Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I never dreamed I would be nostalgic for old Board of Education rules but after seeing what the UFT has negotiated in the new evaluation system where they want more observations for teachers than the state requires, I thought it would be a good idea to look back to the rules before the 2013-14 school year when the last new evaluation system went into effect.

We learned from Arthur Goldstein's report from last night's Executive Board meeting that the UFT has no intention of reducing the required number of observations. According to Arthur, UFT Personnel Specialist Amy Arundell said the following:

We're not interested in reducing number of for stakes observations. Principals are. Does everyone remember drive bys with S and U? We wanted to overrule people giving judgments based on little data.

As usual, the UFT does not present a complete picture. First of all, someone had to be rated based on formal observations under the old system so drive bys alone could not lead to an adverse rating. We dealt with this successfully through the grievance process at Jamaica High School.

What were the minimum number of observations in the old Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory system?

This is from the Office of Appeals and Reviews. It is page 4 of the old Rating Pedagogical Staff Members guide.

Please note the minimum number of observations for tenured teachers in the districts was one per year and it was the same for high school teachers on maximum.

There was even wording in there to make sure teachers who were in danger of receiving adverse ratings were observed more often.

For teachers with special needs it said, "As many additional observations as are needed should be made for teachers who have particular needs and for any teacher whose performance is less than satisfactory."

That simple safeguard could have been put into the new evaluation agreement instead of 20 pages of "legaleze" favoring management that the UFT agreed to put in with double the number of observations than the state mandates.

One observation from administration in the school and one from an independent outside evaluator is all that is required in the state law and it is what so many teacher unions and their superintendents are agreeing to in New York State outside of NYC.

If I was negotiating, I could have negotiated this in about a minute and a half so that the vast majority of teachers in NYC would be having two observations per year but teachers in danger of adverse Measures of Teacher Practice ratings could have more. It's that simple.

I wonder where the incompetence starts and the malevolence towards teachers ends with UFT leadership.


Anonymous said...

Mike Mulgrew wed Emma Camacho Mendez. Imagine the negotiating leverage for the mayor and governor resulting from that Mulgrew transgression/sexual relationship in an NYC high school!

Anonymous said...

More or the cover/corruption.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew is telling his union he's staying put and has shrugged off charges in a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled teacher that says Mulgrew was caught having sex with a guidance counselor in a wood shop at a Brooklyn high school and the city and union covered it up.

The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed by math teacher Andrew Ostrowsky. The teacher, from Frank Sinatra High School in Queens, reportedly believes he is being targeted for firing.

Mulgrew -- a Staten Islander who has held the reins of the city's teachers' union for the past three years -- is accused in the federal lawsuit of having sex with the guidance counselor in William E. Grady High School in 2005, when both were employed there.

The suit also charges that the United Federation of Teachers offered labor concessions to City Hall in an attempt to cover up the alleged Mulgrew tryst.

But in a letter to UFT members, Mulgrew, 47, of Oakwood, who became president in 2009, called the claims "absurd" and "without ... proof."

National United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who headed the union here at the time of the alleged incident, said the charges are "utterly baseless in fact."

The suit names Mulgrew, the UFT, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Ostrowsky's suit, which identifies the guidance counselor as Emelina Camacho-Mendez, alleges that Ms. Weingarten, who was grooming Mulgrew to take over for her, buckled on union demands to keep things hush-hush.

Ms. Camacho-Mendez is currently a full-time union employee.

UFT borough representative Emil Pietromonaco declined comment but forwarded an e-mail Mulgrew sent to members that says, in part: "The UFT has been sued in federal court in a lawsuit that charges, among other things, that the New York state Legislature, Mayor Bloomberg, the schools chancellor and the union have been engaged in a multi-year secret pact to reduce the rights of teachers. The lawsuit names myself ... Weingarten and features false and absurd claims of a wide-ranging conspiracy and personal misconduct without stating any actual proof of either."

Mulgrew called the suit "frivolous" and "unworthy of serious consideration," adding: "When an organization like ours strongly defends the public schools, their students and its members, our opponents will seize on any opportunity to make teachers and their union a target."

During an appearance on the Island yesterday, Walcott deflected questions about the suit, saying: "I understand there's pending litigation, and I'm mentioned in that litigation, so I can't comment at this particular point."

Mulgrew is up for re-election as president next year.

A one-time carpenter, Mulgrew began his teaching career as a substitute in Brooklyn in 1990. He worked his way up through the ranks of the UFT, holding the posts of vice president for career and technical education high schools and chief operating officer before becoming president.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Mulgrew hid or covered up his marriage to Emma Camacho Mendez.

This is an outrageous Peversion of justice!

Anonymous said...

So that's what Bloomberg had over him. I knew it was something. So 80,000 of us got screwed by Bloomberg because Mulgrew was to cheap to get a motel room for his screwing. If it was one of us we'd be fired.

James Eterno said...

Did this lawsuit go anywhere? I don't believe so. In 2005, Mulgrew was a chapter leader who had not yet risen to VP of Career and Technical Schools. There is much more to our downfall than Mulgrew's love life that most of us couldn't care less about.The only part that is relevant is the union's patronage system which is almost totally based on complete loyalty to Unity Caucus.

Anonymous said...

What is the most disturbing piece for me is Amy stating that the UFT was uninterested in reducing observations for stakes!! Insinuating that it holds administrators accountable. Seriously there is no accountability for incompetent and abusive principals. The UFT basically agreed to institutional harassment of teachers. Evaluation does not equal support for improving a teachers pedagogy. How out of touch are they?

Anonymous said...

Way out of touch.

Anonymous said...

Go to one of those open mikes at the UFT, (James, can you inform us of the procedure?) and tell the UFT how you feel. We pay them. If they keep running the operation the way they have been, it's simply not going to be around much longer. At least you can purge yourself of some of the frustration and maybe, one in a billion shot, open someone's eyes. Don't be afraid, what can they do that they haven't done? Nothing. The UFT has become completely incompetent by protecting, not their membership but, their Unity party and the upper eschelon of that party.

Anonymous said...

If union dues become voluntary, how will this affect past, present, and future pensions? If there is a smaller or non existent union, how would this affect pensions?

Anonymous said...

When I read the new evaluation system right before Christmas, I literally was sick to my stomach. For the first time in years, the UFT had the ball in their court. What did they do? They sold us out in a way that is unfathomable to the rank and file. Every single teacher I know wants the 2 observations that are mandated by NYS law. The majority of school districts surrounding the 5 boroughs is going with 2 observations for tenured teachers. Heck, I bet the CSA even would prefer 2 observations for tenured teachers as it would reduce their paperwork. I was thinking that maybe non-Unity chapter leaders from each school in NYC can start a petition stating that we prefer 2 observations. Even if the UFT does not heed our call, they need to know how furious the rank and file are right not. The UFT also needs to be reminded that they are more vulnerable right now than ever before since they are one supreme court case away from being wiped off the map. They better start to listen to us or they will be gone. What say you guys about starting a petition? (The rag newspapers would love to see us bitch at our very union that has been throwing our dues money around)

Anonymous said...

Pensions pre-exist the union.

Anonymous said...

Pensions can only be changed by NYS constitutional convention. (Which is a battle we will face next year) I, agree with the poster above that the UFT selling us out by having 4 observations instead of the NYS required minimum of 2 is disgusting. Not a bad idea on the petition.

Francesco Portelos said...


"A company or "yellow" union is a worker organization which is dominated or influenced by an employer, and is therefore not an independent trade union. Company unions are contrary to international labour law (see ILO Convention 98, article 2). They were outlawed in the United States by the 1935 National Labor Relations Act §8(a)(2), due to their use as agents for interference with independent unions. Company unions persist in many countries, particularly with authoritarian governments.

Some labor organizations are accused by rival unions of behaving like "company unions" if they are seen as having too close and cordial a relationship with the employer, even though they may be recognized in their respective jurisdictions as bona fide trade unions.[1]"

Anonymous said...

We want our 2 observations! Hear it and hear it now UFT! If you want our dues, show us the respect that NYS law has provided for us by allowing 2 observations. I can't believe we are begging our own union to give us what NYS said we can have. It is almost like the UFT is a wall keeping our peace of mind out of reach. Disgusted, 100% disgusted with my union.

Anonymous said...

Me too.

Anonymous said...

Justice is coming Mulgrew.
Frederichs was born from Union fat cats just like you who are corrupt and couldn't care less about their membership. Many of us, the informed membership, hope you end up back in the woodshop where you can whittle away the remainder of your years.