Sunday, February 02, 2020

WE HAVE TO STEP UP IF WE WANT TO CHANGE THE SCHOOLS AND UFT

Last week we wrote about Sue Edelman at the NY Post being informed by Councilman Robert Holden that the FBI is investigating NYC schools for fraud. It inspired a rather big response of mostly anonymous comments. Save your keystrokes; I'm telling you writing anonymous comments, although it shows the blog has readers, is basically a waste of time if you aren't willing to take the next step.

I was contacted by a reporter seeking to find further information on what one particular comment stated. I asked several contacts at a particular school to expose the fraud, telling them they could be confidential sources and their anonymity would be protected. After a week of trying, it appears nobody will talk to the press, even if assured anonymity.

The comments here are a nice lead for the reporters but a journalist has a professional obligation to verify what is told to them. They also require some documentation. This is why I keep saying to stop complaining about the UFT if you are not willing to do anything to change the situation. At Jamaica High School, we were not shy about going to the press if it was necessary. They weren't bashful at Forest Hills either. Their aggressiveness helped cause a change in leadership. Jamaica was closed but we had some integrity. All of us survived and most of us were fine in other settings. After we protested with everything we had, even Mayor Bloomberg slowed down school closings in the last two years of his misrule of NYC. Our fight was a big part of that.

I understand the pressure on teachers from administration can be enormous to pass students who have done nothing but complete an internet packet of makeup work or to not report safety incidents. A new teacher recently told me of being advised by senior colleagues that when it comes to passing undeserving students, the teacher has a choice between having integrity and having a job. Ouch!

The reader who keeps commenting that nothing will change could be right only because too many teachers are not willing to stand up for themselves and each other. That is what a union is for. We need one badly. That is why I keep saying to band together with other teachers and stop whining about the DOE/UFT. This is a call for collective action, not a call to abandon a union. Unions are still the best hope for workers to achieve a better life. Change from within our union can come from the rank and file and not the leadership who is invested in the status quo.

34 comments:

  1. I've given up. 18 years waiting for change. I have been saying since 2014 that once I get the last retro payment, I'm gone. I will be well below retirement age. I don't care.

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  2. Same here 3:51 but sadly with far less time than you. I can't participate in this scam anymore. Reading writing and arithmetic?
    Nope.
    Blm lbgtq+ and oppression studies. Yep.
    These are what we are about now.
    What skills and knowledge are we sharing with these kids?
    0. Just an intolerant, hateful and aggrieved ideology.
    The fruits are just beginning to ripen. It'll get way worse in the coming years.
    In memory of Maria Fuertes...

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  3. Corruption is embedded into the system. Dwarka is still a Principal with all the corruption that goes on in that school. UFT is more than useless.

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  4. Although administrators can't retaliate they find silent ways to do it by giving poor observations and giving teachers bad programs and classrooms if they speak up. This is why people just play along. A teacher can never have qualms about telling lies if they want to survive in the doe.

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  5. No stepping it in the first few comments. The same "oh I'm so afraid I might get a bad observation" bullshit. No profiles in courage here.

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  6. Im quitting at 40 years old. What else could i do? Is that enough of a statement?

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  7. Profiles in courage and NYC teachers. LOL.

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  8. Why don't the recently retired people speak out? or those of you who are leaving the NYC DOE? What do you have to lose?

    An article can certainly be written about teacher blogs with no need for the anonymous to come forward. Isn't that a story in itself, that so many teachers are afraid to come forward because we know that there will be retaliation, the schools are a mess, the leadership is a mess, the UFT is defunct, and we know that nothing will change for the better.

    Too many teachers do not know what is in the UFT contract. You can safely bet that at least 90% of the teachers and administrators have not read the contract. I would bet that most CL have not read the contract.

    The UFT lost the United part years ago. The teachers across the city are not going to unite anytime soon. The teachers in my school are not united; backstabbing occurs on a daily basis. Teachers make things up about other teachers and report to the principal. The teachers who are favored by the principal have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by unifying with those of us who suffer his ineptitude.

    I agree with 8:49. There are ways that administrators can make a teacher's life very difficult, all within contract. (1) not dealing with discipline problems (2) rewarding students for misbehaving in class (3) multiple drop-ins (4) no per-session opportunities (5) told to teach multiple courses and possibly multiple grade levels (6) multiple classrooms (7) professional activity inequities, etc.

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  9. ‘The common housefly has bigger balls that the average NYC teacher.’ - UFT District Rep, circa 2006

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  10. This blog comment section has become a repository for gripers who use potential retaliation as an excuse to give up or do nothing. But given the current situation I can see their point. I have fundamentally given up after 50 years of fighting Unity.
    As for James' constant pleas to DO SOMETHING - that is becoming very funny. The only way to do something is to organize people and after decades of trying - look where we are - with less influence over the ability to change the UFT than I've ever seen. Part of the problem was just how inept the opposition has been on the whole over the past 30 years (I plead guilty to being part of that) despite some minor victories that were never built on. This is the first time other than 1993 that there isn't even an official elected rep from a caucus other than Unity and that will not change in the next election in 2021 or even the one after that in 2024. So exactly what can anyone do as an individual? There is no real opposition party despite MORE's claims to be one - it is a ghost of a caucus that can contend and is more of a club advocating for certain policies (many of which I can support) but even that advocacy has less impact on the UFT than they would have if MORE has a wide base in the schools which after 8 years is smaller than ever.

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  11. New Action and Solidarity still exist as opposition groups. They are both still functioning in some capacity. Any democracy, including a union, needs independent voices. We are getting an alternative view out there. Obviously, some people are talking to reporters and Councilmen Holden about grade fraud and safety. They are issues. The UFT's silence is baffling. In the Feldman era, they were on top of the safety issue even when their endorsed guy David Dinkins was mayor.

    For the record the next election for citywide UFT officers is 2022, not 2021.

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  12. Nothing to lose by trying EdNotes. Just cause you gave up, doesn't mean everyone has to.

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  13. weve got some admirable warriors here: either anonymous or retired. lmao.
    still must feel good to signal that virtue!

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  14. Democracy is Power!

    “Union democracy - defined as rank and file power - is the essential ingredient for restoring the power of the labor movement.”
    Democracy is Power - Mike Parker and Martha Gruelle




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  15. Most retirees don’t think of anything connected to teaching. Some can’t help it - PTSD. In fact, most of them hope the whole system implodes - which is predestined. The UFT has all the dirt on almost every school because many teachers have reported what’s going on. Plus there’s a Chapter Leader in every school as well occasional visits from the borough reps - they know the desk in every school. It’s ,you want a job or you want to bring down your school to be replaced by a charter? That’s a quote from one of those overweight morons in their tight suits. No one gives a shit. Not retirees, students, teachers, principals, etc, etc, including the Mayor and UFT. People realize giving a shit puts a target on your back. From everyone. DeBlasio and Mulgrew have a symbiotic relationship. No mystery at all James. The entire system will eventually be replaced.

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  16. i been struggling at my current school in my current position, long story short, we were Quality Reviewed and I was the lucky teacher position she wanted to see a brutal reviewer. Anyways I was feeling under appreciated and I mentioned it to the principal along w not having notebooks, because I was trying out a different way to record evidence, secondly I opened my big mouth at a meeting on lesson plans, either way she has her “retired friend” who was in the position prior to her recommendation to hire me, she basically shouldn’t be around kids, and since sept I haven’t had any improvement or any real help, I got angry and I told her how I felt. This has taken a toll on me. My daughter has been out w fever for 4 days 2 of the days I called out, I believe they are after me, and I basically am just barely getting by, I feel defeated and have very little motivation. Pls help w recommendations.

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  17. Please email me at iceuft@gmail.com. We will try to help. Hang in there.

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  18. The fact that anyone would find a 78 year socialist with a platform that will bankrupt the country and send business fleeing is anyone's top choice is frightening thought. The fact that they have not been taught the failure of socialist policies around the world is also a damning reflection on our education system.

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  19. HS teacher of 23 years. Just came back today from being sick all last week with the flu and ear infection. So, today was the first day of the new semester for me. My chairman comes in for a 15 min informal observation. ­čśá That seems like a nasty thing to do. He knew that I had been out. And seeing it was the first day back, I had administrative items to discuss with my class. It wasn't a full lesson. I know that admin can come in whenever, but this is unkind to say the least. It felt like a "gotcha." If the report is negative, what are my options besides adding notes to it? Thanks.

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  20. Email us at iceuft@gmail.com if it is negative and maybe we can figure out grounds for an APPR complaint. Gottch game is so unprofessional.

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  21. The problem is who in their right mind can trust the fake news media these days...the media will sell anyone down the river for a click or a paper sale...nope I learned it from many
    months of observation the past several years and the media is just too corrupt to trust.

    There has to be other ways to defend something rather than "the media".

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  22. But where is the uft, ya know, the union you pay $1600 to, the union that takes in 100 million dollars a year...

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    Replies
    1. They are totally corrupt, and useless.

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  23. @3:51 you need to stick it out 2 more years and finish your 20th to get that 2% multiplier for retirement.

    I do not blame anyone under 6 years of teaching in the DOE to flee to westchester, Long Island etc this is a shit show. We would need all teachers to have a facebook page for info and come together and maybe even strike for a few days if our next contract is weak.

    Otherwise, the UFT will continue to make this job the disaster its become with weak raises.

    18 years in, def fighting to make 20, yet it gets harder to leave when quite soon be almost making 120,000 base to babysit.

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  24. 823,

    Do you not realize how hard it is to get a suburban teaching job unless your uncle is a superintendent ?

    Each suburban elementary position that is posted online receives 400-500 applicants and that is not including those who have an in to begin with.

    If anyone who is young can leave the doe, then they should. But it is impossible.

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  25. I am 351, the first response. Getting the multiplier at y 20 years, not worth a few percent more. The plan since 2014 was to leave after the final retro. Amazed I made it this far. Rather live the rest of my life in peace.

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  26. I have reported what I've seen to the Deblasio, Walcott, OSI, UFT, The Daily News and SCI. Maybe if you post the email address of the reporter or have an open meeting in Manhattan, people would feel safer sharing what they know.

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  27. Hello, this is Susan Edelman, a reporter at the New York Post. Email sedelman@nypost.com or call 917-584-7675. Thank you!

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  28. Nothing to lose by trying EdNotes. Just cause you gave up, doesn't mean everyone has to.

    OK - so show us how you are trying. By posting a comment here?
    You can start by standing up publicly because you can't change anything behind closed doors.

    And I don't say give up on doing useful work. Maybe try helping the homeless or other activities that might have results. But I can guarantee that after the next election and the next after that and the next after that nothing will change. James is willing to take any crumbs he sees as signs of progress.
    Here's the reality - Unity will be in control for as long as the union lasts. If you want to make changes you fundamentally have to become a lobbyist on certain issues and try to get a group together to lobby the union.
    This is what MORE has done - morphed (maybe without some of them even knowing it) from a caucus contending for power to a lobby group.
    Solidarity and New Action fundamentally exist only on paper but that is fine with me and I am even thinking of joining New Action myself to show support for them.

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  29. The DNC is just Unity rigging on a grander scale. You never know when a machine or party will crumble. It can happen. It isn't at all likely with Unity but lobbying the leadership by showing you have some backing in the schools might actually have some success. Lobbying as an individual or a chapter carries no weight with it.

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  30. the math teacher was asked how the student passed with 14% attendance, he said..."He knows his math." Hold on.
    This is a level 1 19 year old, who has been a level 1 since 3rd grade. He hasn't passed a math class since 2015. Didnt pass the regents. Was never in class. But the teacher was able to ascertain that the student knew everything.
    I wrote about the student passing math with 14% attendance. I will add some further info. In what world is this acceptable? Mastery in 2 social studies classes with 54% attendance? What a disgrace.

    algebra 3-grade 65-attendance 14%
    algebra 4-grade 65-attendance 27%
    pe-grade 90-attendance 59%
    earth science 3-grade 74-attendance 60%
    earth science 4-grade 74-attendance 48%
    lab-pass-attendance 66%
    us history-grade 86-attendance 56%
    govt-grade 86-attendance 54%

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  31. @10:55 am: lol. He knows his math? I beg to offer an alternate answer: The teacher knows his admin. Pass the kid or face the wrath/retaliation. I was at a staff meeting. The English teacher told the GC that a parental meeting was needed because little billy can't write. The GC looked at the recent grade of 85 in English and asked the English teacher to explain.
    The English teacher sighed heavily and said,"Hello! You know that an 85 is really a 60". The only thing the English teacher left out was the "duh". The GC practically fell from his seat. The entire school bought into false grading. They had no qualms about giving fake grades. As long as the principal and AP were not on their azz, they were okay. SMH. That's that bullsh## that boils my soup. Im a person of color: Black and proud. The admin stayed on me...meeting that may to letter to my file. Meanwhile the do nothings skirted by believing they were master teachers. The blindness is real. These teachers seemingly believe the satisfactory observations they receive. This behavior will destroy generations. The folks complaining about welfare will then step in and complain about folks being on it or living on it. Crazy crazy crazy.

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