Monday, May 11, 2020

UFT Executive Board May 11, 2020--Uncharted Waters

UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us. 6:02 PM.Very long and intense week. DA will be Wednesday. We will be testing voting option tonight so we can do live voting Wednesday. We asked you vote on minutes. They've passed. Endorsements are passed. Recommended modifications to Robert's Rules of Order so we could get through DA agenda with technology. Modifications suggested so we can conduct business with technology. This vote also passed. Some people have comments on that. Intent is to bring full DA online, live and interactive, so people have access to every part of it. We will continue to tweak this as we move forward.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--We've had an uptick in people passing. 9 retirees, and 7 in service, including two SSOs. Mulgrew reads names.

Moment of silence.

Mulgrew--Sad news, still I hope everyone who could had a decent Mother's Day. Mayor announced he is extending health coverage of people who passed in service for 45 days. Are bills in Albany to give them more relief.

Rules for DA--Trying this, hoping it works, but will work to make it better. Thanks those who worked on it. We will be able to hold a more normal but not perfect DA. What will happen on Wednessday is we will need a two-thirds vote or it will just be my talk and questions.

We're trying to get motions submitted in advance. Will be asking people to call. Operator will ask you if you're speaking for or against. We want to hold it to five speakers per. Customarily I ask for speakers on opposite sides, and we can only hold ten people in queue. If they're uncomfortable, they don't have to announce their position.

Resolutions will be submitted in advance and voting will be via telephone poll. We test a vote on whether Mets will win or lose World Series this year. On phones, 1 for yes and 3 for no. Board votes Mets will lose. 30% yes, and 70% no.

Report-- This is sad, but we have worked out details so people, if they need them, can more quickly get death certificates. Jeff Sorkin at Welfare Fund has info if people need it.

School reopening--We have achieved our goal of people listening. Thanks those of us who had our voices heard on topics of Bill Gates working on education. People don't understand we figure this out. We figured out remote learning, and we will figure how to open. They need to talk to educators. NY Times today showed many different models.

Social distancing will be great challenge. Half student body may not be possible. Parents are very concerned, as it now seems to hurt children.  We have planning committees in place, talking with custodians, DC37, CSA. What has to be done for people to enter a building? Testing not up to what's needed just yet. Our health and safety people are working on that. Will be different in every school building.

Even if we figure social distancing, how will we program? It will be very difficult. Adding special ed. services will make it even more difficult. Short of a cure, we will plan for social distancing, staggered schedules, and what to do if we are shut down. We have to develop a hybrid instructional model. We are planning. Our curriculum project is paying off because it may make things easier. If we can get a plan before we end this school year it will help in September.

We also are looking at protection of livelihood. Lots of numbers about layoffs nationwide. We are working on the federal package. If you're on social media you need to push your governors, your senators, and those to red states. We need specific money allotted just to schools. I don't trust anyone to do this otherwise.

AFT also pushing very hard. At Executive Committee we tried to coordinate our petition nationwide. We still don't see an end in sight to virus, and damage to budgets is massive. Very acute her in NYC. We are in treacherous waters until we get a vaccine. We very much need a federal package. Mayor and governor are trying to build leverage.

Many governors, red and blue, see this for what it is and aren't playing politics. We are working really fast, will be doing focus groups, sharing information, and in budget comes down to federal level. Fear Mitch McConnell will hold this up and force states to make draconian cuts. This will exacerbate excessing, and you will hear about layoffs without a federal package. Thanks  staff and retirees for all the work they're doing. Union checking to see people are okay.

Mail in ballots will be a big show. What happened in Wisconsin freaked out GOP. Unsure about status of NY Primary. Will see how it gets rolled out. At DA, I will update on all these things. Biggest challenge for us, even if our plan is perfect, there are a lot of people with rightful anxiety and fear. What do we do with all of our people who are vulnerable? That will be a challenge as we move toward Sept.

No definitive info on summer school. Hoping for some soon.


Members complaining that Google Meets putting info in personal accounts--Janella Hinds will reach out to Google.

If we get through next academic year, what will cuts be like--Not great. Will be tough for a few years in this economy.

Can UFT nurse be assigned to every school? On the table, have been pushing for a few years. No one arguing with us now. Technical aspects--Some from DC37.

Remote learning HS students have till January to fix--How will teachers be able to determine what work is necessary? There has to be a way for us to notify teachers of summer school, or in following school year. People want to know why they're responsible to check on students. They are not. Your job is finished in June. Goes to summer school or academic intervention teacher.

Missing CAR day snafu--Don't know why it happened. Their computer system is a disaster and they need to fix it.

Michael Sill--CAR days are fixed. Should be good tomorrow for paras.

SBOs--No school calendar, hoping they will put one out for planning purposes at least, subject to change due to pandemic.

Debbie Poulos--700 schools already reported they want SBOs.

683 moving forward. Will be some sort of program.

Governor Cuomo says he wants to “reimagine” education. To that end, he’s enlisted Bill Gates, who’s failed students and hurt teachers with every action he’s taken. He’s also established a committee with not one current educator, let alone school leader or parent from NYC, the largest district by far in NY State. That’s outrageous. How can we fix that?--I don't want to be on that committee. I would rather just do our work and start announcing it. They don't even have someone who's programmed a school yet. We saw the governor's position change to be thankful for traditional schools. We have so much work to get done, and I want to focus on getting it right. We've been clear with them and are working with SED and people who understand nuts and bolts. We need to work with them, not these folks. People now know how important face to face is. If something important happens we will react.
Stars classroom--will new grading system be reflected? supposing so. Teachers have had to re-enter grades--I will check into it and make sure things are fixed.

Social distancing--Can we reclaim charter schools who haven't paid rent? Yes I agree, Many don't play nice but some do.

Test resolution 2--How many people believe we will open in September? 1 for yay, 3 for nay.

51% yay 49% nay

Mulgrew--Exactly where everybody is. 50-50. We will try to meet our challenges. We want members and students to feel safe. We are working on these issues on an hourly basis. Frustrating to hear clueless individuals discussing this. Lots of smart people in this union and members are very creative. I thank you all very much.

Barr--allows Mike Schirtzer to speak to modifications of Robert's Rules.

Schirtzer--Understand reasons for motion, but we're in uncharted waters. We need to set compass north, proceed with caution. Our north is democracy. Thankful for UFT,. Let's not sacrifice what we do. Points of order can be messy and time-consuming, but we will get to the other side stronger. Best to do is start a process with emails and a clearing house. Even with the struggles facing us, we have to keep democracy in place.

Mulgrew--Understand exactly what you're saying. We don't know now how DA will work. If it goes smoothly, then we will layer these things in. I agree, and some of our best resolutions have come up at DA. We want to first get in there and do our business. I'm going to defer to committee, because we need to make sure our system works. Haven't used it before. If this works out as well as people tell me, then we can layer this in.

Schirtzer--Fair enough.

Barr--Thank you for participating and helping us prep for Wednesday. Tomorrow we will send out agenda and motions. Motions directed to agenda will come in next 16-18 hours. Every potential delegate will have individualized pin and will see agenda and motions after they register. Thank you again.

6:51 We are adjourned.
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