This is directly from the Minutes of the last UFT Executive Board meeting held on April 4, 2016. This section of President Michael Mulgrew's report concerns an increase in funding for charter schools in the NYS budget. According to the President, charter schools getting more funding was a huge win for the UFT.
The only increase for charter schools came directly from the pot of money Senate Republicans are allowed to spend. It did not come out of the city’s funding or education. That was a huge victory for us. Initially the charter schools were declaring victory until they realized that all they got was money from the pocket of Senate Republicans to pay for their increase. We represent close to over 2 dozen unionized charter schools that get caught in the middle of all of this. There was actually a proposal that said these chains can take over the schools we have unionized. Some of the charter schools have become more and more outspoken against these chains. In terms of the Republicans we will make sure all their constituents know that they took their own money and gave it to charter schools they don’t represent and didn’t give it to children in their own districts.
Am I to understand that if charter schools get more funding and it comes at the expense of public schools outside of New York City then it is a big victory for the UFT? Maybe I am missing something here.
No mention from our leader that in the state budget funding for NYC public schools came in about $3 billion short of what the state owes us for about a decade. Here is the last paragraph of our state budget report from April 2:
On funding, Chalkbeat NY says schools will get around a $1.5 billion increase from Albany but they also point out that the state owes $4.4 billion according to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit settlement. By my math they are roughly $3 billion short. The Gap Elimination Adjustment is gone but should have gone years ago. In addition, at the last minute a huge increase in charter school funding was inserted in the budget. Even Cuomo apologist Andy Pallotta from NYSUT was unhappy calling it a "radical last-minute change" according to Chalkbeat.
Add to the funding shortage that there were no changes to Cuomo's abominable Education Transformation Act of 2015 so test and punish education is alive and well in New York State. Teachers will still be rated on student test scores and schools will be placed into receivership where they can be taken over by the state and teachers dismissed based on the results on tests not designed to rate teachers or schools. The State Education Department is now trying to figure out which different unreliable tests to use to rate teachers if they can't use the Common Core tests for three more years. AP and SAT exams were not constructed for teacher evaluations as far as I know but they are being considered.
These inconvenient little facts are not part of Mulgrew's report because remember the UFT never loses. Only the members suffer defeat after defeat after defeat under Mulgrew/Unity. Ask anyone who works in a school and isn't on the UFT gravy train if conditions in the schools are improving. The best way to respond right now is to spread the word and then vote for MORE-NEW ACTION in the UFT election in May.