Two meetings in a row I'm in early.
Michael Mulgrew opened the meeting by welcoming Delegates to February DA, We're over halfway through the school year. Hope all are safe. Try to shorten report. Start with a moment of silence for Karen Lewis, the CTU leader who passed away.
Middle schools, DOE had to have testing in place. Plan with SED says 20% testing per week per building. We didn't take DOE's word for it but city has money from second cares act from federal government. We want them to have testing teams going ahead of time. They have more than enough capacity to test. They are in compliance with state plan. We are working on vaccination program. We are on the phone trying to find more vaccines. All are scrambling looking for more vaccines. City has agreed that the five sites for NYC employees will have a specific number of slots every day dedicated to in-person DOE employees. Elementary, middle school and D75 in-person will get those slots. Middle school people didn't think they needed so much time but we have over two weeks. One day for staff to come in and check everything. We will make sure there is a two week PPE supply. PPE, cleaning protocols are the front line with ventilation are what keeps us safe. Testing gives us warning if there is COVID-19 in the building. Folks going back on 24th have to make sure things are in place. Must make sure that is working. We are working with people from around the country. They need testing capacity. They are fighting for basic things we already have. Contact us if there are issues. Constant monitoring. We then push. We are watching each other's backs.
CDC guidelines on opening schools pushed back to Friday. Will have much like NYC guidelines but they don't have the testing ability. We have COVID building Response Teams. They need to have authority to get things done.
President Biden priority is to open schools safely. He is also saying politics can't get in the way as people are struggling. We need to move and do something dramatic. $170 billion for education in next federal bill. Alot to do this year and next year. Schools can't just handle all the challenges. Chicago is opening. We worked with Jesse Sharkey. Kids getting COVID-19 now. If things start to change, we are monitoring it.
Worried about supplanting funds. State takes a dollar away for every dollar that comes from the lottery. Governor planning to supplant half of the money. We will get back to some sort of new normal. Academic regression and learning loss are the two big crisis we know are coming at us. We are seeing it in remote and in-person settings. It can't be the usual let the schools handle it. We need funding and support.
No finalized APPR (evaluation). Only the governor can waive it. Governor has no appetite to waive it. Budget and early retirement incentive are all people are talking about in Albany. Teaching remotely is not about how many are logged on or who has their camera on. Teaching a class with 6 children with all socially distant. We don't want to hear that someone is not doing group work. We have redefined the engaging of students. Certain superintendents and principals judging engagement by how many are on line. Basic framework document sent to the state. We need to change part of it. Nobody is working in the conditions with which they were hired. DR's superintendents, principasls-chapter leaders need to be trained together. Appeal process will go from school to central and it doesn't need to wait until final rating. Let us know if ther are problems. No such thing as retroactive observations. No crazy crap about how many kids were on and who had cameras on.
SED has sent a waivier to federal government to waive standardized tests for this year. Need the waiver not to lose Title I funds.
We had first mayoral forum. No buzz about mayor's race because there is so much. More city council endorsements today. No endorsement for mayor, comptroller or public advocate or 4 borough presidents yet. More people volunteering to get involved. We look at the plans and viability. Candidates need to have the money.
Keep going. If I'm out there and don't have an appointment yet, I put my name out there. Federal government going up 20% and supply chain is starting to grow. Vaccination program can get us to herd immunity to get us out of this. I don't want to be in this situation for 2-3 years. We did 400 last week at Thomas Jefferson HS. We will move to where there are needs and a large number of people live in an area. Great day on Monday. Members have a second shot. We got therapists in group A. We are ahead of schedule at the start of February. Send UFT results of test results not coming back fast enough. 252 schools down to 51 not getting results back fast enough. We need the information. Only three schools testing same people every week. Keep the pressure on. We do everything in our power to keep everyone safe. We Feed NYC is going. Food scarcity is really bad. Goal to raise $250,000 to distribute food. Needs in every borough. Food lines everywhere. Anthony Harmon and his team raising money. It will all go for food. We are blessed but it is an inate responsiblity. If there's a need, we help. Working on this on Saturday. Tomorrow and then Lunar New Year. Passed half way mark of the school year. You guys have performed like heroes if schools are open or closed with the crazy mayor. Stupid frustration not needed. People in schools watching each other whether in-person or remote. It's a pandemic. Things aren't fair. We care for children and their families. We will stay true to our principles. Have a wonderful break. A long way to go.
Staff Director's Report:
Leroy Barr gave dates for some upcoming UFT events including We Feed NY this Saturday. Next mayoral Town Hall will be Feb 23. Happy Lunar New Year, and Happy Valentines Day.
Question from CL on teachers getting hig on passing percentage. Teachers can get tortured for passing percentage not being high enough.
Mulgrew Answer: Big part of consultation with the chancellor. Two deputy chancellors said this isn't going on and is against policy. They don't support it. If you are being told about passing percentages, let us know. We now have a ventilation standard. If you feel comfortable, we need the information. This is a big opportunity. Please let us know. This drives me crazy.
Question: Early retirement incentive?
Answer: We made a big solid case on ERI in Albany and it is starting to move. Other unions in other counties around the state want to be in. Developing language to get this in. Weare lined up this year but we don't have it yet. We're moving this and not getting the usual no way answer. It is a responsible thing to do at this point.
Question: Middle school buildings opening, what about high schools?
Answer: No discussions with DOE on high schools. Three more high schools opened up as vaccination sites. Even at federal level, it is k-8. Had to have testing capacity for middle schools. Massive amount of testing going on. We are the testing capital of the world on COVID-19 testing. B group right now was about 8.2 million statewide. That grew to 16.4. With restuarant people in there, B group is now 30 million people who are eligible for vaccination. 130,000 vaccines. Large buildings in communities are schools. C group is everyone else. 70% of parents still don't want their kids in school. We don't know what it will be like in September. No conversations about high schools. (Note If 30 million are eligible and the population of NYS is 19+million, where did all these other people come from?)
Question: Administration is all on accomodation. Sub AP does observations with AP on phone?
Answer: Have to account for someone working in a cafeteria or children who are remote and have broadband issues. We don't want kids or adults hurt during this pandemic. DOE understands this and will have joint training on what is and isn't supposed to be happening with evaluations. One system for 80 years and we have had five different evaluation systems in the last 11 years. We have new appeal process for this year that goes from school to central committee. I hear trepidation. A guy walking around with someone on video call is very strange.
Question: Window for kids coming in from full remote to in-school learning?
Answer: No such thing as a local opt in period. We know how many kids are scheduled to be in school for testing. Let district rep know. More and more kids on live rosters who aren't coming.
Question: Does situation room tell principals about positive students?
Answer: They notify the principal of positive test result. They share classroom. Staff gets general communication. HIPPA regs are followed. More than one, contact tracing and school is closed. 50,000 tests are happening each day. Some schools aren't told until late they won't be opening the next day because of a backlog. Call us. Standard communication process from principal to staff and principal to parent. Sometimes it gets complicated.
Question: Paperwork including IEPS. What can be done about excessive paperwork?
Answer: We will put that to the DOE. will put it on consultation to the chancellor.
Follow-up: Working remote until 2:00 am each day. I'm doing everything on my time. D75 students are different that gen ed population. Many D75 kids can't open the computer. Need more info for D75. Teaching daily five periods per day. Not teaching every minute. Can't do a breakout in a 6 to1 to 1 students.
Answer: We will try to find some way to ease that.
Question: 1 to 1Paras not on accommodation have fully remote classes. Do they have to come into building?
Question: Changing school closing criteria talk?
Answer: No way. No virus spread in schools because we don't know if cases are linked. We will fight if mayor tries to change this.
Question: High school teachers told to come in to proctor SAT?
Answer: More students would come in than other tests. If entire Brooklyn Tech junior class comes in, that could be 1,500 kids. PPE still needs to be in place. Social distancing too. Try to work through process with DOE.
Some things we already have resolutions and positions on. By trying to tie our hands, we can't do that. Can't negotiate time for money in negotiations.
Quinn Zannoni from Solidarity: Motion for next month's agenda on evaluations. Based on an emergency APPR waived. Only tech people like Gates would benefit. It doesn't make sense to have an evaluation now with year already over halfway through. We don't know what is effective. No research on these tech evaluations. Reject evaluation system that has a remote judgment to it.
Speaking against is VEEP Mary Vaccaro. APPR is state law. It must be negotiated between DOE and UFT. Best interest to set a shared framework. First time we have been in remote but this is called for no evaluation for teachers who are remote. 3C engagement will be redefined to show what good practice looks like. Please oppose this resolution.
40% in favor-60% against.
For this month: Motion for the UFT to support tax the rich and invest in NY coalition. Raise $50 million.
70% in favor-30% against.
Daniel Alecia to move up item 6 to item 1 on mayoral control. Must address this immediately. Time-sensitive before mayoral town halls.
A false start on the vote. Mulgrew reset.
59% for-41% Against. It didn't get 2/3 vote so it didn't move up.
Special Orders of Business
City Council endorsements.
15 endorsements. Brooklyn Borough Rep goes over process for UFT endorsements. Focus is what is best for our union, our profession, and our livelihood.
Mulgrew asks if someone wants to pull the endorsements to pull someone out.
One Delegate asks for D14 candidate to be pulled out.
One asks for D18 candidate to be pulled out.
Another asks for D18 candidate to be pulled out.
Another again asks for D18 to be pulled out.
Leroy asks for motion to suspend the rules to pull people out. Mulgrew as chair says Parliamentarian will say rules were approved. No ability to pull out individual candidates because that is an amendment. No right to amend this. Pulling candidates out would be an amendment. Working under these rules, it doesn't work that way. Resolution has to be voted on as a whole.
Bronx Borough Rep speaks in favor of all the endorsements. Says essentially what the Brooklyn Borough Rep said.
UFT retiree exec bd member speaks next to speak in favor of endorsements. Says the same thing as the first two but this time for Staten Island.
Mulgrew and Leroy then speak of Robert's Rules. Need a motion from the body to suspend the rules to allow single candidates to be considered separately.
Motion to suspend the rules come from Delegate. Mulgrew says it's a majority. Parliamentarian says it is 2/3 (after probably looking it up as he didn't seem too sure.)
66% Yes-34% No. Mulgrew suspends rules so there can be an amendment. (Note: 67% is 2/3.)
Jonathan Halabi says no endorsement for D18.
Someone speaks in favor of amendment for no endorsement for D18. Wants someone who UFT didn't pick.
Someone else speaks against the amendment and for the UFT's process. He trusts the people in the district.
Someone on the Bronx committee speaks against the amendment and in favor of the UFT process. Says it was fair and equitable. Stand by committee recommendations.
Mulgrew then makes his own motion to call the question.
69% in favor of calling the question (ending debate on amendment).
Mulgrew reports that chancellor just said nobody can opt in for in-person learning now.
45% yes-55% No on amendment to pull D 18 endorsement resolution.
Motion to extend meeting to vote on endorsements.
60% in favor-40% Against. (That's not 2/3 needed to suspend the rules but Mulgrew suspended them anyway and kept it going.)
Mulgrew says he's trying to figure out a hybrid model for next year for DAs.
Someone calls the question to end debate.
86% in favor-14% opposed.
80 Yes-20% No on all of the endorsements.
Thanks Delegates God bless and be safe.