Friday, February 05, 2016

UNITY WON'T DEAL WITH PROPOSAL TO FIGHT CUOMO'S ANTI-PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION LAW

At the last two Delegate Assembly meetings, I have been trying to propose the following amendment to a UFT resolution to oppose receivership (State Education Commissioner takes over certain schools and can appoint a receiver who can abrogate collective bargaining agreements.). Receivership is part of  Andrew Cuomo's anti- public education law called the Education Transformation Act of 2015 that is still fully on the books.

The MORE Amendment
and be it further Resolved, that the UFT make repeal of the anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public school Education Transformation Act of 2015 and Education Law 3012c a main 2016 legislative goal in Albany and plan significant rank and file actions around this objective while urging NYSUT to do the same.

The Unity Caucus (Michael Mulgrew's political party that runs the UFT) strategy is to not make fighting receivership or anything in last year's horrific state education law part of this year's legislative agenda.  In order for the leadership not to have to go on the record that they support keeping the law, they just stall by putting the resolution on receivership further down on the agenda every month.  Mulgrew then filibusters so the automatic adjournment hits at 6:00 p.m. and we never vote nor can I bring up my amendment.  The text of the full resolution is below.

The next DA isn't until March 23.  Since much state legislation is done around the April 1 budget, it is clear the UFT will not be doing anything to oppose the awful teacher evaluation system or receivership this year. The fact that Unity will not will not go on the record on this says a great deal about the leadership.


Resolution in Opposition to State Receivership
WHERAS, New York State law establishes receivership for schools that have been or will be categorized as "persistently struggling" and "struggling," and based on the  state's accountability system, there will always be 5 percent of schools in receivership;

WHEREAS, 144 public schools serving mostly low-income students fro Buffalo to Albany, Utica to New York City and Yonkers to Rochester have been placed in receivership; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has changed its misguided education policy, giving states the flexibility to design accountability systems that truly support struggling schools, and

WHEREAS, New York State Education Department regulations need to be revised to reflect this change in federal policy; and

WHEREAS, receivership undermines collective bargaining by granting the receiver broad power over staffing, length of the school day and year for each individual school in receivership; and

WHEREAS, the UFT is on record in strong opposition to any law that usurps union members' collective-bargaining rights; and

WHEREAS, the state receivership law requires "struggling" schools to improve in two years but provides insufficient additional resources or funding to those schools; and

WHEREAS, receivership does not address the great inequality in funding for urban schools, but rather doubles down on affected districts by labeling them as failures and giving them one or two years to "improve" without additional resources in most cases; and

WHEREAS, the UFT is on record as opposed to the underlying premise of the state receivership law that removing local control of public schools benefits children; and

WHEREAS, State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia invoked the state's new receivership law in November 2015 to give Buffalo Superintendent Kriner Cash special powers to bypass the union contract after the union and the school district failed to negotiate a special agreement regarding these five schools in 30 days; and

WHEREAS, under the receivership plan, Cash is being given the extraordinary authority to unilaterally lengthen the school day and year, have any or all the staff reapply for their positions, supersede the school board and make other significant changes without regard to the collective-bargaining agreement between the district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT strongly opposes receivership; ad be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT denounces State Education Commissioner Elia's decision to abrogate the collective-bargaining agreement in Buffalo and to deprive teachers in these five schools of their rights and voice; and be further

RESOLVED, that the UFT supports Buffalo teachers and parents in addressing the root causes of chronic underperformance in these schools, including class size, teaching and learning conditions, and the need for wraparound services to help low-income students and their families; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will vigorously challenge attacks on due process, collective bargaining and other fair labor practices that are a consequence of receivership; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will commit to the authentic and substantive improvement of all New York City public schools, particularly schools serving students with the greatest needs; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will work to educate members about receivership as well as determine and advance actions to respond to the demands of receivership at the school, city and state levels.

We repeat our amendment here.  This is what a real union would do to support its members.
and be it further Resolved, that the UFT make repeal of the anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public school Education Transformation Act of 2015 and Education Law 3012c a main 2016 legislative goal in Albany and plan significant rank and file actions around this objective while urging NYSUT to do the same.


2 comments:

sean crowley said...

A resolution against receivership here in B-Lo has been met with Orc-like resistance from members loyal to the NYSUT party HQ faction. I guess Randi and Mikes flying monkeys have been instructed to lie still and try to enjoy receivership? The idea of fighting it is not part of their vision.

James Eterno said...

So sad. We have to put rank and file pressure that this is unacceptable.