Monday, November 20, 2017

UFT Executive Board November 20, 2017--Class Size Matters (to us at least)

Secretary Howard Schoor welcomes us.


Washington Sanchez—Rockaway school Douglas Academy 6—Very resourceful students—many challenges. CL often overwhelmed by challenges of admin. Staff suffered. This year, staff decided they’d had enough. Organized as a group. Three members took on tasks. Asked to meet with superintendent. Met after school at supe office. Went through safety, lack of materials, and AP named Katz, whose job entailed punishing rather than supporting. Teachers unprepared to help ELLs. Supe took action and things began to change. Still challenges. AP no longer abusive. Huge for staff. Books ordered. ELL specialist brought in. Happened because group came together.

Fred Cole
—Bronx CL—Spring 2017, because of a grievance, principal decided teachers didn’t need additional prep time. Had taught 22 periods because principal saw language in contract. On behalf of staff, thanks union. DR helped. Was arbitration. Many students coming out of day treatment and would be in school next day. Thanks again.


Presidential report—Mulgrew not here 6:10

Grievance update—Ellen Procida—Had they not been successful, hundreds would have lost rights. Other chapters came and testified. D75 came together. Arbitrator ordered pay for extra preps they lost and immediate return to schedule. Victory for chapter and union.

ATR report—Mike Sil
l—This year, sept, about 110 ATRs, 20% reduction from last year. Incentive helped. Hopes to update number next time. Most ATRs will be in buildings until end of January,

Mulgrew arrives—6:15—

Philadelphia reform commission done, board gets control.

Thanks for support in PR, water filters.

Wisconsin has suffered since union has declined, lost 3% of pay 19% of benefits.

Janus—spoke to president of Wisconsin TU, may bring her here in February.

Paid family leave—moving forward—asks CLs to arrange baby showers in schools, has 5100 volunteers. Keeping pressure on city. City not pleased, too bad. Group organizing says some people not nice to them—Mulgrew urges them to relax—we will get this done.

Officers and borough reps went to NYSUT last weekend, applauds Queens and Bronx for conferences. Functional chapter, AFT leadership team, Rich Mantel did Thanksgiving, very proud day for UFT. Many events.

DOE got upset because we sent out paperwork standards. We have a paperwork committee to decide what is redundant. Debbie Poulos sent out what was being decided. Is the issue that if we catch someone, you’ll fix it, but not let anyone know, or should we tell people about mistakes? A little nastiness over this, but we will make info available. If there is a decision, it’s not just for school. Everyone should look. We don’t need people wasting our time. People need to read what happens at this committee. This issue will never stop. Thanks committee.
Carmen Fariña may be replaced, it’s reported. We will wait. We want to be part of process. Will plan either way.

Thanks everyone for election day, Con Con, we have big challenges, wishes a great holiday.

Mulgrew leaves 6:24

Staff Director Report—LeRoy Barr—Member of exec board, Jay Futterman, has passed. Moment of silence.

CL training 12 2-3. Encourages attendance. Doorknocking training 12 9-10. 300 names and we want more.

Coalition for Homeless gathering. DA 12/6 EB 12 4, Happy Thanksgiving.

Shelby Abrams—Not easy. Jay was great union person. Was UFT. Was Unity. Any time you asked him to do something, he did it. Happy and proud he was among us. Sad we lost him. Sounded good, and then we got notice he was gone. Makes you wonder. If we don’t stand together, anything can happen.

Raquel Webb Geddes—Annual professional issues conference last weekend. Over 200 attendees. Workshops took place, were vendors. Thanks Anne Goldman, NYSUT, Mulgrew.


Arthur Goldstein—MORE—A year ago I came to this committee with a class size resolution. This was inspired largely by an arbitrator who felt the way to address class sizes was to relieve teachers from one C6 assignment a week, which I found idiotic. I was told the arbitrator had previously made more lucid decisions, so It wasn’t so bad.

Members of this board told me that we had made sacrifices to have class size written into the contract. They neglected to note that said sacrifices took place half a century ago, when many of us were either toddlers or not even born. I placed a piece in the Daily News about this.

I’ve taught oversized classes, and I can tell you that one additional planning period is not the support we need. Teachers need help right there in the classroom. That’s why, the following semester, that I proposed adding an extra teacher certified in the subject matter to each oversized class. That way, students could get more attention from both teachers. In the event schools were not as overcrowded as mine, teachers could send small groups with the other teacher to get caught up.

The following semester, the next arbitrator ruled for exactly that. Unfortunately, by the time it was enforced there were only days remaining in the school year. I was told there was now a new committee, and that we could use it before going to arbitration. I read enthusiastic reports from chapter leaders saying if the committee didn’t work out, that we could go to arbitrators.

This year I went for another class size hearing. This year, a new arbitrator ruled again that my people would get one day off from C6 assignments if they had oversized classes. Hey, it’s great that you have a committee. Maybe it’s great that you meet and do whatever you do. Certainly people like me, chapter leader of a school with chronic overcrowding and oversized classes, haven’t got the remotest notion. You regularly report neither to chapter leaders nor to this committee.

If we are in the same place as we were last year, maybe we should rethink this committee.
I have a few questions about this:

What are we going to do about rampant class size violations and ridiculous so-called plans of action? 
What are we doing to enforce the C4E ruling?
Will this body work with the high school reps to craft a resolution and/ or strategy?

Ellen Procida—says fewer than last year, can get number. Committee aware of request, but there may be people assigned to your school to help. It is my understanding ATRs may push into classes.

Schoor—We are open to meet with you.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—Teacher in Bronx for 20 years. At DeWitt Clinton people ask what they’ve done wrong that they have to apply for jobs again.

Janella Hinds—Always difficult when we face these situations. I experienced school closure. We take responsibility even though it’s not necessarily our fault. UFT had to decide next step. Closure was possible. Idea of restaffing was then proposed. UFT negotiated terms of process. Both proposals disruptive, but we believe keeping schools intact was best alternative. Similar to “out of time.” Schools were not named thus, but were in similar situation.

Mike Schirtzer
MORE—we have 25 periods, 5 preps, 5 C6, with all new mandates, HS teachers have ICT classes, ELLs with co teachers, and we need more time to plan. In my school and others we have teachers doing lunchroom assignment. When I went to school was done by aides. These are non-pedagogical assignments.  Looking at great school systems, prep time is what we need. We need duty free lunch and two preps a day. Can we move toward getting rid of C6.

—Any Exec. Board member can be on 300 member committee.

Report from Districts—

Rich Mantel—Saturday was Thanksgiving event. Very successful, great day. Gives children Thanksgiving meal, games, activities. Everyone who attended got new winter coat. At day’s end, clothing is everywhere. Greatest feeling in world. I sent out hundreds of letters. No one responded. MCU, Land’s End, and NY Jets contributed. Most came from members. Billionaires didn’t give a nickel. Still have 250 coats for students in temporary housing.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—-School diversity committee will issue report, looking to hear from us, December 7th, City Hall.

Info Tech in Queens gives tickets to students who show up They get things. We hope it translates into better academic performance.

Sterling Roberson
—Brooklyn Nets recognized Tim Evans. One of the players who suffered from a condition hosted teacher appreciation event at Dave and Busters. Two events that celebrated teachers.

Anthony Harmon—Liasions from Queens and Bronx did great job. Parent conferences bring out hundreds of parents throughout city. Hundreds come to UFT for guidance. Parents in Bronx all brought in items for hurricane relief. Collected many things. Thanks them for wonderful work.

Janella Hinds—1, 2 and 3rd place winners for national AIDS day will be reproduced. Hopes they are posted.

Tabio da Cruz—Thanks MS 210 for organizing. 112 members came to vote no confidence for principal. Thanks people who came to school. Staff demands have been met, consultation is back, staff ready to fight.

Legislative report— Paul Egan
—sports talk—hearings on diversity, CTLE, school safety, we will testify. AFT sending everyone email to oppose GOP budget. They call it tax reform, but it’s bill for middle class and reward for 1%.

Resolution against House and Senate tax reform bills.

LeRoy Barr
—Motivates—reminded of movie where Denzel said he was hoodwinked, bamboozled. Bill not for working people. Taxes going up for many. Cap real estate deductions. Bad for average union families, who need it. Want to eliminate state and local tax deductions, school supply deductions, eliminate tuition waver. Taking from poor, giving to rich, reverse Robin Hood.

Mel Aaronson
—Well hidden part, pension related orgs uncovered. House bill—provision that for first time in history would be tax on gains made in public employee retirement systems. Not in Senate bill. AFT, NEA, all working so that piece will not make conference bill.

Passed unanimously.

We are adjourned..
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