Wednesday, June 12, 2019

UFT Delegate Assembly June 2019--We Resolve to Stand for Muslim Students--Paperwork and Operational Complaints Working

4:39 Mulgrew calls us to order. Announces, to applause, that it’s June.

Speaks of email about presidential nominations. Says didn’t want anyone to endorse early. Says it’s incumbent upon state and local affiliates to engage, and that NY candidates want to be in debate. Says it did not constitute endorsement, and they want other candidates to speak to UFT. Expects story in Post. 

We will have to do all in our power, once decision is made, to move our agenda. Next year is a political action year. Will be major focus all year. 38 city council seats up. More people involved in political process better off we will be.

—Rent regulations appear done, landlords irate. This is what we supported. Needs to be more fairness. We have a lot of folks to whom rent regulations are important. Teachers seem at war with hospitals. If you live in NYC you probably haven’t seen commercial by coalition supporting patient protection legislation. Health care costs are out of control. Small number of hospitals were exploiting loophole. Westchester Medical is now out of network. Some hospital bills are inflated heavily. WM was almost doubling bills. Threatened insurance providers, resulting in 37% increase. Made negotiations difficult.

Hospitals are saying teachers trying to put them out of business. Taking this as personal challenge. We don’t like hospital making hundreds of millions, saying they are non-profit, execs get huge bonuses. We can fight because we are a union. Coalition with Consumer Reports. NYS Business Council hates them. Next to me in Albany when I was lobbying for bill. All municipal and state unions stood together. Still going on. Will be in Albany tomorrow.

Little talk of charter schools. Due to our work. Stopping them raising cap not good enough. Want transparency. We know they want to take money from public schools and privatize. Will continue fighting for level playing field. 850K donation to Eva Moskowitz from hedge fund operator.

—Please get involved in Queens DA race. Doing a lot of communication with campaign. Says we have really good candidate.

City council budget—Goals were making teacher choice baseline. Working on it over 30 years. Dial a Teacher, Brave, services used constantly. Helps us have better relationships with students. They remain friends with Dial a Teacher. Brave now not just hotline, but also training. For last few years, city council has been doing more with us, they understand our programs help schools, are real. Say we are only org doing what we say we will with money.

Chancellor—At school visit—was asked if chancellor is reverse racist—Said from experience, absolutely not. He seems to have same enemies as us.

UFT, in terms of bias training, has been doing it a lot longer than DOE. It’s a tool, if you understand we all have biases. If you understand, can have better relationships with kids, and educate them better. We want to help children, are not afraid to admit we all have inherent biases. If we can think things through, we can teach kids to do the same.

We have vetted, had officers sit through DOE training. We had no issue. Outside vendors hired by DOE are different. We don’t accept their approach, and please let us know if you have that experience. I ask callers when they had training, they say they haven’t but have read NY Post.

Reporters asked if white teachers were upset by anti-bias training. I said it’s not an issue if done properly. Not good if someone walks in and accuses you of bias. When I said they were all biased, they didn’t like it either. Said, you see what it’s like?
This is good if done properly and professionally.

Discipline—Bill in Albany to ban K-3 suspensions. Group wants all suspensions banned in NYC. Bill in Albany passed with major amendments. Says you can’t ban K-3 students EXCEPT in case of long list of so-called violent acts. People in Albany think we suspend kindergartners for action out in class. Only happens for very bad things.

Told mayor we want two things—we have number of children who need clinical intervention, not suspension. We have no access to it. If you get mad we repeatedly suspend, and file multiple evaluations, it’s because it’s the only tool we have. We need group of people that can provide clinical intervention.

We need student removal process better than student sitting in office eating candy and being returned to class. Someone has to counsel and find out what happened. If you will deal with issue correctly we will work with you. Don’t want to hear up to principal’s discretion, or legal says no. Get them to specialists to decide, or propose intervention plans. Would save a lot of money, get kids what they need, and get us what we need to help them learn.

Will not fix it by passing more regulations. Chancellor’s regs may as well be a phonebook. Kids act out, we have to teach, 31 kids in class. If one has bad day we need to get the kid out. We’re happy to discuss that with DOE. Their rep is now actually visiting schools. They may be coming to understand.

Integration plan
—basically invites school districts to participate. Was started by teachers. Previous chancellor denied 7 schools PROSE applications who wanted to do integration plans. A year later, she adopted that plan. Now have three districts using. We are never supporting forced integration. We believe in talking to parents and showing them what will help children. Plan says if you want to work toward this, we’ll give you money. Opt-in program.

End of year
—We got contract. Only two unions have contracts. City hasn’t been negotiation with others.

Operational and paperwork
—85% of schools using consultation. Next year, not counting if you do one.

Urges us to file operational complaint. Photo since February 14.

UFT will allow SBOs in September. UFT will not approve IEP teacher if it doesn’t match citywide posting. Principal-created postings have not been good.

Janus program—Posters available for members to place in homes. Will be in borough offices.
Facebook frames available. Interactive video of union progress.  Will be cards about union programs available at borough offices. Will be stickers with “sticking with the union.”

Couldn’t run much of this until after election, but if we do this yearly it won’t matter.

We have to be on our guard, and we have to beat back the bad guys. Thanks those who produced Janus materials.

Thanks all at DA. We have contract, paid parental leave, elections, State Senate, are in good place, and credits us for it. Says union allows us to have real voice and power. We will fight back at those who try to destroy us.

LeRoy Barr
—Saturday school secretaries award luncheon. 12 noon. June 20th—50th anniversary of Stonewall—commemorative reception 3:30-6. Free. Register on website. Last year hundreds of people signed up for Labor Day Parade, Please do the same this year. Saturday September 7th. Will do cookout at end of parade again. Bring families. Wishes all a happy and restful summer.


Q—APs scramble room to room to do observations they’ve put off. No chance for improvement, so what was value? How can we make this cycle more impactful?

A—Sad and funny. In negotiations they admitted 80% of observations done April and May. In contract we have new language. Will have windows with cycles. One cycle in window 1—September to January. One cycle window 2—February to first Friday of June. Major thing is learning what cycle is will be interesting. We will stop that.

We will try to change culture. We will try to retrain everyone. If we keep pressure on we will get there. Not everything will be perfect in September, but with time it will improve.

Q—charters—Do we have a union committee to organize charter school teachers?

A—Yes. Just organized two in last month. Difficult but good.

Q—Snow—We’ve had quite a few snow days. Why no delayed openings?

A—NYC can’t. 137 bus companies.

Q—pressure to pass students who should not—admin pushing us to do things unethical. What does it mean to provide every opportunity, especially for students who recently came to country, or have been cutting class and now need packages to make up credit? Is there alternative method to graduation?

A—Who is being asked to provide packets for kids who have been missing? You have to supply them every opportunity, but regs can be interpreted in multiple ways. Some schools have agreements. Do you have to pass a child? No you do not. You are responsible for grades. They can ask you to give another look. So look. Maybe grade was too high.

Administrators’ contract is tied to achievement. That’s why they push. But we are a profession. We should be ethical. If you’re asked to be otherwise, we need to know. We will talk to them. How do you pass a student who came to class 20 days?

More difficult for newer students. Different issue. You have to use your judgment. I would work with child who should pass. We all face these dilemmas.

Q—ATRs—They were given a package—How many took it? Will there be similar offer next year?

A—No guarantees. 650 ATRs will probably be offered full time, will be 650 left. Approaching pre-Bloomberg numbers. Next year will be a drop of 20K students, but we are approaching 1.2K. Will ask DOE to not hire 1,000 extra teachers if we don’t need them.



Janella Hinds--Resolutio to support students observing Ramadam—Students fasting, limited sleep, were taking NYSESLAT and AP exams. A lot for students getting up at 3:30 AM. Would like to identify accommodations for practicing Muslim students.

Akeel Williams
—Supports. Fasting is fourth pillar of Islam. All Muslims of age and in good health must fast. Pre-dawn meal. To do it had to be up before 3 AM. Then morning prayer. If we’re lucky we can get hour or two before regularly day begins. Good for us spiritually but tough physically. Focus is tough. Difficult for me as adult. More difficult for children, especially during testing time. Important they have consideration for religious obligations.

Matthew Forguino
—School in central Bronx, large Muslim population. Criminal they had Global History Regents on eve if Eid. Would be like Christians doing it on Christmas Eve.

Antonio Jacobs
—Our principal decided to address students and make sure they weren’t in cafe while fasting. Took several students and did not eat, to show respect. Supports resolution. We should make provisions so students don’t feel punished for practicing religion.

Question called

Passes unanimously

Resolution in support of Darcel Denise Clark for DA
—Mary Atkinson—Is current DA, first African-American woman to be elected—should amend to read that. Product of public schools, instituted internships, moot court for HS students, also works with MS and elementary. Wants to help people with substance abuse issues get treatment instead of jail.

Question called.


—We endorsed the only candidate in the race. Thanks all. Happy Father’s Day. Wishes all a great summer. Congratulation to all retirees. Thank you for your service to union. Congratulate Howard Schoor on retirement. Happy summer. Let’s have a great rest of school year and finish strong.
blog comments powered by Disqus