Sunday, March 30, 2008


by James Eterno, UFT Chapter Leader, Jamaica High School 

We have been writing for quite some time about what transpires at Delegate Assembly Meetings and how ICE and other opposition or independent Delegates as well as Chapter Leaders are completely frustrated because we are for the most part shut out of DA participation. We call on the UFT to make a simple change to enhance union democracy. There should be a pledge from the President to no longer ask delegates for a change in the rules to eliminate or reduce the time rank and file members get to speak unless there are extraordinary circumstances.

The UFT DA standing agenda calls for twenty-five minutes per month where rank and file Delegates and Chapter Leaders are recognized to ask questions or add new motions to the agenda.  The new motion and question periods have been consistently eliminated or shortened this year. We object to this constant changing of the rules by the Unity majority. Is it too much to ask that this simple twenty-five minute period each month should not be cancelled or edited in any way unless there is a Contract vote or strike authorization vote? This return to the regular monthly agenda would be very easy to accomplish. 

As we draw closer to the April 16 DA, we ask that all Chapter Leaders, Delegates and rank and file UFT members demand that UFT President Weingarten respect the twenty-five minutes we are given each month to have our say in making UFT policy or questioning the President. This is particularly important as there is no longer an elected opposition on the UFT Executive Board. For twelve straight years there was a tiny but viable opposition, including me for ten years, who could easily get the Executive Board floor to at least raise issues. 

Let's get back the rank and file's twenty-five minutes now.


Anonymous said...

The first question that I would ask Her Majesty is "Why do you now back extending school hours and school years?

Anonymous said...

I would ask, "With mayoral control proven to be such a double-crossing failure, why would you support it again?"

Anonymous said...

I agree on Mayoral control.

Anonymous said...

I mean I agree it's a good question.

Anonymous said...

I would also ask "Why are you so afraid to let the Delegates speak by bringing resolutions from the floor or asking questions?"

Anonymous said...

They might challenge the almighty ones leading the union. Maybe they aren't infallible

Anonymous said...

Let's revisit the origins of her majesty? Shall we?
She was a paid union lawyer who at the same time was given a "no show" comp job position coordinating internship programs at Clara Barton H.S. for six or seven years.

Not bad. Other people did her work and she showed up one or two times per week. It looks good on her majesty's resume. Teacher: Clara Barton H. S. Right?

The anointed one was given this "job" by Feldman as a legal means to make her the future president. How does her majesty sleep at night? How could she possibly understand what it is to work at one's trade in the trenches?

BTW: Who was complicit in this arrangement? A principal no less and another VIP union leader who will remain nameless for now.

She was elected to the Executive Board without ever being a real teacher or a Chapter Leader.

Hey Unity man: Can you have her majesty produce students or teachers who could testify against what is stated here? Could her majesty produce descriptions of classes that she taught?

Is it no wonder that her majesty is no wonder?

All of this makes it easier for her to make concessions; she has no genuine experience/background to help her counteract management.

Our youth call this "frontin" or being a "playa."

A Peasant

Anonymous said...

The Village Voice exposed Weingarten's lack of teaching experience long ago. It was reported during the election campaign on this blog last year. It's amazing that so few people know the reality.

I think the other person you are talking about would be Leo Casey, who at the time was chapter leader of Barton and is now VP for the academic high schools.

Anonymous said...

This would be a good time for ICE to write a letter to the Times editor regarding Randi's:
1. Actual teaching experience
2. The fact that a majority of the teachers didn't vote in this past election.
3. How she is using the union to gain conservative support for her own political advantages.
4. Why her election to the AFT would not be good for teachers.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't Randi do the AFT job? Please explain that one.

ed notes online said...

What is the AFT job all about? Go around and make speeches. It is not anywhere near the same as the UFT job. Randi will continue the policies of Shanker and Feldman. But she doesn't have any real ideology like they did (which I disagreed with but at least they believed in something) other than playing the political game. So she can do that job. The AFT has played footsie with NCLB and all the other ed reform gimmicks since the early 80's when Shanker started dropping his ed reform nuggets and making aliances with the business community. So Randi can continue to do that much.

And yes, teachers should write the Times. I know of one who already did so.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, maybe you can answer these questions? How do observations work in regards to how many and our rights to refuse or reschedule? An untenured teacher in my building (elementary) has been observed twice (satisfactorily) and has been told she MUST be observed 4 times as per policy by the new (trying to prove themselves) AP. This teacher is pregnant and leaves on maternity leave Wednesday of next week and is scheduled to deliver on Friday morning. She asked me for advice because our UFT rep wasn't very helpful (more on that in a bit). Everything I can find on the UFT website seems to imply 2 is the minimum requirement, although it is implied more can be done. I ask because she was notified yesterday (Thursday) she would be observed on Wednesday (her last day). A pre-op was scheduled for today Friday. This AP has created her own pre-op work sheet questionnaire, which she makes teachers fill out prior to her observing them. In addition she requests they use her lesson plan format and gives them a blank template to fill in. Is any of this allowable? The teacher spoke to our UFT rep and the rep simply said try talking to her about your concerns, I’m sure she’ll be sympathetic. The AP was very sympathetic; she changed the observation to Monday! This teacher is scheduled to return to finish out the school year the last 2 weeks of June. What are her rights if any? Can you point me to anything more tangible than the loosely worded verbal diarrhea on the UFT website?


Anonymous said...

The format of the lesson plan is up to the teacher. (Contract Article 8E).

For minumum observations I have something from the Office of Appeals and Reviews. There is a section called rating Pedagogical Staff Members. On page 8 it says: "Probationary Teachers and New Teachers--In a school with no Assistant Principal, two full periods or two composites per year should be made by the Principal. In a school with an Assistant Principal, one full period or composite per year should be made by the Assistant Principal and one full period or composite per year should be made by the Principal. A supervisor of Special Education will be substituted where appropriate."

These are minimum observations so of course the administration can come in more often if they want to. I also don't know if this information is now obsolete as everything changes but I haven't seen anything newer.

James Eterno

Anonymous said...

and aren't "informals" as many times as they want??

I think this teacher should go over he CC's head and contact the DR.

Anonymous said...

Thxs for the help. In the end the teacher decided to take 3 days of personal time and moved up her maternity leave. Sad, but effective.