Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Politico New York has a very interesting piece on the UFT starting to keep their distance from the Mayor. Obviously, everyone knows Mayor Bill de Blasio is in big trouble politically. The UFT can read polls and look at corruption investigations. Forget the speculation for a moment and let's stick to the official statements cited in the piece:

From UFT President Michael Mulgrew:

"It would be strange if there were never any disagreements," he said. "At times, even if we agree on goals, we will have different ideas on how to get there. And if our teachers and members are not getting the supports they need, we have and will continue to speak out. What’s different now, as opposed to the prior administration, is we can sit down and talk it out."
The response from the DOE:

"There are times when the Chancellor and the UFT agree, and times when they do not," Devora Kaye, a spokeswoman for the DOE, said in a statement. "The bottom line is that her sole priority is providing an equitable and excellent education for all students, supporting teachers so they can be successful and improving the quality of our schools. The Chancellor's is laser focused on this, and her door is always open to have a dialogue."

The issues cited by Politico where the UFT disagrees with the administration are on revising the discipline code to stop suspensions for K-grade 2 students and how the DOE is implementing the Renewal Schools program.

Mulgrew is quoted as saying, "We are concerned that some of last year's drop in suspensions of children under the age of eight was fueled by school administrators' fears they would face repercussions if they continued to issue suspensions."

You gotta love this guy who is out defending Counsel of Supervisors and Administrators members more than his own.

On class size, don't expect much from the UFT President. This section of the Politico piece refers to a time before the supposed rift with de Blasio:

A peak moment of city-union unity came last fall, when Mulgrew repeatedly declined to criticize de Blasio or Fariña at a press conference highlighting concerns about large class size. Though Fariña has largely dismissed class size as an issue — she’s gone so far as to say that too-small classes may be a bigger issue than too-large classes — Mulgrew insisted the chancellor had more important things to think about than his union’s own top advocacy priority.

"As the chancellor just basically reorganized the largest school system in the country, I understand she has a lot of different priorities," he said at the time.

I'm not buying that there is any big feud. Carmen Farina as Chancellor has done nothing to restore trust of those of us who work in the classroom. Mulgrew should have been screaming out loud in opposition when she refused to clear out most of the Bloomberg holdovers from central DOE headquarters.

Has anyone seen any change in the classroom since de Blasio became mayor? Many people I talk to think it is worse with the end of the cell phone ban.

To these eyes, the political wind direction is influencing the UFT. Corruption investigations are not helping the Mayor. If de Blasio goes down, Mulgrew wants to be on the Scott Stringer bandwagon as early as possible because the alternatives are all awful even though I can't find many out there who trust the Comptroller.

Stringer did beat Eva Moskowitz for Borough President in Manhattan in 2005 and then put Patrick Sullivan on the Panel for Educational policy who stood up to Joel Klein, Cathy Black and Dennis Walcott but Stringer caved to Joel Klein when he had his chance when Mayoral control of the schools briefly expired in 2009.


Anonymous said...

How has Farina reorganized the school system?

Abigail Shure

Anonymous said...

De Blasio made several mistakes. He essentially maintained the Bloomberg game plan while stalling on making the members financially whole. He introduced cell phones while reducing suspensions. He increased pressures on ATR's while bragging in Albany that he had terminated large sums of teachers. De Blasio must make real changes to get members to vote for him if he intends to win what could very well be a contested primary. We would be stupid to support a candidate who presided over a decaying system while torturing our members.

Anonymous said...

There's several things that I feel are very telling with Mulgrew's remarks and stance. First and foremost is it is the very least threat for teachers on the issue of discipline and one that skirts the realm of comedy. By coming out in opposition to this he makes the UFT look silly. Sure little kids should have consequences, but this is what you choose to fight the mayor on? By fighting him on this, he actually makes Bill look good and the UFT petty. I don't know many teachers who feel physically threatened or endangered by 6 and 7 year olds. He didn't come out and oppose the de facto end of suspensions for high school students, some who are 19 and 20 years old. He didn't oppose the ending of the cellphone ban. He also never brought up the worst part of Debalsio's new discipline plan; the end of metal detectors if the principal requests it. This is just a means to quiet the increasing volume of complaints from teachers on their (lack of) safety and is NOT a repudiation of deBlasio or his policies.

bill said...

Face facts. Teachers dont even bother anymore. Anything goes, everybody passes. Im an ATR, its the same in every school, and every teacher I talk to...Students run wild all day, cant read or write, but get those credits. They al;l sit there, glues to the cell phons, music blasting, etc....Then they walk the halls, bust into the gym all day...But dont worry, grad rates have never been higher and suspensions have never been lower.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the DOE has not dismantled the "Gotcha Squad" of lawyers that give daily information to administrators shows that the old regime still lives on. Until the UFT demands their dissolution, little will change to improve teacher professionalism.

Ms. Tsouris said...

The entire DeBlasio administration is bloated, lazy and corrupt. DeBlasio is disgusting in that he's extended the Bloomberg administration as far as the DOE is concerned, with the abovementioned "gotcha squad". Then there was the idiotic lifting of the ban on cell phones, and the continuing torture of all teachers with overwhelming amounts of paperwork and 6 observations a year. I'll vote republican before I'll vote for this bumbling creep again. Ecstatic to be retired on Tier 3/4!!