Wednesday, December 11, 2019

UFT Delegate Assembly December 11, 2019--DOE Needs Lesson On Instructional Leadership

4:33 UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomes us.

National—Dumpster fire. We are preparing for state budget. National politics have direct effect. Saturday is AFT Presidential Forum. Remember when Michael Bloomberg was mayor? He did not do all of what he says. We will remind everyone when it came to public education and policing, his policies were destructive, helped neither education nor communities. Approval rating on education was 21% when he left office.

State—Health care budget in very bad shape. Medicare growth over 13%, state budgeted only 4. We are constantly fighting and trying to figure how to negotiate with health care companies and hospitals. We will continue to fight. They’re making a whole lot of money, think we can just pay, pay and pay. We have been forcing them to deal with us professionally. We now lobby with them. In Albany, they will try to pit us against health care interests, as used to happen in the past.

Rochester facing 200 teacher layoffs. Midyear cuts are horrendous. City already struggling. Working with NYSUT, trying to work this out. Rochester facing severe financial crisis. Hoping this forces them to come up with a plan and deal with issue rather than pushing it off. Teachers and students don’t deserve to bear brunt of city mismanagement.

NYC—We have issues with Instructional Leadership Framework. We have an agreement with CSA and DOE that we will work together to prepare NYC schools for changes in NY State assessments. ILF in direct conflict with work we’re trying to get done. Based on advanced literacy. We like it, but they only took a portion of it. Forgot that every teacher must have real curriculum, scope and sequence, expectations, relevant topics, not go to Engage NY, or here’s a book.

This happened with Common Core, and same thing can happen again. We won’t sit by and have people who hate public education call us a failure. Give CSA credit—they have no contract and have offered to work with us. Each school district has autonomy over curriculum. State may not issue one.

We will do this process. Will be tough. I see schools buying products aligned to nothing, things that will not help us move into the future. Blame DOE, who said they weren’t in the curriculum business. Chancellor has corrected that, says they now are.

Group of chapter leaders will have new online community. Focus group met with IT engineers. New tool will be used to collect info. Most schools don’t have a curriculum. DOE recognizes that. They point at principals, who run around and grab whatever they can.

If we can show that each school should give a curriculum and design PD off of that, we will have improved conditions in schools. We need DOE and CSA on board with this project. Test scores are not everything, but our enemies use them against us.

It’s awful that we make children fail tests for which they aren’t prepared. We need to address it. Will update in January. On Tuesday Regents said every school must have a PD committee that is majority teachers. We will keep pushing at this. Will work from February to May. Hope by June schools are aligned with curriculum and PD.

Political teams—Empower, organize and engage. Everyone should have a consultation team. That is a voice and right you have. If not, we will help. Asked each district to form political team of 5-10 per district. Long-term plan. First, we want members to be known as political entities inside district. Major challenge is census.

Our economy has to go down sooner or later. Met with over 400 people here, with Count Me In census group. We want our money back from DC. Sick and tired of NYC money building roads in Alabama. They’re laughing at us. Were we at 70% ten years ago, we might not be fighting 13 years for money we supposedly won in settlement. We were at 60, lowest performing in state. If we were at 70, we’d have gotten all our CFE money.

Last time we left it to those in charge to take care of it. They failed. We are taking active role in census this time. They screwed up. If we want something done, we need teachers and nurses. This will be first process of political team. We will take our teams in the district. Carving city into geographic maps. Want our teams to be hub of communication.

Don’t want to go back to years when Bloomberg tried to lay off thousands of teachers three years in a row. We have to get to at least 75% in census. After that, will move into elections and political action. Our teams will be able to support chapter leaders with problem principals. Will do a few weekends of prep. Can’t do all at one time. We will come up with our own plans.

Number one most uncounted cohort in NYC ten years ago was children. Every resident counts. There is a constitutional piece that says census info may not be used about anything but the census. Our enemies will threaten deportation, or throwing people out for over-occupancy of apartments. We have to get truth out.

All class size grievances are now finished. DOE wants to meet with us. They aren’t happy about it. Superintendents and principals upset because they weren’t told they were responsible. We want to meet. Think it can go faster.

We average over 10,000 phone calls a week, We are answering, getting to better place. Last Monday we had 11,000 calls. Answered all of them.

Consultation—was a big push. Last year, some of you said consultation was canceled and we counted it. We are now at 75%. We didn’t get near that until last May. Biggest obstacle of those left is people who say they have no issues. Once you give up a right, it’s gone. Is consultation only about problems?

For example, school wanted to have a dance. Did an SBO, moved parent engagement time, and found time to chaperone a dance, despite budget issues. If you empower people at the school they can figure things out. Outsiders come in and cause problems.

Number one issue is school policy and staff morale. We have a ways to go. Those schools should be saying we want better schools and putting their ideas on the record. There is now a record when administration fails to do the right thing.

A lot of people complain about Quality Review. Tied to principal ratings and complete waste of time. I applaud principals who understand and approach staff the right way. Similar to instructional leadership framework. With no curriculum, what is framework based on?

Thanks us—first full year of paid parental leave. Set our goals—Only two unions in city with contract done, headed into tough financial times. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for most important people in union—chapter leaders. Everything we do is to support you.

Gave up on Tweed years ago. Should be a museum. They want to know why I diminish their work. Because it’s useless. Operations and safety are improving. On instruction and teaching and learning—the worst part. That’s their biggest deficit. Can’t get out of their own way.

Thanks us but there’s always more to do. Never can do enough for kids, can always keep fighting, we are greatest union on face of earth and thank you.

LeRoy Barr—Points us to UFT podcast. Suggests we pass code around so all can listen, whether or not they come to meetings. We will have others.

Welcomes secretary delegates.

Kwanzaa event next week Brooklyn 4-8. Jan 6 Three kings celebration in Bronx. Next DA January 15.

Mulgrew—Two events—Thanksgiving and holiday events for homeless children. Thanks Rich Mantel, raised 40K and 700 coats distributed through city. Thanks Karen Alford for hosting event with children. I tell elected officials they should be ashamed for doing nothing. Deplorable that this city blames everyone and no one helps 114K children in homeless shelters. Happy we can at least give them a day of respite.


Q—Michael Bloomberg—trying to get Dem nomination. Imagine DeVos replaced with Klein—How do we support right candidate?

A—NYS performed well in last election. We vote in high percentages. Decide on different issues. At AFT we are pushing all state and locals to engage with candidates. Once UFT endorses, that will stop engagement in other states. Once we endorse, we won’t be able to engage in PA, Florido, Ohio, etc. We want to make sure they are actively engaged, having real conversations in these states. UFT doesn’t do endorsements. AFT does national endorsements. We need to have a thoughtful process, help states engage in more meaningful way. In terms of Bloomberg, it’s scary. Klein was more effective than Betsy, who’s like Cathie Black. We are watching very closely. Have communicated everything AFT needs to know about Bloomberg. He’s posing as a great educator. We will talk about how he tried to destroy public education. We believe in long run it’s important to actively engage AFT. We will make sure everyone knows about Bloomberg.

Q—Evaluation—in some areas principals are up to date. In some, it’s not going well. Deadline some time in January. What if they miss deadline?

A—We want principals to get in and do observations. Clearly talent coaches didn’t get message. Admin just walking around demanding compliance with rubrics. Teachers can grieve if they don’t get observed by January. I will put it in my consultation.

Q—D 75 in many schools, often colocated. Buildings not organized for us or staff. Has this been addressed?

A—Yes. Constant challenge for union. At times it gets better. Hoping as we move forward we see better participation. We want to get into a better place, but we’re not where we should be. We have to own this. Sometimes they are completely integrated, and that’s a great educational setting. We have to have conversations at work sites. We have same challenge with campus sites. We have a map of D75 sites. DOE doesn’t know where they are. They only know payroll codes. We have made inroads, but there’s always more to do. We will continue to push issue.

Q—New contract has worked well in my building. My building has almost 3400 students, 230 UFT members, most E and HE. An issue is that it’s two observations for those in the system, and they’re 15 minutes. Part of feedback is on losing option of formal. You get to sit down and work things out. That is felt as a loss. Our admin is happy to do a formal, but they can’t put it in Advance that way for those only due for two informals.

A—I will check. If that’s true, admin can only do two. Happy about your engagement. Was big debate among negotiating committee. Was big debate over ability to have a formal. DOE didn’t want to force them to do it. Many on our side said they didn’t want formals. I would like to have the option, but it’s a negotiation. Will look at it for next contract.


David Pecoraro
—Resolved, UFT opposes Trump admin designation of Judaism as a nationality. History of designating religious group as nationality is awful. I am an American. Born in Brooklyn. Jew by faith and anything else is false. Hope we can put on agenda.

Roy Whitford—With respect, motion based on early NYT report that has since come into question about validity. Washington Post says this is incorrect. Text of executive order not yet released. Need all our facts straight first.


Adam Marcus
—Resolution to provide CL and delegates with undoing racism training. Took undoing racism course. Changed teaching process. (speaks very fast, I can’t keep up) Speaks of white people teaching students of color, helps dismantle racist policies. Many policies based on racism. Will empower and engage.

Janella Hinds-- Important we analyze thinking we bring to our work with students. Oppose this. Want to find best ways to partner with community organizations on racism, gender discrimination. We are committed to doing this work. This is too far ahead of where we want to stand.


Marjorie Stamberg—this month—reminder that we are working class—Issue is not which Democrat or Republican—Democrats party of Wall st., have pushed racism and homelessness. To defend immigrants and oppressed, must oppose capitalism.

Michael Friedman
—thanks Marjorie for being his colleague upon her retirement.


Mulgrew thanks her for always coming and being passionate.

Point of order—Peter Lamphere—Is it possible to ask body to extend motion period 5 minutes.


Mike Sill
—Resolution protesting Rochester teacher layoffs.

Placed on agenda.

Ryan Brokenthal—Motion for next month—in support of Democratic process in UFT. AFT said we could have own process. Want one member one vote process. Recognize taking time and not wanting to overstep locals.

Evelyn de Jesus
—We appreciate members that signed this but we have a representative process at UFT. Four VPs sit on council. Our union has variety of strategies to ensure candidates reflect our values. Would like 200 members who signed be PAC members in schools. Have forum on Saturday for this. Our job to make sure we rep your voices. This DA is elected and representative. I ask you not to support this, but to support our process going forward.


—Thanks us for all we do. Loves delegate assembly. Take time off. Relax, Be healthy.

Resolution—Lower drug costs

?—Supports HR3 to lower drug costs and act now. Seniors and all Americans will pay less and lower costs. Americans now pay highest prices in world. Last month, ABC news did a story about GA woman who lived in car. Couldn’t afford rent and prescription medicines. Wants prices in line with other countries like Canada, France and Mexico. Will be 2K cap on out of pocket costs for seniors. We will negotiate Medicare prices. Will reduce insurance premiums. Seniors, retirees and others can’t afford to wait.

Peter Selinger—calls question

Resolution passes unanimously

Mike Sill—Rochester is saying Merry Christmas wondering whether they’re going back to work. This is due to mismanagement. They can’t bail themselves out on backs of working people.

Kate Martin Bridge
—Calls question

Resolution passes unanimously.
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