Tuesday, June 17, 2014


What should the UFT be doing right about now to support its members?  A good start would be to encourage more protests like the one that occurred at Bryant High School in Queens. 200 adults and students were out in the street calling for the removal of a less than stellar principal. 

There was coverage of the event in the Daily News.

“This is the end of my 30th year teaching here. No principal has ever treated staff like garbage like this one does,” said teacher Mary Bozoyan, 51, who attended the high school herself. “Everyone’s waiting for the next ax to drop on their head.”

 I am fairly certain there are stories like this one in many schools across NYC.  Let's see if this type of event is repeated elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

I hope that this act by the school community gets the UFT thinking about similar protests at Automotive High School in Williamsburg. If ever a principal deserved to be called out by the staff it is one Ms Lafergola at Auto. A beast and racist who has the support of the deputy chancellor for education one Mr Weinberg.

Anonymous said...

When will we turn it around?

Anonymous said...

Hey, isn't that lafergola who used to teach at QHST and coach baseball and basketball and drive one of her players home after each game. I was on that team and he said it was his first piece of tail. Yet she hasn't been fired yet.

bellstar8 said...

Yes yes! We all need to put an end to this. I teach in queens also I would have attended this rally had I known. We must stand together!

John Kamps said...

The UFT does a lot to fight those principals who are abusive to their staffs. I know personally of an elementary school in Ridgewood that Mulgrew,the district rep,staff and parents stood up to the principal and after sometime the DOE wised up and she is no longer there and the staff couldn't be happier. So the union does fight and like everything else it takes time but we usually win. But if Bryant is having a rally against an unfair principal why not ask others join instead of blogging about what should be getting done and lets try to make it happen. Remember we are all UFT and we are stronger when we work together.

Mr.Hughesonline said...

I can speak from personal experience on how the UFT has supported/defended myself and colleagues from abusive administrators. I've witnessed district and special reps attend rallies that were organized by members of school communities. I've also seen them go to schools to talk to members (Michael Mulgrew included) when problems arise. Our union is more active and aware of what's going on in school buildings than people believe-they just do most of their work behind the scenes. I'm sure they are active and in full support of our brothers and sisters at Bryant H.S.

Anonymous said...

THe UFT Leadership neglected to disseminate any vital information leading up to the contract ratification. The info provided was sparse, limited in scope and detail, and resembled the Nancy Polossi (spelling?), 'Youllhave to wait to see what is in it' commented about another new Policy.

Moreover, as is customary with leadership in so many walks of life, the general body is misinformed, poorly informed, and duped into making a poor undisciplined decision for the long term benefit of our profession.

As a result we end up with a rotten deal of more and more accountability for the convaluted culture we are charged with making an impact against.

You do not have to go any further than the most recent unfolding of the heighted fervor for the contract, only to find that staff members are currently in the dark about when that "juicy" arcasm, $1,000 check that we were suppose to get "as soon as the contract is ratified. It has been ratified, hasn't it? So where is the information about the $$$$$$$?

Anonymous said...

Academy of American Studies in LIC!?!

Swift Heart said...

I know of Chapter Leaders and teachers who have worked to remove abusive principals. The UFT is always at work to handle problems as they arise. I also know of many UFT officials that have gone to schools to address these particular issues.

Bryant H.S. is my alma mater and I know the delegate and chapter leader at the school. This is not a recent issue and I am sure has been handled behind the scenes for some time now. As Mr. Hughes said, I am sure the UFT is active and in support of the members at Bryant H.S.

Anonymous said...

I can speak on how the UFT has let so many things go in so many schools so principals can easily rule in autocratic ways.

Anonymous said...

Swift Heart I think you need to take off the rose colored glasses and look how the UFT lets abuse go on for years before they are willing to fight abusive administrators.

Anonymous said...

The UFT works to fight abusive principals every day. This is a grass roots effort. The problem comes when members do not fight for their rights. People need to make sure the contract is enforced in their own school by filing grievances and making sure that the UFT knows there is a problem. Too often people wait until it is to late to do something, or don't speak up at all. Worst yet is when a chapter leader is willing to file a grievance on behalf of the chapter and the chapter all runs to hide, because they are not willing to fight for what is right. While I commend this school for speaking out, lets not bend this to be that the UFT does nothing. The UFT fights every day, most of it is just not done in the public eye.

Pogue said...

The "tone" is wonderful as the abuses continue.

"We're doing our best behind the scenes. So, let's all stick together."

What a line.

Anonymous said...

The Unitiy slugs commenting above have no clue how Abusive Principals operate. If you try to stand up against them they make your life miserable and unbearable. Why don't you try teaching 4 preps in 4 different rooms on 4 different floors to the worst-behaved children in the building, then we can talk about what ex-woodshop teacher Mulgrew has done for this "brother and sister".

Swift Heart said...

Interesting that the name calling begins. It's actually kind of childish. I do not believe any of you know me enough at all to know if I have been in that kind of situation. Regardless, I know people who have fought WITH the UFT and won. No they were not slugs or sells outs. They are members just like you and me.

The fight cannot be done by UFT officials alone. The members need to be willing to fight for their rights. I cannot count the amount of times that a staff will not stick together and file grievances etcetera out of fear. Let's be honest, I am sure in many of your schools this is also the case.

Everyone needs to realize that COLLECTIVELY WE are the union.

John Kamps said...

Well said Swift Heart. We the members have to be willing to fight and we will be picked on by the admin to try and stop us from fighting for our rights when they come after us we need to fight harder and call them out on everything show them they cant get away with their nonsense. Only when we are all willing to stand up for ourselves along with the support of the UFT officials will the abusive admins be stopped!! We are all UFT and we need to stand together as one!

Anonymous said...

When leadership doesn't support members who fight, you have a problem.

Anonymous said...

Exactly- we have a weak and corrupt leadership. If you dont believe it, just read the new contract. We were played for chumps and the ATR 's were royally screwed.

Anonymous said...

And where was this same leadership when Bloomberg, Klein and Walcott were closing schools left and right despite outcries from the community.

And what was the leadership thinking when they allowed the lack of due process from ATRs and now with the California case, it can come here to NY as well.

And why would this same leadership endorse anti-public school candidates? And why are they supporting the new Common Core bill that does nothing to improve the conditions caused by CC and the testing??

For every principal you guys bring up, there are 100s more in this city where nothing is being done. The union leadership should have been protesting with their brethren. But every day the divide between the leadership and rank and file seems to grow longer and longer.

Anonymous said...

Not according to Swift Heart and John Kamps. We just need to fall in line behind Mulgrew and Randi.

Mr.Hughesonline said...

@Anonymous June 18, 11:42-

How's that "currently in the dark" feeling about the signing bonus working for you?

Mr.Hughesonline said...

@Anonymous June 19, 7:52-

First off, the name calling is childish.

Secondly, it's spelled U-N-I-T-Y

Third, I agree with Swift Heart in that it's not feasible for you to discredit the experience of other teachers just because we share opposing views on our union leadership. As much as I'm tempted to, I won't judge/minimize your experience: Please don't minimize the experience of others by reducing them to "slugs who have no idea about how abusive principals operate".

Anonymous said...

I also have a problem with the name calling because it serves no one. However, it is obvious that many of the comments here are from those who are aligned with Mulgrew rather than every-day teachers. If indeed UNITY has helped you get rid of an effective and ruthless principal, then you of all people should be in agreement that this situation also deserves support from this union. 200 protestors--that's a pretty big number to be ignored. And yet, no one from Leadership was out there to support them. If UNITY helped you, then support their right to get someone from Leadership to show their support before a large-size protest needed to be called. As for your comments, when you never commented before, is very suspicious. I just hope these comments are truly from your heart and not from some order from above to do this because some of these responses just don't sound genuine. And yes, we are all union. But if you really have been following the Unity agenda, you will see that their decisions of late, especially when they align themselves with the Reform movement, the Collective does not include rank and file. Too many deals have been made without our vote, and that's not true solidarity.

Mr.Hughesonline said...

"...However, it is obvious that many of the comments here are from those who are aligned with Mulgrew rather than every-day teachers"

When I woke up this morning, I went to work-in a *school*. And I dropped off my bag in a *classroom*. Before I went upstairs to my classroom, I stopped by the payroll secretary's desk to pick up my *evaluation score*. Your logic is flawed. I'm an every-day teacher. I taught every day for 180 days. And I've done that for 13 years. Just because I may not share your views and have a different experience from you, doesn't mean someone is *telling* me what to post.

"If indeed UNITY has helped you get rid of an ineffective and ruthless principal, then you of all people should be in agreement that this situation also deserves support from this union."

-It absolutely does deserve support. And as I posted before, just because they (UFT reps) aren't out in public, doesn't mean they're not supportive. A lot goes on behind the scenes in matters like these that no one knows about.

"...Some of these responses just don't sound genuine"

-My experience is genuine. And the tone you're in disbelief of comes from a place of positivity, optimism and patience.

Anonymous said...

If you are in Unity Caucus, you support a leadership that has stood with the reformers and you have never voted against it or you would not be in Unity Caucus. Whether you are a classroom teacher or not is irrelevant, you are feeding the reform machine.

Anonymous said...

Unity Caucus is the Caucus of Shanker and Feldman. Unity represents true leadership and is the caucus in power because of their ability to lead thru rough times. All I see from these "oposition" blogs is complaints with no real vision for our Union. What a waste of time.

James Eterno said...

Is there any mention of the protest at Bryant in the UFT Unity controlled NY Teacher? Is it in the online news for Chapter Leaders? How about in the main stories online?

Here are all the main stories since June 9.

Teachers won’t face consequences for state test results in eval deal
NEWS | JUNE 20, 2014 >>

UFT health and vision center to open at PS 188 in Coney Island

The United Federation of Teachers, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Lutheran Family Health Centers, SUNY College of Optometry and the non-profit OneSight today announced the start of construction for a school-based health and vision center at PS 188 in Coney Island.

UFT: Alarms to protect children who run just part of the answer
NEWS | JUNE 13, 2014 >>
Six months after the remains of Avonte Oquendo were found along the East River in Queens, city and education officials are grappling with how to prevent other students with a tendency to run off to leave school buildings unattended.

Testimony on a bill to mandate door alarms on all exit doors in all elementary schools and buildings with District 75 programs
TESTIMONY | JUNE 12, 2014 >>
UFT Vice President for Special Education Carmen Alvarez testified that placing alarms on the exit doors of all elementary schools and all buildings that house District 75 programs, as Int. 0131 calls for, may help in alerting school staff once a child has left the building. But that should just be one piece of an overall plan to protect children who have a tendency to run.

UFT backs bill to change admissions to elite high schools
NEWS | JUNE 9, 2014 >>
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, joined by state lawmakers, announced new bipartisan state legislation to increase the diversity of the student body at the city’s eight specialized high schools by not basing admissions exclusively on the performance of an entrance exam.

UFT, legislators demand fairer admissions process for city’s leading high schools
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, joined by State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Karim Camara and Assembly Member Ron Kim, today announced the introduction of bi-partisan legislation whose prime Senate sponsor is State Sen. Simcha Felder, that is designed to increase fairness in admission to New York City’s specialized high schools.

Members ratify historic 9-year contract
NEWS STORIES | JUNE 5, 2014 >>
UFT members overwhelmingly ratified a groundbreaking nine-year contract with the Department of Education on June 3. The contract passed with more than 77 percent of the roughly 90,000 votes, which were counted by the independent American Arbitration Association.

Turkish general strike in wake of mine disaster
NEWS BRIEFS | JUNE 5, 2014 >>
Obama: Public schools must enroll all kids, regardless of immigration status

NEWS BRIEFS | JUNE 5, 2014 >>
Comprehensive immigration reform may be stalled in Congress, but the Obama administration strengthened regulations protecting immigrant children.

Global fast-food strikes