Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Tonight the Panel for Educational Policy (de Blasio-Farina's rubber stamps) will be voting on whether to close JHS 145 and let Eva Moskowitz take over their space to expand her Success Academy charter school empire. The resistance to the closing of 145 has been strong and is getting more robust. They have been led by Jim Donahue, a teacher from the school. JHS 145 has some important allies including Public Advocate Letitia James who says it is the Department of Education and not the schools that should be held accountable.

Read at Ed Notes how the 145 supporters are using the zoning law to stop the closure. This one looks like it is heading for court.

It is also great to see how the MORE reps on the UFT Executive Board pushed for a stronger UFT stand against the hostile takeover JHS 145 space by Eva (see the resolution and UFT-Unity response below). MORE didn't totally succeed as Unity watered down the resolution of support but our folks made their points very well. Executive Board Chair Howie Schoor actually followed the rules in alternating between speakers for and against in debate on the issue. See how easy it is President Mulgrew.

Meanwhile, in a totally unrelated story, KIPP is suing the UFT at a conversion charter school. A conversion school is one that previously belonged to the DOE but was converted to a charter. Conversion charter schools are supposed to stay as union schools.

Here is some background and part of the argument that KIPP is using as reported in Chalkbeat:

KIPP Academy is a “conversion” charter school, an unusual arrangement in which a traditional public school morphs into a charter. The UFT argues that under state law its conversion status means its staff is covered by the contract that governs traditional public schools.

KIPP’s lawsuit, on the other hand, argues that its teachers never voted for union representation, and before now “other than collecting union dues from KIPP teachers and staff, the UFT never carried out any representative functions in relation to them.”

Collecting dues and not carrying out any representative functions? My guess is many of the readers of this blog would conclude that this argument applies to teachers in the public schools too. For the record I would not agree.

The MORE resolution and Unity response on JHS 145:

Whereas Junior High School 145 is a school serving a low-income, immigrant community in the Bronx with 20% of the students living in homeless shelters or temporary housing; 21% have learning disabilities, 18% have gone extended periods of their lives without any education at all and over 40% English Language Learners, but has only one full-time ELL teacher,

Whereas JHS 145 was designated a renewal school by NYC DOE two and a half years ago, but has yet to receive all the services its students were promised under that program,
Whereas JHS 145 has been forced to give up their classrooms, computer labs and other resources to a Success Academy charter school,
Whereas Success Academy charter school has already advertised additional seats for the 2017/18 school year in JHS 145,
Whereas there has been no stability in school leadership, with three principals in recent years, including one that plead guilty to attempted grand larceny and paid $21,080.83 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.
 Be it resolved that UFT take a public stance against the closing of JHS 145 by organizing and mobilizing with the chapter, parents, and community for a march and rally at DOE headquarters to pressure Chancellor Farina into halting the closure.
Be it further resolved that the UFT will adjourn the March 22nd Delegate Assembly at 5:30pm and encourage all delegates to attend the Panel For Education Policy in order to voice our opposition to the closing of JHS 145.

UFT Staff Director and leader of Unity caucus Leroy Barr spoke in favor of the resolution, but amended the two resolveds. The version that passed includes all the "whereas", but only has one resolved:

Be it resolved that the UFT will continue to take a public stance against the closing of JHS 145.
Barr assured MORE/NA that he will urge delegates at the DA to attend the PEP during his report and there will UFT officers at the PEP.


Pat said...

Beginning With Children 1 was a conversion charter school. When BWCCS II was opened in another building, it was not unionized. The people who ran the plant worked hard to break the union, even by pulling their foundation out from under them. The DOE located them in my PS building for a year and then closed them down. The union didn't fight too hard for them before, during or after.


Michael Fiorillo said...

The KIPP story is a tough one. As a general rule, I always assume so-called reformers are lying whenever their lips move or they put words to paper. That's especially so when dealing with TFA, KIPP or Success Academy, who lie about absolutely everything.

On the other hand, that part about the UFT providing no representation for KIPP teachers sounds just about right.

Anonymous said...

Unity is corrupt and useless.