Wednesday, December 16, 2015

LIVE BLOGGING FROM DA (updated and cleaned up a little)

President's Report
Friedrichs Supreme Court arguments in January. Retirees going.

Chapter leader stipends in mail. Stipend went up.

School closings:
We have been closing schools for decades. Our problem was with Bloomberg.  For years, we have closed schools. Farina says we are closing three schools for lack of enrollment. Enrollment is up citywide but schools are in industrial areas. Can't argue for a school to stay open with 50 kids in it.

Do we need all the schools that have been opened in recent years?

Renewal Schools:
UFT has a school visit app. We are averaging over 100 school visits a day. Many more visits in renewal schools. Getting supports for teachers. 40% of schools on track with plans. 25% in the middle. The rest are not following plan put together by school communities. That is a concern.

Problem with ICT classes. Not implemented correctly in our view. Deputy chancellor says there aren't problems. UFT has online survey sent to Delegates on this issue. Mulgrew doing surveys now with Delegates.

After Delegates did survey (some did not receive it), Mulgrew continued by talking about school breakfast. 70% of breakfast is thrown out uneaten.  Pilot breakfast in the classroom last year. This year 300 more schools. DOE did not follow strict procedures like in last year's pilot so now it is a disaster. Expired food and frozen pancakes served. UFT told DOE of issues. 8% of students in transitional housing. We want them to get food.

Terrorist threat Tuesday:
Constant communication between city, DOE and UFT.
We will not disparage LA for closing schools yesterday .

Resolution supporting Chicago teachers and backing their strike authorization vote will come up later. We will need to support LA too as they are trying to make half the schools charters.

Every Student Succeeds Act:
No Child Left Behind needed fixing. Agreement that there should be as few federal mandates as possible to please Republicans. Democrats want Title 1. NCLB basically says all schools are failures. Race to the Top was a way to get waivers from NCLB. Political chessboard changed. AFT insisted on keeping Title 1. We wanted to change from test and punish to helpful accountability. Schools get credit for art and music. Tests needed to show states are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

ESSA a big win. President saying the right things on education now.
Major gains in a year. We went to war last year. State people here last December working on strategies to fight back. We were ready because of our fights with the last two mayors.

Governor's commission:
Common Core has low polling. Union had people on commission who heard our issues. (A voice says it was the opt out movement; Mulgrew says he won't respond.) Process must include teachers to fix things.

Political chessboard in Albany is about very little as politicians aren't talking a lot. We are pushing for funding from CFE settlement to lower class sizes. Election year without people talking to each other.

Governor tried to kill us quickly in the last year. Still a tough situation because of Friedrichs. However, now state scores on standardized tests can't be used in evaluations. He thanked a NYC teacher, Ms Hazlewood, who briefly addressed the Delegates.

Survey results:
Most ICT teachers are not covered if absent. 2 out of 3 get common planning time. Most do not get professional development. There's more but I could not keep up.

We are still dealing with culture that says principal can do whatever he/she wants.

Staff Director's Report:
Leroy Barr thanked Mulgrew and Randi Weingarten for work on ESSA and gave some dates of events.

Question Period:
Q What's up with common core?
A State developing standards with teachers.

Q What's going on in Albany with two of three men in a room going to jail?
A Albany will be tough this year. Don't expect much up there.

Q 8 periods of math for ICT classes but only Co-teacher there for 5.
A IEP says math should be ICT. That does not mean just 5 periods.

Q Cell phones a problem.
A School Leadership Team makes school cell phone policy.

Q Are renewal schools getting what they need?
A There should be no such thing as a failing school.
Kids need to be educated. We're staying on top of these schools.

Q Test scores in evaluations
A State Board of Regents says growth scores can't be used to evaluate teachers. Regents exams in high schools still count for students.

Q Do ineffective ratings from last year hold based on test scores of students?
A Yes but there are very few of them. Need to expand what constitutes student learning.

Q What happens to local measures in evaluations?
A Local measures in place. Do we want to make 20% student learning and 80% up to the principal?

Motion Period:
Janella Hinds presented a compromise reolution on receivership between the two caucuses. The UFT clearly opposes receivership. Receivership is when schools are taken over by an appointed receiver and the collective bargaining rights, including seniority, are done away with.

The resolution was for next month's agenda. Mulgrew asked for another speaker in favor after Hinds finished.  This is a violation of the rules. I would not budge and my colleague Mindy Rosier had to leave early so I was left to be the speaker against a resolution I had a hand in writing.

I said it was a process where I hadn't seen the final version until earlier today.

I then told the DA I had no problem with the resolution being introduced but it had to be amended to have real teeth in it. I pointed out that Mulgrew said in his report that we can't do much in Albany this year but my position is we have to get rid of the Education Transformation Act (horrible NYS law passed last April that in part is about receivership) to end receivership.

That should be in the resolution and that should be an important UFT- NYSUT legislative priority. Without a push to repeal the law, this resolution is virtually meaningless as the Board of Regents make regulations to enforce state law. The Legislature makes the laws.

I will pick up on this issue next month as I really was ok with it coming to the floor. It needs to be toughened up however.

The next motion was for next month to support Chicago teachers in their contract fight. They have called for strike authorization.  It carried easily.

I missed the rest of the meeting as there was a family matter I had to take care of. Sorry about that and for any errors I may have made in writing this on my smartphone.


Anonymous said...

how much are chapter leader stipends? also, is there anyone to complain to regarding effectiveness of chapter leaders outside of the school level?

Anonymous said...

"Our problem was with Bloomberg". Our problem is with you, Mulgrew.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 8:41:00 PM, There are minimums for small schools and maximums for large ones, but for the rest the per member stipend went from $5 to $6. About half of my stipend goes for parking and tolls to attend the 10 DA/Citywide CL Meeting at 52 Broadway.

Didn't you have chapter elections in May/June? Is this a brand new chapter leader? If not, why didn't members vote the ineffective chapter leader out?

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Anonymous said...

Its time for Mandatory Mulgrew to go. Here's hoping to an end of dues and a real union to be formed.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have asked about all these criminal principals being left in their positions. What's Mandatory Mulgrew say about that? A teacher is vilified and then awarded a six figure settlement and the principal remains in her position torturing teachers? The dude at Clinton HS who closed schools with Bloomberg is working up a sweat (doing heaven knows what), taking showers in his office, and is changing grades. There's lots of these principals making teachers lives miserable and pushing kids into society who can bearly read, write, or add. Why is Farina allowing this and why isn't Mulgrew doing anything about it? He gave DeBlasio our raises on a silver platter, shouldn't we get something besides unsafe schools?

Anonymous said...

What about the outside evaluators and only two observations next year? Is this still on? (I hope it is!)

Anonymous said...

It's on for next year.

Bronx ATR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

What about the outside evaluators and only two observations next year? Is this still on?

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