Monday, April 24, 2017

UFT Executive Board April 24th, 2017 CPE 1 in the House

 Secretary Howard Schoor starts meeting.

Guest speakers--

Chris Mott
—NYC teacher 17 years, parent of CPE 1 students, CPE formerly a jewel in crisis. Garg has harassed master teachers. Turned school that celebrated parents to one that made them enemies. Daughter afraid to go. Principal lies, hurts students, avoids responsibility. Has seen many admin styles, no adult has poisoned environment like she has. Few parents support her. Making things worse every day. Had previous problems but will not be fixed with this principal.

Supe committed to support Garg. Needs UFT to stand today and get new leader. Will you stand with us?

Yvonne Smith—Feels like she speaks at great risk, because there will be retaliation and has been against others. Taught at CPE more than 30 years. 32 year UFT member. We are under attack. Came there after ten years of day care to enter community of teachers who regularly came together. I am African American, resent racial divide principal has created. Divide growing. We always worked together, celebrated cultures. This happens in a culture that comes together. Under present admin it’s impossible. Please stand with us against this attack. Grateful you came two weeks ago.

Schoor—no taping or recording of this meeting.

Smith—I’ve been accused of speaking badly of teachers but I’ve tried to shield them. I hadn’t gone outside to resolve them. Would like for us to share practice, rebuild community. Please stand and support us in this move.

Sub—Schoor did not ask her to say name
--We need you to speak for all teachers. After filling in for Katlin Preston Garg gave me U rating with no observation or substantiation. Union secured reversal immediately. Principal Garg did not want to talk about it. She said I may have observed you doing something unprofessional, but offered no examples. Is that what leader should be doing? Terminating career until that was reversed? Please make sure these actions are dealt with not only individual, but for this entire community. We need you to speak against harassment, retaliation, incompetence. That’s what we need UFT to do.

Tamara Parks
—Against abuse of power. Garg was AP at Pan Am International. Principal resigned. Zarka appointed Garg as AP. By end of year one 13 of 30 left, 2 discontinued. Garg caused more to leave. Asked me to stay after or get bad eval. US sued DOE for engaging in discrimination. Principal dismissed, Zarka because guidance counselor. Used to yell at people, Garg did nothing as teachers broke down and cried. Two took health leaves. Garg tried to order teachers to wear uniforms. She changed what I said to students, but I had videoed it. Observation ratings then went up. We cannot allow Garg to destroy city schools. She’s shown her behavior in two schools. We can’t tolerate this. We are strong when united.

Jia LeeMORE--Supports CPE 1, sister progressive school. Two sides of story, but this is not how we approach problem solving. DOE wants to pretty much destroy school. Divide and conquer, push out vets, to get control. Teacher followed her, Laura Benning, was UFT CL under Garg. Knew her as fellow teacher. Thought she was positive, friend. Turned out to be destructive force. Not surprised at CPE 1. Belittled teachers, raised voice, bullied them.  Teachers felt discriminated against but were untenured. I filed complaint, had probable cause. Garg wrote statement full of lies.

Schoor—We don’t usually comment, but I will. Appreciate solidarity. Heard what you said. We are involved, working with CL. Will file lawsuit. Will file grievance for CL. Will follow through for delegate. President will be here. He has been involved with DOE.

Guest speaker—from Mayor’s office. Cecile Noel

Thanks us. About intimate partner violence. Every 9 seconds woman assaulted. Victims lose work. 91K in NYC, 250 per day. 10% of homicides. Means everyone is likely to know someone impacted. Young people also at risk. 1 in 5 girls reported abuse. Many attempted suicide. 3 of 4 adolescents victimized.

Mayor’s office wants to help. Develop policies to help, raise awareness, and work collaboratively with communities. 5 family justice centers, one in each borough, saw 62K people. Many services available. Free and confidential. Students need to understand there are resources and training available. We have website.

Can affect anyone. No one should suffer in silence. We can all make a difference. Please ask us for training and services.


Mike SchirtzerMORE—Was motion to table last time. What is process to remove from table?

Schoor—Unless body votes to bring back, it stays there.

President’s Report—Mulgrew arrives 6:26.

Mulgrew—Thanks CPE people for coming. Everyone just keep pushing. Have feeling we will get to good place. We are moving on case and temporary restraining order.

State budget—Takes a few weeks to unpack. Was great piece of work. We got over billion dollar increase, much in foundation aid. Increases in many places. Tuition frozen. Was very good deal.

This morning, mayoral control in news. I say officially we do not support this format of mayoral control. Policy not based on personality. This is bad form. Glad mayor used it for pre-K. Do not want to go back to old school board. When State Senate says no MC without charter cap, we need neither. We will hold to those things. MC sunsets June 30th. Will see where conversations go. Will make sure budge is reality, will be tough to raise charter cap just for MC.

Randi went to public school with DeVos. Was interesting, smart. School in Ohio, high needs, no vouchers, great after school program. Community raises money to feed students. Perfect place for DeVos. School had not met 11K target. People chipped in. Guess who didn’t?

Arizona just made vouchers for everyone. Sad to report. Felt since feds believed in choice, states controlled by GOP would push. New Mexico, Wisconsin, following. Kansas spends 4K per student. Charters in NY spend 14K. Kansas unconstitutional because of tax cuts. Brought in moderate GOP to repeal tax cuts, Governor vetoed. States doing bad things to ed. and labor. Must amp up Public School Proud. Can’t just be we’re right and you’re wrong. Moving largest schools system in positive direction, unlike under Bloomberg. Current DOE believes research matters. Texas good on Public School Proud, outdoing us. Feds don’t want to fight every PTA in US. In September we will make loud noise.

6:35 Mulgrew leaves.

LeRoy Barr—State NAACP town hall meeting. Called for charter moratorium. Called for town halls, on this coming Thursday Harlem Hospital. To speak be there 5:30 meeting at 6.

Friday, High School Awards 5:30 PM second floor.

May 1st—Rally at Foley Square. 5 PM.

5K run May 6 MCU Park.

May 8 Exec. Board, UFT financial report, 4:30 PM will be extended report. EB will hear short version.

Spring conference May 13. Next EB May 8.


Jonathan HalabiNew Action—PROSE something that we’ve agreed to. One thing important has been collaboration. We have new situation—Have we got a protocol when collaboration is broken along the way?

Jackie Bennett—We have PROSE panel meeting. We do review schools at end year. Talking about whether schools no longer fit. Collaboration is big thing with UFT. If schools get along, you can implement innovation. Can we use PROSE in schools to turn them around? Sometimes no, sometimes yes. Focused on process.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—Few weeks you promised update on JHS 145. Are many vets, problems with budgets. Any plans to support them?

Schoor—Still looking to see if law was violated.

Rich Mantel—We do have people helping with resumes and applications. Best we can do. Will help and do whatever we can.

Arthur GoldsteinMORE—Much to my surprise and delight, Francis Lewis, Hillcrest, Flushing and Forest Hills High Schools all got reasonable rulings about class sizes this semester. The arbitrator ordered, on March 28th, that all schools come into compliance or create classes so as to enable compliance. However, actual compliance is another issue. I know in my school, absolutely nothing has been done pending something called a compliance call, which was supposed to happen last week but did not. A full month has now gone by. I worry the DOE can wait us out five weeks and the ruling will be meaningless. In other buildings, there is simply no space to place new classes. This is problematic, to say the least.

At my school, thanks to the welcome intervention of Elly Engler, we should have some substantial relief in three or four years. In the others, who knows? Mayor de Blasio just asked what would happen if all teachers were to openly criticize every educational policy they disagreed with. I think our schools would be much the better for it, and I think that’s a large part of our job. Our numbers plummeted under Bloomberg, and we’ve just endorsed the sitting mayor. Considering complex issues like class size compliance and DOE gaming of the rules, and that we’re now expanding PreK for 3-year-olds without even counting the cost of new seats—how can we work with him him to not only hire an adequate number of teachers but also provide adequate space for our students, both current and future?

Schoor—Will work with them just like in preK program.

Marcus McArthurMORE—Transfer schools—Hearing that DOE thinking about removing admission responsibilities, centralizing so schools won’t be in charge. What is UFT position?

Schoor—First I’ve heard. Will check.

Pat Crispino—What they changed was HS admission under Paul Rotundo. One transfer school turned kid away. Chancellor ruled against that. Will be transfer school superintendent.

Ashraya GuptaMORE—People’s climate march—Is there UFT contingent? Any buses?

Schoor—In DC, not here. In SI there is a march. We have no plans to hire bus. Seems to be march every week.

Report from Districts

George Altomare—Labor month poster, calendar, will be film festivals, marches. Please read it. We have to focus on labor education. People’s history important. Only way to win is incrementally.

Anthony Harmon—At last NAACP convention passed moratorium on charters. Was a lot of heat for that. Since then, national NAACP called for hearings. Want to also see what quality public ed. looks like. NY last of hearings before report issued. Please come and tell your story. Open meeting. Will be panels pro public and pro charter. Will also be public comments and questions. 506 Malcolm X Boulevard. Immigration clinic May 13 Bronx UFT office.

Sterling Roberson—UFT with Association for CTE hosting region one conference here 52 Broadway. Educators, admin, ensuring students have pathway to career. Will be networking opportunities. Invites us. Goes along with PSP campaign. Thursday and Friday, registration Wednesday.

Unidentified speaker—Today Holocaust Memorial Day. 54% of American adults never heard of it.

Legislative—Paul Egan

Moving into city budget season, pushing teacher’s choice, CLS, PLC. Will meet with various council people. Asking for increase in teacher’s choice, but 350K not used. Makes it difficult if we leave money on the table. Make sure you spend it or give it. If you don’t spend it you don’t get it following year.

Other point is Constitutional Convention. You have chance to give up your pension. I would not trust anyone to protect it. We need to vote NO. We need to get word out. Poll, Sienna, says 59% support. Then when they ask there will be opportunity to vote, great deal 5%, somewhat 8%, nothing at all 61%. We need to vote. 42% didn’t in presidential election. Members in same category. Every person with pension should be out voting, getting others to vote.

Resolution—Anthony Harmon—Supports Mayday Rally. Speaks to worker and immigrant rights. A lot of unions will participate, will be constitutional convention conversation. With talks of Muslim ban, immigrant rights, please support.

Passed unanimously.

Mike SchirtzerMORE--Resolves to remove resolution on CPE 1 from table.

No debate.

Voted down on party lines.

We are adjourned.

Photo by Norm Scott
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