Monday, October 21, 2019

UFT Executive Board October 21st--UFT and the Presidential Race

6:00 PM Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us.

No speakers


Barr—Shortened November 18th to observe changes to Wall of Honor, changed from November 4th. Starting at 5:30. All are welcome.

Adjust calendars—January 6th EB moved to January 13. Manhattan parent conference this Saturday. SI parent conference November 2. 8-2. Thanks us for coming out to Teacher Union Day. 

Question period—

Arthur Goldstein
—Yesterday at Teacher Union Day we watched Joe Biden promise us a grab bag of goodies. I can’t imagine any teacher not wanting to enact the programs he described. Yet he never mentioned privatization, which threatens so many public school districts. And though he frequently refers to his part in the Obama administration, he failed to do so yesterday.

Working teachers still feel Race to the Top, which imposed charters and test-based ratings on much of the country. While I’ve seen such ratings here help teachers, it’s only because so many city administrators are so wretchedly inept that a crap shoot is preferable to their judgment. Diane Ravitch wrote Obama gave GW Bush an extra term in education. Arne Duncan famously said Hurricane Katrina was the best thing to happen to NOLA education. We remember the near complete privatization of the city, and the virtual destruction of union there, pretty much blazing a trail for Betsy DeVos.

Maybe Joe Biden didn’t play a part in it, and maybe he didn’t support it, but I’ve never heard him say so. The Daily News referred to us as his supporters. Personally, I’d support him against Trump, but that doesn’t make me his supporter. The fact that we’ve thus far invited him and no one else lends credence to the paper’s assertion. The Times today, in a piece on Warren’s new education plan, says, “Ms. Warren and her Democratic rivals are vying for endorsements from teachers’ unions, which generally oppose the expansion of the charter sector.” I’d like them come and do their vying right here.

Is the United Federation of Teachers pursuing opportunities for members to hear from the other frontrunners, Sanders and Warren?

Barr—Daily News got facts wrong. We were clear that because Biden was available it no way means we are endorsing him. This in no way means we don’t want others to come. As soon as we can get them here, we will. We will have a report about the debate party. Goal is to make members as informed as possible. AFT wants people to work with people they want to work with. We want people’s time and talent devoted to any candidate they choose. It’s still early, many people on stage. Michael wants us to wait until the field narrows a bit, see who can be elected, who can beat Trump. Daily News did not get it right, and Arne Duncan was wretched.

Rashad Brown—Are we taking a position on city charter?

Barr—Will let Michael or others speak to that.

DeShanna Barker—Re—smaller schools—how can we support them? Often they are charged with same things as larger schools, and it doesn’t always work out. Prep periods and workloads are the same, but often times don’t have manpower. How can we support them?

Barr—These were created by Joel Klein to break up large schools. Found many members applied to specialty schools, wanted to be there, have had same issues for years. Many who signed up were willing to do some of that work. Difficult to lay foundation until school grows large enough. In terms of budget, these can be conversations between entire campus. Principals and CLs there can discuss how to put things back together and make some things work. We will talk about strategies and techniques they’ve been using.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew
—Thanks everyone for UFT events, ELL conference, AFT teacher leader group, Strides, and Teacher Union day, which went well. We are not endorsing anyone. Trying to reach goal we did in mayor’s race. We’re moving toward working with campaigns and telling them what we want on national level. Over weekend we were in contact with Warren campaign. They were waiting for K-12 plan to come out. When we do endorsement, we look at education, worker policy, health care, pharma, looking for more support and development of unions. We should be expert on that.

Most times, it’s not who you like the best. After that, you have to figure out who can actually win. Team and apparatus in place important. That will take a lot of our time. Going to AFT this week. UFT largest local by far, will play significant role, but decision will be based on criteria I said. Important that leading candidate came to us, and that public sees. Trying to find dates and times for others.

You have right to leave early or come late for election day. You must inform them it is state law, only for NY State residents. 3 hours. You have to have a race happening in your district to get release time. If you live in an NYC district, public advocate is up. Not sure about other counties. Make sure there is race in your district. Let us know if principals object.

We should be done with all class size arbitration by Thanksgiving. Planning what to do about curriculum and DOE. DRs and field reps will be trained. Talking to CEC reps about this and the census. Thanks everyone who volunteered last weekend. Good people saw UFT working with community and pushing public school system to greater heights.

Barr—Will send voting info to Exec Board and CLs.

Reports from Districts

Rich Mantel—I need winter jackets. We bring students from temporary housing here to UFT, for Thanksgiving, give them food, games, and when they leave, every one gets new winter jacket, gloves and a scarf. They cannot be more appreciative. This year our biggest sponsor can’t help up. We are behind. If you can help with clothing or money we would appreciate it. Bring to my office or borough offices. Mail, or we’ll pick it up. Must be new.

Serbia Silva—Thanks volunteers, coordinators, all who made it to two different events on Sunday. Thanks borough reps, leadership and everyone.

Sean Rockowitz—At last exec board I spoke to retiree sanitation workers, who offered to help with Thanksgiving drive. Will collect coats, hats, toys. SI UFT hosted event for PreK center new hires. Very well attended. Donated $1500.

Rich Mantel—Thanks SI retirees who’ve donated dozens of coats.

Rashad Brown
—First LGBTQ youth empowerment dinner, Corey Johnson and others, $75 for scholarship fund. Nov. 21.

Barr—wants everyone to participate. Wants Danny Dromm fund to have 30K. We want you there to come out and celebrate.

Legislative report—Brigitte Ryan—On behalf of political dept., thank you for yesterday. All was beautiful. Congratulates honorees. Ballot proposals—no position, but if you have questions, refer to political appointees in borough offices. Hosting a session October 23 9 AM, will talk with labor movement about census, child care crisis, rank and file services.

Will have presidential delegate training, Sunday November 3rd. Refer questions to Cassie Brugh

Resolution to support NYC Transit Workers—MaryJo Jenise—5 months without contract. Asks for support for our brothers and sisters. Strike would have terrible impact on people.

Passes Unanimously.

Motion to adjourn 6:38
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