Sunday, July 30, 2017


This blog has said over and over again that Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina are not our friends. Some new evidence is in the NY Post where Susan Edelman has an exclusive today that somebody commenting on a previous post directed me to.

There is a report from Comptroller Scott Stringer on the Department of Education not tracking spending of over $100 million it sends to the NYC Leadership Academy. This is the Leadership Academy that trains some of the most awful principals in the system.

Here is a major excerpt from Edelman's article:

Last month, de Blasio declared a “NYC Leadership Academy Day,” and declared the outfit “an important partner” in running city schools. FariƱa praised the academy “for its tremendous work to prepare and support great school leaders.”

But the academy, founded in 2003, has also become notorious for graduating inept — and sometimes corrupt — principals with little teaching experience. Its “leadership coaches,” mostly retired principals, have also been hired in the mayor’s three-year-old Renewal program for struggling schools, which has shown meager academic gains.

The comptroller's auditors reviewed $559,667 in DOE payments to the academy, including $394,007 for "leadership coaching."

Disregarding the safeguards in its own contracts and procurement rules," the comptroller said, the DOE spent $385612, or 98 percent of the coaching payments, without the required documentation.

No sign-in sheets were produced at the time showing the dates and hours each coach worked. The academy simply billed for a total number of hours, the audit found.

The absence of records made it virtually impossible to find fake bills or bill-padding, said Stringer spokesman Devon Puglia.

But he added: "Based on what we know from this and other audits of the DOE, we can say that the risk of improper payments is very real."

More alarming, the DOE "did not request or receive any progress reports," which the contracts require quarterly. Nor did DOE officials meet monthly with academy officials - another layer of oversight the contract requires. The DOE listed phone calls and other "check-ins" but had no memos or reports on what was discussed.

The academy's president and CEO Irma Zardoya, a former Bronx superintendent, collected $260,000 in pay and benefits in 2015-16, according to the group's latest tax filings. She did not return a message.

Nobody who has any close connection to the DOE will be surprised by any of this. Dig a little deeper Ms. Edelman and Mr. Stringer and you might just find not only the "specter of waste, fraud and abuse" but a culture that encourages greed. Mayoral control of the schools allows waste, fraud and abuse to run wild because there is so little accountability in the schools and still nobody in power wants to end the dictatorship.


Our very friendly Charter/Spectrum salesman came to my house yesterday as have others on multiple occasions in the last year since Charter/Spectrum took over Time Warner Cable as the city's primary cable provider. My family has been with Verizon Fios since we moved to our current house in Floral Park, Queens in 2012 but we were longtime Time Warner customer when we lived in Flushing. My wife and I decided to take a look at what Spectrum was offering these days earlier in the year.

They have competitive rates and the first time they asked us to switch we said no only after we called up Verizon and they gave us back the promotional rate we had back in 2012 to stick with Fios. I know many of you have cut the cord and are going without cable and landline phone service these days but we are a little old school and like to have a zillion useless channels we rarely, if ever, watch and a home phone to go along with the smartphones.

Spectrum's prices are a little over what we have with Verizon but I certainly would enjoy having Spectrum's news channel NY1 back as it has been one of the best places to go on television for NYC news for decades. They covered the Jamaica High School saga very well.

A little while before the cable guy's most recent arrival at my door, someone came around and put a flyer in the mailboxes on the block that my wife picked up. I knew there was a labor strike at Spectrum but since I hadn't heard anything since late June and I am not a Spectrum customer, I figured it may have been settled and I just missed it, but no, there are 1,800 International Brotherhood of Electric Workers who remain on strike. I went to the website and so should everyone who reads this blog.

It is a long and ugly dispute that has been going on since March 28. I politely told the salesman to come back when the strike is settled.

No scabs will be installing anything in my house!

From the Strike website:

Why We Are On Strike

After nine years on the job, I joined my sisters and brothers of IBEW Local 3 in standing up and striking against Charter/Spectrum Cable over their continued disrespect of workers and the customers we serve. This decision was not made lightly.

For years, my coworkers and I have been targeted for punishment because we advocate for our customers. *Customers who deserve the services they were promised. We take great union pride in the work we do, but Charter/Spectrum is refusing to provide us the tools, resources and support we need to do our jobs properly.

In addition, the company has proposed drastic health care cuts for unionized workers and their families and wants to eliminate our pensions and job security. We decided we simply can no longer stay silent.

We can win. With your help we can show a Multi-Billion dollar company like Charter/Spectrum that labor and the community stand together! Here are the actions you can take now to support the fight:

1).  Sign the petition to pull Spectrum Cable’s franchise agreement with NYC. Tell them it’s time to show respect to workers and customers.

2).  File complaints against Spectrum Cable  with the Public Service Commission and the Attorney General of NYC.

In Solidarity,

Joseph Mossa
IBEW Local 3 Technician on Strike at Charter/Spectrum Communications

I signed the petition.

What management is doing from the cabletruth blog:

To the Commissioners at the NYS PSC, below is some information regarding
Charter/Spectrum since the merger in May of 2016.

  • 1700 field technicians for Charter/Spectrum have been on strike for over 3 months now because Charter/Spectrum refuses to bargain in good faith. This dispute has been carried out way too long and 1800 families are suffering greatly.
  • Charter/Spectrum wants to reduce the medical benefits for employees and families, as well as completely eliminate pension
  • Charter/Spectrum wants to eliminate overtime pay.
  • Charter/Spectrum wants the ability to subcontract all bargaining unit work.
  • Charter/Spectrum has decided to reduce 100 jobs here in NY and move them to Colorado, the design and drafting department will be eliminated as of July 2017.
  • Charter/Spectrum since the merger last year has decided to close its NYC headquarters at 60 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, resulting in the loss upward of 200 jobs to Stamford, CT.
  • Charter/Spectrum has laid off over 25 employees at its NY1 news channel, Charter/Spectrum is not creating jobs here in NY, Charter/Spectrum is here to reduce wages and eliminate jobs.
  • The Attorney General of NY State Eric Schneiderman is suing Charter/Spectrum claiming they couldn't provided internet speeds that they were advertising to customers, this in-turn had a negative impact on technicians. When a customer continuously schedules service calls for a problem that could never be fixed due to speed the technician would be disciplined for a “repeat trouble call” for having to visit the home again. The technician was never able to resolve the issue because Charter/Spectrum’s main Infrastructure couldn't handle the speeds the company was promising.
  • Charter/Spectrum is in violation of the NYC Franchise Agreement. The company has brought in out of state workers from as far as California to do work here in NYC. The company has not preformed background checks on these workers that they are allowing into the homes of our NYC residents.
  • The CEO of Charter/Spectrum Thomas Rutledge took a pay increase from 2015 to 2016 of over 60 million dollars, which brings him to a grand total of 98.6 million for 2016.

1-Where is the UFT on the strike? I don't remember passing anything at a Delegate Assembly in support of the union. I just reviewed the April, May and June DA posts. Did I miss it?

Comptroller Scott Stringer supported the workers and picketed with them. The Mayor called for a settlement in June on Charter/Spectrum's NY 1 Inside City Hall program. The Uniformed Firefighters Association and PBA Presidents have written letters in support of the union as have many local elected officials.

Here is the latest news story on the strike. IBEW Business Manager Christopher Erikson will be on Blue Collar Buzz (AM 970 radio) tonight at 9:00 pm to discuss the strike.

Workers want to keep their benefits and seniority rights. All of us should keep in mind the sacrifices working people must make in this day and age to have any hope of maintaining a decent lifestyle. I only wish teachers would mobilize like we used to while I was a student in the NYC public schools.We could gain our dignity back. As for these workers, you have our support here on this blog.

I forwarded some information to Executive Board friends to see if our Union will specifically support the IBEW unionized workers and inform our members about the strike. We could make a difference.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


This post is dedicated to the guy who wants two observations and a parking permit for everyone. We got the parking permits but this piece from this week's Queens Chronicle shows just how uneven the enforcement on abusing parking permits is for city employees.

From the Chronicle article:

As part of an ongoing series, the Chronicle visited Borough Hall four times this month between July 7 and July 20, and each time found:

• illegally parked vehicles with city-issued placards;
• vehicles in spaces requiring placards where drivers put items such as baseball caps or reflective safety vests with city department logos on the dash instead; and
• cards with the logo of the NYPD or other law enforcement agencies.

As with vehicles observed and photographed by the Chronicle between last September and this past May, none had tickets on their windshields if there was something on the dashboard indicating that the driver was a city employee.

As in the Chronicle’s previous investigation, vehicles were blocking fire hydrants, crosswalks and pedestrian curb cuts.

City Hall's reaction to the open flouting of the law by city employees:

The Mayor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment prior to the Chronicle’s deadline on Wednesday, but parking placards have been an issue since this past spring, when he announced that 50,000 would be issued for teachers in time for the coming school year.

The Chronicle reporter has it 100% correct. Everybody looks the other way  if a police officer or court officer or most anybody else with some kind of city title parks anywhere they please; but tell teachers they can park exclusively near their schools, and it's suddenly a major issue. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he intended to hire more traffic agents in May after the teachers got the extra permits.

This is a real concern. If teachers are seen to be getting anything, we are thoroughly demonized in the press while everyone sees it as normal when other city workers get perks. The city doesn't even respond. If that were teachers parking in crosswalks or near fire hydrants by a school, you can bet the Mayor and Chancellor would have responded immediately and the teachers would have been singled out and condemned. You won't see that happening with other city employees.

It will only stop if we organize again like a real union.

Friday, July 28, 2017


After posting a link to their study on the how well US cities are run where NYC finished third from the bottom, WalletHub's press person sent me directly their newly released study on the Most and Least Educated Cities in America.

Maybe I am just printing this because my ego got a boost that this company's press person thinks the ICEUFTblog is legitimate press, worthy of sending new material to for review. She emailed me links to this latest study.

A little respect does go somewhere. It's more than I get from some of those in leadership of the union that this blog mostly covers of which I am a member and sat on the Executive Board for a decade. Regardless of my self aggrandizing motives, the study is worth at least taking a quick glance at.

Their methodology is a bit questionable just like the last study on how well cities are run. In the education study, a city qualifies as educated if people with degrees flock to that city which will happen automatically if jobs in a particular metropolitan area require college degrees.

New York City is lumped in with Newark, New Jersey and Jersey City in the study. That's kind of strange.

Where did New York City and Northern New Jersey finish on the list of top 150 educated cities?

We were 36th. Better than last week's study which put NYC at 148 out of 150.

The winning city for brains is Ann Arbor, Michigan. At the bottom of the list is McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


I just received this text from Rachel from the UFT:

Good news! The UFT fought for & won a big increase in Teacher's Choice funding for the 2017-18 school year. Teachers will each receive $250.

This is from

To make use of your Teacher's Choice funds, educators must save their receipts for purchases made between Aug. 1, 2017 and mid-January, 2018. These receipts must accompany a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form. You can find this form and other forms under the Key Documents section of the DOE's Teacher's Choice website [soon to be updated for 2017–18].

Members receive their Teacher's Choice funds in their late November paychecks. Those who do not wish to participate must submit a Request for Non-Participation (Opt Out Form). If you receive the Teacher's Choice funds in your paycheck and do not file an accountability form with required receipts by the deadline, you will be obligated to refund the money to the DOE.

If you don't like Teacher's Choice, you can opt out.

Others can do the editorializing here. I am just giving the information and saying to start buying school supplies on August 1 and don't forget to keep those receipts in a safe place.


UFT president Michael Mulgrew has finally released a statement responding to the press demonizing Absent Teacher Reserves, teachers who have no regular class through no fault of their own. We have printed the entire statement below but would like people to compare Mulgrew's defense of the ATRs with what some of what has been written by Chaz and NYC Educator. You can also examine what we put out here at ICE to support the ATRs.

I am more than a little biased but I think I see some real passion in what we bloggers are saying and I don't get that sense in reading what the UFT President says.

Excerpt from NYC Educator:

It occurs to me, but not the lawyer, that vindictive principals would certainly take advantage if there were a time limit to the ATR. I can name supervisors who would be much happier were I not around. Of course they're entitled to feel that way, and it doesn't mean they'd necessarily act on it, but we all know supervisors who would place inconvenient people up on charges whether or not they merited them.

While I have not been accused of being a bad teacher, I can imagine a lot of reasons principals would refrain from hiring me. There's this blog, for one, There's the fact that my presence can be inconvenient on other levels too, as an activist and chapter leader. I can't really blame them if I'm not on their A-list. I also can't blame a whole lot of ATR teachers for not being in aggressive pursuit of jobs they're hardly likely to win.

But I certainly blame Campbell Brown's writers for suggesting that I or my ATR brothers and sisters are a bunch of lemons. That's a blatant stereotype, and I'm not at all sure why stereotyping teachers, or anyone, is still socially acceptable.

Now Chaz responds to a Bronx principal who commented on an ATR posting:

This Principal, like far too many principals in the New York City Public School System, drink the DOE kool-aid that ATR are "bad" or "unwanted"  teachers and these principals have shown poor judgement in their hiring practices that see a rising school graduation rate while few of their graduates achieve success in college or career, due to their lack of academic proficiency. In other words, they engage in academic fraud.

To Bronx Principal keep collecting your bonus while screwing the students with inexperienced teachers and dumping the maximum amount of students in your classrooms. A real recipe for continued academic failure.  Have a nice day because your students aren't. 

And finally Mr. Mulgrew's statement:

For immediate release

The UFT reached agreement on June 1 with the Department of Education on a voluntary severance package for UFT members who are in the Absent Teacher Reserve for at least one school year. The agreement sparked several newspaper editorials attacking the ATRs.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued the following statement in response:
Our recent ATR agreement generated its share of teacher-bashing editorials. Whether the media will print any of our rebuttals is an open question, but what is not up for debate is the UFT’s conviction that members of the ATR pool provide needed services to schools and that their work should be respected.

Teachers whose schools have been closed or downsized will fill vacant classrooms in their chosen subjects this fall. Members in the ATR pool will also continue to play a valuable role in schools by filling in for teachers who are sick or on another form of sick leave.

The real problem facing New York City schools is the thousands of teachers in good standing who walk out the door every year for other systems or other professions because of large classes, lack of supplies and managers who do not support their efforts to help children learn.

Perhaps one of the editorial writers will accept my offer and join me on one of my school visits. Facts and time spent in the city's public schools would make for more accurate editorials.

ATRs should be respected and thousands of teachers do leave the system. However, if the best prescription for a remedy is to have an editorial writer accompany the President on a school visit, then we are truly not a real union these days.

No offense to the President as saying something in support of ATRs is better than nothing, but I would rather have Chaz or NYC Educator representing me if I was an ATR.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


I recieved the email below from UFT Staff Directors Leroy Barr and Ellie Engler announcing that Rona Freiser is retiring and Amy Arundell is taking over as the Queens Borough Representative. Amy will be the leader of the Queens UFT office.

We wish Amy and Rona the best.

Dear James,
We hope you have been enjoying your summer break. We wanted to let you know about a staffing change affecting the UFT Queens Borough Office.
Rona Freiser, who has been serving as the Queens borough representative, has retired. Amy Arundell, the UFT's director of personnel and special projects, is assuming the role of Queens borough representative. We wish both of them success.
We look forward to seeing you in September!
LeRoy Barr and Ellie Engler
UFT Staff Directors


I'm up late tonight working on a union matter. Just looked at the news now and saw this hopeful piece.  The United Auto Workers will have a union election at a Nissan plant in of all places Canton Mississippi. This is some of the Detroit News coverage on the organizing election that will take place on August 3-4. Maybe unions aren't dead yet.

From the article:

Auto industry observers say the UAW has a tough fight ahead in a region typically hostile to labor groups. But the union says the push for a vote to join the UAW has come mostly from workers at Nissan’s 14-year-old plant in Canton, Mississippi. Workers there have cited a pattern of labor abuses by the Japanese automaker against the plant’s predominantly African-American workforce, including threatening to close the facility if they decide to unionize.

“Nissan spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year marketing itself as a socially responsible car maker, even going so far as to brag about its appeal to African-American car buyers,” said Rahmeel Nash, a Nissan technician who has worked at the Canton plant for 14 years, in a statement released by the UAW. “But behind the scenes, the company is violating the labor rights of African-American workers who make those cars.”

If this organizing drive succeeds in the deep South, then perhaps there is some hope for labor. Go Nissan workers.

Oh by the way, where are the Democrats? Will Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer be supporting the union drive down in Mississippi? Mike Fiorillo pointed out the Democrat's noticable silence on ICEMail.

More coverage from Automotive News. Read the comments critical of the UAW. They look very similar to what teachers write here about the UFT.

Monday, July 24, 2017


A new study by Wallet Hub finds New York City ranks 148 out of 150 U.S. cities in terms of how well the city is run. Are we really the third worst run city in the country? I'm not sure I buy their methodology but it is worth a look.

On education, Wallet Hub ranks NYC 107. That is not that good.

From SI Live's article on the study:

"New York ranked as the third worst-run city in America. It has the third highest budget per capita, at almost $14 million, but it's not necessarily spent efficiently, especially when it comes to financial stability and education," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.

She noted the city is also saddled with debt, and has a high drop out rate.

"New York has the fourth highest long-term debt per capita at $17,308, and the sixth lowest high school graduation rate at 69.6 percent," said Gonzalez. 

We have the sixth lowest high school graduation rate of cities in the country? That is hard to believe.

Does every city just push the kids through high school by grade inflating?

In terms of the economy, Wallet Hub makes a big deal out of long term debt which might not be that huge a problem considering the very low interest rates we have been borrowing under for most of the last decade. Comptroller Scott Stringer reported in May that the NYC economy is healthy as the city outperforms the nation as a whole.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 22, 2017


If you can believe this Chalkbeat NY article from Thursday, it looks like the principals in New York City public schools are ready to take a firm stand against the Department of Education force placing Absent Teacher Reserves in their schools for a year to cover certain vacancies. Since the giveback filled 2005 UFT contract, principals completely controlled the hiring process in each school. Chalkbeat interviewed several principals who are not at all satisfied over this limitation on their power.

For anyone who has not been monitoring the situation, DOE's Randy Asher said that ATRs will be placed in a school that has any remaining vacancies after October 15. Usually it is the more difficult to teach in schools that still have openings in October, often because they have principals who are tough to work with. If the teacher is rated Effective or Highly Effective on observations, they get to stay in the school permanently.

The principals are not going to take this reduction of their autonomy lying down. Here is an excerpt from the Chalkbeat piece:

“Many of them (ATRs) have been coming from schools that have been closed down or subject areas that were cut,” said Scott Conti, principal of New Design High School in Manhattan. “The majority of them were at schools that were highly dysfunctional.” He noted that some may have been out of the classroom for years and not getting proper professional development, effectively hindering their performance as teachers.

Conti said he did hire a teacher from the ATR pool three years ago, through the standard procedure he would use to hire other teachers. He objects to the idea of being forced to hire someone whose effectiveness he could not fully judge.

“It’s never good when somebody from outside a school decides to fill in a vacancy in a school,” Conti said. “ It’s scary that some teacher could be put in your school that you have no choice about.”

Other principals were more harsh. One Bronx principal said multiple experiences working with ATR teachers sent to the school for monthly rotations in the past left the impression that those in the reserve are “not qualified, with very few exceptions.” Other principals agreed, suggesting that if the teachers were high-quality candidates, they probably would have found positions on their own.

The principals and Chalkbeat forget to mention that with "Fair Student Funding" ATRs who are senior teachers will cost a school significantly more money when their average salary is factored in on a school's budget. Chalkbeat contradicts the comment from the principals on the low-quality of the ATRs when they point out later in the article  that "the city offered an incentive system to encourage schools to hire from the ATR pool. During that school year, 372 teachers were hired from the ATR pool under a DOE policy that subsidized the cost of the teachers’ first-year salaries by 50 to 100 percent." That's why I was picked up permanently. I was a freebie for the school in 2016-17 and I'm half price for 2017-18. When ATRs are free or on sale, we suddenly aren't so bad.

Blogger Chaz has covered the reasons why ATRs are not given permanent positions fairly extensively. He cites the high cost of senior ATRs if hired on school budgets, ATR seniority over junior teachers who might have to be excessed if an ATR is hired and the school later has budget cuts, institutional memory as ATRs who are hired permanently might ask questions if a principal says jump, and finally how ATRs have been demonized by the DOE.

When someone sees over and over again the press reporting that he/she is not of high quality, it can have a real effect on the person. I was a rotating ATR for only three months and it impacted on my confidence as a teacher for sure. I have been to several meetings of ATRs done by various groups where polls are taken. Each time, majorities of ATR's vote that they would like to stay in rotation and don't want regular teaching positions. The first time I saw this result I was kind of stunned. After all, what kind of teacher wouldn't want a regular class to teach? Also, who wants to be observed by roving supervisors sometimes nicknamed "field assassins"? These supervisors observe ATRs in classes where the teachers might not even know the kids in front of them and perhaps are not even be skilled at an out-of license subject they happen to be teaching. In the opinion of many ATRs, this is still better than the Danielson observations regular teachers are subjected to.

Looking back with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight after having been appointed to a regular teaching position in 2017, I can say the ATRs who have given up trying to seek a permanent position and/or are blacklisted by the DOE so they can't find a regular job have mostly developed superior coping skills and are to be admired and not criticized.

By making minor tweaks in the system so more ATRs will be placed in schools, Randy Asher is really not making any radical changes. The principals still get to rate the ATRs who are placed and as previously stated only those rated Effective or Highly Effective exclusively on the observation portion of their annual rating will stay permanently. Ultimately, principals remain in control and only the ATRs forced placed will suffer as principals will now have an incentive to rate these teachers Developing or Ineffective on observations which unfortunately will happen many times to ATRs who are sent to some of the system's worst principals.

Chalkbeat did not quote one ATR, not even one, for their article. We don't matter to them and that is why I stay away from their biased reporting most of the time. However, it is worth noting that more principals seem to be unhappy since Farina re-empowered superintendents in 2015. A piece from Chalkbeat in June describes the complaints of principals going from a system where they controlled everything in their schools to one where the superintendent has some authority over them.

One principal described the changes:

Ari Hoogenboom, principal of Abraham Lincoln High School, spelled out the pros and cons. Farina's system is likely to minimize wayward principals from breaking the rules or getting in over their heads. But in the long run, it might also discourage stronger principals from taking risks that could help students.

"With Bloomberg, it was like running a hamburger joint, but it was my own hamburger joint," Hoogenboom said. "And with de Blasio I'm running a McDonald's and I have to serve the Big Mac."

Whether the administrative nonsense comes down on teachers and other UFT staff from the principal or the superintendent does not matter much. We are still the ones who are powerless along with parents and students in too many schools. The only solution for the future is to re-empower the actual school communities. That is where the check on principal power needs to come from. In contract negotiations, the UFT should seek to take back all of the givebacks from 2005.

Friday, July 21, 2017


July 28 is the new deadline date for Absent Teacher Reserves to take the buyout. Below is Amy Arundell's message taken from Gene Mann's The Organizer.

Either not enough ATRs are taking the deal to please the Department of Education or people are still making inquiries and didn't know the window was closing so quickly. Deciding to retire is an important decision that in this case has to be made quickly.

Since some DOE and UFT officials love to read the blogs, I can report that one of the reasons I am going to continue working this year is to make sure I make up the money I could have had if I didn't get appointed to a regular position in January and was still an ATR/provisional teacher who could have taken the buyout.

Don't expect the press to let up on the ATR issue. It looks like some of the principals are giong to rebel against any and every check on the virtually almost absolute power they have had over their schools since the UFT ceded so much ground to administration in 2005.

Amy's message:

      The deadline for the Severance Program for ATRs has an extended period through July 28. 
      Eligible ATRs who volunteer to resign or retire by the deadline and who are eligible for the severance package may choose either:

  • $50,000 in a lump-sum, non-pensionable payment or
  • $35,000 in a lump-sum, non-pensionable payment and six months of continued health coverage through Febreuary 28, 2018.
See a fact sheet with more information about the ATR severance program » (
If you are eligible and interested in participating, download the ATR Voluntary Severance Agreement and General Release form »(
        Once you complete the form, you must have it notarized before bringing it, in person, to the Human Resources Connect Walk-in Center, Room 102, 65 Court St., Brooklyn, by 5 p.m. Friday, July 28.

We strongly suggest you speak with a UFT pension specialist or contact the Teachers' Retirement System before finalizing your decision. If you have questions, please contact your UFT borough office. 


Amy Arundell
UFT Director of Personnel

Thursday, July 20, 2017


The race for mayor this year looks like a true yawn as Bill de Blasio should easily cruise to reelection. It remains to be seen how the UFT's early endorsement of the mayor's reelection will play out in terms of the schools.

It is hard to see much improvement in the schools since de Blasio took over as mayor in 2014. We have a subpar contract and an administration under Chancellor Carmen Farina that has  pretty much continued most of the Michael Bloomberg-Joel Klein anti-teacher practices. Universal pre-k and a highly suspect high school graduation rate do not make up for how teachers, parents and others are treated in NYC schools. Maybe education policy will change in a second de Blasio term.

The mayor should be safely reelected by the time the UFT contract is up for renegotiation in 2018. The current interminable nine year agreeent does not expire until November 30, 2018.

For those looking for an alternative to de Blasio, the Village Voice has a rundown on the candidates in this week's issue. None look very strong in the Democratic field.

As for the Republicans, the only one running is Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. I checked her website for anything on the schools and found this:


Nicole attended New York City Public Schools from kindergarten through high school. She received a great education and she wants to make sure that every child in our city gets the quality education they deserve.

New York State spends $22,593 per student per year to educate our children, the most of any state in the nation and 87% above the national average.  But, when it reaches New York City, it doesn’t seem to make it to the classrooms.  A big chunk of money goes towards contracts and consultants! While, all the time, we hear about teachers paying for classroom supplies, students lacking up-to-date textbooks and technology and classes being held in trailers parked on the school playground. Simply put, it’s wrong and unacceptable.

It sounds ok. Money sucked up in the bureaucracy is a major concern in NYC schools and has gotten worse under de Blasio as central Department of Education spending on central staff has soared. However, how Malliotakis would solve education issues is very problematic. Simply put, she would end up lowering public school enrollment by pushing for charter schools and tuition tax credits for religious and private schools.

This is not on her website but it is from an SI Live piece quoting some Conservative Party officials endorsing Malliotakis:

As a product of New York City public schools, Nicole has a clear understanding of what a great education can mean to the children of our city; she'll fight for high standards and against the special interests that seem intent on dumbing-down our schools. She also will fight for the expansion of charter schools in the five boroughs and tuition tax assistance for New Yorkers who send their children to religious or private schools. The Conservative Party is proud to endorse Nicole Malliotakis for Mayor of the City of New York."

I'll take a huge pass on Nicole. Her Trump style plan would send the public schools into a major crisis. Lower enrollments as public money is diverted from public education to charter and private schools would lead to public schools offering fewer programs. The issues in our schools that she writes about on her website would worsen.

She is not a friend.

The real concern is how public school teachers have little to choose from in yet another election. De Blasio = more of the same and the Republican alternative is worse. I guess that is the case in most elections these days. Not too many politicians on our side.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Mike Fiorillo sent out this piece from In These Times on the Trump nominees for the National Labor Relations Board. One of the reasons I vote Democratic, even though the Democrats have pretty much neglected labor, is because when Democrats control the federal bureaucracy working people tend to have a little less difficulty organizing into unions. Here is what the In These Times article says about Trump's NLRB:

It might not get as much press coverage as other Donald Trump administration calamities, but the U.S. president is set to appoint a known union buster to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), push the body to a Republican majority and reverse Obama-era protections that rankle Big Business.

And further down In These Times makes some frightening NLRB projections:

Trump is putting the NLRB in the position to undo a number of important Obama-era labor decisions. His NLRB could potentially reverse rulings that made it easier for small groups of workers to unionize, established grad students as employees, put charter school employees under NLRB jurisdiction, and held parent companies jointly liable for with franchise operators who break labor laws. Writing about the imminent anti-union crackdown on this website in May, Shaun Richman wrote, “Unions and their allies should be convening research teams to plot out a campaign of regulatory and judicial activism. That work should begin now.”

Darker days are here for unions and it will probably get worse before it gets better.

Monday, July 17, 2017


Daniel Weisberg is a former New York City Department of Education lawyer under Chancellor Joel Klein. Weisberg has written yet another opinion piece for an anti-teacher website in which he repeats many half-truths and outright false statements about Absent Teacher Reserves, teachers in New York City who have no permanent teaching position through no fault of their own. This blog will not link to Weisberg's garbage but since ATR friends for some reason are sending it out all over the place, the ICEBLOG will provide a refutiation of the former Klein assistant's biased piece.

Weisberg claims that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina "are resurrecting one of the most harmful and discredited ideas in education policy: forced hiring of teachers."  He then gives little specific evidence to prove that so called "forced hiring" is bad except to cite a very dated anti-tenure article from 1999 on the difficulty of firing bad teachers.

If the problem is keeping criminals and/or pedophiles away from children, the process to remove a teacher from a classroom in New York City takes about the time it takes to make a phone call to the Office of Special Investigations or the Commissioner of Special Investigations who then remove the teacher from the classroom instantly. Having to subsequently prove the teacher really is a criminal is something that should be basic to our system of justice even in schools since there are many false allegations. The reality is that anyone accused of almost anything can be taken away from students in a flash.

I personally know one of the four long serving teachers who the NY Post claimed were kept out of the classroom indefinitely but stayed on payroll. This teacher taught at Jamaica High School with me. He was going through a nasty divorce many years ago and was accused of sexually assaulting a child. The teacher was totally vindicated as the person who made the accusation recanted but it wasn't good enough for Joel Klein so the teacher was kept out of the classroom indefinitely on suspicion of possibly having once been suspicious. This must be one of the "lemons" Weisberg is talking about. For the record nobody at Jamaica High School where we worked together ever accused this teacher of doing anything improper to any child. Many of the so called "lemons" or "trash" that Weisberg and others refers to are simply people who had personality clashes with administrators. "Lemons" and "trash" are subjective terms.

Weisberg then cites some statistics from 2014 saying that 25% of ATRs were brought up on disciplinary charges. In the New York City Department of Education for many teachers this means that the teacher had a problem with an administrator. The simplist way for an administrator to get rid of a teacher from a school is to file charges against him/her. If the teacher is not overly popular with the students, it is as easy as bringing a few kids into an office and asking some leading questions.

When I was chapter leader at Jamaica, I was once called to a new principal's office because an outside investigator was in the building and a teacher needed advice on what to do. The new principal covered my class and asked the kids some leading questions about me. I tend to be popular with students so he got nowhere. How do I know this? When I returned to class, the kids told me about how they defended me. Unfortunately, asking the leading questions is done repeatedly by some unscrupulous admistrators to try to dig for dirt even when there is not even suspicion of someone possibly being suspicious. Remember, there are no real consequences in NYC that I know of for principals falsely accusing teachers. Maybe they can be transferred from an assignment to another if they alienate an entire school community but they don't end up unemployed except under very extraordinary circumstances.

Weisberg then claims 60% of ATRs don't even bother looking for a regular job. He neglects to mention that the open market transfer system is closed for many, particularly senior teachers as Chaz documented when Weisberg wrote essentially the same anti-ATR piece back in 2014 and we showed at this blog when we did our analysis of the so called open market last week. The open market is a dead end for most senior teachers regardless of their records. Principals can hire two teachers on their budget for the price of one experienced teacher. "Come back when you're younger" was the ICEUFTblog conclusion.

Weisberg continues by saying that placing ATRs after October 15 for the rest of the year, as the new Department of Education policy intends to do, is terrible policy. He writes: "More to the point, subjecting thousands of kids to ineffective teachers for even a year is simply unacceptable."  The argument is ridiculous.

Principals have between July and October to fill their vacancies with any certified teacher they want. They can go outside the system and hire those cheap newbies through October 15th. If they can't find a candidate in four months, the central DOE will send them someone and the DOE retains the unilateral discretion not to send anyone they think is not fit (a teacher who beat a disciplinary hearing). There are relatively few openings after October 15. Most are for leaves for illness or maternity and are temporary in nature. Would Weisberg rather see the classes go unfilled? That happens.

He then proposes the DC-Chicago solution where an ATR gets a time limit to find a new position if she/he is placed in excess because a school closes or a program is downsized and then they would be placed on unpaid leave if a principal doesn't hire them within a year (or a different time limit). This exposes his real aim which is to terminate senior teachers. This flies in the face of civil service law which put in place a seniority system in large part to stop a spoils system and arbitrarily firing people who have experience.

Weisberg is attempting to make an end run around the law to effectively eliminate tenure. Excessing would essentially mean firing if he has his way. We would all become at will employees since senior teachers are often passed on for jobs just because of the cost on a school budget. Tenure in DC or Chicago means next to nothing if a teacher is in a school that is slated for closure or downsizing. New York still has a more progressive civil service law that does not allow school officials to just clear out the senior, higher paid teachers by downsizing programs and then covertly blacklisting most of the excessed teachers which is the real agenda here. If someone doesn't think blacklisting exists, wake up. I was told by an official I was blacklisted. I got hired in spite of this mainly because the school will get a full subsidy for my salary for the first year and a half subsidy for the second year and I have sufficient time to retire already.

What about alternatives to patronage hiring?

Can managers succeed if they do not pick the employees that work for them? Obviously, the answer is yes. Look at the New York City Police Department where the Precinct Commanders are "stuck" with the officers that are sent to them. If someone is sent to them from the Police Academy or another precinct, they can't turn around and reject the new officers. Even without that hiring power, the commanders are still responsible for reducing crime in their precincts. Look at so many other government agencies and it is the same way. We can go outside of government on this issue too.

Let's examine sports. In most pro sports franchises, the general manager gets the players and then the manager in baseball or the coach in other sports has to work with the players he/she has been given. I don't see the Dan Weisbergs of the world screaming about how coaches need to hire all of their players.

Uncontrolled administrative power at the principal, superintendent or central Department of Education in New York City is the biggest problem here. At the principal's level, it has led to patronage hiring as well as massive grade inflation and grade fixing scandals. These scandals have been well documented by Sue Edelman. Sources tell us that what is public is the tip of the iceberg as many teachers are too scared to report what is occurring in their schools for fear of retaliation.

We have reported here that the place to investigate to find how the increase in high school graduation is rather meaningless is the CUNY on time graduation rates, particularly in the two year colleges, which are as low as 1.4%. NYC high school graduates feed these colleges. The answer is that we must bring back integrity to the high school diploma. In order to do that, NYC must reign in principals not only from above, but also from below by empowering teachers and parents again. Changing the hiring back to committees would be an important first step.

Good principals are not afraid to work in partnership with their school communities and would object to the Weisberg approach of firing the senior people in excess.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


The latest Quinnipiac poll has Governor Andrew Cuomo down to a 46% approval rating. Since his disapproval is at 38%, it isn't so bad. However, Cuomo was at 52% approval in March so he is going in the wrong direction.

The real positive news in the poll is that a majority of New Yorkers don't think Cuomo would be a good president.

From the poll:

11. Do you think Andrew Cuomo would make a good President or not?
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
Yes                  34%    17%    49%    29%    32%    36%    32%    30%
No                   56     83     38     60     59     53     59     61
DK/NA                10      -     12     11      9     12      9      9
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
Yes                  34%    32%    39%    33%    27%    34%    31%    43%
No                   53     60     53     57     65     57     60     46
DK/NA                13      8      8     10      8     10      9     12
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
Yes                  27%    40%    36%
No                   66     48     52
DK/NA                 7     12     12

That 56% no number is encouraging.

As for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, his corruption conviction was overturned on Thursday. This is not a surprise as the United States Supreme Court made corruption convictions for public officials very difficult in a rather awful 9-0 decision we reported on in June of 2016. Under these rules, I don't think it will be easy to convict Silver in a new trial.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


For those who want to plan their union school year, Mike Schirtzer sent us the dates for this year's Delegate Assembly and Executive Board meetings.

For anyone who can't wait until October for the first DA to hear how absolutely wonderful the school opening was in the NYC schools thanks to the UFT but how awful everything else is, there will be a Chapter Leader meeting and two Executive Board meetings in September. 

The ICE-UFT Blog makes some basic predictions well before the school year begins.

There will be nothing negative said by UFT leadership about NYC schools with Mayor Bill de Blasio's reelection coming in November but we will hear how we must give more to COPE or we will lose our pensions in the constitutional convention. 

 I will vote no on the convention and urge collegues to do the same. The refendum will fail and there will not be a convention.

I will not vote for de Blasio and hope there is a reasonable third party alternative. de Blasio will be easily reelected but he will continue to treat us the same contemptible way Mayor Bloomberg did.

The school year will start off well in schools that are well run and will be a complete mess in many other schools but the UFT Mulgrew's happy talk will be almost non-stop except maybe for paperwork and SESIS.

Please check back on the accuracy of the ICR crystal ball.

The DA, Executive Board and chapter leader meeting dates are listed below.

Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting            

Executive Board 
(Mondays- 6:00 P.M.)

11, 25

16, 30

6, 20

4, 18

January 2018
8, 22

12, 26

19, 26

9, 23

7, 21

4, 18

Delegate Assemblies  
 (Wednesdays - 4:15 P.M.-6:00 P.M.)
October 18
November 8
December 6
 January 17
March 21  
 May 16
June 13


If you are a Department of Education employee and you wish to watch Absent Teacher Reserve head Randy Asher's webinar on the ATRs, go to this link.

Below is Asher's statement on the ATRs. There isn't much new here but we print everything for the record and if you can find something different in Asher's words, please tell us.

On the issue of press reports calling ATRs poor quality teachers, I am not going to link to any of them. I read three stories on ATRs. I saw quotes from people who aren't in the classroom and nothing from any teacher or ATR. That is all you need to know about the biased press that is often anti-teacher.

Good Afternoon,

Earlier today, we announced updated placement procedures intended to reduce the size of the reserve pool, and ultimately to help teachers and administrators get back into schools where they are needed most.

The procedures announced today are discussed in more depth in this pre-recorded webinar

In summary:
·        Reserve pool teachers can be assigned across district lines within the Borough.
·        Beginning around October 15, we’ll place reserve pool teachers into vacancies funded by schools.
·        After the match to vacancies and long term absence coverage, we plan to significantly reduce rotations for most remaining reserve pool members.
·        If a provisionally hired teacher receives a Highly Effective or Effective rating at the end of the 2017-18 school year, and there is a vacancy in the same license area for the following school year, and there are no extraordinary circumstances, that educator will be permanently hired by the school.
·        The Voluntary Severance Program period is closing on July 14, 2017.

The ATR pool was neither the destination nor experience that led any of us to a career as professional educators.  Most of us became educators with noble intentions and the desire to have a positive impact on the lives of the students we serve.  The most effective way to achieve this goal is to serve in a classroom as a teacher or in a leadership role as an administrator.  We are looking forward to working with those in the ATR pool to provide opportunities to achieve these goals.

For those who wish to explore other options, the Voluntary Severance Program will remain open until July 14, 2017.  Please follow the specific instructions in the webcast to participate.

If you have questions or concerns, please email

Working together, we can help ensure ATR teachers and administrators are given the opportunity to serve the 1.1 million students of New York City in a meaningful way.

Randy J. Asher
Senior Advisor, Talent Management & Innovation

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I spent the morning and early afternoon at the Teachers' Retirement System taking the "Getting Ready for Retirement" class. It was, to say the least, very informative. I feel quite a bit more confident that I know what I'm doing concerning what option to take, how my pension will be calculated and what to do with my TDA account when I retire.

There were many interesting little facts that we learned during the day. For example, 94% of TRS retirees choose TDA Defferral status for their TDA at the time of retirement. Very few withdraw the money or annuitize it. This is from the TDA Options at Retirement guide in the section on Deferral status.

If you subsequently withdraw all of your TDA funds or choose to annuitize your funds, you would lose TDA Deferral status. (However, if you make a partial wighrawal of your TDA funds, your TDA Deferral status would not be affected.)

Good to know this information.

It was also important for TRS representatives to go into detail on how to fill out the retirement forms, where to take them to and also what TRS members need to do with our employer and our union upon retirement. I thought it was kind of strange that some participants seemed skeptical about union pension consultations. The workshop included both UFT and Council of Supervisors and Administrators members.

The most compelling part for me was at the end of the class when two participants jumped to the head of the line to leave and then raced ahead of all of us so they could get to the side entrance of the building to turn in their fully filled out papers to retire. One I know was an Absent Teacher Reserve who wanted to make sure she had her papers filed so she was eligible for the $50,000 severance pay. July 14 is the deadline but TRS rules say the papers should turned at least a day in advance of retiring. I was kind of envious of this woman as I headed for the subway.

For everyone who wants to make it to retirement age and receive a pension, there are two possibe strategies to survive New York City's often anti-teacher school system:

1-Always work in a school with a decent administration.

2-Since option 1 isn't always possible, help build a robust union that will stand up to this corrupt system.

While I wish everyone could work with great principals and assistant principals so we could all collegially move the schools forward, the reality is somewhat different.

Therefore, I will be joining MORE (the Movement of Rank and File Educators) in the initial summer series event at the Dark Horse located at 17 Murray Street in Manhattan (very close to City Hall) on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 3:00 P.M. through 6:00 P.M. for hardcore contract training.

I don't pretend to have all the answers as the school system is beyond morally bankrupt and our union plays along too often but if we work as a union, I mean a real union movement coming from the schools, we can put pressure to move the situation in the right direction for teachers, students and public education in general.

I hope some of the people who comment on this blog can make it to the Dark Horse on Wednesday in the afternoon as I would really enjoy meeting you and sharing ideas on how we can find ways to fight back successfully.

Part of MORE's ad:

MORE’s FIFTH Annual Summer Series!

July 6, 2017 — Leave a comment
Please join us to… Discuss, Debate, and Organize!
WHEN:   Wednesdays this summer; 3pm-6pm
WHERE:  The Dark Horse, 17 Murray St. NYC; Near City Hall, Chambers St,
Drink specials: $4 drafts, $6 well drinks & $7 wine
Hardcore Contract Training
July 12th
Is your chapter facing abusive administrators? Are there contract violations? Do you want to engage your members in the fight back ? Bring challenges that you and your colleagues have at your school, we will share suggestions based on our experiences. Veteran chapter leaders and UFT Executive Board members that have led successful actions and grievances will be joining us.

Monday, July 10, 2017


This morning in my inbox was an email from UFT President Michael Mulgrew on Department of Education policy changes concerning Absent Teacher Reserves.

This line on the DOE policy changes concerns me:

"...if an ATR is assigned to a school and rated Effective or Highly Effective by the school administration, absent extraordinary circumstances, the ATR will become a permanent member of the school community."

It sounds good on the surface. However, it seems to me this sentence will be used by some principals who feel control is more important than anything to rate teachers forced on them Developing or Ineffective to make sure they do not get stuck with ATRs they might not want, particularly veterans who will cost them more on their budgets. Maybe I am just too cynical.

What do you you think of the latest  DOE "policy changes"?

Yesterday, I wrote about the open market system and senior teachers. The bottom line is seasoned teachers cost too much on school budgets. That must stop. The answer to all of this is to fight to take back the givebacks from 2005. Incremental changes will not succeed.

Mulgrew's email in its entirety is below.

Dear James,
I am writing to you to let you know that the DOE has made changes to the way it will place members of the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool in schools. These changes reflect the UFT’s conviction that members of the ATR pool provide needed services to schools and that their work should be respected. While the DOE and the UFT have long sought to reduce the size of the ATR pool, we are pleased that the DOE is now looking to do this by matching educators and schools rather than through time limits and attacks.
These changes are policy changes — not contractual changes. First, the DOE has informed us of their commitment to fill positions that remain vacant on Oct. 15, 2017, with educators from the ATR pool. This is in contrast to the hands-off approach that the DOE has taken with principals in the past. As you know, this spring’s ATR agreement continues the agreement from the Memorandum of Agreement in 2014 that allows educators of the ATR pool to be assigned to schools in their borough. As was the case from 2014-16, ATRs can be assigned to a school in their borough with a vacancy in their license area. This has not changed.
Second, if an ATR is assigned to a school and rated Effective or Highly Effective by the school administration, absent extraordinary circumstances, the ATR will become a permanent member of the school community. This just makes sense. If a principal rates a teacher Effective or Highly Effective, and the match between the member and the school is appropriate, that principal should not send that teacher back to the ATR pool because of budget concerns or for other reasons.
The DOE is changing its own policy, but, of course, it cannot change or violate any of the terms of our contracts. As always, with your help, we will make sure that the DOE follows all contractual rules.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your UFT borough office. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Michael Mulgrew
UFT President

Sunday, July 09, 2017


To this blogger, one of the worst of the many givebacks of the 2005 contract was the end of seniority transfers and School Based Option transfers for UFT members replaced by the creation of the open market transfer system.

In the pre-2005 days, there was a system based solely on seniority for half of the openings in a particular school. There was also the School Based Option transfer system where personnel committees hired UFT staff that many schools chose to use.

 Article 18 (transfers and Staffing) from the 1995-2000 contract started with this line:

The Board and the Union recognize the need to maintain both staff stability and an equitable balance of experienced and inexperienced teachers in the schools.

That line really meant something until 2005. Now it is still in the contract but it is meaningless.

Article 18A of the 1995-2000 contract and the 2000-2003 contract (that lasted until 2005) based transfers solely on the basis of seniority. A teacher picked up to six schools and was given the first one where he/she had the most seniority among applicants.

Article 18A9 said this:

In the case of teachers indicating the same choice of school, preference shall be given to the teacher with the greatest seniority.

Could you even conceive of that being in the contract in 2017?

Teachers could reject schools, not principals. The penalty for teachers rejecting a transfer was not being able to use the senioirity plan the following year.

There were real restrictions that limited movement with the seniority system. Only five percent of the teachers were permitted to transfer out of a school using this plan. In addition, schools only listed half of their vacancies. The point was to give senior teachers an escape route from difficult settings like if a crazy principal took over or a chance to be closer to home. Now, teachers are trapped for the most part and principals don't want veterans because of the added cost on their budgets which in those days was not a problem.

If the seniority transfer system was not to a teacher's liking, there was the SBO transfer and staffing plan added to the contract in 1995. Personnel Committees were set up to fill vacancies in schools. Schools had to opt in to this system by 75% of UFT staff (55% after 2002) voting for a School Based Option that the principal and chapter leader signed off on. Contract Article 18F defined the SBO personnel committees:

The personnel committees shall be comprised of school staff members, the UFT chapter leader, the head of the school, and parents selected by the school's parent association. Where appropriate, others should be invited to participate. The majoirty of the members of the personnel committees shall be teachers selected by the UFT chapter.

Personnel committees with a majority of teachers hired staff just twelve short years ago!

Then there is this gem later in Article 18F:

The personnel committee will select the most experienced qualified applicant of those candidates who apply for vacancies advertised under the transfer component of the SBO transfer and staffing plan. 

There were exceptions for less senior applicants with "extraordinary qualifications". The same personnel committee with a teacher majority hired new UFT staff in SBO schools as well.

If an applicant felt he/she was rejected wrongfully by the personnel committee, there was an expedited grievance procedure that went to an arbitrator. This process was fair by accounts I have heard.

Those were the options for changing schools before 2005. In addition, there were transfers to further integration and hardship transfers for travel which were basically automatic if a teacher had to travel more than 90 minutes by public transportation to get to work.

What were these progressive systems that gave teachers some real power over where they worked replaced with?

The open market. This is from the current contract:

Article 18A. General Transfers.
Effective school year 2005-2006, principals will advertise all vacancies. Interviews will be conducted by school-based human resources committees (made up of pedagogues and administration) with the final decision to be made by the principals.

That line about the final decision being made by the principal set hiring back to the 19th century - before there was competitive civil service - as it left principals solely responsible for who teaches in a school. We now have a spoils system where there is no check on principal hiring power. When Joel Klein later changed school budgets so that teacher salaries in each individual school were taken into account in a school's budget, it gave principals an incentive to shun senior teachers because of the higher costs of their salaries.

In the post 2005 contract world, the UFT would give statistics to show how the open market system was better because more teachers were transferring compared to the old seniority system. However, the UFT would only meniton the open market versus the seniority system. They never compared with the SBO system which had taken hold in a large percentage of schools by 2005. Nor did they compare the number of senior teachers moving as compared to the old systems.

My own feeling on the open market is to paraphrase the Bible (something not normally done here).

From the Bible:

23Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I hope I am not offending any devout Christians out there by saying:

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a senior teacher to transfer using the open market system.

Senior teachers do get transfers but it looks to me that it is kind of rare.

I might like to find a school closer to home. I'm not saying I am unhappy at Middle College High School but I have a long commute from Floral Park right at the city line to MCHS in Long Island City (close to an hour and a half by public transportation and sometimes longer by car, particularly getting home) but I don't think I have much hope of being successful.

Maybe it is just me because I am a 31 year veteran teacher who puts his name to each posting on a blog critical of both the UFT and the DOE so I've been told I am blacklisted. I get it. But what about everyone else who reads this blog?

Do you find the open market transfer system to be fair?

The UFT got this language into the 2005 contract in Article 18A:

Teachers who have repeatedly been unsuccessful in obtaining transfers or obtaining regular teaching positions after being excessed, will, upon request, receive individulized assistance from the Division of Human Resources and/or the Peer Intervention Program on how to maximize their chances of success in being selected for a transfer.

I have a way to save the DOE and UFT the time and money put into more patronage for the people hired to help teachers polish resumes. Instead, just play us veterans this Steve Wynn (the alternative rock guy from The Dream Syndicate, not the hotel guy) song from 1990.

It's called "Younger". Here is the line that could be from principals to senior teachers in NYC:

"Here's the door but don't come in
Come back when you're younger"

Am I just a jaded old blogger or is this the reality out there? Please help out on this one.