Friday, June 30, 2017


The ICEUFT blog crystal ball saw the futue accurately as mayoral control lives on for two years despite not having much support from the public.

This is from ABC 7:

New York lawmakers have approved a two-year extension of mayoral control of public schools in New York City.

The state Senate passed the bill 48-2, which amends various laws including mayoral control and county sales taxes.

The state Assembly approved the bill in a 115-to-15 vote just after 1 a.m.

The bill extends local sales taxes, includes $55 million for upstate New York communities affected by recent floods and reduces the state's take from a struggling upstate racetrack casino. It also renames the new Tappan Zee Bridge after the late Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Once the county sales taxes were linked to control of the NYC schools, it did not take much vision to see this was going to get done.

The big losers in the continuation of a nayoral dictatorship over NYC schools are the teachers, parents and students in NYC schools. So what else is new?

As for charter schools, this is what Poltico NY said:

It is not entirely clear what charters received in the deal on Thursday. Flanagan called the deal “responsible, and hinted at wins for the charter school sector in his statement. De Blasio acknowledged some concessions, but would not elaborate, and charter school advocates did not immediately comment on an alleged deal between the Department of Education and the charter sector on new benefits for charter students. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said only that the extension will “give our educational system stability and allow our school children to thrive.”

What were the "concessions"?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Just in case teachers needed another reason to despise Governor Andrew Cuomo, it looks like the Governor is now trying to be the savior of mayoral dictatorship of New York City schools.

This is from the NY Times:

ALBANY — Acting to avert a leadership crisis in New York City’s schools amid a legislative stall in the Capitol, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo intends to call a special session of the State Legislature as early as Wednesday and introduce a bill that would extend mayoral control of the city’s educational system for one year.

The session would be focused on granting Mayor Bill de Blasio another year of control over the city’s schools and their 1.1 million students, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations. The law giving the mayor that power expires after Friday.

It is frustrating that the politicians are going out of their way to save something as unpopular and undemocratic as mayoral control.

Monday, June 26, 2017


One of the rewards for messing up the public schools in NYC is that new opportunities are always available.

This came from Jeff Kaufman this morning.


The America-Israel Friendship League announced on Sunday that Joel Klein will serve as its new president.

Klein replaces Kenneth J. Bialkin, who has served as both chairman and president of the organization since 2013. Bialkin will remain as AIFL chairman of the board, a position he has held since 1995. Klein is currently the chief policy and strategy officer at Oscar Health, and he previously served as chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, where he oversaw more than 1,600 schools, with 1.1 million students, 136,000 employees and a $22-billion budget.

“I am honored to join AIFL, an organization that does so much to broaden public knowledge of, and support for, Israel,” Klein said.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


One of the unwritten rules in the Unity Caucus (ruling political party of the UFT) "handbook" is to never ever admit an error in public unless it is a year or two or three after something happens and then only to prove that Unity has improved things because of a mistake they may have made a year or two or three ago which really wasn't a mistake.

Gene Mann is a retired teacher who is an organizer for the UFT. He is a decent guy but he touts the Unity line word for word. Gene writes an online piece called The Organizer which we have quoted on a number of occasions. It is one of the places where sometimes we can discover some Unity thinking. This week's version was astounding as Gene puts in writing that he didn't handle a situation well. He then publishes a letter from UFT Middle School Vice President Rich Mantell calling for real solidarity. In over two decades of activism, I have never seen two pieces like the ones below from anyone in Unity Caucus.

From the June 27, 2017 Organizer:

Be Sure To Read
I publish the letter below from Rich Mantell, UFT Vice President for Middle Schools partially to reproach myself.
         Specifically there was a disturbing incident recently at one of “my” schools.  A teacher received a vile and threatening, anti-semitic challenge from a student.  The school, instead of supporting the teacher and seeking appropriate discipline for the student, turned it all around.  The fault was all the teacher’s-poorly formatted lesson plans, no doubt.  The priority was keeping knowledge of the incident from coming to the District Representative.  The teacher was upbraided in front of the principal by some of her colleagues at an ad hoc department meeting.  They were no doubt scoring points with the principal while ganging up on their fellow.  Two teachers who refused to participate in this group assault passed the word on to me.  I took it up with the Chapter Leader alone.  I didn’t even talk to the affected teacher, who clearly didn’t want to. The day after my visit the good guys were questioned by the principal: How did Gene Mann find out what had occurred?
         Connect the dots.
         On my next and last visit to the school I should have ripped into the sycophants.  I demurred, telling myself I would only be causing more harm to the “upstanders,” as we call them in the anti-bullying work I do for Child Abuse Prevention Services on Long Island.  I have regretted my reticence.  Then, I was privileged to read this on FaceBook:
Dear Colleagues,
As professionals and union members, we must collectively fight these tactics but also seek to improve communication and relationships with supervisors. It’s not always possible, of course, because it takes two willing partners to form a healthy relationship.
Granted, teaching or working in a school is not a job for everyone. Every profession has those who, perhaps, are not suited for that particular career. However, no member deserves to be poorly treated at work, and, simply put, it should never happen nor should we accept it. We have protocols in place and a contract to help each other. An attack against one of us is an attack against all — that’s the basic premise of a union. By banding together, supporting each other, we can turn things around.
Unfortunately, some turn their heads.
Our members who have faced abusive work situations tell us that they didn’t start to panic until their colleagues ignored their plight or took the administrator’s side. That’s when they felt alone and isolated, began to hate going to work, became despairing and, sometimes, suffered physical illness. No one wants to be a pariah; it takes a terrible toll. I know of some who left a profession they loved rather than endure the situation.
Too often, administrators persuade other staff members to side with them, knowing full well the import of looking justified in their behavior. Too often, others want to curry favor with a superior. They kick someone who is down, instead of supporting them, to receive favor from a power-that-is.
Dr. Heinz Leymann, a Swedish psychologist, identified this concept as “mobbing,” or "psychological terror" by one or a few individuals toward another. Bad-mouthing, criticism, spreading rumors and ridicule are but a few examples of mobbing. Mobbing is led by an individual (a principal or other supervisor) who encourages others to abuse a victim. The target starts to question who he or she can and cannot trust — almost all relationships come into question.
Leymann concluded that, in many instances, mobbing victims are “damaged to such an extent that they can no longer accomplish their task ... at the end, they resign, are terminated or forced into early retirement.” Sound familiar?
It is bad enough to be the target of an administrator and, worse, to be mobbed as well. To help our colleagues survive these attacks, we must recognize this kind of bullying when we see it.
First, don’t take sides with your boss. Avoid gossiping with supervisors about colleagues. The only purpose is to manipulate you.
Second, if you see a colleague mistreated, stand up for him or her and push back. Don’t spread rumors or gossip. It’s just as easy to support your colleague as to attack him. Next time, you could be the subject of that nasty rumor.
Third, if you know a colleague is having a hard time, be a stand-up person. Let him or her know they are not alone. Help them fight back against that recalcitrant administrator. Remember the 1961 Ben E. King hit song, “Stand by Me”? Do just that — stand by your colleague.
If you need a better reason than compassion, unity and solidarity, remember this as well: Next time, it could be you who’s running scared, who needs a friend and who needs support. What goes around comes around: You’ll be glad to have the support of your colleagues just the way you supported them.
In solidarity,
Richard Mantell
UFT Vice President for Middle Schools

My guess is there will be a comment or two on how Unity people have used "mobbing" on those of us who do not agree with them and how President Michael Mulgrew curries favor with administration or politicians at our expense so Unity does not practice what they preach. In my neighborhood we call that hypocrisy but I would rather focus on the substance here and try holding all of us to this standard as we move ahead. Rich Mantell provides very good advice. 

Friday, June 23, 2017


We not so boldly predicted yesterday that there would be a deal on mayoral control of NYC schools soon. The Assembly linking the issue to sales taxes for many counties makes it almost certain that the Legislature will be back in Albany within a short period of time. Mayoral control's renewal may be almost upon us as Republicans have new alternate certification requirements for charter schools they can point to in order to claim victory for the charter schools. They got something.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will gets school control; the counties across New York State get their sales taxes and the Republicans get a victory on charter schools.

The losers will be the students and teachers in NYC schools. So what else is new?

This information comes from Politico NY:

New York City’s charter school sector appears to have secured a significant victory in the 11th hour of the Legislative session Wednesday night, with a set of regulations that will make it much easier for large charter networks to hire more uncertified teachers.

The new rules fulfill a major legislative priority for the city’s most powerful charter leader, Eva Moskowitz, and Success Academy, her 41-school network.

The regulations may also clear a path to a deal on extending mayoral control of New York City’s schools, assuming the Legislature reconvenes later this week or next week, since support for charters proved to be the key sticking point between Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats as they wrestled with an extension of school control.

Thanks to reading Ed Notes on this topic, there is another fact we should consider: Mayoral control is not popular.

Read the result of these Quinnipiac polls via Ed Notes that asked this question:
"Do you think the mayor should retain complete control of the public schools or share control of the public schools with other elected leaders?" 
Those are pretty strong numbers against mayoral control but the politicians will continue to ignore the public. Again, so what else is new?

Thursday, June 22, 2017


The State Legislature left Albany last night "for good" for the year. Therefore, mayoral control of NYC schools is dead as of June 30 and we will go back to having some checks and balances in the school system on July 1, right? Well maybe not.

While this blog believes the end of mayoral control should be seen as a positive development because a Board of Education with one member appointed by each of the borough presidents and two appointed by the mayor might bring some desperately needed integrity back to the school system, we are still very skeptical that this will last.

More likely, mayoral dictatorship over the schools is kind of like Freddy Kreuger: dead but not really dead.
Freddy Krueger.JPG

From Wikipedia:
In 2003, Freddy battled fellow horror icon Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th film series in the theatrical release Freddy vs. Jason, a film which officially resurrected both characters from their respective deaths and subsequently sent them to Hell. The ending of the film is left ambiguous as to whether or not Freddy is actually dead; despite being decapitated, he winks at the viewers.

The State Legislature and Governor Cuomo are kind of winking at us this morning on mayoral control dying at the end of the month.

We have reported on some of the waste under mayoral control and how useless NYC's school governance system is. However, the politicians love it as Ed Notes pointed out on Monday. Ed Notes, aka Norm Scott, also spoke about the issue on the radio yesterday. Community school boards, with their power curtailed by the 1996 law the school system would revert to in July if the Legislature does nothing, are nothing to fear but I don't see them being reconstructed. Since the Assembly tied mayoral control to other local non-NYC issues, expect a mayoral control resurrection very soon in a special legislative session.

Read between the lines of this Albany Times Union piece which includes Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie's statement on the end of the legislative session. Sales taxes in more than 50 New York State counties will expire later in the year because they were tied to the mayoral control bill the Assembly passed. The State Senate wants more charter schools in exchange for a renewal of mayoral control. This is a game of chicken. I can't see counties being denied their money. The ICEUFT Blog makes these not so bold predictions:

Mayoral control will only expire temporarily, if at all, as it did in 2009. Lawmakers will return to Albany in the near future for a special session. Taxes will be passed for localities; mayoral control will be renewed; the Republicans will get a tiny face saver on charter schools and/or some minor tweaks in the mayoral control law.

As usual when it comes to the government and many union leadership issues, I hope I am wrong and that Freddy Krueger, I mean mayoral control of the schools, is dead for good come July 1.

P.S., Talking Points:
When some ignorant supporter of mayoral control points out the increase in the high school graduation rate under mayoral control, simply point out that creating diploma factory high schools in NYC where teachers are pressured to pass everyone is not cause for celebration. Then, direct them to this piece that shows the ultra low CUNY community college graduation rates to prove how unprepared many of our graduates are for college.

If they are still not convinced, send them to the ICEUFT Blog June 20, 2016 post that sums up the results of mayoral control in a paragraph:

Is a suspect graduation rate worth all of the negatives that have come with mayoral control? What I see is higher class sizes, depleted school budgets, overemphasis on testing, the destruction of so many neighborhood schools, Absent Teacher Reserves shuffled throughout their boroughs, out of control patronage hiring, no bid contracts, a constantly reshuffled bureaucracy, lawyers, lawyers and more lawyers, scripted curriculum, one crazy teacher evaluation system after another and more.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


My friend and fellow blogger Chaz had a piece on Monday exposing Townsend Harris High School for putting an advertisement for a new teacher on Clearly, Townsend Harris wants someone from outside the New York City public school system. Well, this is not unique.

Here is an advertisement for another Queens High School looking for two teachers from outside the system. This school doesn't even imply that they want someone from inside. They are direct.

This came on email.

"The High School for Something or Other" is seeking a 9th and 10th grade Social Studies teacher and a 9th and 10th grade ESL teacher for one year positions. Candidates should be new to the DOE, as these are one year positions. (bold added by me)

Interested applicants should be flexible, empathetic, collaborative and enthusiastic about teaching a project-based curriculum. The ideal candidates will be able to design curriculum that enables students with a broad range of abilities to succeed, learn, and sustain motivation.Bilingualism is a plus.

I won't expose the actual school to protect the innocent and not so innocent but you get the idea. Experienced teachers need not apply. Absent Teacher Reserves would seem like good candidates for these positions but instead they will hire new people and excess them after a year to add to the ATR pool. Is anyone minding the store?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Mayor Bill de Blasio and other politicians yesterday held what amounted to a desperate rally with union supporters in defense of mayoral control of the New York City schools. De Blasio's main argument is that costs would rise if we go back to districts. He neglects to mention that central Department of Education administration spending has skyrocketed during his tenure as mayor with mayoral control. Some central savings could go a long way toward lowering costs. Just finding some lost money might help too.

The mayor and Chancellor Carmen Farina were surrounded by union supporters at their rally. Noticibly absent was UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Mulgrew did make the following statement as reported by NY 1:

"Mayoral control should not be a matter for debate and doesn't need the UFT to defend it. We applaud the State Assembly for standing up for the city and its schools against the Senate’s attempt to politicize this issue."

UFT does not show up at the rally. That's good. However, the UFT is the one organization that could kill mayoral control but refuses to come out against it.

I think most of us who work in the schools (not our union's leadership) are hoping that the Republicans and their allies in the Independent Democratic Conference hang tough on inisiting on more charter schools in exchange for continuing mayoral control which would lead the Democrats in the Assembly to not make a deal because to their credit they don't want more charters.

If mayoral control ends and there are some real checks and balances in school governance, the winners will be the students and teachers in New York City schools. If there was real oversight from the borough presidents, who would control 5 of the seven seats on the Board of Education if mayoral control dies, integrity has a chance of being restored in our schools. I'm pulling for a stalemate in Albany.

As for the community school districts, don't fear them. The 1996 law on school governance curtailed the power of the local school boards. It seems only this blog is reporting this fact.

If I was the president of the UFT, I would ask the Executive Board and Delegate Assembly to empower the Union to expose the real corruption in the schools and urge our friends in the Assembly to let mayoral control expire for good.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Fordham University Professor Mark Naison is someone who makes people think.

Here is an excerpt from something he wrote recently in History News Network:
It's time to change course. The Great Recession should have shattered once and for all the idea that the measurement and motivation systems of American business are superior to those in the public sector. (E.g. do we want the same quality of teacher ratings as Moody's and Standard and Poor's applied to mortgage-based derivatives?) American business needs to clean up its own act, not applied its flawed methods to other fields. If we continue on the path we are on, we may well see the American Education system become as corrupt, and unstable as the Global Financial System.

As someone who works in the field of public education, I kind of think education already is quite corrupt, particularly in New York City.

Naison makes a prediction on his Facebook page that the Democrats will lose the special House of Representatives election in Georgia tomorrow and they will not take back the House of Representatives or the Senate in 2018.

The polls in the special Georgia House race show the it is a tossup.Sadly, however, Naison's prediction makes a great deal of sense. I do hope he is wrong but....

Read his reasoning on public education.
I predict the Democratic Party will lose the special election in Georgia tomorrow and will NOT retake the House or Senate in 2018. Why? Because their only message is "we hate Donald Trump" and "we are diverse and that makes us cool." It is a very sad situation but I don't see any change from the last election where Democratic candidates running for state office and for Congress did even worse than Hilary Clinton.

And here is the irony! In many of the battles I have been fighting during the last 8 years, especially the defense of public education, Democrats have been as big an obstacle as Republicans, and that includes liberal "heroes" like Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren, along with the Big 3 of teacher haters, Rahm Emmanuel, Andrew Cuomo and Dannel Malloy!

My major disagreement is Naison needs to add Corey Booker and make it a big 4 of teacher haters.

It was no surprise that Republican Karen Handel won in Georgia. We'll see about 2018.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Quorums are defined by Robert's Rules of Order as, "The minimum number of members who must be present at the meeting of a deliberative assembly for business to be validly transacted is the quorum of the assembly." The UFT quorum requirement is 20% of the Delegates of the Delegate Assembly must be present.

It says in Robert's Rules on page 348-349, "Before the presiding officer calls a meeting to order, it is his duty to determine, although he need not announce, that a quorum is present."

I thought the UFT President waited until a sufficient number of the certified Delegates cards that come to us in the mail were collected by staffers before they started the meetings. We found out recently that even this rudimentary parliamentary procedure is not adhered to by the UFT.

At the May DA, our friend Jeff Andrusin asked why the UFT didn't report the number of Delegates present at meetings. President Michael Mulgrew answered that we would start announcing the numbers in June. Then, our June DA Agenda and May DA Minutes came in the mail and Jeff Andrusin noticed that the number present at the May meeting was 547. It also says in the agenda that the number of Delegates is 3,454 and the required number for a quorum is 690 (20%).

We didn't come close to a quorum in May and as for June, my viewing of the room was that it was a smaller number of Delegates as compared to the May DA. Mulgrew even closed the extra room on the 19th floor down and called the Delegates up there to the 2nd floor main room since it was so empty. To sum all this up, unless my crowd estimating skills are way off, we have not had a quorum for the DA since at least April but the DA has conducted plenty of business without one.

Why does this matter?

Robert's Rules explains it on page 21:
The requirement of a quorum is a protection against totally unrepresentative action in the name of the body by an unduly small number of persons."

That is the Unity Caucus: a small, invitation only group of mostly bought and paid for UFT members who control what happens to all of us.

What about business conducted in the absence of a quorum?  Robert's Rules says on page 348: "The prohibition against transacting business in the absence of a quorum cannot be waived even by unaimous consent, and a notice cannot be validly given.

The DA's actions for May and probably for June should be null and void. However, since this is the UFT, where rules mean virtually nothing, expect the quorum rules to be completely ignored.

Who do we complain to? Mulgrew?  The AFT? NYSUT? The Department of Labor? State Public Employees Relations Board (PERB)?

All dead ends as far as I can tell.

Jeff already informed me that he emailed Mulgrew and Assistant Secretary-Staff Director Leroy Barr about the lack of a quorum and he is still waiting for their response. He will probably wait a long time.

Friday, June 16, 2017


I read this piece from City and State on the controversy up in Albany where the Republicans are threatening to allow mayoral control of  NYC schools to sunset at the end of the month if they don't get into the mayoral control law expansions of charter schools.

I have said this before and I will say it again:

Go ahead make my day; let mayoral control die!

There is nothing to fear if we go back to community districts. As we have reported, the 1996 law took hiring power away from the school boards. That is the law we would revert to if mayoral control dies in two weeks.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan sounds almost hysterical in City and State, criticizing the Republicans in the State Senate for putting pro-charter school legislation in any bill extending mayoral control.

“The consequences of not doing mayoral control for the city children would be very negative, so I don’t understand why Sen. Flanagan and Republicans are asking what they’re asking.” – Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

Relax Assemblywoman Nolan. It's not the end of the world as we know it and we will be just fine under the 1996 school governance law.

No need to say there will be very negative consequences. There will be very few and they will be mostly positive if the 2009 mayoral control law expires. The mayor would have to work with the borough presidents to enact education policy on an independent Board of Education. The mayor would have two votes on the Board and the borough presidents would have one each so his honor would need the support of representatives of two of the borough presidents to have a working majority. That would be a healthy check on mayoral power. 

UFT President Michael Mulgrew also needs to stop worrying about pro-charter people running in school board elections next May. Please have someone read him the 1996 law. The school boards will have very little power if mayoral control expires.

Here is an excerpt from a Gotham Gazette piece from 2002 explaining how weak the boards would be if they existed again.


In the last election, which was held last year, voters may have stayed away from polls because the community boards have so little power. Under the prodding of then-Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, the New York State Legislature in 1996 redefined the responsibilities of local school boards, taking away much of their power, including the authority to name a the district superintendent.

Today, school boards no longer manage day-to-day affairs within the district or hire or promote school district employees, including principals. Instead, the local school boards set educational policy, mostly just by helping to select a superintendent for the school district. Even here they don't have the final say; the chancellor does.

The 1996 law removed much of the rationale for the boards' existence, according to Public Advocate Mark Green, who declared in a speech delivered in April that school boards should be eliminated. "The local school boards were a great idea -- in theory -- but rarely worked in practice," Green stated. "Some became patronage mills, doling out jobs and contracts to friends. Most, now stripped of their powers, are today excess weight in a bureaucracy that needs to be simplified and flattened. It's time for them to go."

The Gazette article then goes on to defend the School Boards since they give parents some say in education.

People worried that the mayor would not fund education if he didn't control the Board of Education also need to relax. There is a NYS law called the Stavisky Goodman law that passed over Governor Hugh Carey's veto in 1976 that said the city must fund elementary and secondary education at least with the same proportion of city funds as the last three fiscal years.

This is from Case

The committee's chairman, Assemblyman Leonard P. Stavisky, introduced a bill which, as adopted by the Assembly on January 21, 1976, amended section 2576 of the Education Law to require that annually there be appropriated for public elementary and secondary education in the City of New York "an amount equal to the average proportion of the total expense budget of such city, as amended, appropriated for the purposes of the city school district of such city in the three fiscal years of such city immediately preceding the [current] year". 

I don't see where this law, which was upheld by the New York State Court of Appeals, has been repealed so I believe it is still on the books. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mayor Michael Bloomberg or no other mayor deserves a dictatorship over the schools. It doesn't work and just leads to numbers faking to make the mayor look good. 

Can someone in authority study a little history?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LIVE BLOGGING FROM JUNE DA (somewhat edited)

Once again I apologize in advance for any errors as I am writing this from my cellphone.

President's Report
UFT President Michael Mulgrew started by thanking chapter leaders as over 1100 did survey on professional development. We're not supported on ESL and special ed.  Most schools have PD committees. 2/3 have meaningful PD. Only 12% blame superintendents for mandating PD. Loudest is not always majority. Still frustrated with DOE.

Can't accept hate as rationale for violence. Expecting Senate to pass new bill on Healthcare before July 4 break. Guy occupying white house likes senate bill. Working on senators in certain states.

DeVos (we want her to talk in public) says again it is up to states to recognize civil rights.  She does not understand federal civil rights.

Janus case fast tracking to US Supreme Court. Could have decision early next year making US a right to work country.

Mayoral control of NYC schoolsis expires in June in Albany. Mulgrew won't trade anything for mayoral control including having more charter schools.

Don't want to go back to 40 school boards. Want some form of mayoral control. Self government issues in Albany. Assembly usually gives local governments local control issues. Mulgrew says it is load of crap to tie school governance to expanding charter schools. NYC only local government that has to pay for local issues. Speaker of Assembly won't pass anything on local controls anywhere in NYS until NYC'S local issues are settled. Big fight in Albany over mayoral control. It will get ugly. 40 school board elections next May if nothing passes.

Down from 3 days to 2 days of testing next year for math and ELA state tests. Board of Regents looking for better standards on ELL'S and special ed.

CTLE: DOE approved vendor. UFT having more training this summer. One more day to enroll in catastrophic insurance. 8,000 UFT members signed up.

ATR Severance Package
Negotiating for a year and a half. Mulgrew mentioned a number 962 and then 1100 in atr pool. Should see significant changes in a reduced ATR pool. Severance not pensionable but still get retro if an ATR retires.

Protest against superintendent
Skirmishes  with administators but school system is going in the right direction. Won public battles against principals. Picket superintendents.  Want supportive, respectful environment.  Superintendents must do jobs to create respectful schools. Have data on grievances and discontinuances. Brooklyn superintendent has bad record. Superintendent wants to talk to borough rep. Meeting went horrible.

UFT brought it up to Farina. Liz, Borough rep, had meeting with superintendent and chancellor and we got everything.  2 schools have advisory committees. Tenure decisions often based on whether or not superintendents like principals. Since we got what we asked for, no picket tomorrow.

We did very well with the City Council. Our priorities were funded. Teacher's Choice up. It might be over $200 per teacher. We have to see how many teachers there are next year to figure out the exact number per teacher.

Overall we had good year after November 8 election. 93% paperwork complaints resolved in our favor. 80% APPR complaints successful. Highest graduation rate ever. Next year we have to battle constitutional convention and Janus. Thanks us for work for this year.

Staff Director's Report
Leroy Barr gave some dates including tomorrow being the deadline to apply for catastrophic health insurance.

Question: Four teachers excessed in my school. Why not lower class sizes to keep jobs? Principal said too many higher priced teachers
Mulgrew Answer: Class size is on the table. We will check on budget at that school. Teachers embracing mobility. Need a different setup for mobility. City population changing. Deal with people moving to various neighborhoods. Subject for contract negotiations.

Q Summativeconferences. Some have not gotten proper amount of observations.
A Document it. Matrix is our friend. Must use contractual tools available.  Get info to right people (DRs).

Q If we lose Janus, what happens?
A It depends on decision. Does everyone have to join union? Or, are only agency fee payers out? Very troubling.

Q Staff members getting developing and are unhappy. What are we doing?
A Problem in district 3. Some teachers put in impossible situations. Many different grade levels in one ESL class.

New motions

I raised a MORE resolution on the DA voting on ATR agreement. Believe it or not, it did not pass.
That's me with the mic and  Arthur Goldstein sitting to my left writing his minutes of the meeting.

Special Orders of Business
Political endosements. City council endorsements. Paul Egan motivated them.
Jonathan Halabi spoke against endorsing Fernando Cabrera for City Council in the Bronx. Said he does not share our values. Cabrera is a homophobe. He is not with us.

Marjorie Stamberg said we have to vote on class. Must have a working class party.

UFT HS rep said Cabrera not a homophobe. Was an 18 year guidance counselor. Endorsements carried

Contingency endorsement passed.

Resolution to show solidarity with Puerto Rico teachers union.

Peter Lamphere tried to amend it to include Federation of Maestro de Puerto Rico. He wants them included.

Leroy Barr spoke against supporting FMPR. AFT brought this to us. Union came to us through AFT. FMPR cannot bargain on behalf of teachers. Resolution violates our process. AMPR is the official union. FMPR disaffiliated with AFT.

Amendment failed. Original resolution passed.

Mulgrew wished us a great summer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Here is an email from a UFT District Representative to chapter leaders promoting a protest on June 15th.

Update: This protest has been called off since, according to Michael Mulgrew, UFT got everything we asked for in meeting with this superintendent and the chancellor.

Hi guys,
So here it is; on June 15th we are organizing a demonstration outside of the office of Hs Supt. Karen Watts.  We plan on starting at 3:30.  The address is 1396 Broadway, Brooklyn.  The nearest train is the J train stop of Gates Avenue.  
The background is this:  Supt. Watts has a long history of supervising and empowering bad principals without providing any check on their malfeasance.  We are calling attention to the Boards failure to reign in bad principals.  I need your assistance in organizing and turning out your members.  This is urgent.  If we can successfully mobilize and call attention to our issues this will give us the leverage we need to push back against bad principals all over the city.  This is a local protest with citywide implications.  I am calling upon you as leaders of your staff.  Please join me.
I hope demonstrations like this are being organized and promoted throughout many districts by the UFT as a start to a fight back campaign.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Francesca Gomes is a middle school teacher who is also a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators. She was criticized by the NY Post for putting a question on an exam where the right answer slammed the bankers who played a big part in crashing the economy in 2008.

I know Francesca well. She is a good person and an excellent trade unionist.

In addition to criticizing Francesca for blasting bankers, the Post accuses Francesca of being left because she supports teacher free speech.

Gomes leans further left than even Mayor de Blasio, and blasted him on social media in April for a comment he made at a Staten Island forum when asked about a “gag order” on teachers disparaging state tests.

The mayor said, “Think of what it would lead to if teachers openly criticized every education policy they disagreed with,” the Staten Island Advance reported.

“Um … I don’t know, maybe meaningful improvements? Screw you, De Blasio,” Gomes wrote on her Facebook page.

That sounds pretty good to me.

Below is the entire MORE article in support of Francesca.

I'm really interested in what our politically diverse readers thinks about this one.

In Defense of Francesca Gomes, Bankers Should Be Slammed!

Were banks to blame for the Great Recession? Should middle school students be required to identify words like nefarious or reprehensible? MORE’s Francesca Gomes seems to think so and, last week, the New York Post noticed.

Francesca assigned students a handout with a word bank (a technique, by the way,  that is just good teaching practice). One portion read “Banks are often run by ————— people who look for ways to hurt the most financially vulnerable people in the country.” It seem like the choices remaining were “nefarious” and “reprehensible”.

We suppose that would lead students to conclude that the banks’’ actions were “nefarious” and “reprehensible”. But we also suppose that the banks’ actions in 2008 were, well nefarious and even reprehensible.

Senator Bernie Sanders seem to think the same thing saying once that “greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street”. Former US attorney Preet Bharara agrees. In 2015, the Post reported Bharara’s position that criminal activity on Wall Street caused 2008 meltdown. (They did so in an article they published entitled “Criminal activity’ on Wall Street caused 2008 meltdown: Preet”).

It’s probably important to note that the Post themselves never once blamed Wall Street for the financial meltdown that cost millions of people their jobs and their homes and kicked millions more out of America’s middle class forever. That alone may explain part of the reason for not feeling comfortable with a teacher assignment that associated the banks with nefarious acts.

But TIME Magazine (who did not write about Francesca) pointed mainly to bankers and financial experts for the meltdown in their complete list of “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis”. We here love the Post, but we’ll take Time’s economic evaluations over the Post, most days of the week.

Other folks who blamed banks for the meltdown include John McCain and Barack Obama, the latter saying in 2009 that Americans had been “tricked into signing these subprime loans by lenders who were trying to make a quick profit. And the reason these loans were so readily available was that Wall Street saw big profits to be made.”, while the former declaring in 2008 that, “In my administration, we’re going to hold people on Wall Street responsible. And we’re going to enact and enforce reforms to make sure that these outrages never happen in the first place.”

Here’s what the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) had to say on the matter:
“There was an explosion in risky subprime lending and securitization, an unsustainable rise in housing prices, widespread reports of egregious and predatory lending practices, dramatic increases in household mortgage debt, and exponential growth in financial firms’ trading activities, unregulated derivatives, and short-term “repo” lending markets, among many other red flags.”

So, yeah. We’re pretty sure that blaming the banks isn’t anything controversial.

But let’s face facts for a moment ok? Francesca wasn’t featured for having her students provide answers along a premise that everyone in America (besides the Post) seems to accept. She was featured because her political opinions are to the left of what the NY Post has deemed acceptable. She’s a leftist. A lefty. An alternative social something or other and, well, just left. For that reason, and that reason only, the Post decided to attack her. 
Now we’re proud to know that Francesca accepts all students in her classroom and we’re grateful to learn that she challenges those students with rigorous vocabulary. But we don’t much care about her political points of view outside of the work place and we don’t think you should either.

Why? Well, because as long as the law is being followed, the things a teacher does outside the school door is private. Teachers, especially ethical teachers like Francesca who challenge their students on a daily basis, deserves that privacy when they leave the schoolhouse.

As a good teacher, Francesca knows that it’s only ethical for her to avoid speaking about those viewpoints when she’s at work and in front of her students. We should probably remind you that she has not been accused of acting in an unethical manner in any way. The question on the assignment is clearly based on facts, not politics. 

We think teachers should teach facts. We also think they should enjoy their privacy after work.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


New York City is not hurting for money. Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have agreed on an $85.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2018 which starts July 1, 2017. There are plenty of extra dollars floating around.

This excerpt is from a Queens Chronicle article called "Budget Bonanza." That title should tell us something.

The retiree health benefits trust fund will gain an additional $100 million, bringing it to $4.2 billion. The general reserve will receive another $200 million and will now be at $1.2 billion. The capital stabilization reserve will continue at $250 million per year over the next four years. De Blasio said the total reserves of $5.65 billion are the highest in city history.

He also said the city since November has identified an additional $3 billion in savings from sources including employee health insurance, a partial hiring freeze and reduced debt service.

Even with all of that extra money in an $85.2 billion budget, the city still couldn't spare around $1/2 billion to pay UFT members back now the money we essentially loaned to the city interest free that we are getting back in dribs and drabs until 2020. Other city workers received that money from 2008-2010 and it has been in their paychecks ever since that time.

Since the Department of Education wants newer teachers so badly, why didn't the UFT ask for these retroactive payments up front for UFT members who leave the system. Perhaps there could be a severance package of $50,000 for everyone and not just the Absent Teacher Reserves to help the city hire those new teachers the DOE wants so badly. In fact, the city is still swimming in money so why didn't the UFT demand the retro for all of us up front and tell the city it has been proven totally wrong that the payments were budget busters?

No, our big increase for next year is in Teacher's Choice as this article praising the city budget on the UFT website explains.

The boost for Teacher’s Choice was part of a wider investment in public education in the $85.2 billion budget.

“With this budget, the City Council protected all sectors of New York City and invested in our children, our communities and our families,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “In these trying political times, it is important for people to know that New York City’s elected officials are standing up for all of us.”

Nothing against Teacher's Choice, but seriously how much of that "wider investment in public education" is going to go to the classroom?

Do you feel the "New York City's elected officials are standing up for all of us" as Mulgrew says?

Friday, June 09, 2017


For the first time in my three years at Middle College High School, the students beat the faculty in softball at the annual field day at Bethpage State Park.

It was a very close 5-4 final score. Faculty had the tying run at third with no outs in the last inning after we came back in that inning from a 5-2 deficit.

We then hit into a double play and a ground out to end it.

Students had some star players such as Joseph Encarcancion and Austin Duran.

On the girls' part of the student team, there were three very impressive infielders who are players on the MCHS softball team that made the city finals. Two of the three, Kiara Ognibene and Karolina Bednarzscyk are deaf and use American Sign Language interpreters during softball games. The other was Ashley Vilella who plays first base quite well. This softball team has a story to tell that I hope someone in local press picks up on.

As for me, no hits in two at bat but I can still play OK in the outfield. I did not embarrass myself out there as I caught or fielded cleanly everything hit my way.

Congratulations students on your victory!

Great time had by all at field day. For a few hours I almost forgot  that I am employed by the New York City Department of Education.

Top Left to Right: Daniel, Jonas, Mike, Jordan, John, Matt, Me, Jay
Bottom Left to Right: Lou, Felisa, Melissa, Chevonne


This year's health savings focus on HIP. I think this is it as far as this giveback goes.

Dear James,
I am writing to inform you about upcoming changes to HIP’s HMO health benefit plan negotiated by the city and the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group of municipal labor unions of which the UFT is a member. These changes, which take effect on July 1, affect HIP subscribers who are in service as well as those who are retired but not yet eligible for Medicare. These changes to the HIP HMO health benefit plan, in addition to the changes that took effect a year ago for both GHI and HIP subscribers, fulfill the unions’ obligation as part of the last round of collective bargaining to achieve health care savings.
We are proud that public school educators and all other New York City municipal employees will continue to have access to health coverage without an annual premium. You will be able to continue to see your primary care doctor with no copay if the doctor is from the HIP Preferred network and with a $10 copay if the doctor is not from the HIP Preferred network. You will also continue to be able to access free of charge all preventive health care such as routine physicals, vaccinations, colonoscopies and mammograms. Birth control medicines and prenatal vitamins will also still be available at no cost.
One of the most expensive forms of care is hospital-based emergency room visits, which should only be used in a genuine emergency. The cost to the health plan for a visit to the ER is several times that of a visit to a doctor’s office. Our data show that some members are over-utilizing hospital emergency rooms. To discourage the use of ERs when a doctor’s visit would suffice, the copay for hospital-based emergency-room visits for HIP subscribers will increase from $50 to $150.  If you are admitted to the hospital, you won’t pay this fee. You will only pay your hospital fee.
Please be aware that you can see a doctor at short notice at a participating Urgent Care Center for a $50 copay. You can treat a non-emergency on weekends, after office hours or whenever your doctor is away without going to the emergency room. Sign in to the []Find a Doctor page on the EmblemHealth website to find an urgent care center in the HIP HMO network that is conveniently located for you.  
EmblemHealth will send you a new health benefits ID card. You can start using it on July 1.
If you have any questions, call EmblemHeath at 1-800-447-8255 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit the EmblemHealth website for NYC employees or the website of the City of New York Office of Labor Relations for more information.
On a final note, EmblemHealth and the other New York City health plans will now cover members for medicines used to treat substance-use disorders. This includes medicines usually prescribed for opioid addiction and dependence. These medicines, along with counseling and behavioral therapies, can successfully treat these disorders and help with recovery. Visit or contact your health plan for a list of covered opioid medicines and the copays.
Arthur Pepper
UFT Welfare Fund Executive Director

Thursday, June 08, 2017


This is from Harris Lirtzman. Maybe there really is karma.

The infamous Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson was arrested last month. Grismaldy was the nemesis principal of Gautier School for Public Policy, a high school in the Bronx where I taught special education math from 2009-2012.  She has been a charter member of the New York City chapter of Abusive Principals 'R Us--USA for at least a decade.

Grismaldy was arrested in Westchester County on April 21 and charged with a felony of some sort. There were rumors that she'd been removed from GILPP in early May and they now appear to be true.

Grismaldy failed to appear for her first hearing in Westchester County Criminal Court on May 31 and was charged with criminal contempt of court, an E Class felony.  Her next scheduled court date is June 26, 2017.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


NYC Educator has two pieces on the latest UFT Executive Board meeting. We have reported here on the ATR issue. We totally denounce the UFT's complete disregard for democracy and transparency in negotiating a new ATR agreement and not getting approval from the people impacted or anyone else for that matter.

Why is the UFT so shamelessly arrogant in the face of possibly losing mandatory dues for members or non members when the Supreme Court will more than likely rule mandatory union dues in the public sector for non-union members are unconstitutional (Janus v AFSCME)? One would think the union leaders would be on their best behavior as thousands of members could vote with their feet to leave the UFT after the Supreme Court makes their decision. That would cost the UFT millions of dollars. UFT President Michael Mulgrew may have given an answer in his report on Monday on why there is little UFT urgency over Janus.

From Arthur Goldstein's report:

Mulgrew said something very interesting Monday night.. He seemed to suggest that there was some workaround to the Janus decision that would come around next year being negotiated statewide. That might explain why there's all the cozying up to Cuomo and a potential endorsement. But then he said both the country and state would be right to work next year, so it was kind of a mixed message. 

It looks like the UFT's strategy if there is an adverse Supreme Court ruling might not be to mobilize members to ensure that everyone wants to stay in the union, but rather it could be to kiss the governor's ring while going to the State Legislature to pass some kind of state law that works around the Supreme Court.

UFT leadership shows time and again that they care more about preserving the institution of the union than the members of the union. If they did right by the membership, an adverse Supreme Court decision on automatic dues wouldn't matter much.

Monday, June 05, 2017


Our correspondent Mike Schirtzer is sending us information from tonight's Executive Board.

President Michael Mulgrew reported that Teacher's Choice would be going up next year.

Arthur Goldstein asked a question on why there won't be a vote on the new ATR Agreement. Secretary Howie Schoor answered that there is no obligation for the Union to take a vote on the agreement.

Amy Arundell said that ATR's who take the severance package will get the lump sum payments through 2020 if they retire but will not get them if they resign.

One of the teacher members of the retirement board says the UFT pension people are ready for individual consultations.

Here is the MORE-New Action resolution in support of the elected bodies of the UFT and ATRs themselves voting on the new ATR agreement:

 Whereas the UFT Constitution states in ARTICLE V EXECUTIVE BOARD-SECTION 6.  that "The Executive Board shall direct the affairs of this organization"

Whereas ARTICE VII DELEGATE ASSEMBLY- SECTION 6 states "The Delegate Assembly shall have the power to legislate all matters"  and has repeatedly been referred to as "the highest decision making body of our union" by President Michael Mulgrew

Whereas UFT members under the title "ATR" do not have a chapter of their own, nor a chapter leader or delegate 

Whereas an agreement regarding  the status of ATRs was bargained and signed by representatives from the UFT and City of New York without the formation of a committee to do so, nor a vote by this executive board or the DA

Resolved that there will be meetings in the five  boroughs for ATRS to discuss and vote on any agreement regarding their status

Be it further resolved that the UFT DA and Executive Board will discuss and vote on any agreement in accordance with the UFT Constitution  and consistent with our union's democratic process 

Mike Schirtzer from MORE motivated this resolution. He said it was about process more than anything and the Movement of Rank and File Educators stands for democratizing the UFT. Mike said process is important and one of the ways to engage members when our union is under threat with the Janus Supreme Court case possibly ending automatic dues checkoff is to have people vote. This may be a good deal and it isn't really about the deal, it is about having something that impacts ATR's being voted on by the people impacted. ATRs need to be consulted.Democratic process is crucial to saving our union.

Mike also noted that the Unity majority voted against every resolution that came from the MORE caucus all year. Every one of them. If MORE said the sky is blue, Unity would say it is green!

The Unity response to Mike boils down to the fact that they talk to the ATRs all the time and they are excited by this deal because it gives them opportunity to make their own decisions.

The Unity majority overwhelmingly rejected democracy and voted down the resolution. The MORE-NEW ACTION High School Reps all voted to support the resolution. Unfortunately, our reps were outnumbered about 90-5 at the meeting.

For more details on the meeting, please see NYC Educator.

Also see Ed Notes.

Sunday, June 04, 2017


Below is the latest UFT ATR Agreement.

Read it and interpret it for yourself. I agree with a commenter from the previous post on this topic who said nothing much is changing because the DOE could appoint provisionally under prior agreements. The only UFT concession is it is now borough wide. Why the UFT concedes on any of this is beyond me.

I would like to comment on the complete lack of any transparency in this process on the part of the UFT leadership. ATR's had no say in any of this as it was negotiated in secret and it will not be voted on by anyone impacted.

I strongly believe this agreement should be voted on by the ATRs, (won't ever happen) but at least by the Executive Board and Delegate Assembly. The 2011 ATR Agreement was voted on by the Executive Board and DA and since the 2014 ATR Agreement was part of the contract, it was voted on by the Executive Board, DA and the entire membership.

If we examine the UFT Constitution closely, it does not give the president authority to make a deal with no oversight. Here is the language of Article IV, Section 8:

 SECTION 8. The officers shall have the rights and privileges and shall perform the duties usually assigned to their respective offices by Roberts’ Rules of Order, Newly Revised, except as otherwise specifically provided in this Constitution or its by-laws. 

Nobody has ever seen UFT by-laws. There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the president to negotiate a deal without approval. The Constitution says Robert's Rules is the place to look to concerning the powers of the officers. I think the president would need to appoint a committee, get approval from the Executive Board and DA, and they would report back on negotiations subject to the body agreeing to it.

There is absolutely nothing in Robert's Rules that I can find (I looked) that allows a president of an organization to negotiate an agreement and not have it voted on by elected representatives. ATR's have virtually no representation at the Delegate Assembly but these agreements need to be voted on if we follow the rules.

We know the Executive Board and DA are rubber stamps controlled by the Unity Caucus leadership which dispenses patronage and demands complete loyalty of caucus members. However, the lack of even some semblance of democracy in the UFT is very troubling.

The problem is who do we complain to: NYSUT? The AFT?  The Department of Labor? PERB?

All dead ends as far as I can tell.

Anyone with an answer please step forward.

2017 ATR Agreement
Whereas both the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York (the "DOE") and the United Federation of Teachers ("UFT”) have expressed a joint interest in reducing the number of UFT represented employees who are or become ATRs; and

Whereas both parties agree that section 16 of the 2014 MOA (set forth in Article 17, Rule 11 A of the Teacher's contract and other corresponding provisions of the other collective bargaining agreements between the DOE and the UFT) has expired;

Now, therefore, the terms and conditions governing ATRs as set forth in the 2007-2009 collective bargaining agreements and memoranda of agreement entered into prior to the May 1,2014 MOA govern, with the modifications set forth below:

For purposes of this agreement, ATRs shall be defined as all UFT represented school based titles in excess after the first day of school except paraprofessionals, nurses and occupational and physical therapists.
I. Severance Program
The DOE will offer a voluntary severance benefit to all ATRs who have been in the ATR pool for one or more school years as of May 31, 2017, who volunteer to resign/retire and who execute an appropriate release in a form prescribed by the DOE in consultation with the UFT, except those ATRs who have agreed in writing to resign/retire from the DOE in connection with the disciplinary process (the "Severance Program"). (Employees with charges pending are eligible for the Severance Program.)
The period during which ATRs may volunteer to resign/retire in accordance with the terms of the Severance Program shall commence on June 5, 2017 and terminate at 5 PM on July 14,2017. The effective date of separation from service shall also be no later than July 14,2017.
Eligible ATRs who volunteer for this Severance Program shall receive, at the employee's option, a severance payment of either:
1.     $50,000 in a lump sum non pensionable payment to be made within 60 days following the end of the severance period or,
2.     $35,000 in a lump sum non pensionable payment to be made within 60 days following the end of the severance program plus six months of health coverage for the employee including coverage for dependents, spouses and/or domestic partners.
For purposes of determining eligibility for the Severance Program only, time spent as a provisional hire or in a provisional assignment shall constitute time as an ATR. Employees who meet the above criteria who are provisionally hired or provisionally assigned at the time this Severance Program is offered are also eligible for the Severance Program.

In the event that an ATR who participates in the Severance Program returns to service with the DOE, the ATR shall repay the severance payment received, through payroll deductions in equal amounts, within six months of the ATR’s return to service. This provision shall not apply to ATRs who return to service as day to day substitute teachers or on a part-time ("F status") basis.
II. Assignment of ATRs
After October 15, ATRs will be given a temporary provisional assignment to a school with a vacancy in their license area where available. The DOE, at its sole discretion, may choose not to assign an ATR to a temporary provisional assignment who have been penalized (as a result of a finding of guilt or by stipulation) in conjunction with §3020-a charges based on the circumstances of each case.
The DOE shall not be required to send more than one (1) ATR at a time to a school per vacancy for a temporary provisional assignment. These assignments will first be made within district and then within borough. ATRs shall also be given temporary provisional assignments to cover leaves and long term absences within their license area within district and then within borough. ATRs in Districts 75 and 79 shall be given temporary provisional assignments only in the same borough, within their respective district, as the school to which they were previously assigned.
All temporary provisional assignments for an ATR in BASIS will be within the same borough as the school to which they were previously assigned.

ATRs serving in a K-12 or 7-12 license pursuant to the agreement between the DOE and the UFT dated August 25, 2016 (e.g., ATRs serving in Physical Education K-12, English Secondary, Mathematics Secondary, Social Studies Secondary, English as a Second Language, and Foreign Language) will not be sent to schools with vacancies or to leaves or long term absences outside of the division (i.e., Elementary, Middle, High School) which they were assigned prior to entering the ATR pool.

It is understood that at any time after a temporary provisional assignment is made, a principal can request the removal of the ATR from this assignment and the ATR can be returned to the ATR pool and be subject to the terms and conditions of employment then applicable to ATRs pursuant to this Agreement.

To the extent that the provisions above conflict with the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement dated June 27, 2011, the ATR agreement dated Sept 6,2012 and any provision of Article 17, Rule 11 B of the Teacher's contract and other corresponding provisions or other current collective bargaining agreements between the DOE and UFT, the provisions above shall govern.

This agreement will run through the last day of school of the 2018-2019 school year, at which time the parties must agree to extend the agreement. Absent such agreement the parties will return to the terms and conditions for ATR assignment as they exist in the 2007-2009 collective bargaining agreement and memorandu of agreement entered into prior to the 2009-2018 colletive bargaining agreement.

Michael Mulgrew, President United Federation of Teachers - 6/1/2017

Carmen FariƱa, Chancellor New York City Department of Education - 6/1/2017

Saturday, June 03, 2017


Principals really don't need their union, the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, too often because they have the Department of Education's Office of Labor Relations which is virtually a principal's support group. When it comes to labor-management disputes, OLR simply functions as a rubber stamp for whatever principals and assistant principals want. This can be seen when it comes to arbitrations.

There are grievances and APPR complaints that are so cut and dried they should never get to arbitration.The DOE strategy is to almost always support school administrators, no matter how outrageous their actions, knowing full well the UFT can only take a limited number of cases to arbitration. The arbitration process gets clogged and when something finally gets to arbitration, the DOE quitely concedes without a fight

UFT Grievance Department Director Ellen Procida spoke about this at a recent Executive Board meeting.

This is from our report:
 Ellen Procida said there are many ridiculous rulings at chancellor's level and we are getting resolutions at arbitration but we are not where we want to be yet.

I saw this in action this past week as two completely open and shut, clear cut APPR complaints on totally improper observations went to arbitration. The arbitrator actually chastised the DOE for allowing these cases to go this far. Based on what Ellen said to the Executive Board while now seeing this in action, and also recalling Arthur Goldstein's class size saga at Francis Lewis, it is clear that the DOE is just stalling while encouraging principals to do whatever they want unless they alienate an entire school community.

The only possible answer to this is if the DOE has a system that says: "My Principals Right or Wrong," the response from the UFT must be: "My Teachers Right or Wrong."

The only exception to My Teachers Right or Wrong is if the teacher alienates the entire school community.

Unfortunately, that is not the UFT response. Since there is a Democrat at City Hall, we play nice. This is a huge mistake.