Thursday, December 03, 2020

WHAT MULGREW DIDN'T SAY IN HIS INCOMPLETE RESPONSE ON THE RADIO SHOWS CLASS SIZE DOES NOT REALLY MATTER TO HIM

One of the major disagreements I have with the UFT leadership is on class size. The UFT has not reduced class sizes in the Contract since the 1960s and the Contract is filled with loopholes on class sizes and other areas that are wide enough to drive a truck through.

Class size reductions are a proven way to improve learning. Leonie Haimson is an activist who has made reducing class sizes an important part of her life's work. She has a radio program on WBAI called Talk out of School. Yesterday's guest was UFT President Michael Mulgrew. There are some good exchanges to listen to on COVID-19 and ending mayoral control but when Leonie asks Mulgrew about reducing class sizes, it becomes very interesting.  

Leonie talks to Mulgrew about remote learning and she asks him about class size in the remote learning classes. She notes that the DOE has not followed the law because they did not release class size data in November. Then at around the 16-minute mark, she says that class sizes are in the 40s in some remote classes. Mulgrew's response is a classic. 

He says classes are in violation of class size limits and we are using an operational issues complaint process to resolve them. He adds that there are a thousand operational complaints and most of them are on class size. He actually says we need smaller class sizes in the conversation. 

He somehow neglects to mention that the UFT's operational remedies for class sizes do not include reducing class sizes.

We printed the menu of possible remedies to operational complaints last week. The DOE has to try to reduce class sizes but if they say they can't, the UFT is fine with that. Take a look at the remedies for teachers for class size violations in the operational complaint process which we have copied below. They include extra prep time, coverage pay and shortage area pay, or getting a School Based Option. The schools only need to try to reduce class sizes. The old DOE college try is not good enough in my view. 

Can someone tell me how giving a teacher coverage pay for having an oversize class is educationally sound?  I have heard of remote class sizes as high as 43. These students need interactions with teachers.

I am not talking about schools, like some of the commenters here talk about, where only two or three kids log on. I am referring to schools where most of the students in these oversize classes are on live with their teachers every school day for synchronous instruction for regular periods. 

When the pandemic mercifully finally ends, the story of the almost complete neglect of remote learners by the DOE will be something that education observers will shake their heads at as they look back on it. When the city spends a huge amount of their resources to try to get in-person learning going for a small minority of students, this is what you are left with. The great majority get treated as second-class citizens with many stuck in oversize classes. 

 CLASS SIZE VIOLATIONS

School must try to balance classes to reduce to contractual limits

Division Possible Remedy

Elementary Schools

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate:

1-5 students above CBA class size*: Additional preparation time as provided for teachers teaching multiple modalities (see above). If a teacher is already receiving additional preparation time for multiple modalities via an operational resolution at any level, and they are assigned a class over by 1-5 students, the teacher will receive payment for 1 coverage per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

6 students to a half-class above CBA class size: Payment for 2 coverages per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

More than half-class above CBA class size: Shortage pay retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

*Cluster and departmentalized classes will be considered comparable to secondary school case load.

Secondary Schools

A written resolution, or an SBO vote, or a stipulation may indicate:

1-5 students above total caseload as defined in the Blended Learning Agreements: Additional preparation time as provided for teachers teaching multiple modalities (see above). If a teacher is alreaiy receiving additional preparation time for multiple modalities via an operational resolution at any level, and they are assigned a class over by 1-5 students, the teacher will receive payment for 1 coverage per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

6 students to a half-class above either CBA class size or total caseload as defined in the Blended Learning Agreements: Payment for 2 coverages per week, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

More than half-class above either CBA class size or total caseload as defined in the Blended Learning Agreements: Shortage pay, retroactive to date of overage and for as long as overage exists.

ADDITIONAL TEACHING PERIODS As part of the written resolution, either an SBO vote or a stipulation may indicate

Shortage area pay, pro-rated for number of periods per week (1 to 5) and pro-rated for length of assignment (above contractual limits by division)

44 comments:

  1. Dues well spent.

    Every time I think about returning to the buildings Mon. my heart races. I’ll be given double the amount of Ss I had when I left and I’m supposed to be ok about it. If I disagree, I’m told I must not care about what’s best for kids.

    Are traumatized teachers best for kids?

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  2. Under CLASS SIZE VIOLATIONS
    "hools" should be "Schools"

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  3. De Blasio keeps moving the goalposts AND Mulgrew passively accepts the outrageous insults.
    Mulgrew is De Blasio's doormat. De Blasio steps all over Mulgrew because Mulgrew does not
    care. In reality, Mulgrew does not represent UFT members.

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  4. Coverage pay really doesn’t help the students. I am all about going in to teach, but then you could argue hazard pay for teachers going into the buildings...

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  5. Also-the fight for spring break pay should take priority over compensation for the remote teachers.

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  6. My point is the issue is not money. It should be lowering class size.

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  7. Mr. Mulgrew

    What about the spring break pay?

    We are owed between $1,500 to $3,000 each for that week.

    What have you done to correct this injustice against your dues paying members?

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  8. REMEMBER THIS: When schools truly are back to "normal" next September, NYC will still have the highest class sizes in the United States. Mulgrew can crow all he wants about the big online classes but he will never push to get in school class sizes reduced.

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  9. Mulgrew can't put on kneepads quick enough around Diblasio

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  10. Spring break? He will just hope you forget. And then ignore the ptlroblem....

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  11. I still remember our district rep coming into my school and celebrating how the union fought for smaller class sizes (and won!) in the last contract. Yet, i saw absolutely no reduction in class sizes since. This certainly explains why.

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  12. You want spring break pay. Thats a joke. We cant even get the retro we are owed on time. We have the most dumbass leadership in the country.Other unions get better benefits than us.

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  13. I would gladly take 7 more CAR days for spring break. If you think 100k people are getting $3k...doubtful, at best.

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  14. Since it's unlikely that we'll get raises in the next contract, they should fight for realistic smaller class sizes. Name one other job where you see 34 clients all at the same time.

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  15. We have been looking for smaller class sizes since the seventys. Good luck.I would take more car days too.

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  16. Nice job, uft.

    De Blasio's message to principals who have space for kids to come 5x a week but are sticking with the previous schedule: "This is a decision the chancellor and I have made, it's not up for debate...this is something that has to happen."

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  17. UFT's silence is deafening. Aren't they supposed to protect teachers? It's mind boggling that they closed for 3% but at 5%+ they're forcing the reopen of schools.

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  18. De Blasio was given this ultimatum from Cuomo. Re-open the schools or else lose state funding!

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  19. Cuomo is the Puppet Master.

    De Blasio is the puppeteer and ventriloquist.

    Mulgrew is Howdy Doodie.

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  20. A blast from the past:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd1nSzxjxV8

    The Howdy Doodie Show

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  21. Elementary school teachers need to press Mulgrew for the reason he agreed to this and why he hasn’t sought input from these teachers. It’s the height of hubris and it goes unchallenged? Is this what teachers have become? Mindless slaves controlled by the people they pay to represent them. It’s a very sad day for those teachers that actually go in on Monday. You will have less of a backbone than Mulgrew, because you will be bending for him.

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  22. LOL. UFT meeting for my school right now, arguing about trauma training required by 12/31. DR knows nothing. Says it takes 8 hours. Nice job. Dues well spent.

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  23. DR just said Mulgrew said as soon as grievance process opens, he is going to arbitration about spring break. Take it as you will.

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  24. He's reopening schools and sending staff and students in to sicken and die.


    Mayor Bill de Blasio
    @NYCMayor
    Here are our #COVID19 indicators at the end of the week:

    • 134 new hospitalizations
    • 2,041 new cases
    • 5.43% positivity rate (7-day avg.)

    If you’re a senior or have a pre-existing medical condition, stay home as much as possible this weekend. This is a serious situation.

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  25. Give me days in the CAR! At least I can sell them back when this nightmare is over!

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  26. Seeing 30-34 in a class these days with anxiety and all these disorders students have is very challenging. Even 50 in PE is not simple. Next September, if we go back to full 5 day school with normal sizes I see major major anxiety from teachers and students when it goes back full throttle.

    I still think there will be a small remote crowd especially towards the high school level and 80% will be back in the building next September.

    Besides the 3% raise in may not much action. This next uft and mayoral election on top of the contract will be the mark or break of this DOE

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  27. 40 years old, 168 days in CAR. Will gladly take CAR days. I'm resigning soon.

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  28. High schools are finished. It’s never going back to the way it was. Many HS students will stay fully remote even when the pandemic is a painful memory. It’s simply a safety issue for many families - not from sickness but from physical and psychological abuse that is now completely ignored by the deB administration and the UFT. Then there’s the complete lack of learning and worthless grades and degrees. Remote is the way to go if you're poor and want a decent education in most of NYC. If deBlasio and Mulgrew team up so remote learning isn’t offered (which may be why Mulgrew agreed to send elementary teachers in now), the home school companies and or the Charters will (they will anyway, of course). Eva will pick up thousands of students remotely. As for middle school, it’s a toss up. The elementary schools are the only schools I see relatively untouched after the pandemic is finished.

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  29. 3:58 was one of the most irrational fear-mongering comments I have ever seen. Even extreme for this board. High schools are coming back in-person when the pandemic is behind us.

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  30. Yup, students don't eat at home, remember?

    The no attendance policy students actually proves 80% of the staff may as well be fired.

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  31. 4:34, The high schools certainly will come back in person after the pandemic, but the students won’t. Add to that equation a severe cut to the city tax rolls and technology that allows one teacher to teach massive amounts of students at any time of day or night and the result will be as I described. I don’t intend it as a fear mongering ploy. I’m just amazed when people are moaning about Easter vacation pay when all roads lead towards massive layoffs. Hopefully, I’m wrong, but I rarely am - I am a licensed NYC principal.

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  32. 3:58 I hope so. I would love to stay remote. I think it’s a definite possibility also. They may create a separate school district like ho,e schooling. I could see it happening.

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  33. But I do agree I think that only happens on hs level. I don’t think it happens on elementary level or even middle school.

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  34. I think that remote learning is good for students who can't function in a high school or who keep causing trouble in high school. They can no longer say we are denying them the right to an education if they have the remote learning outlet.

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  35. What is this required trauma training by 12/31 I am starting to hear about? James could you tell us?

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  36. I have been told by someone close to me trauma training was a colossal waste of time.

    The stimulus money will come. Biden won the election. Nobody will be laid off until at least 2022. We have a decent track record on DOE-UFT predictions. People want to scare you so you will accept garbage as the best we can do and then tell you how lucky you are to have a job. There will be lots of high schools in NYC in 2021.

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  37. But James, the uft is the group telling us the garbage. Why pay dues?

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  38. The doe wants the trauma training done by 12/31, but if not, nothing will happen. I fast forwarded through the videos. Who cares? The certificate is signed by Deputy Chancellor Lashawn Robinson who makes $290k a year.

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  39. Why not get rid of the leadership? We need a union.

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  40. Ok, get rid of them. Where do we start? How long will it take? Be very specific. Then I could say it will never happen.

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  41. Next to impossible but totally impossible if you don't organize.

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  42. Ok, next to impossible. You win. I'll opt out before they take triple dues on the retro in July.

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  43. The ridic trauma training would take 2 weeks to complete if I could not skip videos and guess answers then go back and correct them, a colossal waste of time.

    James, I have mentioned this many times. Chapter leaders should have borough meetings if not monthly every other month to have the main issues laid out. Then top CL from each borough should have a zoom meet to analyze discuss the next steps. Then Each borough CL can zoom the members and we can organize. There has to be a transparent and easy way with social media to get to the streets in spring. Mulgrew and diblasio know most of us are whiny little pussies who prob rarely stand up to the bullies.

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