Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I am no longer a Chapter Leader so I will not be serving as a member of the UFT Delegate Assembly this year. My school closed so now I am an Absent Teacher Reserve. As an ATR, I belong to no UFT Chapter so I am not eligible to serve as a Delegate. This is totally unfair and I believe it is illegal. Many of us are out there pushing to get an ATR UFT Chapter. (See Motion Period section below to see how we didn't have any success convincing our union's leadership to do right by us.)

No points of order from me but I spent the afternoon in the visitors' room at the Delegate Assembly and blogged from there live.  I came a little late.

President's Report:

Mulgrew was talking about federal and state elections. It is us v Eva Moskowitz for control of the NY State Senate. Races in contention are north of city. We will be up there with busses to Hudson Valley. We want Democratic control so we have friends with two of three people controlling state government.

Referendum # 3 on ballot is for 2 billion dollar bond act for technology in education. This is not about replacing teachers with computers. 703 districts in state. Many don't have tech infrastructure. Hoping to use technology correctly. We are pushing a yes vote on #3.

Regents will make CTE industry certified exams as part of a pathway to graduation. They can replace certain Regents exams but not Math and ELA.

Very good response rate on school surveys.

88% of schools had professional development committees. Most are favorable.

Majority (52%) have curriculum for all 5 subjects.

We worked on social studies curriculum which many like.

Our challenge is to build a great school system. Joint letter from Chancellor and Mulgrew about judging lesson plans along with lesson. Paperwork committee working.

62 PROSE schools. It is working.

Guidance Counselors getting hired.

Secretaries: We created criteria to hire new secretaries. DC 37 people doing secretarial work should stop. We won this in grievance.

Mulgrew thanked Delegates who had 100% attendance.

Networks have no authority. Many Superintendents have been replaced. Chancellor giving Superintendents authority they have under the law.

Need education experience to be Superintendent.

DOE and UFT must work collaboratively at central, district and school level. Need to have consultation committee meetings. Chancellor told Superintendents teachers are not the enemy. She expects Principals and Chapter Leaders to work together to resolve issues. Borough based Chapter Leader training. Priority is to make schools places where we can have a great school system. Trying to get to where we want to be after surviving Bloomberg. We must uphold contractual rights.

Staff Director's Report:

Staff Director Leroy Barr announced many dates including DA for Nov 18, a Tuesday, at 5:00 pm. Sabbatical deadline is Friday as is the ineffective appeal deadline.

Question Period:
Question: Concern about students taking cellphone pictures
Answer: Our policy is not to have a citywide ban on cellphones.  Ban cannot be enforced. Schools should set policy. School Leadership Teams should decide cellphone policy. DA final authority and our position is leave it up to schools.

Question on parent engagement.
Answer: Struggling with professional development and parent engagement. Principals having difficulty with parent engagement and PD. We have a voice now. We are trying to make it work.

Question: Is Tuesday only day for parent engagement?
Answer: We have to be professional. Some teachers are coming in Saturday (SBO Vote) to do parent engagement. We should be flexible.

Question: Why meet on PD committee if principal has final say?
Answer: We need to document if principals are not listening.

Question: MOSL  Some kids can't grow. Scores are too high to start with (kids in Advanced Placement classes for example). What to do?
Answer: We want MOSL based on growth. We are an effective school system. MOSL moved some people up and down. How can someone score 5 of 60 on observations but get 40 out of 40 on MOSL?

Motion Period:
Gloria Brandman from ICE - MORE: Resolution to place on next month's agenda for full representation for ATRs. The motion is asking for an ATR Functional Chapter. Gloria motivated it by saying the ATRs have no elected representation.  ATRs are not going away. ATRs are not part of her school. ATRs cannot build relationships. ATRs cannot be Delegates in highest policy-making body in UFT. ATRs cannot vote unless they are in a school during a week Chapter Elections are taking place.

Leroy Barr opposed it. ATRS have full representation. We do everything to make sure ATRS have full rights of teachers in school. They have full voice and have support of chapter leaders, DRs, etc...

It was voted down clearly from our limited view on the 19th floor. (Funny how Leroy didn't mention any of the democracy issues.)

Update from the Floor
As a non-Delegate, I was forced to sit on the 19th floor and watch the DA on a TV screen.  When the vote on the ATR resolution was taken, the camera only showed the center rows of the DA where Unity is strong.  Mike Shirtzer of MORE made the following observation: "Leroy Barr stood and spoke against the ATRs having a Chapter. He carried the entire center of the room (strangely that's where the unity caucus sits). We carried the wings and back very strong." Mike estimated that we achieved maybe around a third of the vote.  Not bad when we have no patronage to give out; we can't count on people obeying a loyalty oath like the majority Unity Caucus requires of its members.  We are just rank and file teachers.

No time for any more motions.

Update 1- Resolutions
Resolution on 1960 strike passed unanimously.

Resolution to support Philadelphia teachers who had their contract voided passed unanimously. Busload will go down there to rally.

Lowest number of ATRs in years according to Mulgrew. Also, before I arrived Mulgrew reported on tenure struggle and pointed out how we are much better shape than some other locals because of our parent outreach.

Nothing much has changed in UFT land.


Tamar Flower said...

This sounds like a lot of blah, blah blah..

David Hedges said...

The era of divide and conquer is ending. Strange bedfellows must prevail. Administrators and Teachers create a new alliance. The common enemy is the "accountant mentality" brought aboard by the Bloomberg people who don't know that education is the way out of the cycle of self-hate. They are authorized by their money, but they are not authorized by the political philosophy of this nation that aims to achieve true Justice when each person can be true to him and her self. On an economic scale, many senior teachers earn far more per hour than the younger debutant administrators. They need us more than we need them. We need to articulate a union of experienced and dedicated educators, not to be bossed around by the DOE. We most foreground the real issues in the pursuit of quality education and challenge those who kowtow to hegemony. But, maybe the sheep in the field are too content to become more than sheep. We have a lot more power than Blah. Come one, are we men? Or are we mice? (Sorry Tamar, would you like to clarify your stance?)

Philip Nobile said...

Just one ATR chapter is smallball! Rubber roomers had elected reps in all nine spots.
ATRs deserve chapters in each borough. But let's face it, short of immolation or hunger strike Mulgrew will never do the right thing for us.

James Eterno said...

Phillip we are basing the request on the way other Functional Chapters are structured by the UFT Constitution.

Philip Nobile said...

James, I did not know your constitutional ground for establishing an ATR chapter. It's always good co-opt the UFT when you can. But I can dream of borough chapters, can't I? Our fallback position could be the rubber room model. Our elected reps were not full-blown. They were called liaisons and met with the big boys every month at 52. It might be harder for Mulgrew to spit on a previous Randi arrangement for an even lesser caste of members.

Anonymous said...

Is the purpose of #3 to enable more testing?

James Eterno said...

Phillip I want full voting rights for ATRs. No liaisons. Structure for a Functional Chapter is one Chapter Leader and as many Delegates as we are entitled to.

Francesco Portelos said...

Ridiculous. I haven't seen a weekly chapter leader newsletter since I was chapter leader.

We need to scan the room and hold the reps who vote down these resolutions accountable. Can anyone give us names? I want to cross reference their names with the UFT payroll and somehow inform their constituents.

More of a reason now to push forward with Citywide ATR coalition meeting on November 11th. See for more info.

James Eterno said...

I agree Francesco we need to organize quickly.

Francesco Portelos said...

It would cost UFT nothing to allow for ATR chapter leaders and delegates... Nothing but lost votes... Oh wait a minute.

James Eterno said...

I think there is a strong chance Unity would lose the chapter election and have to deal with a non-Unity ATR chapter that was huge. They will fight that with all they have. This is about power and nothing else to them.

They proved again today they are all for any democracy that the leadership can control.

James Eterno said...

One more point before I go to sleep: I welcome the Unity trolls coming on here and justifying this vote.

Philip Nobile said...

James, I prefer full voting rights, too, but that's pie in the sky with a puncher like Mulgrew. Let's not go down in flames. We should be ready to call the UFT's bluff on the rubber room model. The answer may still be no, but we can use Unity's shocking to the conscience rejection of democracy in next election.

Anonymous said...

No Borough liaisons please. We want to vote at DA.

ed notes online said...

I hear the next DA is Nov. 18 - Tuesday. If ATRs showed their strength at that DA to challenge the Unity slugs going in and coming out on their vote that would be a show. How about asking delegates to sign a petition calling for an ATR chapter? Let them say NO to your face. If you can get say a lot of signatures over a few DAs you may have a case for forcing this on the agenda. MORE can try to get some troops out to assist.

Philip Nobile said...

In October 2011, after LeRoy Barr told Brookyn ATRs that they didn’t really want chapter status, I pressed the issue in an email survey of 22 Brooklyn UFT reps: “If you were an ATR, would you prefer to have a chapter with a leader and delegate(s) looking out for your interests via regular borough chapter leader meetings and Delegate Assemblies, or not? Explain.” Only Pat Atia replied: “Don't make ATRs a permanent, separate group. Does that mean you would have different rights-- a different contract from classroom teachers? Remember what happened to the ed evaluators. It is not a good idea.”

Atia was prophetic. In the new contract we are now a permanent group with separate rights to expedited 3020a hearings for “problematic” conduct. And all this went down without
ATR reps! Mulgrew’s resistance will die only if we embarrass him with occupation at 52 Broadway. His anti-democratic stand will not survive major public exposure

Anonymous said...

This is taxation without representation. UFT (Unity) is HAPPY to take dues from us---our money's as good as anyone else's to fund their lavish meetings and jaunts---but we don't deserve representation like all other teachers? The UFT should be sued, big-time, for discrimination. Furthermore, since the vast majority of ATRs are over 50, let's add age discrimination to the mix.