyone, especially Howie who came in Mulgrew’s absence. Did fabulous job.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—NYC schools most segregated—Group has worked to help, held events, my school having exchange with Bronx School. 20 students will visit one another to see differences between schools and focus on integration. Will be forum with students.

Anthony Harmon—Hosted 5th annual parent leadership academy, will come next three Saturdays and learn to advocate. UFT LGBT committee revitalized, two new co-chairs Rashad Brown and Rosemarie Thompson. Next meeting May 19. Brooklyn UFT had meeting to dispel myths about groups. June 2,3, First Book mobile will distribute 40K books. Will follow up in Manhattan. 333 e 4th st, June 9, 10. Thanks people for Mayday rally.

Legislative report—Paul Egan not hereLiz Perez will report.

Budget season with city council. Asking for teacher choice, positive learning collaborative, dial a teacher, 60K calls a year in nine languages. Funding for anti-bullying. Hosting city council legislative breakfast May 18 to discuss. Visiting them in offices.

Endorsements—mostly incumbents—carries.

UFT financial report
—Says we are in great shape. Thanks Charlie Baker and accountants. Says we are financially fine. We have unqualified opinion, best you can get. Pg 3 is assets. Receivables over 24 million, with two month dues delay. Real estate,,,book value what we bought building for..not actual value, now much higher.

Liabilities—primarily accounts payable, dues payable that we owe AFT and NYSUT..we pay when we receive…two month delay. M and T bank, refi, interest rates lower. Took capital out to deal with programs in buildings. New roof. Next door, we want to rent property. 247 dollars square foot. Have to build out space. Brought in Molloy College for 4th floor.

Pension liability—We do for profit and not for profit union—have to call out need for every staff person pension issues—Our UFT Pension plan 108% funded.

Member dues major source of income, grants also. We transfer money to NYSUT and AFT, payroll expenses—small net loss last year of 175K. We had travel expenses for AFT and NYSUT conventions.

Speaks of supplemental schedules—payroll up 10%, retro, raises and grant staff. Will get back in grants. Health and welfare up 600K. Legal fees down when we don’t deal with contract. Communications and contributions up.

Administrative expenses—bid out anticipation Friedrichs/ Janus. Almost the same.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—What about COPE?

COPE is odd, not in this report, COPE money sent to NYSUT. They gather all the money, send to AFT. They give money back to NYSUT and NYSUT gives back to us. NYSUT covers state races. We only see money that comes back, we call it income, and then we have legislative expenses.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—What’s worst case scenario with Janus?

Worst is no one pays dues. There are working committees, we are looking at what we can cut. Rational concept is 20% reduction. Looked at meetings, conferences, nothing being spared. Fewer workshops. Will do training here instead of hotel. Will cut 16 million if we have to. Must prepare for anything. That’s why I made sure building is rented. That’s 3 million income.

We are adjourned.