Displaced Staff Must Pound the Pavement or Become Day-to-Day Substitutes
The Department of Education can no longer be allowed to mismanage and inadequately fund schools and then blame UFT members when students don't perform. Unfortunately, Randi Weingarten has gone along with their plan. When the closing of Lafayette HS in Brooklyn was announced, after promising the teachers support, Weingarten said: "It is no secret that there have been problems at Lafayette, so its closing is not surprising. We are working with the DOE to create a redesigned school - and potentially two new schools - that parents will want to send their children to and where educators will want to teach."
ICE is calling for a moratorium on closing/redesigning schools until there are independent studies done to assess the impact of closing schools on entire school communities throughout the city. We are also demanding that the UFT use part of its "Teachers Make a Difference" campaign to publicize the need for full funding for all schools, but particularly the need to push for extra funding for schools where students are lagging behind in order to: lower class sizes, provide modern up to date facilities as well as safe and stable environments as an alternative to closing schools and displacing students and staff, which results in severe overcrowding of neighboring schools.
In the 2005 giveback laden contract, Unity Caucus negotiators and their New Action (former opposition caucus) partners quietly gave away preferred placement rights for UFT members when schools are closed/redesigned or if personnel are in excess, eliminating Article 18G5 that gave members displaced because a school was closing or being phased out "the broadest possible placement choices available within the authority of the Board." The elimination of Article 18G5 in 2005 and in the 2006 contract extension was glossed over in the so-called "fact" sheets put out by the union leadership urging a YES vote. Educators, regardless of their experience or ratinsg, now have to pound the pavement when their schools are closed to find their own positions. If they do not do so, they become Absent Teacher Reserves (day-to-day substitutes in a district with full pay and benefits but no steady classroom assignment). UFT leaders actually had the gall to brand this as an "improvement" along with the Open Market Plan.