Sunday, November 29, 2020

NYC K-5 SCHOOL BUILDINGS OPENING UP DEC 7

NYC elementary school buildings will open up on December 7 for those who previously signed up for in-person learning and of course teachers and other professionals.

From NBC 4:

After previewing the return of in-person learning ahead of Thanksgiving, Mayor Bill de Blasio returned from the holiday on Sunday to announce the scheduled return of public schools starting with elementary and special education students.

The first school buildings will reopen Dec. 7, de Blasio said Sunday. City officials plan to reopen public school buildings in a phased approach, starting with 3-K, Pre-K and K-5 students. District 75 students of all grade levels will get the opportunity to return to the classroom a few days later on Dec. 10.

The city is reopening schools in phases, in part, to make sure enhanced testing resources will be available for returning students. The mayor did not offer a timeline of reopening school buildings for middle and high school students, saying the city was not ready yet to open every school.

School buildings returning to in-person learning, wherever possible, will transition to classroom instruction five days per week, the mayor said. When the schools reopen, weekly coronavirus testing will be in effect for students and faculty.

The NY Post explains how the opening only impacts those who previously signed up for in-person learning and how if there is space, it could be five days per week. I see some possible complaints here as more parents may have signed up for in-school learning if it were for five days per week but now won't have a chance to and if they did, there would no longer be space available in many schools for the five days a week model. From the Post story:

Kids in K-5 and pre-K programs — whose parents have already signed them up for hybrid learning — can head back to classrooms because there “is less concern about the spread” of COVID-19 among younger children, while the demands of all-virtual learning on their families are greatest, the mayor said.

He added that the system is pushing for five days a week of in-person learning.

“As we open schools in phases, wherever possible, we will, in schools that have the ability, go to five day a week for instruction,” de Blasio said.

“This is the students who already were in blended learning or opted in recently.

“For any school that does have the space and ability to move to five-day-a-week in-person instruction, for those kids, that will now be the preferred model.”

As for schools not spreading COVID-19, this is a pretty balanced presentation from AAMC. A quote from an expert:

“You can only open your school safely if you have COVID under control in your community.”

Benjamin Linas, MD, MPH Associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine

Whether COVID-19 is under control in NYC, is highly questionable. 



What is missing from the Percent of People Tested Who Tested Positive category? I looked up the page they link to. It shows a 4.21 daily positivity rate and a 3.9 weekly positivity rate. The city says this: "Due to a decrease in testing volume over the holiday weekend, single day averages may not reflect citywide trends." 

It does not look to me like COVID-19 is under control but I am no scientist. 

The Washington Post printed an op-ed from Leona Win (a physician) recommending that the USA should keep most schools closed for the duration of the pandemic.

Her conclusion:

With vaccines on the horizon, fall 2021 could well herald a normal school year. For now, and at least through the winter, schools should be closed except to those who absolutely need in-person instruction: children with special needs and the most vulnerable, for whom home learning is not possible. Some schools should continue to care for children of essential workers; staff there should receive hazard pay. Other schools that want to open should meet strict criteria to ensure that they have invested necessary resources and implemented critical mitigation measures. Instead of schools closing only when there are proven outbreaks, schools must prove they’re safe before they can open.

As a physician, mother, daughter of a schoolteacher and former city health commissioner who oversaw schools, I know that in-person schooling is crucial for children’s cognitive and emotional development. But loss of learning isn’t the same as loss of life, and we cannot put the burden of society’s failures on the people who work in schools. If we truly want to prioritize children, we need to drive down community infection rates and invest in safety upgrades in schools — not jeopardize the lives of teachers, staff and their families.

I have been advocating for hazard pay for volunteers who want to staff school buildings during the pandemic. These are the latest NYC school COVID-19 statistics from the Situation Room:




UFT-DOE OPERATIONAL COMPLAINT RESOLUTION TEMPLATE

We found this on Facebook, not the UFT page. Thanks to a reader for sending link for principals.

UFT/DOE Guidelines to Resolve Operational Issues

Operational issues are filed and escalated when the Blended Learning Agreement is not being followed without an approved SBO or PROSE vote. In the event there are operational issues, the first step is to try to resolve at the local level between the Principal and the Chapter Leader. Issues that cannot be resolved at the school may escalate to the Superintendent and District Representative for resolution. Failure to resolve the operational issue will result in the issue being brought to the Central Operations Committee, a group empowered by both President Mulgrew and Chancellor Carranza to resolve the issues and may result in reprogramming the school.

In some cases, the assignment/hiring of additional staff to the class may be a possible resolution in addition to or in lieu of remedies listed below.

SBO Guidance: Principals and Chapter Leaders should work together to determine if there is a resolution pathway via SBO to modify one or more elements of the Blended Learning Agreement or the standard Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Escalation protocols for specific situations are defined in the MOA and additional support is available via the FAQ.

Model Change Guidance: Schools that wish to modify the model being implemented, including adding a remote day or changing the in-person frequency, should do so via the model exception request. Effective immediately, model changes may not be done via SBO and must go through the model exception process. In cases where work condition changes are contingent on remote day exceptions, stipulations shall cite the remote day exception.

MULTIPLE MODALITIES

All efforts shall be made to assign teachers to a program that is exclusively of one type (in-person or fully remote or blended remote). In the limited instances where a teacher has a partial program of one type, the balance of the teacher’s program may be of another type.

Multiple Modality Issue Possible Remedies

Blended Remote & Fully Remote or Blended In-Person in elementary school & Blended Remote or Fully Remote during the same teaching period

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate

• remote prep during IC time, and/or

• prep during C6 time, and/or

• conducting office hours remotely outside of the school day provided the teachers communicate consistent office hours to students/families.

Fully remote class size limits apply to combined Blended & Fully Remote classes Blended In-Person in secondary school & Blended Remote or Fully Remote during the same teaching period

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate

• remote prep during IC time, and/or

• prep during C6 time, and/or

• conducting office hours remotely outside of the school day provided the teachers communicate consistent office hours to students/families.

Fully remote class size limits apply to combined Blended Remote & Fully Remote classes.

Blended & Fully Remote & Blended In-Person during the same teaching period

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate

• Pro-Rated Shortage area pay for duration of assignment, and

• remote prep during IC time, and/or

• prep during C6 time, and/or

• conducting office hours remotely outside of the school day provided the teachers communicate consistent office hours to students/families.

Fully remote class size limits apply to combined Blended Remote & Fully Remote classes.

2 or More Modalities during different teaching periods

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate

• remote prep during IC time, and/or

• prep during C6 time, and/or

• conducting office hours remotely outside of the school day provided the teachers communicate consistent office hours to students/families.

Fully remote class size limits apply to combined Blended & Fully Remote classes

MULTIPLE GRADE LEVEL ISSUES

 In general education Pre K-5, reprogram to the extent possible to avoid multi grade classes or use SBO to address.

Multiple Grade Level Classes Possible Remedy

Elementary teachers with students in multiple grades excluding properly departmentalized classes, cluster teachers, Special Education, and ESL/ENL

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate

• Pro-Rated Shortage area pay for duration of the assignment

Fully remote class size limits apply to combined Blended Remote & Fully Remote classes.

Any teachers assigned more than one special education program designation during the same teaching period e.g. ICT and 12:1:1

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate

• Pro-Rated Shortage area pay for duration of the assignment

Fully remote class size limits apply to combined Blended Remote & Fully Remote classes.

CLASS SIZE VIOLATIONS

School must try to balance classes to reduce to contractual limits

Division Possible Remedy

Elementary Schools

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate:

1-5 students above CBA class size*: Additional preparation time as provided for teachers teaching multiple modalities (see above). If a teacher is already receiving additional preparation time for multiple modalities via an operational resolution at any level, and they are assigned a class over by 1-5 students, the teacher will receive payment for 1 coverage per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

6 students to a half-class above CBA class size: Payment for 2 coverages per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

More than half-class above CBA class size: Shortage pay retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

*Cluster and departmentalized classes will be considered comparable to secondary school case load.

Secondary Schools

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate:

1-5 students above total caseload as defined in the Blended Learning Agreements: Additional preparation time as provided for teachers teaching multiple modalities (see above). If a teacher is alreaiy receiving additional preparation time for multiple modalities via an operational resolution at any level, and they are assigned a class over by 1-5 students, the teacher will receive payment for 1 coverage per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

6 students to a half-class above either CBA class size or total caseload as defined in the Blended Learning Agreements: Payment for 2 coverages per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

More than half-class above either CBA class size or total caseload as defined in the Blended Learning Agreements: Shortage pay, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

ADDITIONAL TEACHING PERIODS As part of the written resolution, either an SBO vote or a stipulation may indicate

Shortage area pay, pro-rated for number of periods per week (1 to 5) and pro-rated for length of assignment (above contractual limits by division)

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

COVID-19 WAS WIDESPREAD IN NYC SCHOOLS IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH

Our friend DOENUTS put in a Freedom of Information request with the Department of Education for the COVID-19 statistics for the NYC schools. He received numbers for February and March.  COVID-19 was all over the school system in February and early March when we were being told by the DOE and UFT to go into the school buildings. This list is not inclusive as it has been documented that COVID-19 was in Brooklyn Tech and Flushing High School. My guess is there were others that are not on the list below. The schools listed are the ones that followed the rules and filed a report in the Online Occurance Report System.

DOE's culture of secrecy and the UFT's major concern being the loss of dues, not protecting members, had deadly consequences since the DOE did not tell staff and students not to enter buildings and the UFT did not urge its members to leave. 75 school-based employees and 12 school safety agents lost their lives to COVID-19. 

In my humble opinion, the main reason multiple tragedies did not repeat themselves in the fall is that many buildings were mostly empty as the vast majority of students and plenty of staff members never set foot in a school building and many other students went in a few times and never returned. To be fair, the reporting has improved in the fall but I still don't trust the DOE-UFT and neither should you. COVID-19 was in the generally empty schools in the fall and many buildings closed temporarily. The DOE is interested in appearances and the UFT showed when they were most needed that they are more worried about protecting their dues than your lives. We need a union against this kind of employer but not this leadership.

Nobody should have to go back now until there is a widely available effective vaccine and no community spread of COVID.

To read this list, the N08 Medical means that an Online Occurance Report System (OORS) was entered for a positive COVID-19 case.

 




Sorry about the size. At any other size, it was hard to see the name of the school.

Happy Thanksgiving. Please stay safe. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

SCHOOL PERSONNEL LOST TO COVID TWITTER PAGE LISTS A WESTERN NY TEACHER WHO RECENTLY PASSED AWAY

I came upon School Personnel lost to Covid this evening on Twitter. It really saddened me to read tragic stories of so many educators who have been taken from us by COVID-19. One of them was David Olivieri, a Western NY math teacher who died from COVID-19 earlier this month. Our thoughts and prayers are with David's family and everyone else who has lost loved ones from this horrible disease.

Please help us advocate to keep school buildings closed until there is no community spread of COVID-19 or until we can get a safe and effective vaccine widely distributed. 


Please stay safe over the holiday weekend. We don't want anyone added to this page.

Monday, November 23, 2020

LIVE BLOGGING FROM MULGREW NOVEMBER TOWN HALL (Unedited)

President Michael Mulgrew said it was going to be the strangest Thanksgiving ever. Make sure you follow the guidance of the medical people. College kids are getting tested before leaving college and when arriving home.

We are in remote full time now. We came up with a plan in the summer on when to close. We didn't want to deal with what happened in March. Cleaning, PPE social distancing keeping schools safe. No safe plan until we pushed it. State didn't have a plan until October. State and city have different plans that both use 3% as a number. State has a lag and private tests. It comes down to how many tests are given and how many are positive. Two different numbers. State lags. Trying to get state and city to get one number. State lower now but was higher a month ago. Will we move from the 3%? That is the mayor's number. Epidemiologists we work with said that a small number of districts could shut the whole system. Mulgrew likes the state plan. State closed 200 schools in NYC. We like the yellow, orange, red zones. Yellow gets more testing. Orange goes all remote. Red zone has a problem. Nothing is working and numbers still going up. Two plans look ridiculous to the public. Members: some want to stay open if their area doesn't have much Covid-19. Others want to have closed earlier. Do we have to stay with the city plan? We wanted a geographic plan in the summer, not a citywide plan. If we have a problem in an area, we put that area in remote. We are not in control of individuals' behavior. Teachers and other staff following guidelines. Neighborhoods not safe. Doctors clear that if Covid positivity keeps rising, schools will not stay safe. There will be other challenges. We wish the city would have listened to us in August and done a geographic approach. Six or seven districts have caused us to go all remote. Yellow, orange, red is state law so that will continue. Half of Staten Island under that plan would have been remote. Decisions have to be made based on what keeps us safe. Vaccines getting better and better. Timelines moving up. 

When will we reopen? Met with doctors who volunteer for us. With travel for Thanksgiving, we expect NYC to be an orange zone. How do we contemplate opening, until we get numbers down. When we get numbers down, we can get back inside schools. Mulgrew conversations with mayor, we tell him that testing has to be mandated which is not being done. UFT position is nobody goes back without a consent form to be tested. As we see a path to an end, we don't want mistakes to cause people to be harmed. We want everyone and their families to be safe. 3% plan should not move. When we get closer to the springtime when the vaccine will be there, we have to microtarget. State plan targets problems in their infancy. All should be looking at one plan. Over 6% positivity in western New York. Schools closing all over the place. We are averaging over 10,000 tests per day. Mulgrew thanks people in the schools. Schools were safe because of our work. We can put a guidebook together on how to open schools in a pandemic. We will get reopened. Numbers will tell whether we reopen. We will follow the numbers and what independent doctors tell us.

Medical accommodations: DOE recognizing medical accommodations moving forward except for pregnancy related documentations. They want medical documentation for pregnancy related. It would be hard to get appointments exept for teledocs.

200 operational issues resolved. Team came up with a menu on how to resolve them. Chapter leaders meet with a UFT rep and a DOE rep to resolve issues. Many resolved once we came up with a menu. Some misinformation out there. Superintendents do not reinterpret things. We are all in remote and we don't know for how long. 

When Mulgrew looks at social media, we are our own world. There is nothing easy about what we are doing. We opened up. We fought for a plan. The work at home and at school is not easy. When I see people sending animosity toward other UFT members because of what they do, it gets me upset. We live in a world where we just saw a presidential election like we've never seen. We have to have civility. 12 years ago teachers were bashed for a week on NBC. We won that battle in the end. We can't let that happen. It's not easy with the oversize classes remote or coming into building and wearing a mask. We need basic respect for each other. Other mayors used to say we hate the kids. We fought through all of that. We try to do the best we can. We got medical accommodations and accommodations for caregivers. We can't do to each other what others do to us. This is for this school year. By September 2021, we go back to buildings. We have changed. Every teacher can set up electronic classrooms. We must respect each other.

Evaluations: State said it's a collective bargaining issue at the local level. We will be putting a team together to work on this. We are expecting all standardized tests to be canceled this year. Standardized tests need to be given at the same time with a licensed teacher. Administration can come in to digital classrooms. Don't waste our time filling out checklists. If it is written up, let the district rep know. There is no agreement now on evaluations. 

Budget: We worked with Comptroller Stringer to refinance debt. All unions negotiating something. Thank God we have the no layoff clause for the rest of the school year. We are in remote. People are losing their jobs in remote settings. The budget is a mess. We see no help coming from federal government until probably late January or February. We are going to have bad years. Will it be three bad years or ten bad years? It depends on how the next administration does things. Unemployment going up. Food banks are running out of food. We are looking at a horrendous winter. Teacher Center folks are working to be there with the community. We are hoping this is the last major challenge. We are expecting a vaccine mandate to work in a school but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Hopefully, we will get back when it's safe. Attendance is low. We're thinking that it is less than 350,000 students who have opted to go to school this year.

Last week we were told the teachers union wouldn't move the 3% number. The city submitted a plan. Media is so frustrating at times. Repeats that only those with a consent form get into schools. We have to respect each other. Some families going into a horrendous winter. Seeing lines and lines of people trying to get food. There is pain. We will be there to help. It's Thanksgiving, give thanks to your families and each other. We don't know how long this all remote time will last. It was expected to last a few weeks in the spring. We don't want the city to tell us on Sunday that buildings will open Monday. Hopefully, by next September, we can have a big party before schools open.

Questions;

Question: Wishes Mulgrew Happy Thanksgiving. If people have not received a confirmation email, what should they do?

Answer from Mike Sill is DOE system only allows emails to go out on a rolling way. They are going out in alphabetical order. Nobody should be concerned. Except for those who are pregnant, everyone should get it. Mulgrew interjects that they can apply for family leave. Mulgrew suggests if no email comes by Monday, December 7, contact the UFT. Sill concurs.

Sill goes on to add that those who have remote programs for primary caregivers are also being extended. 

 Question: Up for tenure, what happens?

Answer: Nobody can be harmed because of Covid. That was governor's order last year. We are waiting for that to be official for this year. We will work on evaluation agreement so those up for tenure can be observed.

Question: Chapter leader beyond frustrated. Oversize class complaint filed on September 13. She has spent hours coming up with proposals. Only offer is to pay dpod teachers more money. They feel it is insulting.

Answer: You are District 3. What would you want? Hire more teachers. 

Questioner responds we should go to two cohorts. Monday should be a full remote day for everyone. Teachers have suggested picking up kids and going on remote. The principal and superintendent won't listen and labor people at DOE are downright rude.

Mulgrew Answer: We will take this up at consultation with chancellor tomorrow. No opt-in so schools should reprogram since we know how many students will be in the building. Kids are taking in-person and remote spots.

Question:  Praises Mulgrew's interviewing skills. Admires what he is doing. Proud to be a union member with him leading. 27 years and 52, hoping for a buyout. Anything in works?

Answer: It's easy when teachers do what we do. Early retirement bills in Albany. We now have an early retirement piece of legislation that we like. Many unions involved. City will save money. The legislation has to get through in Albany and then the city has to agree to implement it. Early retirement incentive makes sense. We are concerned that we won't have enough teachers and counselors but we are pushing for the early retirement incentive.

Question: Chapter leader asks since we are remote, can teachers teach remotely from buildings?

Answer: Probably no. Why would people want to do that? Questioner answer: Home environment isn't the best. When the state does remote, wants the custodian only in building. We have process when people need to pick something up. Operational people have been great. They are doing cleaning. We will ask.

Elementary schools vs high schools. High schools travel all over the city. Big difference, can that be taken into account?

Answer: We have kids going from Bronx to Staten Island. Attendance not good in high schools. District 75 and elementary schools should be open first. That is the mayor's decision. Mayor mentioned this today. Doctors would agree. D75 amount of PPE to make sure it's safe, our people have done great work. Students not hugging. PPE is the most important thing. 

Question: What happened to virtual content specialists?

Answer: We just finished it. Posting in August. DOE wanted to change it. Posting going out shortly. $12,500 stipend. Mike Sill expects it to go out tomorrow.   

Question: All should be required to test particularly with schools with high Covid positivity. What happens particularly with pre-K?

Answer: Doctors said it would be okay not to test Pre-k students. We're okay with that. We said first month it would be okay not to have consent forms. We were patient, but reports from the field that consent forms weren't coming in and kids not being sent home. That can't happen any longer when we reopen. The consent form has to be there. We should do weekly testing. Situation Room is working. Testing team from the city is really good.  Way over 500 schools shut down before we went remote. If contact tracing wasn't completed, the school shut down. Mandate means mandate. Must have a consent form to enter school. Trying to get testing weekly. New spit test has much higher validity. The minute we make a decision, there may be problems but we keep moving forward.

Question: DOE device issue, people waiting since September. Can this be addressed tomorrow?

Answer: Wrote an oped on this. DOE didn't put orders in until requests were made. On the agenda for tomorrow.

Question: 8 period day schools now 7 period days. Is there C6?

Answer: Prep was moved to the end of the day. It is still an 8 period day unless you have an SBO. Prep at the end of the day but doesn't have to be in the building. 

Question: Students in a precarious situation at home or don't have homes. How can we pressure the mayor to get permanent housing for our kids?

Answer: We have a lot of work on our hands. End of December, national non-eviction sunset. We will go to ABNY to help with food and housing. We will do great advocacy for Federal package. Next year we will have to repair social emotional damage that's been done to so many of our students, their families and ourselves. Member Assistance Program growing. We and the city have a big challenge. There are folks in our union who tell us to just do the union stuff but we are tied into the community as a teacher union. We are in this profession because children are dear to us. Our members hurting as are the students and their families.

Question: Students who never received Learning Bridge Placement. Are more being accepted?

  Answer: Yes, and we also have to consider opening up Regional Enrichment Centers which opened in the spring and stayed open right until schools opened in September. Learning Bridges has been frustrating. 

Question: Mulgrew is her superman, a rock star. This caller lost her father and others and got great support. Virtual class sizes will increase and in-person will have even lower class sizes. It took two months with over 40 students to get class cut in half. Teacher is a certified Google trainer, interested in learning specialist.

Answer: Mulgrew still has to take out the garbage. We should reprogram everything. Some schools may be able to have five day learning. Fully remote can get be fully remote then if not worrying about blended. Weakest part of DOE is instructional plan. That is a mess. DOE screwed up instructional part of reopening. They couldn't get out of their way as far as not telling schools what to do. Mayor's race, we will roll out a political action plan. The question to any candidate is how are you going to blow up the bureaucracy so schools are supported. Reprogram schools and that should take care of most problems.

Question:  Why can't we tell people school buildings will be closed through new years?

Answer: Following numbers now, we over 3% and going up steadily. Should a decision be made to keep schools remote until January? I think we should make that call as soon as possible. If we are above 4% a week after Thanksgiving, that decision has to be made. We can't open up for a day or two and then close again. Told mayor and governor that. Number is probably not going to go down. It doesn't make sense that bars and restaurants are open and schools are not. We will try to get information out there. What the questioner said makes sense. 

Question: Coming to holiday season, saving two hours a day. Blood center is low on blood. 75% of blood donations through school drives. If you have free time, donate blood. Saved my daughter's life getting blood.

Answer: You are 100% right. Nurses dealing with COVID cases rising. Blood issue is real. People are uncomfortable but it is the right thing to do to give blood. 

We will help on food; we helped with coats. We are doing what we normally do. Work with homeless coalition. Wishes everyone a great Thanksgiving. Be safe, be safe, be safe. Take care of each other; respect each other. It's tough and frustrating but we have been there taking care of each other throughout this. Thanks, be well and God bless. 

MULGREW'S EMAIL TO PARENTS

President Mulgrew's email to parents is below. Please  note that he is advocating a regional approach to reopening buildings. 

Did he ask his members how they want to proceed? Our position is the UFT should canvass to see who wants to return to working in-person quickly and move from there. Perhaps, there are sufficient UFTers who want to work in the buildings to adequately staff them for the minority of students who want in-person instruction in a pandemic.




Sunday, November 22, 2020

WHY SO MUCH FUSS ABOUT ROUGHLY 30% OF NYC STUDENTS WHO WANT IN-PERSON LEARNING DURING A PANDEMIC? WHAT ABOUT THE MAJORITY?

The numbers are in. The families of NYC by an overwhelming margin want no part of in-person schooling during a pandemic. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza gave parents a one-time-only offer in November to return to in-person schooling. We now know that only 35,000 of over 700,000 students who were all remote had their parents sign up to apply for in-person learning during the opt-in window in November. That's about 5% of the all remote students. The vast majority of parents, including my wife and me, are not buying that schools are safe. We are keeping our kids home until this pandemic is behind us. 

These almost non-existent return percentages come despite a huge propaganda campaign led by the mayor, the NY Times, the governor, other media outlets, UFT President Michael Mulgrew ("We've proven to people we can open our schools safely"), and even some activists saying that school buildings should be open in a pandemic. 

When we subtract the 6,000 who left in-person blended learning at the same time as the 35,000 signed up to go back, it means that around 700,000 students of the approximately 1 million NYC students want fully remote schooling. Even the very pro-open NY times education reporter Eliza Shapiro was left wondering about remote learning from these conclusive statistics.

The results raised urgent questions about why the city had spent so many months rushing to prepare school buildings while spending relatively little time focusing on improving remote learning. Almost all children will spend much of their time learning remotely, and about 700,000 students will spend their entire week taking online classes.

Further down:

About 60,000 children who have requested devices from the city for remote learning have not received them, and others are still struggling to connect to Wi-Fi.

Mulgrew and the Chancellor had basically no answers this morning on Up Close on Channel 7. Carranza blamed the problem with remote learning on a backlog for devices that he said was a supply problem because of so much competition with other districts. Mulgrew went on about how the DOE's instructional people left it to the schools on remote learning and how our most vulnerable students need in-person learning. 

We all knew the second wave of COVID-19 was coming. Parents saying no to in-person schooling should be viewed as a huge rebuke of the mayor, chancellor, and UFT president who have spent so much time trying to open up schools and not enough on the vast majority of families who want no part of it.  

Instead of even talking about a premature second reopening of school buildings that should never have opened in the first place, why don't the UFT and DOE make their major focus on maximizing the remote learning experience? Let's get as many students as possible to be able to successfully log onto online classes. Everyone needs a working device and wifi. How about a Situation Room for that and a map of tech needs and real widespread tech support?

Remote learning is now the mode of instruction for everyone in NYC and it will be for the vast majority of NYC families until a safe vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available, probably next spring. The mayor and UFT need to deal with that reality and not cater to a small group of vocal parents and their media supporters who want buildings to open no matter what it seems. 

Closely examine the city's own Situation Room web-page if you don't buy what most parents have figured out: Schools are not safe. There's no need to consider reopening buildings in the near term.


Sue Edelman covered the testing in schools issue today in the NY Post. 

Finally, for everyone who argues that schools are basically immune from spreading the virus, this piece from WSWS is worth a read even if you don't have a socialist bone in your body. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

COMMUNITY ED COUNCIL DISTRICT 26 VOTES NO CONFIDENCE ON CARRANZA

APPROVED RESOLUTION VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE OF NYC CHANCELLOR RICHARD CARRANZA

November 20, 2020

The Community Education Council District 26 (CEC 26) is comprised of parents who have been elected or appointed to serve as stakeholders of the district, representing over 15,000 public sschool students. The following resolution offers CEC 26's position regarding NO CONFIDENCE ON THE NEW 

YORK CITY (NYC) CHANCELLOR RICHARD CARRANZA; and

WHEREAS, the New York City Mayor did hire Richard Carranza to be the NYC Schools Chancellor on March 5, 2018; and

WHEREAS, the Chancellor's duties and responsibilities are for educating 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools. The Chancellor is also responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NYC Department of Education as well as responsible for all New York City Public Schools; and

WHEREAS, the leadership of the New York City Department of Education Chancellor is integral to the effective execution of the mission of the New York City Department of Education; and

WHEREAS, the mission of the New York City Department of Education is that every student has a right to, and is guaranteed, a free, public school education; and

WHEREAS, included in the New York City Department of Education's mission is the Equity and Excellence for All agenda that has been central to today's improved student outcomes, including the highest-ever graduation and college enrollment rates, the lowest-ever dropout rate, and rrising scores on state tests; and

WHEREAS, The Framework for Great Schools is the primary way the Department of Education partners wiith our schools and communities. There are nine elements to this framework:

1)Rigorous and Engaging Instruction

2)Supportive Environment

3)Collaborative Teachers

4)Effective School Leadership

5)Strong Family-Community Ties

6)Collaboration and Agreement with Community Education Councils and Parent Teacher Associations

7)District Wide Policies

8)School Wide Policies 

9)Trust

WHEREAS, rigorous instruction has been set aside to accommodate the lack oof appropriate curriculum to ensure that no student will have to repeat a year of academic instruction, as well as putting in place a grading policy that does not achieve the high standards essential to the future success of our students; and

WHEREAS, many families from homes with different languages reflective of our diverse family communities, are being left with minimal support to help their children understand and advance in their education and development; and

WHEREAS, our educators are being left with minimal and untimely guidance or tools to assist iineducating our children, therefore collaboration has been ineffective; and

WHEREAS, the guidance and policies from the Chancellor's office has been minimal due to the lack of communication, leaving our school leaders with no answers for our families and for the majority of questions posed; and

WHEREAS, due to the ongoing pandemic, families have been forced to continue the struggles faced with online remote learning as well as the everyday responsibilities and hardships they face on a daily basis as well as teaching at home. The resources and partnerships that were used for support, have been taken away until further notice. Families have been left in isolation without sufficient services for struggling students. 

WHEREAS, our Parent Teacher Associations along with our Community Education Councils, were left with many unanswered questions and without proper guidance from the Chancellor's office onovirtual meetings and how to engage our school communities using the available platforms until most recently; and 

WHEREAS, without timely guidance from the Chancellor's office, the District Offices were left with many critical and unanswered questions for families; and 

WHEREAS, without timely guidance from the Chancellor's office, both District and School Wide Policies were also put on hold awaiting further guidance; and

WHEREAS, the trust that had been formed with our school communities together with our families, has been lost. Our families can no longer rely on the New York City Department of Education to provide our children their given right to an equitable and excellent education, due to the constant breaking of promises, lack of resources, and lack of transparency made to our families. These broken promises are listed below:

●High quality Remote and Blended Instruction;

●Hiring adequate licensed personnel including but not limited to teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, social-workers, psychologists, paraprofessionals, licensed service-providers and therapists necessary for current learning models;

●Free and accessible Wi-Fi for all;

●Access and technical support to working remote learning devices, printers and accessories;

●Federally Mandated services to our special-need students; 

●A safe environment for all with adequate ventilation to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus wwithin our school buildings;

●Multiple windows for families to opt in for in blended learning;

●Guidance regarding high school admission with promise of community engagement;

●Dates for Gifted and Talented as well as Specialized High School Admissions Tests;

●Support of our English Language Learners;

●Workshops for our diverse families translated accordingly to support academic as well as the social and emotional well-being of our students;

●Lastly and most importantly, Family Empowerment and engagement. Families are listed on the Department of Education Website as The CLOSEST PARTNERS in helping our 1.1 million sstudentsthrive. Our families are at a point where they feel ignored and excluded from the ongoing conversations involving the education of their children

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Community Education Council of District 26 has no confidence in the New York City Department of Education Chancellor, Richard Carranza, to further guide the Department of Education to fulfill his duties and responsibilities to the families of the 1.1 million students enrolled within the New York City Public School System; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Community Education Council of District 26 calls on the Mayor of New York City Bill DeBlasio, to immediately dismiss Chancellor Richard Carranza, relieving him of his duties, and to find a competent candidate for this role to fulfill the duties and responsibilities bestowed upon the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education in partnership with the families of the 1.1 million students. 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Community Education Council of District 26 calls on Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State, to take immediate action to support and allocate resources for all our schools as a result of the failures of the New York City Department of Education as well as the failure of the New York City Department of Education Chancellor, Richard Carranza. 

This Resolution was approved on November 20, 2020 Special Meeting by a unanimous vote of members present including Adriana Aviles, Karen Rose Scutt, Cassandra Louie, Sandra Lau, John Gavros, Norman Cohn, Alan Ong, David Wong, Todd Friedman, and Dilip Nath.