Thursday, September 30, 2021


As most teachers are having their Initial Planning Conference for this year with their assistant principals and many teachers were rated Effective last year, you should be entitled to only have to put up with two informal (15 minutes or more) observations this school year as a minimum. That's sufficient for the state and most sane administrators.

Observations can be a complete waste of time and except for newer teachers who need the feeback, observations rarely provide anything but a kind of going through the motions' dance routine where everyone plays the game. Since Advance came in as the new evaluation system in 2013, most teachers who are tenured do not have to put up with a full period formal observation with a pre-observation conference with the assistant principal unless they want one. That has changed for this school year. 

The DOE has decided that all teachers who were rated Effective last year were less than effective the prior 2019-2020 school year. That was the year during the height of the pandemic in NY when the school year was interrupted in March and the teacher evaluation system was properly waived for the year as the system went to remote learning. Now as yet another punishment for tenured teachers, the DOE is adding a formal observation as a requirement for this year. 

Let's look at the actual contractual language from the Memorandum of Agreement to see how the  DOE is working around the spirit of the Contract by literally following the Contract. Please note that the current Contract that was agreed to by the UFT and DOE was settled in 2018 and still has not been reduced to a written Agreement three years later. All I have a link to is an MOA. The UFT and DOE had plenty of time before the pandemic to agree on language and put it out in writing in a Contract but apparently, they both had better things to do like harassing or not protecting teachers. I digress. Back to the main point, here is the language on observations for effective teachers with tenure:

Teachers that completed probation who received Effective as their final APPR rating in the previous year and in the year before that received a Highly Effective Effective and/or Satisfactory shall have a minimum of two observations that are used for evaluative purposes.

So the DOE is saying that the "year before" is 2019-20 so every teacher was less than effective or satisfactory that year when nobody was rated because of the COVID pandemic. That is a BS interpretation. No other way to put it. Tenured teachers rated effective and their assistant principals have a new burden of two extra meetings (pre and post-observation conferences) and a mandated full period observation.

This is my guess on how this happened:

DOE administrator calls Mike Sill: Effective tenured teachers should get one formal and three informal observations because nobody received a rating in the year before which was 2019-20

Sill response: That doesn't sound right so maybe you can cut it down to a formal and an informal so we can claim another retreat is a great union victory?

DOE administrator: Okay.

The UFT advice from one district representative is that although this violates the intent of the Contract, choose to have the formal observation in the spring as by then maybe we can resolve this.

Translation: If Mulgrew can suck up to probable new Mayor Eric Adams enough, perhaps we can persuade Adams to change this policy in January and go back to two informal's.  

The UFT could be telling teachers that we don't accept this policy and we will fight it at the State Education Commissioner's level or at the Public Employees Relations Board as no teacher had a chance to be rated in 2019-20 so the 2018-19 ratings should stand as the "year before" because that was the previous full school year. No teacher or assistant principal should be sanctioned with extra work because of pandemic conditions they could not prevent. My guess is the Council of Supervisors and Administrators might be okay with our objection as I don't believe most assistant principals want to be burdened with formal observations for effective, tenured teachers. The State accepts teacher ratings with two informal observations

Anyway, we warned back in 2018 that the way the DOE and UFT wording for the reduction in observations was inadequate. 

A minimum of two observations for some teachers is a gain. It is better than this year’s minimum of four (informal) observations. However, it only impacts tenured people who are rated highly effective the prior year or effective the past two years. The teachers who need relief are the people rated ineffective who will now have a minimum of one additional observation for a total of five and many of the probationary teachers who are drowning in work. Their observations remain unchanged at a minimum of four. How about a maximum number of observations like they have in Buffalo and many other districts in NYS? How about agreeing with the DOE to jointly go up to Albany to attempt to enact legislation to rid New York of the whole stupid evaluation system where teachers are rated based on scores on invalid-unreliable student assessments and classroom observations from the awful cookie cutter Danielson Framework?

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


The piece below is from the Miami Herald from syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts. My copy is from the St Louis Dispatch. I wish we could come together and vaccinate everyone.

I feel medical exemptions should be granted if a doctor believes it is medically necessary to not be vaccinated but otherwise taking the vaccines helps us all. I support the mandate for anyone who works in a school and other vaccine mandates too. I have no real issue with courts that have ruled in favor of mandates on public health grounds.

Let's hear from columnist Leonard Pitts on vaccine mandates:

Pitts: Goodbye and good riddance to those who would quit work to avoid the vaccine

Sept 27, 2021 

“If you want to leave, take good care, hope you make a lot of nice friends out there.”

— from “Wild World” by Cat Stevens

This is for those who’ve chosen to quit their jobs rather than submit to a vaccine mandate: No telling how many of them there actually are, but lately, they’re all over the news.

Just last week, a nearly 30-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department surrendered his badge rather than comply with the city’s requirement that all employees be inoculated against the coronavirus. He joins an Army lieutenant colonel, some airline employees, a Major League Baseball executive, the choral director of the San Francisco Symphony, workers at the tax collector’s office in Orange County, Florida, and, incredibly, dozens of healthcare professionals.

Well, on behalf of the rest of us, the ones who miss concerts, restaurants and other people’s faces, the ones who are sick and tired of living in pandemic times, here’s a word of response to those quitters: Goodbye.

And here’s two more: Good riddance.

Not to minimize any of this. A few weeks ago, a hospital in upstate New York announced it would have to pause delivering babies because of resignations among its maternity staff. So the threat of difficult ramifications is certainly real. But on the plus side, those who are quitting work go a long way toward purging us of the gullible, the conspiracy-addled, the logic-impaired and the stubbornly ignorant. And that’s not nothing.

We’ve been down this road before. Whenever faced with some mandate imposed in the interest of the common good, some of us act like we just woke up on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. “There’s no freedom no more,” whined one man in video that recently aired on “The Daily Show.” The clip was from the 1980s, and the guy had just gotten a ticket for not wearing his seatbelt.

It’s an unfortunately common refrain. Can’t smoke in a movie theater? Can’t crank your music to headache decibels at 2 in the morning? Can’t post the Ten Commandments in a courtroom? “There’s no freedom no more.” Some seem to think freedom means no one can be compelled to do, or refrain from doing, anything. But that’s not freedom, it’s anarchy.

Usually, the rest of us don’t agonize over such intransigence. Often it has no direct impact on us. The guy in “The Daily Show” clip was only demanding the right to skid across a highway on his face, after all. But now people claim the right to risk the healthcare system and our personal lives.

So if those people are angry, guess what? They’re not the only ones.

The difference is, their anger is dumb, and ours is not. Theirs is about being coerced to do something they don’t want to do. Like that’s new. Like they’re not already required to get vaccinated to start school or travel to other countries. For that matter, they’re also required to mow their lawn, cover their hindparts and, yes, wear a seatbelt. So they’re mad at government and their job for doing what employers have always done.

But the rest of us, we’re mad at those people. Because this thing could have been over by now, and they’re the reason it isn’t.

That’s why we were glad President Joe Biden stopped asking nicely, started requiring vaccinations everywhere he had power to do so. We were also glad when employers followed suit. And if that’s a problem, then, yes, goodbye, sayonara, auf wiedersehen, adios and adieu. We’ll miss all of those people, to be sure. But they’re asking us to choose between their petulance and our lives.

And that’s really no choice at all.

While Pitts makes many valid points that I wholeheartedly agree with, I don't want to say goodbye and good riddance to any of you. I would rather everyone who is not yet vaxed for COVID go get their jab before Friday at 5:00 and upload the proof so you can stay employed and not have to go on an involuntary leave. The DOE will even give you some days if you have some side effects from the shot.

Monday, September 27, 2021


This is from US News and World Report this evening:

A vaccine mandate for more than 150,000 teachers, custodians, school aides, cafeteria workers and other school staff in New York City can proceed as planned, a federal appeals panel ruled Monday evening – a decision that reverses the temporary block put on it over the weekend.

Unions representing the city's teachers and principals had been urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to delay the vaccine requirement as concerns mounted that the country's largest public school system could find itself with a shortage of 10,000 teachers and staff overnight.

More from the AP and PIX11:

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s largest school district can immediately impose a vaccine mandate on its teachers and other workers, after all, a federal appeals panel decided Monday, leading lawyers for teachers to say they’ll ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

Teachers and school staff will have until Friday to get vaccinated. The city will implement the vaccine requirement on Monday, Oct. 4, according to the Department of Education and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Vaccinations are our strongest tool in the fight against COVID-19 — this ruling is on the right side of the law and will protect our students and staff. The mandate will go into effect on Friday, end of day so that by Monday, Oct. 4, 100% of educators and staff in our buildings will be vaccinated,” a DOE spokesperson told PIX11.

Further down:

On Sunday, the city submitted written arguments to the appeals court, saying the preference by some teachers “to remain unvaccinated while teaching vulnerable schoolchildren is dwarfed by the public’s interest in safely resuming full school operations for a million public school students and ensuring that caregivers citywide can send their children to school secure in the knowledge that sound safety protocols are in place.”

City lawyers said courts have long recognized that vaccination mandates do not spoil the constitutional rights to due process that workers enjoy and have rejected similar challenges for over a century.

“Put bluntly, plaintiffs do not have a substantive due process right to teach children without being vaccinated against a dangerous infectious disease,” they wrote. “The vaccination mandate is not just a rational public health measure, but a crucial one.”

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers union, said Monday night that while about 97% of its teachers are vaccinated, a recent survey revealed only one-third of UFT chapter leaders believe their schools can operate under the mandate without disruption.

“The city has a lot of work before it to ensure that enough vaccinated staff will be available by the new deadline,” Mulgrew said. “We will be working with our members to ensure, as far as possible, that our schools can open safely as the vaccine mandate is enforced.”

Is it safe in the schools? Tell us what is going on in actual school buildings.

The Independent Community of Educators and Educators of NYC will be cosponsoring along with Educators of NYC a speakout on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:00 PM. (New Date)

You don't want to miss New York City educators speaking out about the UNSAFE school conditions due to lax COVID-19 protocols during the ongoing pandemic.


Hello, New York City public school family!

How UNSAFE are NYC schools during this 2021-22 reopening in the midst of the pandemic?

Educators of NYC and the Independent Community of Educators will team up this month to share educators' stories about the lax COVID-19 protocols and unsafe conditions we are seeing in New York City schools on Wednesday, October 6 (New Date) at 7 p.m.  It will be a Zoom and Facebook Live event.

RSVP now at:

This is all framed on the heels of a recent internal UFT survey that shows that chapter leaders are overwhelmingly in consensus that protocols are not being followed with fidelity, along with a flawed COVID-19 testing program, relaxing of quarantine requirements, a poorly implemented vaccination program, refusal to provide a remote option, ongoing ventilation issues and a fluid city plan that changes almost weekly.

Do you have a story you want to share?  Want to stay anonymous?

Send it to us via email to:

Please omit any identifying details within your story. We will have another educator read & share it during our online live event.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, October 6th.

Love always wins.

Sunday, September 26, 2021


United Teachers of Los Angeles once had leadership like Unity here in NYC that according to dissidents I met in 2013 were more concerned with looking out for themselves than their members. The LA teachers voted out their Unity style leaders and elected a coalition of dissidents in 2014. Led by Alex Caputo Pearl, LA educators went on strike in 2019 where they actually achieved lower class sizes among other gains. 

Alex stepped aside to be a vice president in 2020. (He doesn't believe he is president for life or until he can get the AFT presidency or some other well-paid gig.) Cecily Myart-Cruz is now the UTLA President. Under her leadership, UTLA has just negotiated a COVID-19 Contract for the 2021-2022 school year that will be voted on this week by the entire membership. What did Cecily and her team get for her members in what they called reopening bargaining? A pretty good deal if you ask me.

From the summary page on UTLA's site:

Compensation: UTLA members will receive a 5% ongoing raise along with a one-time $2,000 stipend for this school year and a one-time $500 technology stipend for last school year.

Nurses will also be entitled to a retention bonus for each year they stay.

Evaluations: There will be no evaluation for permanent educators who have not received a below standard evaluation in the last five years.

Remote learning: To address severe shortages in the City of Angels online programs, all UTLA members (including members seeking reasonable accommodations) have the option to volunteer for temporary assignment to City of Angels. If additional teachers are needed, the district may temporarily assign some teachers who have been protected from displacement at overstaffed schools. All teachers assigned to City of Angels have return rights to their current school.

Safety: -Continued regular testing of all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, through at least December 17, 2021.

The actual wording on COVID-19 testing from the UTLA LAUSD Memorandum of Understanding:

The District shall make every effort to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of all students
and staff through December 17, 2021. During this time, the District shall continue to
make free COVID-19 testing available to students and staff during normal work hours,
with every effort made to ensure a result turnaround time of no more than 48 hours.
Thereafter, the District shall make every effort to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of
all unvaccinated individuals. The parties agree to meet and bargain over potential
changes to this requirement at the request of either party after December 1, 2021.

Back to the summary:

-Continued mandatory masking, indoors and outdoors, for all people on campus and continued use of MERV filters or equivalent air filtration systems for all classrooms until at least December 1, 2021.
-New LAUSD Quarantine Checklist of required actions by site administrators and the district when a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19 and/or students are quarantined.
-Students who must quarantine will have access to Zoom livestreaming for at least 50% of the instructional day, the timing of which will be determined by the teacher.

For those who believe the live streaming will be a burden on teachers, there are real safeguards built in:
Again, from the agreement:

The District and UTLA recognize that the classroom teacher will provide live access
to their classrooms for quarantined students, but the degree of live interaction with
quarantined students shall be determined by the teacher in order to ensure high quality instruction for and the supervision of in-person students.

D. Classroom teachers providing livestream access for quarantined students or live
virtual instruction if an entire class is quarantined shall not be held responsible for
technology problems that hinder or prevent livestream access for quarantined
students or live virtual instruction if an entire class is quarantined, including, but not
limited to, students being unable to get access to the classroom. Classroom teachers 
will notify the site administrator/designee as soon as practically possible when
classroom technology issues prevent student access.

E. The District shall not record classroom teachers providing instruction under any
circumstances without prior approval of the classroom teacher, including, but not
limited to, when they are providing access to live virtual instruction for quarantined

F. The District shall inform students, and the parents/guardians of students that they are
not allowed to record classroom teachers providing instruction under any
circumstances without prior approval of the classroom teacher. Students, and the
parents/guardians of students, shall be required to honor all provisions of the LAUSD
Responsible Use Policy for District Computer Systems.

The language is very teacher-friendly.

In NYC, Michael Mulgrew is our leader. It seems like every time he talks about bargaining with the Department of Education he says the name Mike Sill. What did Sill and Mulgrew get UFTers for this year?

  • You will receive $225 on Oct. 31 for setting up your digital classroom.
  • Two hours of per-session pay per week for each partial closure of two or more days
  • One hour of additional per-session pay per additional course taught in middle and high school (not each section)

Turning on a Zoom for COVID-19 quarantined students this year for a 5% permanent raise in addition to a $2,500 tech bonus in LA and a real remote option or $225 to set up a Google Classroom and a few forced overtime hours at a lower per session pay rate in NYC. Also, most veteran teachers won't be subject to evaluation this year in LA while power hungry administrators are already starting their ridiculous walk-throughs in NYC. I think UTLA has a better deal than the UFT by about a thousand miles.

What did the members of UTLA do to get to this point? The first step was they voted in new, rank and file centered leadership in 2014 and reelected them in 2017. Then, they mobilized and went on strike in 2019. Now they are respected even as they switched leaders. 

More proof that the answer in NYC is not to ditch the UFT but to get a coalition together to oust Mulgrew-Unity from power in 2022 and start listening to teachers. The regular LA contract is up in 2022 just like the UFT's. We can follow the LA model. It's up to all of you.

Saturday, September 25, 2021


This came from Sue Edelman on Twitter today. I don't know why it is not yet in the headlines everywhere.

The story is at

UPDATE: Early Friday evening, a federal appeals court granted a temporary injunction staying the enforcement of the mandate requiring all city public-school employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19) by Monday.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said the injunction is in place only until a three-member panel of the court can review an appeal of a Brooklyn federal court judge’s ruling on Thursday, which upheld the mandate.

A group of teachers had filed a suit two weeks ago seeking to block the vaccine requirement. The teachers are appealing the ruling by Judge Brian M. Cogan.

The review, which is on an expedited basis, could possibly occur over the weekend.

“We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” said a Department of Education (DOE) spokeswoman. “Our current vax-or-test mandate remains in effect and we’re seeking speedy resolution by the Circuit Court next week. Over 82 percent of DOE employees have been vaccinated and we continue to urge all employees to get their shot by September 27."

UPDATE: Sue Edelman on Twitter with a response from Leonie Haimson:

Sound advice, Leonie.


Why doesn't the UFT, like Leonie, advise its members to get vaccinated in their official statement?


This was in Bloomberg:

The presidents of New York City’s teachers and principals unions urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to push back his Tuesday deadline for staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19, warning it will result in employee shortages that will imperil the safety of children.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, and Mark Cannizzaro, president of the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators, said they are urging the delay because the district has no plan to redeploy substitutes and central office employees to hundreds of schools with high absentee rates of educators and maintenance staff. 

Does the DOE lack a plan for Tuesday?

This came our way earlier:

To: ChiefOperatingOfficer 
Subject: Planning for 9/28
Dear Principals, 


Good morning everyone. As you are aware, to ensure the safety of our school communities, the City and DOE issued a vaccine mandate for all staff. This mandate requires all personnel to be vaccinated (first dose) by end of day Monday, September 27, with proof submitted in the DOE COVID-19 Vaccination Portal. As previously shared in Principals Digest, you can access information in the Vaccination Portal on the compliance status of your staff.  


You may have also seen that yesterday, a judge recognized the City’s legal authority to implement this mandate and removed a Temporary Restraining Order that had been issued on September 14th.   

In preparation for September 27th, I know we are all closely monitoring staff vaccination rates at schools to ensure our students’ needs are met first and foremost – the most critical job we have as a school system. Below you will find some of the ways we’re planning to support your school if there are any potential staffing gaps: 

  •  New Allocation to Prepare for Tuesday, September 28th: On Monday, schools that need staffing support will receive a new funding allocation for staffing coverage. This allocation will be based on the number of staff in your school who have not complied with the vaccination mandate. It will provide funding for up to two weeks of coverage needs.  Additional funding will be allocated as needed in the coming weeks as we get a clearer picture of your schools longer-term staffing needs. 

    • Details about how the funding can be used, including which titles can be scheduled with these funds, will be provided in the School Allocation Memorandum (SAM) when it is released on Monday, 9/27. Your BCO budget director can assist you with any questions that you may have about this allocation.  Right now you can plan to use the funding to support: 

    • Substitute teachers and education paras 

    • F-status staff 

    • Supervisor per session

    • Coverage/6th period shortage

Schools may also continue to nominate new candidates as substitutes.  As a reminder, subs also need to upload proof of first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the DOE COVID-19 Vaccination Portal, and their eligibility to work will be visible in SubCentral.

  • Existing funds - Schools can also use existing allocations which allow for the type of services needed, including funds already scheduled to support staff coverage needs such as per diem. This includes SAM 57 funding and COVID-19 Planning SAM funding 

  • Certified teacher pool  Similar to last year, schools can consider hiring certified teachers as unappointed (regular substitute) teachers for the balance of the semester or school year. Schools anticipating year-long vacancies due to employees choosing a Leave Without Pay (LWOP) should consider this option to secure semester or year-long coverage. Candidates in the New Teacher Finder have recently indicated their continued interest and availability.   

  • Central redeployments  UFT employees staffed at central locations were notified yesterday that they may be redeployed to schools, starting September 28. This includes UFT pedagogical staff who are licensed to teach to classrooms for the 2021-22 school year and non-pedagogical employees who can fill other important roles within our schools. Any initial assignments will be temporary (e.g., up to 2 weeks) to provide schools with time to assess if continued support is needed before any assignments are extended. If you anticipate that your school will need redeployed staff to help cover for staff placed on LWOP starting on September 28th, please notify your Superintendent and BCO Director of Finance and HR as soon as possible and no later than Friday.  


Note that after the September 27th deadline, schools will see staff transactions happening on their TOs in Galaxy to reflect the fact that staff who have not uploaded proof of vaccination are not being paid.  Please do not try to adjust any of the actions being taken centrally. Your BCO Director of Finance and HR can explain to you the reasons for the actions being taken and the steps that will be taken to return staff from leave if they choose to become vaccinated 

Please note, employees represented by unions with an arbitration decision with the DOE and who were denied a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Related Accommodation or Exemption could appeal the denial. Some employees will be afforded appeal hearings.  The Scheinman Arbitration and Mediation Services (SAMS) oversees the appeals process and will be scheduling remote hearings. The hearings will last up to 20 minutes. If a represented employee shares documentation of a hearing, you should release them for the remote hearing for up to 20 minutes.  

Thank you for all you do for your school communities and your continued leadership!


Office of the Chief Operating Officer 

The DOE clearly has a plan. Whether it is adequate enough to meet the challenge, I leave that up to you.

Meanwhile, what is the UFT and CSA doing to address this?

Back to Bloomberg:

Across all city public schools, 789 classrooms were fully closed and 663 were partially closed since school opened on Sept. 13, according to the Department of Education. Between September 13 and 24, there were 1,899 total cases of COVID-19: 1,299 students and 600 staff. 

Friday, September 24, 2021


Please don't miss this chance to express what NYC schools are really like. No Rasheed or Leroy Barr to screen you like in UFT town halls. We want to know if schools are really safe or not from those working in them.

Thursday, September 23, 2021


 From Politico today:

DETROIT, Mich. — Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Thursday declared his support for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for eligible schoolchildren, saying the FDA’s full approval of jabs for certain adolescents should clear the way for state officials to implement plans to begin vaccinations.

“Not only do I support it, but I’m encouraging states to come up with a plan to make sure it happens,” Cardona told POLITICO between stops on a multistate tour of schools and child care facilities. “I would like governors who hold those decisions to make those decisions now that [vaccines] are FDA-approved.”

Please read the entire piece.


This is from the UFT earlier today.

UFT on principals' union call for a delay in the implementation of the vaccine mandate

 Press Releases

On Sept. 23, 2021, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Mark Cannizzaro said that it was "dangerous and irresponsible" for the city to move forward with implementing the vaccine mandate for staff on Sept. 27 because it would leave schools severely understaffed. Cannizzaro called on the city to delay the deadline for the mandate.

In response, UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued the following statement: 

The principals’ union is right — our schools are not ready for the implementation of the vaccine mandate. I hope for once City Hall is listening to its own school leaders and finally starts to put together a reasonable plan to face the challenge of keeping our children safe.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


 I am on early enough to listen to the UFT musak. President Mulgrew breaks in and asks how we are doing with the call in. Rasheed notes that Michael Mulgrew is coming to the podium. Mulgrew notes that it is very weird.

He thanks everyone on the call and those who are there. He asks for brand new chapter leaders. Says free bottle of Tylenol is in the mail. He will give a report and then talk things through.

What happened last Monday and Tuesday. Thanks chapter leaders and members for the opening. You represented and did your things with balloons, red carpets and bands. Last May and June we thought we would be in a whole different place. We are not. Lack of leadership from City Hall. For those around during Michael Bloomberg, we kept our school system safe from someone trying to privatize system. Throughout the pandemic it was us and the parents who got schools closed. We made sure remote got going. Folks in the schools with the children is what it is about. Not press conferences. We will get through all of this. Thanks new chapter leaders for doing this. Who has been followed into the bathroom already? Four hands went up. This shows there is a respect for the position. Best part of being a chapter leader is what you do for the individual members. Mulgrew fought with principals and got along with them. Helping individual members was the best part of the job. Need to be a little crazy for this.

Approximately 6,000 new teachers, most in years. Files sent over by the DOE to the UFT were a little corrupted. 90% of  chapter leaders live have new teachers. Go meet them and sign them up for everything so we can help them get through the first year.

In court today over vaccine mandate. We went to impact bargaining on mandate. (I was cut off at this point so we will post more if we get back on.) 

(Back on the call.)

Judge has listed Temporary Restraining Order. Mandate goes into effect on Monday. 90% of UFT members vaccinated.  Bloomberg tried to divide us. Mayor called for weekly testing. We did that last year and it is the right thing to do. We understand that children 12 and over who are vaccinated don't have to quarantine unless they show symptoms. They should test. Doctors said this is okay. But for those under 12, we have to be contact tracers to see if they were in close contact. Mayor working on his political agenda, not the children. This is wrong what they are doing. We and the CSA President asking for a plan. What is the plan if 4-5,000 are put on involuntary leave. New policy goes into effect on Tuesday. No plan on who is within 3 feet of someone. Worried about a child from our school system ending up in the hospital. Mayor just pulled the rug out by ending quarantine if there is someone with a positive case in a classroom who are under 12. Grievance department called on overcrowding. A small handful said they couldn't do 3-feet. Oversize classes, we expected zero. First report today. We got 1,234 oversize classes from 234 schools. Mayor has no clue as to what is going on inside the school system. We have a lot of kids in the biggest school system in the United States. We are not a rural upstate system. We have to work in reality. Someone is making decisions about our school system who is in la-la land. 

Mulgrew introduces Rasheed from town halls. 

Each CL represent a school,

  • Are students able to maintain 3-feet of distance throughout the day?

He polls room and Rasheed polls remote. Rasheed says 93% vote now. Live there are two schools who can maintain 3 feet.

  • Are your students following mask protocol properly all day? Mulgrew asks live and Rasheed asks online. Three say yes in hall. 87% no and 13% yes. 
  • When the children are eating, are they always 3-feet apart? Mulgrew asks for those live to answer and gets 9 yes votes. Rasheed does not give online totals
  • Do you believe the mayor has any clue what is happening inside of our schools? The room has zero yes answers. Rasheed says 98% no and 2% yes.
  • Do you believe the mayor and the Department of Ed have a plan to keep our children safe? 1 says yes and the vote online is 97% no and 3% yes.

Challenge to keep schools and school communities safe. New mayor will be coming in in the middle of the school year. We have to make new mayor understnd what needs to be changed. This safety stuff has been thrust upon us at this point in time. We saved tens of thousands of lives in 2020 by closing schools. We got things open last year. We have a new strain. Adults have access to a vaccine. But our youngest are vulnerable. New chapter leaders try to work with administration but at some point it changes. Mayor on his tv shows will say things are fine. They will try to push it off if a child gets sick.

We need to make sure the people of the city really knows what's going on. Mayor making every little decision based on his next press conference. We need to be smart about how we do this. Do we want to close our classrooms? No, but we are people who know you have to listen to doctors, not doctors on the city's payroll. We are going to organize around this.

Next Tuesday will be a horrible week. Positive case policy changes. Most have not been tested since last year. Large number testing positive. We needed to wait two or three weeks. Instead, we started with disruption. We don't know how many teachers will be placed on involuntary leave. There will be a lot of communication with chapter leaders. Can't do the job by yourselves. Mayor's policy says children have to be 3 feet apart at all times with a properly fitted mask. This is a ridiculous policy because we got too many positive cases in the first week. Kids depending on us.

Questions: Is it true that the situation room is closed on weekends? They close on Saturday and at 4:00pm on Friday.

Mulgrew aswer: Did you send that question to the mayor. Yes. They need to extend the hours of the situation room. We have to know who was within 3 feet of that kid. Did he have a mask on that was fitted properly?

Question: 34 kids in ICT classrooms, ventilation not great. What can we do to get the smaller class sizes that kids deserve for their safety?

Answer: Class sizes have to be lowered if they are over the contractual limit. Then, can class be spread out more. DOE has to do what can be done to keep to 3-feet guideline. We can do CO2 monitoring when people are in the classroom. We will send people in. If in an elementary school that can't do 3 feet, policy doesn't apply to you. UFT safety team has had no time off since March 2020.

Question: If the kid is quarantined, how do we do asynchronous instruction and teach classes?

Answer: Two hours of per session for office hours that we negotiated. DR will go over the agreement. Principals need to know this will go into effect on Tuesday.

Question: Non vaccinated member in her third trimester who is not vaccinated. Principal told her she would be terminated.

Answer: Principal is wrong. Call our family leave folks tomorrow. She can use CAR days. Northwell health person on our town hall next week. In terms of pregnancy or lactation, vaccination is important to protect hild and fetus. If a member's  doctordisagreed, he agreed to talk to them.  It is in the arbitration that they can take an early leave if in the final trimester.

Question: If someone takes the leave if they are unvaccinated, they get healthcare but are not supposed to work. 

Mulgrew answer: Aribtrator decided that in return for one year of healthcare, you cannot work. Why in UFT do you have to get vaccinated but in other unions it is to be vaccinated or be tested once a week?

Answer: Five unions that work in the schools are effected. Department of Health only issued the order for the workers who work in the schools. Why is the mayor naming the union that has the highest vaccination rate? This has been challenged and other unions were in court today. Private day care center workers also added. It's not just us. We rightfully went into impact of bargaining. Our arbitration was used in court so city changed its order. We went to arbitration and court. From the beginning, we said this was probably something the city can do but they had to do it legally. We challnged it, we won and now we move forward.

Question: Students not wearing their mask properly?

Answer: It is a safety issue. First time they have to be brought into a room and told by an administrator to put the mask on properly or go home. Parent is contacted and if the student does it again, they are suspended. Do you want me to send the guidance on children not wearing the mask? Answer is yes so that is going to be sent out.

Question: All teachers will receive  formal and informal observation. Is that correct?

Answer: Somebody at the DOE sent out something that said that and other people at the DOE knew nothing about it. Our academic people will meet with them on it. We are having those questions and will get that out quickly.

Question: School in NY Post (Forest Hills HS) about being overcrowded, what can be done. We are doing 11 periods on two sessions.

Answer: Original plan was to do 14 periods. There are too many overcrowded schools. School facilities people tried to move to get space at Queens College. It didn't work out. Clearly, something has to change.

Question: Teachers getting tested, are teachers on the list to be tested? K and prek students never get tested?

Answer: Spent August in the South doing work for AFT. Schools opening and closing in three days. Pediatric ICU's filled. We don't want to get there here. uick swab test should be for pre k and 3k. Adults can be tested. City needs to hire more testing teams. We worry about a child getting very sick. We've lost enough members and loved ones. Mayor is forcing us to take unnecessary risks.

Question: Deadline passed for applying for vaccine exemptions, SOLAS is going down?

Answer: Deadine extended a day. If you haven't logged in by Monday at 5:00 pm, you are being placed on involuntary leave.

Question: If Solas is down, what to do?

Answer: Document if there is no answer from DOE or what is said or if system is down. Contact Mike Sill. Mike Sill says anecdotally people were able to apply today.

Question: Student in Kindergarten has to quarantine because grandparent is positive. What are we going to do about partial classroom closure? When will we have remote?

Answer: We negotiated a partial classroom for 12 and up and those kids do better with technology. This is a big problem. We have no remote but we have digital face platform instruction. We can't mandate tessting because we don't have a remote option. We needed to have criteria around remote. Mayor has boxed DOE in. Mayor said to DOE  to not write in remote in any agreement. Should we negotiate differently for elementary schools now that policy has changed. Elemntary school kids don't leave you alone. Kids can be home for ten days. You will be teaching in class and at home those kids will get one asynchronous hour and one hour of office hours. That's what the mayor just did.

Question: Administrators saying 3-feet where possible? 

Answer: Schools had to say they couldn't do the 3-feet. Ask principal if they went on the list that said they couldn't do 3-feet. 

Question 2: What if someone comes in who is placed on unpaid leave?

Answer: We did not agree to it or negotiate it. We are the only union way over 90% vaccinated. Health experts say 70-75% vaccinated gets us out of this. This is a Department of Health order. It is up to the DOH and DOE to implement their order. City hall has no plan. They will be taken off of payroll.

Question: Do teachers punch in to set up digital platform based instruction?

Answer: Payroll secretaries have been trained on how to get the per session money into the system.

Question: Air purifiers in non-instructional settings? Two people now sharing an office with no air purifier and no plan with custodian getting more of these devices?

Answer: School facilities have been phenomenal with air purifiers. Custodian just needs to put in a request. 

Question: Non instructional place bathroom and CO2 meter went off because it was so high. How do we get CO2 checks in classrooms and other places. It was 1,350 in the ladies room. What can we do?

Answer: Call the call center and ask for a CO2 check. We will go in and measure it. Mask ventilation, vaccine, spacing. That is what keeps us safe.

Question: Francis Lewis on 14 periods and no lunch. They can grab and go and eat in classroom. Is this a lunch and learn?

Answers: Yes it is a lunch and learn and you get paid a coverage. Teachers and kids are coming in at all kinds of crazy hours. To allievate crowding and not have cafeteria used, we agreed to a lunch and learn but the teacher has to get a coverage.

Question: Happy with weekly testing but why is it only 10%? Why isn't it 20%?

Answer: We want 20%. We have tests. Our independent doctors not on our payroll. Motor and let data guide where you go. 600 classrooms effected the first four day. mayor didn't like that and they changed policy. They should monitor it and check that COVID is under raps and then can change things. We have clear evidence that COVID is in the school system. It's .4% of those tested. That's not enough testing. We can move if we did it properly. We will be in a fight for a couple of months.

Mulgrew tells chapter leaders to get a team. He thanks everyone and the call is ended. 


 This was on Twitter today:

Someone noted the irony of the court case being virtual and someone else asked why they aren't in live court with 3-feet social distancing where possible.

A similar question can be asked to Michael Mulgrew who is limiting today's hybrid citywide Chapter Leader meeting to 200 chapter leaders in-person. I don't even think that is 1/3 capacity for Albert Shanker Hall. The rest are remote. 

I am not criticizing the UFT for limiting capacity so people can social distance at the meeting but why are they not demanding the same for in-person schooling? 

Oh the irony or oh the hypocrisy? Your call.

Unity must be voted out.

Update: The unions lose in court. The mayor's vaccine mandate stands.

The Court order:

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


 I personally agree with likely new mayor Eric Adams on this one. He should seek input from the actual Safety Agents. Agents and their unionwant to stay with NYPD and not go back to DOE.

This is from Selim Algar in the NY Post:

Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams told an advocacy group this month that he would halt a de Blasio administration plan to transfer school safety duties from the NYPD to the Department of Education, The Post has learned.

During a Zoom meeting with InformNYC, Adams rejected City Hall’s push to end NYPD control over more than 5,000 school safety agents, according to several sources who were on the call.

While Adams said he would introduce new training methods and other changes to school security, the mayoral front-runner was firm in backing the NYPD’s purview over the agents.

“He was crystal clear about it,” said one participant in the call.

Adams argued that school security involves more than hallway fights and often veers into serious violence and other forms of misconduct.

He also vowed to tighten reporting mechanisms for staffers at city schools, sources said.

Asked about his comments on the call, a spokesperson said Adams would “reassess” de Blasio’s overall school safety vision.