Wednesday, April 17, 2019

UFT Delegate Assembly April 17--Change Specialized School Entry, and Don't Shoot Us, Not Even With Rubber Bullets

4:22 Mulgrew calls us to order

Moment of silence for Jeanine Camarata. Speaks of PS 18, where she taught, and actions we may take over domestic violence. Gives credit to staff, which wishes to process for a while before they decide what to do. Say union will be with them. Thanks them for their work under difficult circumstances.

After DA has to prep state convention delegation. Huge benefit of one night stay in beautiful vacation town of Albany NY. Important work—we need to stand up and rep UFT. Will try to move quickly.

National—Betsy DeVos giving Eva Moskowitz 10 million dollars. No special ed. kids, or anyone else. Moskowitz just bought 70 million dollar building. DeVos may get award in NYC, maybe at Manhattan Institute, who thinks we are overpaid and get too many benefits. Maybe we will go visit.

State—It is now official that teacher evaluation law is changed. As of last Friday. Fought for six years. Signed on the last possible day, at night, but signed. Moratorium is now permanent. Cannot mandate test scores in evaluation. Next year two observations minimum.

Billion dollar increase, but feeling effects from feds. Ten blue states targeted severely. Want to destabilize our infrastructure. We are at war with our federal government, as a state.

(Takes call from chancellor.)

Announces a student passed away. 5-7 years old. Was getting off bus and was hit by car in Queens.

Rent is a large union issue. Rent regulations sunset on July 1st. Assume it should not be problem. We will be supporting tenants associations. High percentage of members who rent. Another bill will be known as patient protection act. We will lobby hard for this. Now, if you go to an ER to hospital not in network, hospital may bill whatever it likes, $400 band-aids. You have no right to appeal or question. Has only become large problem recently.

Working on this inside of a coalition, with insurance companies, BBB in NY, AARP. For us costs are covered, but after that they come to us at negotiating table and ask we give something more back. In 2012 they passed a law because out of network doctors did it. We want same system for hospital. If you have families not in unions, they may have 90% coverage, which could cost thousands of dollars easily. We want hospitals solvent, but this is important.

You’ll also hear about single-payer. We believe there should be health care for all but we don’t want this or campaign finance to blow a hole in our state and local budgets. Will exacerbate our issues with feds. Average UFT member would see 40% rise in taxes. We have to not allow Trump to do what he wants to do to NY. He wants to destabilize and blame it on others.

Charter schools on table—Governor says he never said he would support more. It was his staff person, actually. We see an opportunity here. Most charter control moved from state to SUNY charter institute. Merryl Tisch runs it, wants to get rid of caps or move all charters to NYC.

Most NYC charters were K-5. SUNY can now authorize without approval, and are full of former Bloomberg employees, change K-5 to K-8 or 12. So they get three for price of one. We want to stop free rent for charters, have moratorium on new charters.
City—Next year we don’t know how many snow days, may be three or four. Still looking at calendar, Muslim holidays in summer and others on weekends.

SBO time.  Good people are thinking about it. We are learning how to negotiate. We want flexibility with certain days. Had first meeting with DOE about training for APPR. Schools are losing their minds over what observation is. Will put out joint letter with me and chancellor.

I was in a school yesterday that made me want the superintendent fired. Principals do whatever they want. Nothing to do with creating instruction. Schools standing still for no reason. No faith in leadership. Hundreds of schools do it right, but we have to continue dealing with this. Had meeting with DOE, where they’d prepared all training for us. We rejected it, and said we would bring people who were observed to the table. Same people who said they weren’t working wanted to fix what they did.

Same people in charge of superintendents. Thanks Evelyn DeJesus for first evaluation meeting. We will teach them how to differentiate evaluations. HS English classes different from ICT classes. We will push back until we get it right. We have words on contract we must utilize to redesign evaluation.

52% of schools now reporting consultation. Works to your advantage. I can make my agenda based on info you provide. Step Two grievances are ridiculous. Chancellor didn’t know he signed them. Saw grievance denied because para was not entitled to lunch. Put it on agenda because you told me to. Want to keep that going. If info comes directly from schools makes my job easier.

Janus enthusiasts have started social media outreach against us as of April 15. New group says you have right to give yourself a raise. Whole lot of material goes along with this. Last year we did a lot of organization. We will have to do more work this year.  We will have to organize membership teams again. Falls on you, the leadership. You need a team having these conversations.

We have new contract, pay nothing in health care, Manhattan Institute very upset with us. We will act. They want to destabilize and weaken us. 3% a year, so in ten years we lose 30. Hate to end on that, but that’s the official end. More importantly, it’s one day from the break. Weather getting nicer. Now we pray for not hot weather.

You read about computerized testing. Next year NYC will be epicenter. Commissioner is in trouble but plans it. We have issues with it, It’s cheaper, but quality still bad. We would like more appropriate formative assessment. There is always a challenge in front of us, unionized workers. If you’re an educator, we have a whole lot of them. Idiot superintendents give idiot directions to moronic principals. We will deal with them together.

Thank you for taking leadership roles. Not easy. Long year. We will rejoice in our victories, but be ready and vigilant.

Howard Schoor—Was middle school conference, Herstory brunch, CL training, HS awards, others since last meeting. Next week borough offices closed, central open. D11 scholarship dinner May 8. Middle school anti-bullying conference May 9. 5K run/walk May 11. Albert Shanker scholarship awards May 18. Ballots being counted now.


Q—Glad you mentioned eval. Members at my school concerned with adverse observation. ICE had inadequate planning time.

A—We will address that and insist they do this differently for different classrooms. Further than planning time. Were they trained? ICT is in every school, so they must all have training before school starts. We will have two days for training. You should be talking with principal right now. Before observations get screwed up we need to train people. We must require planning time during school year. Should start in September. Great when it’s done right. Terrible when people just tossed into it.

Q—Measles—Never had them but there are outbreaks. We have members and schools in these communities. What is DOE going to do if this impacts us.

A—Law doesn’t require inoculation. There are loopholes. Parents have rights, for medical and religious reasons. In Rocklyn and now in NY it’s mandated that all students are vaccinated or they can’t attend schools. Will probably not survive court challenge, but leaders wanted to prevent outbreaks. May help before it goes to court.

Q—Congestion pricing—concerned, as we’re off FDR drive. Many members concerned. Firefighters and police may get reduction, as may others. Have we faced this or spoken on it?

A—Have officially put it on table twice. Still don’t see plan to fix MTA. But it passed. Can’t imagine what will happen, but I communicated we believe any educator working below 60th St. should be given exemption.

Q—Some of us above 60th St. see cabs already charging more. A lot of this has to do with affordable housing. Hopes we will move on that as well. This was predicted a long time ago. Question already asked.

Q—At our school we have big performance calendar. Lately APs and principal have been AWOL on performance nights. Do they have to be present, or can others be in charge?

A-Admin must be in building. Shame on them.

Q—We have to look for specificity—what does readily available mean for lesson plans? With observations, have we compared what’s happening school to school? There are big discrepancies. In our school in two or three categories, we were between 60-70% developing. How can we compare?

A—We can now FOIL Advance system. Of course people who hate us will do the same. Now we have end of year finals. They always say there are fewer badly rated teachers in last five years, but observation is not about bad ratings. It’s about moving instruction. A principal can show evidence they moved instruction when half staff was D and they are E at end of year. Everyone is playing a game now. We will try to get a few districts where supe will set instructional goals for district. Then each school will review plan to meet district plan. Almost every district in US works that way.

Happy we are now looking at good instructional support and practices. We want instruction moved, not anger and frustration. I like chancellor, schools, want to fire everyone in between. They call me Satan. I call them useless.


Elizabeth Perez
—Wants item 7 moved to item 1. Supporting candidate for special election May 14th.



1—City council endorsement—E. Perez—supports Farah Lewis. Brooklyn UFT interviewed 6 of 9 candidates. We agreed she was best fit, product of public schools, Midwood High, served as budget director for Jumaane Williams. Supports our issues. Opposes more charters. Wants funding for public school. opposes colocations. Supports funding for our programs, education affordable housing.

Mindy Rosier—This AM I read Jumanne Williams endorsed someone else. Says we should wait to see what’s going on.

Anthony Harmon
—Reminds body that special election happening May 14. We must decide tonight. Next DA after special election. Urges body to go along with recommendation of Brooklyn UFT.

Yelena S—Wonders who J. endorsed.

Mulgrew—Rises in support of resolution. Person Jumaane endorsed supported raising charter cap and tax credits.

Resolution passes.

Rich Mantel—Many parents have served in military. Some have PTSD. Don’t get assistance they need. Our committee wants DOE to change student registration form to see if parent or guardian is veteran. Will start a contact with veteran services which may provide counseling. Asks for support.


Duane Clark—Motivates appropriate accountability for transfer schools. These schools have special populations that may not achieve goals, and become TSI or CSI. Transfer schools branded as undesirable. Who wants to work in school that may close? Asks that we work with NYSED for language to support transfer schools.


Arthur Goldstein—So in Indiana a bunch of administrators got together and thought, hey, for the next active shooter drill, let’s get a bunch of guys to take out guns and shoot the teachers, but because we’re so nice, we’ll just use plastic bullets and not kill them. Imagine the terror of the teachers seeing guns drawn in front of them, during, you know, an active shooter drill. Imagine them going home with bruises and welts and cuts and accepting that as part of their work day. Imagine them being told not to talk about it.

And you think, well, that’s Indiana. This can’t happen here. But it wasn’t Indiana that elected Mike Bloomberg not once, not twice, but three times. It wasn’t Indiana that started the Leadership Academy. It wasn’t Indiana that hired Leadership Academy principals, the ones some of us work for, and I'm looking at you, Forest Hills and Bryant. It wasn't Indiana that hired the 30-year-old Boy Wonder APs some of us work for, and you have to think, holy crap, it’s a miracle it didn’t happen here first.

We are here to help children. We are not here to be abused by insane administrators playing cops and robbers on our bodies. I urge you to vote for this resolution. Let’s send a message to the next lunatic administrator who wants to try this that the United Federation of Teachers is not gonna sit down and take it.


Mary Jo Jenice—May Day dates to 1886, when they went on strike for 8 hour work day, associated with worker rights, and immigration rights, asks for your support for May Day resolution.

George Altomari—Approves anything that shows what labor had to do. We fight hard her, but at that time, when May Day established, there were riots, and murders, and trials against workers. I support resolution and wish we had more time to discuss labor in classroom. We have labor calendars available. May declared labor history month by governor.


Specialized HS Admission policy—Janella Hinds
—Asks UFT to reaffirm its policy. Need for reaffirmation of work we’ve previously done, wants common sense solutions, asks for support.

Marjorie Stamberg—
Supports resolution, but it’s a little band aid on huge problem. UFT should say this is institutionalized racism. NYS schools most segregated in country. We should be a lot stronger, should use lottery, not testing. We should spread these programs throughout city so as not to leave anyone out. Mayor has backed away from this, as charters.

Jonathan Halabi—from a specialized HS. Rises in support—offers amendment. Resolved—UFT SHS task force will reconvene to develop and implement policies to promote school culture and tone. Worked really hard on this. We hear about people opposed to change. We need more diverse school population. Doesn’t represent talent and strength in city. We need to come to good consensus on how to move in direction our school needs to go. We need to look at it again. Our school feels this deeply.

Antonio Jacobs
—speaks in support of amendment—alum of HS Art and Design. Specialized school. Doesn’t require exam, but you need portfolio. What’s important about amendment is it addresses concerns this reso doesn’t have enough teeth. Remedies it somewhat. Committee can reconvene, refine things, benefit all moving forward.

Ryan Finnegan—Can you reread amendment?

Paula Washington—Says specialized HS, but doesn’t specify which ones—For SHSAT or all specialized HS?

—Specifically for testing schools.

Margarita Goins—Against motion. Former president of Stuyvesant HS Parent Association. Believes specialized schools not yet broken in terms of entrance exams. No one lets friends get in. Never in support. Must do more research.

Rashad Brown—Calls all questions.

Amendment carries

Resolution passes

Resolution on domestic violence in wake of murder of Jeanine Cammarata—

Asks on behalf of colleagues, children—UFT has been supportive of us. Michael Mulgrew visited and listens to us. Couldn’t have asked for better support. Now ask that you stand with us, so we can be safe, help students, educate them, heal as community. Do not want her to be forgotten.

Passes unanimously—Thanks school for bravery.

—Donations for prom event. Will be one huge one, as opposed to various small ones. Please donate 
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