Monday, September 19, 2016


For the first time since 2007, tonight's UFT Executive Board meeting will include representatives not endorsed by Michael Mulgrew and Randi Weingarten's Unity Caucus. I am going to the meeting to show support to the seven high school reps from MORE-NEW ACTION.

If there is anything of great significance that is raised, we will certainly report on it but sometimes the most interesting part of the meeting is the food. We can pretty much count on reports from Arthur Goldstein who is now on the Board and Norm Scott.

Report from Meeting
Food was just some wraps. What a letdown.

On a positive note, MORE-NEW ACTION came prepared. Four rank and file members used the open mic to all speak against abusive supervisors (one was primarily there for a Chapter Election complaint but there is a vacancy due to an abusive principal).

All want the union to be more aggressive in going after administrators who get away with treating UFT members horribly.

One of the new high school reps asked about ATRs. Amy Arundel said there were fewer ATRs.

President Michael Mulgrew appeared to give the President's Report. School opening ok. Some schools had to shelter in because of suspicious packages today. No new ATR agreement but fewer ATRs. Negotiating for a new evaluation system. We want authentic assessments in evaluations. Small cities lost a lawsuit. Might make meeting CFE goals tougher on funding. NYC high school graduation rate at 70% for first time ever.

There were some reports from districts on events. Paul Egan gave a legislative report saying the UFT did very well on primary day. He talked about turnout and importance of electing Hillary Clinton.

There was a resolution on streamlining the process to start Career and Technical schools. It passed without opposition.

MORE and NEW ACTION raised a resolution (see below) for the UFT to identify and work to remove from schools abusive administrators. Mike Schirtzer motivated it. He said we have abusive administrators. Some only have two years teaching experience. Principals have incentives to hire junior people through fair student funding. It is a serious issue. Must use any means available to get administrators removed if majority of staff says for two years in a row the administrator is abusive.

Leroy Barr moved to table and then made a speech which is improper.  A motion to table is not debatable.

Chair Howie Schoor allowed MORE to respond.

Marcus McArthur from MORE spoke about a principal creating a toxic learning environment when he was a new teacher. Must do what we can to combat administrators in schools like that.

Howie Schoor after Unity voted to table said that principals have a union and collective bargaining rights too.

Resolution to Use School Survey to Identify and Remove Abusive Administrators
Whereas, UFT members in many chapters are working in fear because of abusive administrators; and

Whereas, too many UFT members are being given unfair adverse ratings by autocratic supervisors; and

Whereas, many administrators have very little experience in the classroom and are provided with a blue-print by superintendents and Department of Education lawyers to remove veteran and new teachers; and

Whereas, our working conditions are our students' learning conditions so when a UFT member is being unfairly treated it has a direct negative impact on students' learning environment; and

Whereas teachers have a limited opportunity to anonymously express their concerns about principals through the New York City School Survey Report, including whether “I feel respected by the principal at this school” and “I trust the principal/school leader at his/her word” and “The principal at this school is an effective manager”;

Resolved, that the UFT will publish the name of any school administrator in email updates, social media, the print and online versions of the New York Teacher and a press release the names of any administrator who receive less than a 50% favorable rating on the NYC School Survey Report from UFT members or when there is a chapter vote of no confidence in that administrator; and be it further

Resolved, that the UFT will use any means available to pressure the Department of Education to remove from a school any administrator who receives two years of unfavorable ratings from their staff.


Anonymous said...

ATRs shouldn't be evaluated on anything other than time and attendance - the UFT has said so in the past. If there is to be anything else the UFT should have input from ATRs. How is the UFT defining ATRs and where are the demographics? CTE schools need to iniated immediately - these kids need jobs, not expensive colleges that toss them out after a couple of years with nothing.

Jeff Kaufman said...

While it is rare that I actually agree with Unity, tabling this motion was the right thing to do. In fact it should never have been raised. Allowing a survey to determine placement of a principal or supervisor is as misguided for principals as it would be for teachers (which would become a reality in the next contract). Our Union should be forced to take seriously members concerns about abusive principals and take affirmative steps to reassign them by showing they are abusive. The survey tactic is proposed out of weakness. Let's argue for a contract provision which shows how a principal is being abusive and allows our Union to submit to arbitration. While both provisions are probably violative of the Taylor Law let's not support a tactic which not only could be used against us but is not supported by evidence.

James Eterno said...

We have that already Jeff in Chancellor's Regulation C-33 which can be used in arbitration via Article 20. Point is a strong union would make reigning in abusive supervisors a priority. I think a vote of no confidence should trigger the process.

Anonymous said...

Our union is so corrupt. It is unfortunate members did not have a choice as far as opting out of the union. What is the difference in price between a dues paying member and an agency fee payer? There should be a movement to decertify the union.

ed notes online said...

Jeff has a point on the surveys which are often tainted by principal involvement who tells the staff bad results will lead to punishing the school. I think turnover rates are a clue but also chapters should be given a hearing at the UFT to lodge their complaints and trigger a UFT investigation. I think the reso must go further. There must be a significant portion of a staff willing to take action even if behind the scenes to protect themselves. The very act of a UFT investigation would cause principals to get nervous esp if publicized.

Anonymous said...

Actaully jeff did not read or refer to the "chapter vote of no confidence"

Unitymustgo! said...

I would like to know more about what the union is asking for in the negotiations over evaluation. I have zero faith that anyone in Unity especially Mulgrew understand anything at all about what would actually be better. History has proven how out of touch leaderships is on the evaluation issue. I do not accept that just because negotiations are closed door that no information at all is communicated to members. Why can't we be told what WE ARE ASKING FOR? WHAT OUR POSITIONS ARE? Fine, don't tell me about the city's responses, but WE ALL DESERVE TO UNDERSTAND OUR UNIONS POSITIONS! How about at least a lame survey asking members about their issues and what they would like to see? The union loves surveys for anything that's trivial, but for real stuff nothing? My CL meeting is tomorrow and I absolutely intend to call out Unity over this issue regardless of consequences. I'm just plain fed up with their frivolous and cavalier attitude towards members and the really important issues.

ed notes online said...

Good deal Unity Must Go -- it is time for everyone to go to the monthly district rep meetings and not let them run roughshod over people. Call them out every time and soon you will find others -- even some low-level Unity people - joining you. Make those meetings yours, not theirs.

Anonymous said...

Unitymustgo is 100% right! I agree with everything this person wrote. My ONLY concern regarding teaching right now is evaluations and this has been the case for the past 2 years since all of these changes were going to be put into place. I am a tenured teacher with over 15 years experience in NYC. However, I am observed at a minimum of 4 times a year due to Advance. Tenured teachers who were rated "effective" in their prior year should have at a maximum one formal and one informal observation as required by NYS law. This is what the law says. I don't even care if one of those observations is done by an outside evaluator. To me, it is a numbers game. I feel like with 4 observations that I am under a microscope. If NYS law says that only two observations are required, then that is exactly what the UFT should demand. If tenured teachers get more than the minimum required observations as required by NYS law, I will demand that the UFT tells me what the city put on the table, and what the UFT put on the table. Anybody want to chime in on this?

Anonymous said...

UFT couldn't care less how many observations you have. Mulgrew said that the days of shutting the classroom door and teaching are over. He helped write the evaluation system.

Anonymous said...

I also wouldn't expect anything truly positive from this new evaluation. Like the previous poster said, Mulgrew could care less about the rank and file teacher and evals, just like most admins could care less about the students their teachers teach every single day. The twisted irony in all that of course is that Mulgrew probably thinks he's a real labor leader and most admins might actually regard themselves as people who help kids. Can I stop laughing now! Teachers need to face the facts. As simple as I make it sound and without using contract or ed. political jargon, nothing is going to change with this system or with our union. Sad? Absolutely, but many of you know it's the truth. What James and others do with blogs and union matters is a passion I only wish I had, but sadly, I don't. I thank all of them for what they have taught me over the many years I have been reading them. I still want to be informed. I do however have a passion once I close that "door" and teach. It's taken me many years (23 years in the system) about half in the "old system" and half in this "new" one to finally accept what this system has become and will remain for the next 15 - 20 years whether it be for good or bad, for general peace of mind or the feeling of morning dread. That is a work space where it all comes down to who one works for and who one teaches. That unfortunately is the truth in a "nutshell".

Anonymous said...

Here is one thought: Since the CSA and UFT are in cahoots, I have a feeling that many admins are not fans of doing 4-6 observations for each teacher that they have. (That adds up to hundreds of observations each year and a ton of paperwork. Admins can still kill a teacher with just a couple of observations. Thus, maybe we will see less observations after all.

Anonymous said...

Let the looting begin. Upstanding citizens...