Wednesday, October 16, 2019

UFT Delegate Assembly October 16--City Council Visits, We Support UAW and CTU

4:29 Michael Mulgrew, UFT President, welcomes us to our first DA of the year. Comments on everyone wearing pink,  says UFT raises a large amount of money to fight breast cancer. 

Mulgrew asks new union reps to stand. Thanks them for standing up, literally and figuratively. Says we fight and advocate for us and children. 

Mulgrew says we put money into training and programs, and calls City Council of NY a great partner. Says they trust us and understand money going to us is used for direct benefit of city students. Mentions programs supported with millions from City Council. Points out heads of education committee, finance committee, are UFT. Says speaker is particularly responsive. Says they understand what we’re doing, what our communities face. Our partnership changes children’s lives. Welcomes Corey Johnson, Danny Dromm, and Mark Trayger.

Corey Johnson—Thanks UFT members for having them here. Says they’re grateful for work we do. In these days, with such deep division, appreciates teachers helping children and being politically active.

Work very closely on funding BRAVE, Dial a Teacher, Teacher’s Choice, all ongoing collaborations. Working on system and department wide changes, like “fair student funding.” Many schools not getting what they need. Council added 125 million which brought some schools up to 90%.  DOE looking at changing formula. Can’t raise it on our own, need foundation aid from state, refers to CFE and demands they show us the money. Looks to raising foundation aid and improving conditions for special ed. students. Affects almost 20% of school system here.

Mulgrew—We have a lot of enemies looking to destroy our system. They say if NYC comes down entire country will fall. DeVos wants vouchers. We’re doing better than ever on achievement and dropout rates. Never hear enough. With city admin on way out, how do we move forward? NYC is under corrective action, can be used against us. What do you think we should be doing this year to move forward? How do we motivate DOE to stop power games and stupidity?

Danny Dromm—Was CL for 25 years. Remembers shaking hands with Shanker, worked with Feldman, Weigarten, feels like coming back to family. Proud of special ed. reporting bill. Was no accountability. I knew not every kid was getting services. First year we found only 60% were getting service. 35% partial, 5% none at all. Worked without bilingual counselor in my school for 25 years.  We got additional funding for testing facilities. Must hold DOE accountable. Up to 70%, but we still need to improve.

Curriculum—In 1984 were books written by Charlotte Frank. Those were all lost, and there is no, or very few curriculum guides available now. They say individualize, but they give nothing to individualize with. I can’t go on the net and find 34 lessons for a class.
Other focus is teaching of LGBTQ individuals. As teacher thank God I had tenure. Without it I wouldn’t be sitting here. Want everyone to know LGBT history is everyone’s history. We have put 1.8 million to ensure this type of program goes on. Get in touch with me or Eric Vaughan. We have funding. Bayard Rustin was honored by this union many years ago and everyone should know who he is.

Mark Treyger—You have the best education team in city Government, Danny Dromm and Corey Johnson. Greatest labor leader, President Michael Mulgrew. Good to be home at DA. I used to sit in the audience and see President from that lens, now see his ferocity and tenacity. Should out to city council committee staff. Seen system from multiple lenses, student, teacher, delegate, SLT, now council member chair of education committee. Thanks speaker and Danny for their help.

Remembers when DOE came to school with compliance checklists. Now it’s our turn. Now we have the clipboards. Tell us what you’re doing, IEPs aren’t recommendations, why isn’t AC in every classroom.

UFT one of most powerful organizing forces in NY. Some folks in state budget, rather than fund our schools, want to lecture. I went up, they said no one could see school budgets. We showed school allocation memos.

Three main streams of funding, federal, flat, state, insufficient, and city. Asked governor where is 1.4 billion for schools, 4 billion statewide? FSF very precious to schools. Flexible to hire key staff. Can hire people with that money. Majority are not at 100%. Lincoln HS short 900K. How many counselors, paras, music programs could they buy?

We said to admin that your paid parental leave policy was sickening. Members had to use sick days to care for children. Outrageous. Major step forward led by Mulgrew.

Special ed. is non-negotiable. Dealing with mandates. We need someone in DOE who knows rules. Their own person came to my hearing. I ask questions. Have DOK knowledge chart. Asked how many IEPs they have translated. They didn’t even know there was federal requirement. Let’s start with people who know what they’re doing. Let’s empower people who know more than them.

We must address social emotional needs of our kids to get them to perform academically. 1 million students, more NYPD agents than social workers counselors and paras combined. We need more of them.

We lifted freeze on social workers, Commitment to hire 200 in our schools. 

I still visit schools almost every week. Thrive wouldn’t come to schools. This council redirected 11 million from Thrive for consultants to 85 social workers.

Mulgrew—Asked them here because of work we’ve gotten done. Proud of our support for them. We’re supposed to do things together. These gentlemen stood up and said no. We thank you for all your support.

Johnson—President didn’t mention last year, at one point, one in ten children were deemed homeless. 110K in shelters, with relatives, tonight will be 80K in system. Almost 30K are under 18. We are richest city in world. Budget went from 73 billion to 93 billion. Unacceptable to have 100K homeless children. People who have to deal with this are teachers, trying to provide additional support for families who don’t have what they need. Want to recognize UFT has been working with us on issue. Easy to say we want affordable housing, but affordable to who? Not just housing, but education, school, work force and labor issue. We’ve been engaging with your president and leadership team so it doesn’t all fall on teachers. Thanks us for all the work we do for vulnerable children.

Treyger—You find out who your friends are when cameras are off. No greater friend too education than speaker Corey Johnson.

5:06 Mulgrew—We’re trying to implement new contract, make it real in schools. Words in paper are nothing more unless we use them. Last year started with consultation, this year with class size reduction rights. Knew DOE thought those new rights should just be words on page. DOE legal didn’t want to do anything. They like 400 schools doing arbitration for 7 or 8 months.

We asked you to engage. At this time last year 400 schools 2K classes. Day ten this year 350 schools 1500 classes. At next level, we bet superintendents wouldn’t want this going above them. Were able to make it major issue. Ten days went from 350 to 105. We used to have this going on for seven months. Today only 87 schools with oversized classes. Lowest number of oversized classes in October in history of UFT. Will get rest done by Thanksgiving.

Consultation—tripled number of schools who filed reports from 200 to 600. I use your consultation to determine what’s in mine. Best way for you to tell me. We know some idiot at DOE legal is telling principal to do something stupid. We need to know. We want your feedback on form, Want everything to pre-populate.

We need to move forward—we have issues with chancellor, mayor, but moving toward how we make schools better places. DOE trained principals on student removal process. Just because they’re trained doesn’t mean they’ll follow. Tell principal we’re here to work with you, but first and foremost we need system to educate kids in front of us. When students in crisis, or having bad day, we want a process so they don’t interrupt education of other students. Would principals ruin entire classroom because they don’t want discussion with irate parents?

We have changed state standards. Not just renaming of common core. Significant changes. Dozens of NYC teachers, hundreds of NYS teachers. Problem is principals haven’t been trained. Two other issues—2021 tests will be based on these. We are working with SED. Can’t tell schools what curriculum to use, can only set standards. Last year they called it “year of awareness.” No one seems to know about it.

Advanced literacy framework, Culturally responsive curriculum, and next generation standards from state. All single package. DOE had only voluntary training. Say everyone was trained but no one was. Says CRC different from states. ALF only one city engaged in, and only part of it. In ALC framework, says you cannot do anything moving forward, unless everyone has common understanding and PD in curriculum they are using. Should be a YEAR of PD in place before they have leadership team.

We will get into a war over this. Everyone at UFT has started training on all components. will roll out to you. Bureaucrats don’t care about our school system. they know they’re hurting children. They think Instructional Leadership Team will fix everything. They should’ve first given us curriculum and training, and we design lesson plans.

Told DOE two weeks ago, and immediately we got operational complaints. Teachers were sent standards by principal. Said make sure they are reflected in lesson plan as we move forward. Letting you all know this will be major campaign. If we have to hit streets and say DOE is ruining our schools, we will.

Next problem is corrective action plan on special ed. We have serious problems. NYSED says we’re severely and chronically out of compliance. System is basically if you can get away with it, do it. If principal says he has no money, bring it to DR. Superintendent will wave it to borough support center. BSC says we sent principal money, but can’t tell him what to do. That’s superintendent’s job. This system is probably why we have corrective action plan.

You’ll spend 800 million on computer system bound for garbage rather than give kids services they need. This is public. Who’s in charge of US DOE? DeVos said special ed. was state issue, was corrected because that’s civil rights. Do we want her associated with our school system?

We have to focus on all this. Changing things here to support in field. We are anti-DOE. We want to help and support schools. We want every district to have political action team. Will be very turbulent political system in two years. Our friends can’t remain in office.

Next year is census year. Do your neighbors understand how important it is? Bridges tunnels and roads, fed money. Health care? Feds? Education also very important. Money from fed needed.

Which city performed the worst on the census ten years ago? It was us. We had a 60% rate. We gave tens of billions back to feds. Average participation was 73%. We are partnering with very odd partners with this. Feds want to discourage participation and deter people in cities from filling it out. All residents should fill it out. George Washington wanted non-citizens to participate and encouraged it in a letter.

Every one of those dollars we send to feds comes back as 60 cents because we don’t deal with issue. Key is we need political action teams in each district. It’s community grassroots. Every district has a school, multiple schools. We will get major cooperation from admin and DOE to use schools.

PD committee in contract. Instruction leadership team is not.

Imagine schools want real grassroots process with parents of kids who will be in new schools. Want to customize to needs of stakeholders, not people above. Mayor wants preK for entire city before he leaves office. Kids in preK did better in tests. We’ve been saying so for 50 years. Give mayor credit. Thanks preK teachers.

Chicago Teacher Union, looking at strike Thursdays, about what they’re allowed to bargain, like class size. Auto workers came to tentative agreement. MTA problematic.

Probably closing down registration for Teacher Union Day. Lots of people coming this Sunday. We have 170 tables. Would like to move around. Same day as Strides day. Starting at 11.

Praises Serbia Silva for leading Strides.

VP Biden coming to teacher union day. We will not endorse. National endorsement from AFT. Asking locals to engage. Did a lot of work in summer. With 23, decided to wait until Fall. Waited until it got more serious. We are in conversations with multiple candidates, and want them to spend time with us here. We were able to schedule him so he came, but will bring others.

Looking for who can win, and who has educational policies we want. We are union of workers—health care and education. If those are correct, we look at who will win. About 20% of us want current occupant to stay. We look at our profession, how we keep livelihood, and who is best for working people.

Our endorsements are recommendations to you. Then you make your own determination.

5:41 LeRoy Barr—Saturday ELL workshop 8-3:30. UFT disaster relief supporting families on border, looking to work with Catholic Charities. You can donate at Please share. Friday Nov. 1, AFT Latino Caucus, Coquito fund raiser, Bronx UFT 4:30. UFT disaster relief also support Dorian victims. May donate at We will support students. Collecting items for relocated college students. LGBTQ dinner nov. 21. Raiding money for Danny Dromm scholarship fund. MS coat drive November 23rd. Next DA November 20.

Mulgrew—Probably will not get to resolutions today, due to city council piece.


Q—Members asking how long to resolve safety complaint.

A—Five days. Bring it up in consultation at safety meeting. If not resolved, goes up the chain. Send it up. Blame me if you like.

Q—Spoke about political action. CLs asked to choose rep. What will role be?

A—We are talking about this. Don’t want CL doing everything. Let’s start here. You need to empower people. Someone who will go to district level meeting. PAC will be utilized for census. Good for local elections. Will interview candidates. Will see what happens and share it out at first. Someone you can trust to go to meeting and report.

Q—Can you say more about debt forgiveness? Problems in D75.

Started it last year. Had meetings. By summer did webinars. They are huge hit. Will put in CL update. We saved UFT members over 45 million dollars last year. Companies suck, will burn in hell, mislead people, multiple lawsuits against them. We thought would only be teachers under five years. We will make sure members get right info.

Q—We heard from council members about need for housing. Chicago issue is demand by teachers, took stand for public housing and lower class sizes. What are we going to do to support them? Donation? Wear red?

A—We take directions from them. They want a resolution. As we move forward, we will let them tell us what they want. We will have to do something more with housing here. We have homeless situation, and many of us can’t afford to live here anymore. We’ll first deal with homeless. DOE finally added 100 new bus routes for homeless children. Best we’ve gotten out of them. Anything more we’ve done on our own. Other crisis is members leaving because they can’t afford to live in city. Will push this in Albany. We will stay in touch with Chicago.

Q—Given competing proposals from presidential candidates, has UFT looked at various Medicare plans. How much will it cost us if insurance choice taken away.

A—Can’t answer in this time, but something has to change. Spending a lot of time negotiation health costs. To me, we have a problem. How long, as a union, can we keep no premium option. Every day we are in multiple fights. We have pharmacists help us go after drug companies. Costs are astronomical. We have to have this debate.

Q—Schools on CSI list—How can we get them off, and how can we educate Albany?

A—Had to be implemented by NYSED because of state law. We have good Board of Regents, with real educators. Used to be all business people. Don’t have commissioner. Have acting commissioner. We have complete cooperation and our state union says something has to change. State wants city to come up with plan. We know you’re dealing with it, but where is team from NYSED? Law has to be changed. We need to work with school community, not just say you’re bad, fix yourself.

Mulgrew—Time is up. We need motion to extend.

LeRoy Barr—point of order—Asks we do motion period for one motion for CTU, then others.

Mulgrew—Out of order.

Dave Pecoraro—Motion to extend 15 minutes for for motion period only.

Appears to be tied. Mulgrew has us stand and it passes.

Point of order—
ro—endorsement for Melinda Katz?

Mulgrew—We endorsed in primary.

Mike Sill—Motion to this month’s agenda—Be it resolved UFT support CTU as they prepare to go on strike.

Passes almost unanimously.
Pecoraro—Motion to endorse Melinda Kats for Queens County DA.


George Altomare
—Resolution to support UAW in their strike.

Mulgrew—We have a tentative agreement. Already on agenda.

—Wants UAW moved from 4 to 1 in resolution period.


Movement to make CTU number two. So moved.

CL—Given fact that census tied to our funding, census should be mentioned and highlighted in UFT paper.

—That is idea, not motion.

George Altomare
—This union strong because we’re here together. We had a strike for collective bargaining. UAW helped us. Backed us when we had nothing.

Motion to call question

Question called resolution passed.

Mike Sill—Everything George said applies to this.

Michael Freedman
calls question.

Question called resolution passed unanimously.  6:16 We are adjourned.
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