Monday, March 09, 2020

UFT Executive Board March 9, 2020---Chancellor Praises Terrible Principal, and Corona Madness

6 PM—Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us.

Open mike—Georgia Ligno—UFT Chapter Leader WC Bryant High School—Has brought several teachers. Principal is Namita Dwarka, controversial history, Chancellor Carranza, superintendent and others came to school to inaugurate civics week. CL neither informed nor invited. Chancellor said principal was one of the best in NYC. School community perplexed, giving her 9-year history in Bryant. Was pushed out of several schools, history of micromanagement. Principal has established tightly operated regime. Went through interviews after closing, many let go, management style of divide and conquer. Few veteran teachers left. School turns over 30 teachers a year. Very little loyalty. New teachers want to save their careers. Ratings of teachers are very low as principal has strict interpretation of Danielson, 30% developing ratings. Appears all incompetent teachers are in one school. Members are rated better in other schools. Principal claims she rates with fidelity, others do not. Teachers have been targeted, poorly rated, LIF for absurd reasons. This year 3 teachers and one AP resigned. 15 APs resigned only to be replaced by handpicked teachers by Dwarka. AP with 4 years teaching experience appointed.

There are expensive litigations. School still not off focus list. Still TSI school. Micromanagement pervasive. All goes through principal. Teachers fearful and demoralized, frustrated and defeated. Principal believes she is master of instruction and has mandated particular practices. Teachers feel it is unreasonable, ineffective. Results of teacher survey abysmal, Principal rated 45% average 75%. Disregards suggestions by members. Passive aggressive retribution, atmosphere of fear, discouraging union involvement.

Insulting chancellor says she is among the best. Principal made master principal, responsible to train others. Statement has symbolic value and union needs to know. This principal is doing what DOE wants and writing book for DOE. All principals may be asked to do this in the future. We challenge chancellor to qualify criteria for who is best principal. We cannot have staff write letter. Two thirds not tenured, and staff lives in fear. We need a different approach. We need a rubric, we need to show managerial abuse. Hurts students, limits professional discretion, union must make case. What chancellor did, given record, means he should be challenged. We should go public, challenge chancellor.

Barr—Thanks members for coming out. Chapter advocate assigned. Upcoming meeting. See Amy Arundell before you leave.


Barr—DA moved to this Wednesday. Can’t have anyone in lobby. Will move folks in as quickly as possible. Corona virus and implications gripping world. Para luncheon Saturday. Herstory brunch Sunday. Lobby Day 16th, also anniversary of UFT. 60 years old.

President Michael Mulgrew—Moved DA up due to health concerns. Have been talking to emergency management. Things will get worse before better. We don’t have document from SED saying once there is positive case school will be closed for at least 24 hours, opened when DOH approves.

Trying to settle things—if someone is quarantined, that person will not lose CAR days. If you’re not feeling well, you shouldn’t go to work. Anything directly to this virus we want no discipline, even if member over 10 days. Looking at members who may have to stay home because child is sick, or child’s school closed. Underlying health conditions important. Will get info out when we have it.

We want them to lift limit of 3 personal days so people can care for corona concerns. If you’ve been designated quarantined by health pro, CAR not charged.

Should be health care professional in place in your school. Should be gowns, face shields, masks and gloves. Masks used at direction of medical professional. Student can be sent home. CLs should check. Check if custodians got supplies. Bathrooms should have soap and paper towels. Soap best thing to use.

Anti-viral disinfectant—new one for this virus. If you tell us something’s not there, we will make sure it gets there.

Multitude of events—requested parent teacher conferences be postponed.

Please show leadership. Don’t be pointing fingers. Don’t turn on people when they call in sick.

For our events—we followed patterns. Appears to just be getting started. Containment begins when you tell people to stay home. Concerned about putting a thousand people on buses to Albany. Will deal with upcoming events first. Every weekend we have events this time of year.

Melody Anastasio—Though Lobby Day is important, please consider how taking all people from various boroughs, putting them together, and sending them back to work could contribute to spread.

Mulgrew—Will try to clear up by Wednesday. We have state budget also, not going well, there are policy issues. One house budgets may be out by next week. Not happy with Governor’s proposal. We believe we should tax the ultra rich. Some people think it will threaten their elections. We need revenue or there will be cost shift, cuts of 1.3 billion laid on city.

National—Everyone has opinions. AFT changed process. Asking everyone not to ask for endorsement Wednesday, but it’s a democracy and people can do what they like. I am ABT, anyone but Trump at this point. We have engagement we didn’t have four years ago. We have to keep focus on engagement. PA, Mich, Ohio, FL, AFT has put in efforts for engagement. We need you to vote, both in primary and general. Will be about communication. DOE not making any final determinations. DOH will make decisions. There is collaboration right now, and we will need it over next few months. They say over 80% of people won’t even know they have it unless tested. Fear and panic create damage. This might be biggest health crisis in terms of scope, but we can’t let panic rule decisions.

Thank you. Will try to get other things resolved. Thanks everyone who’s helped. We are at the beginning. Stay vigilant, strong.


George Geist—Chapter asks if we can postpone or cancel parent teacher night.

Barr—We will discuss it.

Delores Lozupone—Asking about teacher assigned chapter. Must go if there is a snow day. How does that impact them if school is closed? Will they go to central or lose day?

Mike Sill—No specific answer on this. Snow days all schools are closed and they have to report to office. If one or handful of schools are closed may not be different. Will depend on circumstance.

Mike Schirtzer—On DA- For those who can’t make it, could we livestream or do webinar afterward?

Barr—Having discussions on that. Will keep you posted.

Schirtzer—Because our school is on CUNY campus, there are different rules. Can we make sure union leadership makes sure CUNY campuses have information flow and follow DOE guidelines.

Barr—Came up last week as well. In touch with people who can make sure schools on CUNY sites get same treatment.

Schirtzer—UFT only org giving info. Thank you.

Sandra Hill
—NYC-gov said city employees international travel should be canceled. Will DOE write to travel agencies?

Barr—We are discussing that.

Arthur Goldstein
—Our school is over 200% capacity. I talked to a DOE employee who told me, right in this room, they had no interest in reducing class sizes. Now that I hear we should be six feet apart, now that the governor is announcing that we should choose subway trains with fewer people on them, maybe now would be a good time to bring to the attention of the DOE that we could use some space. There are two Marriott hotels across from my school. I’m sure they have conference rooms for rent. Maybe if the DOE can pay rent for Eva Moskowitz, they can pay rent for my kids too. Maybe if they can afford a helipad for Jeff Bezos, they can afford space for the kids in the most overcrowded school in the city. Can we start a conversation along those lines, now that we have a health crisis?

Barr—You’re right. Should be part of conversation.

Michael Friedman
—On trips, assuming business trips are non-essential. Are we also talking about personal trips?

Barr—This is policy. We don’t know how long this will last. We are waiting on very specific information.

Reports from Districts—

Rashad Brown
—Danny Dromm scholarship applications available, please take and pass them around.

Seung Lee—Thanks everyone who participated in Lunar New Year Banquet. Asian American Heritage Committee concerned with rise of anti Asian hate crime.

Legislative report—Angel Vasquez—State legislature—Sterling took ten members to lobby for CTE funding, city legislative affairs, Mike Sill testified on overcrowding and zombie charters. We oppose passing NYC cap on charters. Mulgrew testified on corona virus, urged admin to hire school nurse in every building, and asked for clearer guidance on how to communicate with parents if student tests positive.

Barr—all non-essential travel by city workers canceled. Be wary of giving information out. Will be clear guidance from DOE. Let’s wait. Still developing. Will make sure info is completely clear.

Special order of business—

On demand pilot program in jeopardy—Sill takes chair, Barr speaks to it.

Barr—Pilot program allows disabled to use this program in addition to Accessorize, which is not always reliable. This has been phenomenal for members and others who use it. State proposes a cap on subsidy that allows members to use it, we don’t want this to go away. Please vote so we can continue to have this until 2022, and further.


Janella Hinds
—Favor of resolution to have UFT endorse for President. I support Warren, oppose Bloomberg. His record disqualified him. As black woman, Latina, child of immigrants, constantly offended by this admin, from caging of people, to inadequate response to corona virus, we have to get behind one candidate and get out the vote.

—Will take place in early April. NY Primary April 28. DA 27. We may have this conversation earlier. Spring break is an issue. Will discuss what day we have DA.

Vince Gaglione—As a union we have played smart role in current debate on Dem nominee. AFT resolution reduced it to three prominent leaders. Now we have major primaries tomorrow, including Michigan. Will be very telling about which nominee appeals to Dems. 17th will be others. Places us in position to become part of closure of who becomes nominee. Sooner we do it, better off Democratic party and nominee will be to face current Republican President. Last resolved is the one that should keep us focused. We want to see a nominee who will capture the energy that has occurred in past elections and will propel it in November. This union could be a major player in putting Dem back in WH. Please support.

Motion carries. We are adjourned 7 PM.
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