I often shake my head at UFT actions and inactions but the last few days I am at the point of asking if everyone down at UFT Headquarters has lost all sense of rational thought.
NYSUT reported that the bill to waive teacher and principal evaluations for the 2020-2021 school year passed unanimously in both the Assembly and Senate. The governor then signed it. We covered this bill on June 9. The language is pretty clear:
§ 3. Section 3012-d of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 17 to read as follows:
17. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS SECTION, FOR THE TWO THOUSAND TWENTY--TWO THOUSAND TWENTY-ONE SCHOOL YEAR, NO SCHOOL DISTRICT OR BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES SHALL COMPLETE AN ANNUAL TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION FOR ANY CLASSROOM TEACHER OR BUILDING PRINCIPAL AND STATE FUNDING SHALL NOT BE WITHHELD FROM ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION.
Evaluations are over for this year so observations from supervisors such as Namita Dwarka at Bryant HS who do not support teachers are gone, right?
Well, no because it looks like the UFT is allowing the DOE to get a waiver from the law that waives teacher evaluations without public objection. This is what President Michael Mulgrew said about evaluations according to our notes at the UFT Delegate Assembly on Wednesday:
APPR. School districts do not have to do APPR but can do it. City plugging in MOSLs. People were not working under conditions they were hired under. Breathe deep and relax. If the city tries to use it, we will deal with it. SED guidance is out.
What am I missing? The law's language again:
...NO SCHOOL DISTRICT OR BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES SHALL COMPLETE AN ANNUAL TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION FOR ANY CLASSROOM TEACHER OR BUILDING PRINCIPAL..
The part about not losing state funding is if a district does not comply with Section 3012-d, not the waiver subdivision. What union would not cry foul if a district tried to get a waiver from the evaluation waiver? I say that as a union activist and not a lawyer. I totally cannot comprehend why the UFT is not even protesting, but rather is supporting an evaluation system that allows principals to be abusive, even during a pandemic.
Speaking of head-scratching moments, a union president needs to have extensive knowledge of many areas in order to do the job right. The UFT President falls short in so many categories (see one example above) but one would think he should know off the top of his head when the UFT Contract expires.
Why did Mulgrew repeatedly say at the Delegate Assembly on Wednesday that the Contract expires in November. He sounded as though he is ready to put a negotiating committee together with some urgency. A quick check will show Mulgrew's date for the expiration of the Contract is off by almost a year. The UFT Contract expires on September 13, 2022. Why didn't one of the other officials on the call correct him? If there are going to be negotiations for an early contract before Mayor Bill de Blasio leaves office in January, shouldn't we be discussing that and not making up a date for the end of the Contract that is totally false?
Either Mulgrew doesn't know the end date of a collective bargaining agreement he negotiated and signed off on which just shows incompetence or something is going on behind the scenes to possibly negotiate an early new one without any discussion with elected Delegates. If something is going on with negotiations, it just gives more evidence of the UFT leadership's autocratic style of union governance.
We saw more evidence of tyrannical leadership during the motion period on Wednesday at the DA when Delegate Daniel Alicea was mysteriously dropped from the DA phone call right before he was supposed to speak and he was not allowed back to get the floor to present his motion. This resolution concerned preserving retiree health benefits in the federal (public) Medicare Part A and B program and not switching Medicare retirees into a Medicare Advantage (privatized) plan. It is very controversial and it is costing the UFT leadership some support within its strongest backers: the retirees.
The UFT leadership does not know how to react when confronted by a real threat but instead just reverts to acting like a petty dictatorial regime. Please spread the word and let's vote them out. That is the best hope for a better tomorrow for NYC teachers.