Saturday, April 04, 2020

I Answer the Chancellor's Letter to Staff

Dear Mr. Chancellor:

I cannot find words to express my disappointment. It is outrageous that anyone would do this concurrently with pulling Zoom as a tool. While there are good reasons to have done that, doing it concurrently with the loss of what few days we had to regroup is nothing less than an outrage.

I was taught how to use Zoom on the last day of our last week. I have no idea how I'm going to teach on Monday. I expect no support whatsoever from DOE, and I'm sure that's what I'll receive. In fact, in the unlikely event the DOE could help at all, I wouldn't cooperate. I'm no longer working weekends for people who sent me, my members, and my students into the most overcrowded school in New York City during a pandemic in which the city determined it was too risky to open Broadway theaters.

I hear a lot of talk from DOE about equity. How on earth is it equitable that people who pay $800 for a seat to Hamilton are too fragile to interact with one another, but 1.1 million NYC students, not to mention 100,000 UFT members, can interact freely in buildings well over 200% capacity?

I'll just add that I've seen you speak on multiple occasions, and what I liked best was your respect and empathy for teachers. When my union got 108,000 signatures on a petition asking the Mayor to show us the same consideration he had for well-heeled theatergoers, you asked for 108, 000 signatures from epidemiologists.

That suggested to me that not only our feelings, but also our health and very lives were not very important to you. That broke my heart right there.

Very sincerely,

Arthur Goldstein, ESL teacher, UFT chapter leader
Francis Lewis High School
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