Sunday, October 31, 2021


The UFT Twitter guy is criticizing the Department of Education for not having the $225 for setting up digital classrooms in teacher accounts today, October 31.

The UFT in their sales job on this deal said:

You will receive $225 on Oct. 31 for setting up your digital classroom.

But, here is the actual language that the UFT agreed to in the MOA:

School-based teachers and mandated related service providers on payroll as of October 1, 2021 shall be paid $225.00 via supplemental check on or about October 31, 2021 for setup of digital classroom(s) as described in this section.

Notice the words "on or about October 31" in the actual MOA. The DOE as usual is a step ahead of the UFT as "on or about" means they will pay you when they good and well feel like it and there isn't a damn thing you can do. 

The UFT in their sales job doesn't tell you what they actually agreed to. You have to dig deep.

This is just a small example of how the UFT is easily defeated by the DOE in the fine print in negotiations where every word matters. This is not unique to this situation.

Happy Halloween!

NYSUT BACKS BALLOT PROPOSALS 1, 3, 4 Updated with results)


ALBANY – New York voters rejected three ballot proposals that would have implemented reforms favored by elected Democrats, including same-day voter registration and a measure that would have allowed anyone to cast an absentee ballot.

With 99% of election districts reporting, ballot proposals 1, 3 and 4 were easily defeated, a rare statewide victory for Republicans who helped organize opposition to the measures in a state that has a 2-to-1 Democratic enrollment advantage.

Voters easily approved proposal 2, which will install a right to clean air and clean water in the state constitution. They also authorized proposal 5, which will expand the jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court.

Democrats in the state Legislature had expressed support for all five measures, having twice approved them in order to get them placed on the statewide ballot.

These are the five ballot proposals on Tuesday's ballot in NYS.

The Ballot Initiatives would: 

1. Amend New York State’s apportionment and redistricting process.  

2. Establish the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment. 

3. Eliminate New York’s requirement that a citizen be registered to vote at least ten days before an election.  

4. Authorize no-excuse absentee voting.  

5. Allow the New York City Civil Court to hear and decide claims for up to $50,000 instead of the current limit of $25,000.  

NYSUT's recommendations:

VOTE YES on ballot proposals 1, 3 and 4

NYSUT strongly supports three of the five statewide ballot proposals voters will consider at the polls. If enacted, proposals 1, 3 and 4 would improve the state’s redistricting process, make it easier for voters to use absentee ballots, and eliminate the 10-day voter registration requirement.

Election day is Nov. 2. Early voting continues through Oct. 31. Contact your local board of elections for locations and times.

Saturday, October 30, 2021


From Chalkbeat NY:

Enrollment in the nation’s largest school system has dropped roughly 1.9% this school year, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the education department.

Roughly 938,000 students are enrolled in New York City’s public schools, down from about 955,000 last school year, when the system saw a significant decline related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Declining birth rates are playing a role, a department spokesperson said. Some families have left the five boroughs, opted for charter schools, private schools, or home school, though officials did not provide data that reveals to what extent those factors may be affecting the enrollment shift.

The city’s public schools have been shedding students well before the pandemic. The decline last school year was much more significant, though, with enrollment dropping by 4.7%. Overall, the city’s district schools now have 6.4%, or about 64,000, fewer students compared with the 2019-2020 school year, when the pandemic started.

Charter school enrollment has increased 3.2% this school year and now stands at 143,000, or roughly 13% of the city’s public school students. Though the cap on the number of charter schools that can open in New York City has been reached, schools may still phase in additional grade levels that have already been approved.

Enrollment trends matter considerably at the school level because the majority of school budgets are allocated on a per-student basis. If a school enrolls fewer students than the city projected, they may be forced to hand funding back, a practice that generated outsized criticism last school year, as some schools owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

City officials wound up allowing schools to keep the funding they owed, and that policy will continue this school year, officials said.

School systems across the country have also experienced enrollment declines this year, including nearly 6% in Los Angeles and 3% in Chicago, the nation’s second and third largest districts.

“​​As the nation’s largest school district we’ve been impacted by the nationwide enrollment fluctuation that impacted schools across the country, and this data shows enrollment is stabilizing as we continue our City’s incredible recovery,” education department spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon said in a statement.

Considering the conditions in our schools, these numbers could have been worse.

Friday, October 29, 2021


The Queens UFT is taking a stand. I am not sure if Election Day posting of work is the issue to draw a line in the sand on while teachers continue to take abuse on things such as: safe schools, abuse of the sixth period provision, developing and ineffective observations, pressure to pass students, fights, guns, and more but who am I to question the UFT when they are up for a battle? 

From Facebook:


Something's gotta give. Teachers are frustrated. Richmond, Virginia has a novel way of dealing with teacher burnout.

From Yahoo News:

A school district in Virginia announced Wednesday it would suspend its operations for the first week in November, including two days "in the interest" of its faculty's "mental health."

Richmond Public Schools will close Nov. 1-5, as teachers and staff are at risk of burnout, according to Superintendent Jason Kamras.

"Over the last couple of weeks, I've heard directly from dozens of teachers, principals, and support staff about how stressful this year has been," Kamras said. "Many have shared that they're on the brink of burning out — even leaving — and it's only October."

A school district in Virginia announced Wednesday it would suspend its operations for the first week in November, including two days "in the interest" of its faculty's "mental health."

Richmond Public Schools will close Nov. 1-5, as teachers and staff are at risk of burnout, according to Superintendent Jason Kamras.

"Over the last couple of weeks, I've heard directly from dozens of teachers, principals, and support staff about how stressful this year has been," Kamras said. "Many have shared that they're on the brink of burning out — even leaving — and it's only October."

Furthermore, the school district will bring in 100 new lunchtime monitors and reassign over $3 million to expand relief for the mental health of students, Richmond Public Schools officials said.

At least they are trying to be supportive.

Here in NYC, teachers are being tasked with assessing the mental health of students. The UFT supported these useless tests but now they are opposing them.

Out in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the teachers have had enough after four years without a contract. They are ready to strike next week.

This is from Fox 56:

 Lackawanna Co. (Wolf) — Hundreds of teachers from the Scranton School district are planning on taking to the picket lines next week.

The Scranton Federation of Teachers President Rosemary Boland explaining the decision to strike comes from many parts.

Including topic issues of a beginning salary that hasn’t gone up since 2017, healthcare plans and teachers being forced to give up their prep period due to lack of staffing.

“Enough is enough. After 4 years, after 4 years the SFT must take a stand. We have to support our own members. We have to support our students and their families," Boland explained.

We support the Scranton teachers and other workers on strike throughout the country.

Thursday, October 28, 2021


Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

 This is from CNBC:

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was charged Thursday with a misdemeanor sex crime complaint that alleges he forcibly touched a woman last Dec. 7 in the governor’sExecutive Mansion in Albany.

The filing of that complaint in Albany City Court comes two months after Cuomo resigned in disgrace following accusations of sexual harassment against the three-term Democrat by nearly a dozen women, detailed in a damning report issued by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The city court issued a summons for Cuomo to appear in that court on the afternoon of Nov. 17, according to a press release issued Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple Sr, whose investigator signed the criminal complaint.

The complaint says that Cuomo, 63, intentionally, “and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim .... and onto her intimate body part.′

’Specifically, the [victim’s] left breast for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires.”

Forcible touching is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, Cuomo could be sentenced up to a year in prison, to up to three years of probation.

Eliot Spitzer, Joseph Bruno, Dean Skelos, Sheldon Silver, Eric Schneiderman, and of course now Cuomo. What a government NYS has. Corruption all over and it seems only the names and type of corruption change. Under this kind of government, why do we let teachers be subjected to an invalid observation system and other indignities? Granted, Spitzer (25-55) and Silver (prevented layoffs based on job performance) were our friends but we should stay on offense in Albany against what is a weakened state government.  



Wednesday, October 27, 2021


I saw the UFT webpage on taking time off to vote on Election Day. The Union makes it seem so easy, too easy:


This looks like a simple process but the UFT omits a very important part of the election law. If an employee has four hours between the start or end of the workday and the time the polls close (9:00 pm) or open, there is no leave time permitted. This is from the law:

§ 3-110. Time allowed employees to vote. 1. If a registered voter does not have sufficient time outside of his or her scheduled working hours, within which to vote on any day at which he or she may vote, at any election, he or she may, without loss of pay for up to two hours, take off so much working time as will, when added to his or her voting time outside his or her working hours, enable him or her to vote.

 2. If an employee has four consecutive hours either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of his or her working shift, or between the end of his or her working shift and the closing of the polls, he or she shall be deemed to have sufficient time outside his or her working hours within which to vote.

One would have to start work before 10:00 a.m. and finish after 5:00 p.m. to be eligible for leave time. I don't know of too many UFTers on a 9:30-5:30 shift. Most UFTers end their day before 5:00 pm so they will have four hours to get to the polls. I very much doubt too many will be eligible for the leave time. Maybe, if you work a second job, such as per session on a primary day, you could use this provision.

It would be nice if the UFT website showed the four hour rule. I see this as more UFT incompetence and don't see any evil motive here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


The UFT's endorsed mayoral candidate Eric Adams tonight said the following as reported by the NY Times:

I know we have the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law that would keep the terms of the current contract in place if there isn't a new one. 

That said, how is it possible that the UFT supports a candidate for mayor who talks pay cuts for city workers?

Monday, October 25, 2021


Storm coming to NYC Tuesday. The forecast from the Weather Channel:

This is from our friend Reality Based Educator on Twitter:

Sunday, October 24, 2021


Impact bargaining again? Is Michael Mulgrew going to demand another few hours of per session for teachers to give these useless tests and input data? 

The Devereux test Mulgrew is criticizing in the email below he was praising just a few weeks back in testimony in Albany.

Mulgrew in Albany:

We are happy to see that this year’s DOE budget, in part because of ARP, includes funding to hire 500 social workers and other mental health support staff. Similar to how members will be able to use academic diagnostic tools, members across the city will be able to use the Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment as a social emotional screening tool to help identify students in need. Members will be able to quickly match students with services including individual or group counseling, mentoring or small group social-skill building. 

Mulgrew today:

Dear ________,

We know how important our students’ social-emotional well-being is, and as educators, we check on it every day. But the social-emotional screener that the DOE has chosen is excessive and places an unnecessary burden on our members during an unbelievably challenging year.

For this reason, we have filed for impact bargaining since the new process represents a dramatic escalation of our workload for no good reason.

In our last discussions with the DOE on the topic, school officials told us that most students would be screened in January and the screener would consist of only 5-7 questions — a manageable number — so that we could gauge how our students were doing as part of our normal workday.

Now, the DOE wants us to administer a screening that contains 43 questions, a sixfold increase over the original plan. We don’t think such a lengthy screening is necessary to identify which students need extra support, and we can’t allow another strenuous task to be added to our plates during a time like this when we are all at our limit.

The job of an educator has changed this year. We are trying to create a sense of normalcy for the city’s children, day in and day out during a pandemic, in crowded classrooms with guidance that’s constantly changing. We are teaching through masks over the sound of loud air filters and outside noise from open windows. Our students have not been in a large classroom setting for 18 months. We’ve never been this overworked and exhausted.

Again, we see the mayor trying to rush a policy without consulting with those who are doing the actual work. We recognize this pattern: claiming he’s doing something for our children (that isn’t really being done) all for political gain. We know how important assessment is, but any screenings we use have to be done in a thoughtful and efficient way so we spend our time wisely and actually help our kids with what they need.

We will keep you updated on the impact bargaining as it unfolds.


Michael Mulgrew

UFT President

The test:

Saturday, October 23, 2021


I got this from the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY teacher union).

These initiatives are on the November 2 ballot:

The Ballot Initiatives would: 

1. Amend New York State’s apportionment and redistricting process.  

2. Establish the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment. 

3. Eliminate New York’s requirement that a citizen be registered to vote at least ten days before an election.  

4. Authorize no-excuse absentee voting.  

5. Allow the New York City Civil Court to hear and decide claims for up to $50,000 instead of the current limit of $25,000.  

I know the devil can be in the details and number 1 is way too complex but what are the problems with 2-5? Don't we have a right to clean air? Isn't same day voting registration a good idea?

Here is the UFT political Director's email on the initiatives:

Dear _______,

Early voting begins this Saturday, October 23. When you receive your ballot, in addition to voting for local representatives, you will be asked to vote Yes or No on five statewide ballot proposals. While UFT does not have a position on the proposals, we want to ensure you, as a UFT member, have the information you need to make an informed choice.

Here’s what’s on the ballot>>

The UFT is committed to strengthening our communities, and likewise, each ballot proposal gives us an opportunity to have a say on how our systems can work. Take the opportunity to read up on the five ballot proposals to ensure that you are informed when you vote in this election.

Stay safe and healthy,

Cassie Prugh
Assistant to the President and Political Director

Friday, October 22, 2021


While Michael Mulgrew talks about forming a 300 person negotiating committee that will have little, if any, input into next year's contract negotiations, the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY teacher union that I also belong to) is gearing up for a fight for the 2023 Contract. The PSC is attempting to mobilize every PSC member for the contract battle. This is part of an email I received earlier today:


Our union contract expires in 18 months. By Spring 2023 the PSC aims to have enough power and capacity to win major new public investment in CUNY, pass the New Deal for CUNY, and settle a great new contract.

Be part of the campaign by RSVPing for the PSC’s Hybrid Rally During the CUNY Board Meeting Monday, October 25 at 4:30 PM. Tell us you’ll be there, in person or online, at Baruch College or on Zoom.

The Strategic Action Plan to achieve our goals will require active listening and communications about members’ needs. It will mean organizing structures that reach into every department and office, growing our membership and ranks of activists, and increasing our ability to exert power for members in the workplace and in Albany and City Hall. We’ll try to seize every available opportunity—and create new ones when possible.

What will the UFT be doing to mobilize UFTers for the September 2022 Contract? Probably nothing. We will just get a sales job that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread no matter what.

We need a better UFT, not to abandon it. Vote opposition next year. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021


 Moving school safety from NYPD to DOE is a terrible idea.

This is from the NY Daily News:

The NYPD recovered two guns from public school students on Thursday — making a total of five firearms found in city schools in the past two days.

School safety agents on Thursday found one of the guns in the backpack of a 17-year-old student at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens after the student showed the weapon to a classmate, according to police.

The other gun was found in the backpack of a 14-year-old student at Intermediate School 98 in the Bronx. A classmate told a parent the student was showing off a bright pink handgun on Wednesday. The parent alerted school officials — who found the loaded gun in the student’s backpack on Thursday, according to police.

The suspect “was a 14-year-old who was being all gangster,” a seventh grader at the school told the Daily News.

The suspect “was a 14-year-old who was being all gangster,” a seventh grader at the school told the Daily News.

“The whole school was in lockdown,” the student recalled. “They told us there was a gun in the school. It lasted two periods. We couldn’t leave the class. They had us go to one side of the room.”

The discoveries come just a day after officials found three handguns at high schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn, two of which were loaded.

Two of the firearms were detected by metal detectors at Bronx high schools. Another was discovered in the waistband of a teenager during a fight at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn, according to sources.


A judge has delayed the new Medicare Advantage plan for city retirees. Mulgrewcare will have to wait.

The judge ruled that the city and MLC were irrational in forcing retirees to have to decide by October 31 if they want to join the new Medicare Advantage Plus or pay a penalty ($192 per month) to stay in Senior Care. The judge did not kill Mulgrewcare but it is on hold.

This is from the decision:

As to likelihood of success on the merits, the Court feels that the method of implementation of this plan at present has been irrational, and thus arbitrary and capricious. It is not in dispute that currently, in the midst of a pandemic, that has been hardest on the elderly and infirm, retirees have been given a deadline of October 31 to either do nothing in which case their health care plan will change, or to stay in their current plan in which they will likely have to pay what can only be described as a penalty. At the same time, there is little clarity as to which health care providers will be accepting this new Medicare Advantage Plan. It is simply irrational for retirees to have to make this decision as circumstances currently stand.

INDEX NO. 158815/2021

NYSCEF DOC. NO. 114                                                    RECEIVED NYSCEF: 10/21/2021

petitioners and similarly situated individuals are required to opt-in or out of a medical program by the October 31, 2021 deadline there would certainly be irreparable harm. Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED that the respondents are enjoined from enforcing the October 31, 2021 Opt- Out/ Opt-In date; and it is further

ORDERED that petitioners maintain the status-quo enrollment in until the respondents cure deficiencies with the implementation of the proposed new Medicare Advantage Plan, and it is further

ORDERED that such new plan be sent to this Court for this Court to review and determine whether such plan cures the defects as indicated above, and it if further

ORDERED that such plan be sent to the petitioner’s counsel seven days prior to such submission to the Court and petitioner may then provide any input regarding the proposed new plan to the Court.


 I saw this on Twitter:

Choose your giveback: longer day or longer year or both. Mulgrew will settle for some cut rate pay for extra time if his past actions are a preview. I don't understand the UFT Adams endorsement. 

We need a real union!

For more analysis on the debate, go here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


 Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all municipal employees. He is offering a $500 incentive to get the shot. Why doesn't everyone who previously received the vaccine get the extra $500? Shouldn't people be rewarded for already having done the right thing? 

Before the comment comes: If NYC has money to pay employees $500 to get a vaccine, then surely there is money to pay UFTers who worked through 2020 spring break.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


Secondary school teachers all over the city are being asked to teach an extra class during their prep or professional period. If it is in a shortage area (see page 3 for list of shortage area licenses), teachers are compensated at a rate of $7,278 per semester. That is not horrible compensation for taking on an extra class. However, what if it is in a non-shortage area where a school has a class or two hanging and they won't open up more classes to hire a full-time teacher? 

The principle of equal pay for equal work should kick in. The UFT saw to it that it would be equal pay for the same work back in 1998 when they and the Board of Education agreed on Circular 6R. This very innovative document actually put teachers in charge for the most part of their professional periods and required that teachers be paid if they were teaching during their professional time at the shortage area rate, whether it was in a shortage area or not.

Randi Weingarten in the infamous 2005 giveback laden Contract gave away much of C6R when she agreed to put teachers back on potty patrol instead of making the professional period self-directed for most teachers. Giving back to the principals much more power over teacher professional time was one of her major concessions that year. However, the rest of C6R survived; the UFT still posts it on its website (see link above). This is a part of page 8:

It says 1998-99 and thereafter for non-shortage area licenses to get paid the full 7O rate which I repeat is $7,278 per term.

But is the contractual article refered to here still part of the Contract? The answer is yes. Article 7A10j is now Article 7A6d. Here it is in its entirety:

d. Provided that these periods are used to supplement, not supplant the current school program, and subject to the specific provisions regarding it, secondary teachers may use this time for a sixth teaching period compensated in accordance with Article 70 of the Agreement (Shortage License Areas). The chapter’s concurrence to ensure that this is truly supplemental is necessary. 

Please note that there is an identical provision (7B8d) for middle school teachers. The language of both is the same as the old Contract. I checked. (Yes, I still keep the old Contracts.)

What I cannot begin to understand is why teachers in non-shortage areas are not being compensated for taking a sixth class at the Article 7O rate. Circular 6R has not been altered when it comes to the provision that allows teachers to teach during the professional period. 

It seems like it should be easy for the UFT to uphold this provision, but it has been brought to my attention that teachers are being given sixth classes for the term however they are only being offered coverage pay for filling in for an entire semester. That is an extreme ripoff and insult to teachers. 

The coverage rate is $45.38 per class. If we multiply that daily rate by 85 days for a semester, the total is $3,857.30. That comes to $3,420.70 less than the $7,278 the teacher who happens to be in a shortage area receives for teaching the same amount of time.

What kind of union would let its members get ripped off like this? I hope not the UFT. 

When my friend enquired to the UFT about this, the answer has been crickets from the Union. I was under the impression that the UFT stands by the principle of equal pay for equal work; that we are one union. I hope they take up the cause of teachers who teach a sixth class all being paid at the same rate. 

If not, I have no idea why any Chapter Leader would ever approve of any sixth class as per Contractual Article 7A6d and wouldn't just tell the principal who is underpaying teachers in non-shortage areas that we are one union and we will not stand for two pay scales. There is no provision to cover vacancies in non-shortage areas in the Contract during prep time. If the principal argued back that it is a hanging class and it must be filled, my response as the Chapter Leader would be: "That's your problem. Hire more teachers and lower class sizes. No cut-rate teaching is going to be allowed here." I would then grieve if they continued to put in teachers but paid them at the coverage rate. If there were three classes, I would demand that they hire someone as that is a vacancy. I would be very hesitant about letting the shortage area work go on as well since the chapter has to concur that it is necessary. 

We need a better Union, not to abandon it commenters.

Monday, October 18, 2021


 I heard from chapter leaders that their chapter leader backpacks arrived the last few days. In it was:

  • Tools for Schools, an Overview for  a Safe, Healthy, and Secure School Environment
  • School Safety, Victim Support Program
  • A Bunch of COPE cards (Can't forget to get money for politicians, can we?)
  • Leaflets to put on the UFT Bulletin Board
  • Leaflets on Teacher leadership
  • COPE Pen
  • Pouch with chapstick, bandaids, and ointment in a small tiny pouch. 
  • A Plastic file folder
What was missing?
  • No UFT Contracts for each title
  • No UFT Chapter Leader Handbook
  • No UFT Constitution
The backpack itself gets a nice review for quality but how is the chapter leader supposed to do the job without a Contract or a Chapter Leader Handbook to guide her/him? The UFT in the past sent the contracts for many titles and the Union's Constitution to Chapter leaders in these backpacks. No more.

I'm old school and liked to carry the Contract around to show its importance like Hall of Fame baseball manager Earl Weaver used to carry around a rulebook. I'd refer to it in a second if an administrator or UFT member asked but I haven't seen a written UFT Contract since the 2007-2009 edition. I don't even think there is a current Contract online. Only the 2009-2018 version exists online. The current Contract, now three years old, (remember it was agreed to months before the prior one expired) still only exists as a Memorandum of Agreement. The UFT and DOE had a year and a half to incorporate the contractual changes in writing before the pandemic but I guess they couldn't be bothered.

Please no snarky comment about how I demand that you pay dues to this inept organization. No, I want you as a collective to take it over and fix it. 


I guess this is considered a victory by the UFT to get the Department of Education to follow the Contract and only require two informal observations for tenured teachers rated effective last year. Not being rated in 2019-2020 in the middle of a pandemic is no longer going to be held against teachers. Now, how about a maximum number of observations in the Contract like many other districts in NYS have? I would push for that.

Dear ______,

After weeks of negotiations, the DOE has agreed to change its position that the lack of ratings in 2019-20 should be a determining factor in the number and type of observations that teachers are required to have this school year.

Under the teacher evaluation system, if a tenured teacher received a rating of Effective for the previous two school years, that teacher would only need a minimum of two informal observations for the current school year. However, because teachers did not receive a rating for the 2019-20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOE instructed principals in September that tenured teachers rated Effective would need one formal and one informal observation this school year.

The DOE has now agreed that any tenured teacher rated Effective for the 2020-21 school year will receive a minimum of two informal observations. (As before, members can request a formal observation if they wish, but it is not required.) No change has been made to the number of observations required for teachers rated Highly Effective (two informal observations) or teachers rated Developing (three informal observations and one formal) for the 2020-21 school  year.

If you are now eligible for two informal observations, but have already had your initial planning conference with your principal, you will not be required to have another IPC but you should let your principal know that you’d like to receive two informal observations instead. Remember that observations cannot occur before the IPC is held.

Read the DOE summary and FAQs about this school year’s policies and see more detailed information below.

Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew
UFT President

Sunday, October 17, 2021


This is from the CTU supporting striking workers in multiple unions.  I have heard nothing from the UFT. Working people around the country are saying enough. Maybe UFTers (rank and file, not the leadership) will rise up too. 

We stand with workers at Kellogg, UAW and IATSE television and film union

Poor working conditions continue as companies continue to profit off the lie of corporate support of "essential" workers. Educators can relate.

CHICAGO, October 14, 2021 — The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in solidarity with entertainment workers, and workers at Kellogg and John Deere, all of whom are battling for better working conditions and fair, living-wage compensation:

Frontline workers, from people who package our breakfast cereal to those who make the equipment that builds our roads, have risked their lives to keep their corporations afloat through the pandemic. Now, workers at giant corporations that include Kellogg, John Deere and major film and television studios, are demanding more than just lip service for their sacrifices, just as educators in Chicago and across the nation are demanding more from their school districts when it comes to safety and support.

At Kellogg, workers in the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) union have vowed to stay out "one day longer" than the boss in their strike for fair wages and benefits, and reasonable working conditions. At John Deere, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union overwhelmingly rejected a substandard offer from the company that would have included income inequality. And in the entertainment industry, members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) — from cinematographers and camera operators, to carpenters and makeup artists — want an end to excessive hours, exhausting back-to-back shifts and compensation for some crafts that is literally impossible to live on.

Each of these struggles remind us of 2012, 2016 and 2019, when we took collective action for the schools and the city our students and their families deserve. What unites us all is a basic demand for fairness. Labor provides the profit that these companies' shareholders live off of, just as our school district operates on the backs of the labor of teachers, PSRPs, clinicians, counselors and librarians. Yet the corporate strategy of all of our bosses is to demand more of workers in exchange for as little regard as possible.

Our sisters and brothers in the BCTGM, UAW and IATSE are fed up with this exploitation and indifference from management, especially at a time of record revenue for so many of the corporations and businesses that have provoked job action. Their struggle is our struggle —the struggle for basic rights, living wages, health care that sustains our families, and workplaces that are safe and responsibly run.

We stand in solidarity with our fellow workers at Kellogg, Deere, in the entertainment industry and beyond in their battle to force their bosses to share profit with the very workers who create this profit. And we join them in the larger struggle to lift up and support all rank-and-file workers in our country and elsewhere, who all deserve economic justice and freedom.

Friday, October 15, 2021


Wednesday's Delegate Assembly saw UFT President Michael Mulgrew sink to new lows as the biased chair. This blog has been screaming since Michael Mulgrew took over as UFT President how he has mangled democracy beyond recognition at the DA. Mulgrew and I battled each other repeatedly over the years because he routinely violates the neutrality of the chair to advocate for himself and Unity Caucus, the political party he controls that ruins runs the UFT.  He's gotten away with more of his bias chairing after I retired because he usually is never challenged. 

In addition, during the pandemic when DAs went remote and could easily be controlled by the leadership, Mulgrew's buddy Rasheed can just cut off in midsentence anybody who says anything undesirable on the phone which was done on Wednesday in the new hybrid format (some live and some on the phone) that will be used this school year. After over a year of remote meetings where Mulgrew could screen the questions coming in and so he got used to almost never being challenged, he had to deal with a partially live DA and he couldn't handle people who were not on the Unity gravy train.

Many, probably most, of the Delegates Mulgrew calls on are receiving a paycheck or some other kind of largesse from the UFT. If they belong to Unity Caucus, they sign a pledge to support Unity Caucus positions in union and public forums. It doesn't take much talent to stack an auditorium with people on the Union payroll. This is what the rest of us are up against. 

It is very troubling, or maybe it is encouraging, that at the first DA of the new school year with hundreds of new Delegates either attending for the first time on the phone or in-person, Mulgrew showed that he has learned nothing about being impartial.

First up was a Delegate named Martina who was a young woman who asked the President during the question period about the New York State Health Act. This is how Arthur Goldstein reported the exchange between this new Delegate and Mulgrew:

Q--NY health act--Delegate Assembly supported it, but UFT ran ad against it. Why are we paying COPE dollars against things we supported.

A--We will not support NYHA. Will take thousands of dollars out of UFT pockets. If we can get our health care at no cost, we would do it. Not what NYHA will do. I know facts on social media are what people go on. But our lawyers say otherwise. 

Here is how we reported it:

Question: New York Health Act, we passed a resolution at the DA supporting it in 2015 and now we put out an ad against what we support?

Answer: We will not support the New York Health Act. It would cost members thousands of dollars. NY Health Act will not give us everything we want and have money left over. People go on what is on social media but our lawyers don't agree. Facts, people, not rhetoric.

Both reports are basically identical but neither can show the degree to which Mulgrew talked down to this woman in an angry and dismissive tone. His suggestion that this is social media spreading lies is just plain wrong. The Delegate asked about why the UFT isn't upholding its own policy. It was embarrassing to listen to Mulgrew talk down to the Delegate while he didn't explain why the UFT has a policy but Mulgrew claims that he and his lawyers can make policy that goes against what the DA decided. The proper way to change UFT policy after the lawyers give advice is to go back to the DA and vote to change it and not to yell at a Delegate who asks a question about it.

Second, Peter Lamphere from MORE (one group opposed to Unity) raised a Point of Order because during the ten-minute new motion period, Mulgrew didn't call on anyone from the opposition. Mulgrew first called upon a Delegate who introduced a motion for the UFT to urge the City Council to pick a woman as Speaker. This was followed by a motion on 9-11. Neither was very controversial. Peter said wait a minute as his Point of Order quoted Robert's Rules that the Chair is required to be impartial. By not recognizing anyone from the opposition to Unity who were supporting dozens of retirees who were outside protesting for transparency in healthcare negotiations, Mulgrew was stifling dissent. Mulgrew screamed that Peter was out of order because he called on him in the past. Peter then made a motion for the motion period to be extended. Mulgrew went on as if Peter wasn't even there. A group of from 20-35 Delegates got up and took matters into their own hands chanting, "Hands off of our healthcare!" Mulgrew tried to ignore them too and he was quite fortunate that they walked out so he could continue the meeting.

Why I say this undemocratic chairing was both troubling and encouraging is because there are Delegates online who are as outraged as I usually was at DAs. They expressed themselves online and Norm Scott over at Ed Notes printed their reactions to Wednesday's DA:

The first delegate assembly of the 2021-22 school year displayed the full disarray, disorganized, and unhinged leadership of the union. 

Since the start of the pandemic we have had a union that is far removed from its members. Yesterday we saw a leadership that is now in open contempt of its own members. 

The president of our union, paid by our union dues, actually yelled at his own members, working classroom teachers, elected by their chapters. 

Our union leadership refuses to address changes in retiree healthcare which reduced coverage which is bound to happen to active members in the upcoming contract.UFT leadership endorsed a Mayoral candidate they previously opposed, they were forced to call on executive board members who are no longer in the classroom and retirees that last taught in the 1980’s. 

Mulgrew sounded like “my angry drunk father."

A resolution was passed calling for woman leadership of our city council “but we have all men running the largest union of women in the city”  -- Chapter leader and long time teacher

Mulgrew’s report was like the worst PD I ever had to sit through”  -- New chapter leader

Mulgrew and his Unity caucus are more disconnected than ever before. They haven’t been in the classroom since the pandemic, they have no clue about anything teachers or paras deal with daily and it shows when he talks... Veteran chapter leader

Every single health care speaker was chastised, interrupted, and deemed out of order. As a new delegate it appears I'll need clarification on when we're allowed to talk about health care, because this happened during multiple parts of the agenda... New delegate  

And one more concerning Mulgrew exclusively calling on Delegates wearing pink:

I had a discussion with the UFT's parliamentarian in 2014 after five years of frustration with Mulgrew not letting dissenting voices be heard. Some of what was stated then:

During my discussion with the Parliamentarian, I even went back to the preface of Robert's Rules and read a portion where it gives the history of parliamentary procedure.  Right there on page xxiv, it says in 1592 the principle was established to alternate speakers between those for and against.  Here is the wording: "It was made a Rule, That the Chairman shall ask the Parties that would speak, on which side they would speak... and the Party that speaketh against the last Speaker, is to be heard first."  

Maybe with your help we can finally catch up to where England's Parliament was in the 1590s at the UFT in 2021.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


 Presidents Report

The Delegate Assembly began with a tribute and a moment of silence for a chapter leader who had passed away. President Michael Mulgrew then welcomes new people and then thanked the district reps. 

He started the regular part of the report by saying there is no stability in the school system. Talked about blended learning from last year, remote parent teachers that is being done this year. 2,200 operational complaints resolved. 2,030 resolved. No contract for a pandemic. We negotiate and end up yelling back and forth with DOE. We don't care about reports they have to produce. If it doesn't make a difference to children, it doesn't make a difference to us. This is not covered as we were hired under a certain set of conditions but we are doing jobs for which we were not hired for. We are making new agreements because the circumstances are constantly changing. Changes not good for us or the children. It is stress on top of stress but we are stuck in a pandemic and we are stuck until we get out of it. We are thel largest system with a flimsy management system. This is uber stress on everyone right now. Answers change because of new conditions which lead to new setups. We are beyond flexible. Tell me another profession that no matter how much you plan, it will not turn out that way. We got into this profession to teach children, to counsel children and to make a school run. I hope and pray that by the end of the month we can set up a normal school system. This month we are not going to be there. Trying to set it up for all of you. Main focus for this year is to figure out how to relieve as much stress as we can but we know it is going to be a very stressful, tough year. Waiting for January. We are at the end of an administration. I am happy we have pre-k. We achieved that under this administration. Have we achieved goal that DOE is to help schools, not make them accountable? We have not achieved that. New challenges with a new administration. How do we pull the stress away from our members? We are not supposed to change rules constantly and we went to the State Department of Health over how to measure 3-feet. What is instructional lunch? We had a year without observations so people don't have two observations so they have to get a formal observation. That is the job. All of you volunteered and were elected. We need to stay together. As a chapter leader, other chapter leaders were support system. Job to make others' jobs better. If you chose this job in the middle of a pandemic, you are dedicated.

This will be a long report.

Agreement on partial closings. Since we believe that it will be very hard to have a classroom closure in the elementary schools. When you are told to supply instruction remotely, that is when the partial closing piece kicks in.

COVID protocols: what was put forth in City Council hearing last week is true. Only the Department of Health can change COVID protocols in NYC. Principal is responsible for saying who had close contact with someone who is positive. Some said it was everyone. Situation Room calling principals and telling the to do what's right. Can only close a school if there is an investigation saying it closed because of COVID spread in the school but Department is not doing investigations. Three-feet is now from center of desk to center of desk so classrooms are crowded up to 55. Guess that parents want schools open. Did they ask if people want to stay open if there was COVID in schools? Someone wants higher office. Numbers dropped dramatically in NYC in the last three weeks. Very low percentages. We know all are vaccinated but teachers take great pride in keeping students safe. We are going to the State Department of Health. It is probably going to get work. Who is the next Chancellor? Who keeps their job? It's Lord of the Flies over there. We did not want to put four or five classes in an auditorium. Rolled things over from last year. Negotiating redeployment. Constant challenge as we go to the end of this administration. Numbers are down, great


Most people don't like politics

Nationally, we are looking at the big package. Infrastructure: we want an infrastructure package. We want schools built with zero consumption. Rich Mantell thanked. On a meeting with Senator Schumer. Ventilation problems for years as we are not under OSHA but we were able to fix ventilation problems in three months. We need a big infusion of cash. NLRB ruled against us previous four years but we are hoping for a better outcome now.


Primary for governor chosen by Democratic party in February before primary in June. Had dinner with Governor Hochul. She has been good on putting some uniformity in place. There will be plenty of other candidates. 

Legislation to lower class sizes. Going after it through City Council legislation. We need to deal with real estate development and seats. Where they build housing is important in terms of seats for schools. 240 school seats for 6,000 units of housing at Hudson Yards. City Hall trying to block this. General elections in NYC. We have endorsements. We give mayors open arms. As chapter leader, it worked out twice and once it did not. We are happy we have a Bronx Plan. We need a partner to help us with Tweed Courthouse. Do we want a partner? Up to this Delegation but wouldn't recommend it.

Medicare Advantage Plus

In-service health plan coming up. We have a healthcare crisis in this union. Fight to keep what we have and expand it. Kick relatives who say we have free healthcare. The entire MLC does healthcare together. Medicare Advantage is usually a bad thing but we are not recommending Joe Namath's Medicare Advantage. He was a great quarterback. We knew we were looking at major premiums for our retiree healthcare. It is used against us. Unions can't talk about wages because there's been a 10% increase on premiums. Hospitals ripping us off. We're in a medical crisis. Nobody considers costs. $500 to take someone's temperature. Hospitalization costs keep going up. The entire workforce of NYC formed our own Advantage plus plan. In three years, people will all like it. Keep writing as that friction keeps the system going in a bitter place just like with the operational complaints.

SBO deadline

SBO deadline October 15. We extended last year; should we extend this year? When school comes to us, we say yes if it is outside. We want let people work for less money. Who wants SBO process to remain open? Many said yes, some didn't care and one voted no. SBO is our process. If you don't want to do it, don't do it. Make a deal if they come up with something you don't like. 


You need a formal and informal observation because nobody had a rating two years ago. Don't be afraid of observations. Some schools are supportive, some use it poorly. We have way too much on our plate to tackle making observations supportive. . We are negotiating that it should be two informals. We will get information out on this tomorrow or Friday. 

New hires

5,000 new hires. We are getting corrupted files from the DOE. 

Instructional lunch

Kids eat lunch in the classroom. Anything that you are doing under new agreements you must know codes have not been created. Payroll secretaries should be on a perch. You have to keep track of all of these things. Have your members be in close contact with payroll secretary. 

Election Day

Postings going up for per session to load asynchronous work up for Election Day. Last Thursday we had consultation on official DOE policy on people working at home. DOE with Chancellor not there said it was remotely but now they are saying maybe not. Principal must inform you by October 15 which is Friday or you are working remotely. Up to you whether you want to ask if they are informing you or not. 

Class sizes

We set a record for schools  with oversize classes at 41 schools with 132 classes.


How many have had conversations about academic and social-emotional screenings? These screenings are supposed to be done through principal and chapter leader. Academic screenings end next Friday, October 22. Screening will produce a lot of information for your school that they need to act on. If chapter leader is not part of discussion, this could become very problematic. Will send out agreement again. Will have to wait until January according to DOE on social emotional screening. DOE put in a grant proposal to the federal DOE. to help undo the harm because of the pandemic. We got the grant which has money and NYC DOE has to run reports and they have made it a teacher or guidance counselor's job. We get compensation for this. This will be a long report. Can we get that out in bullets in English?

UFT debt clinic

2.5 years ago we started debt clinic. People retiring still paying off student loans. National scandal. Thousands have been through UFT loan program. We filed lawsuit against Betsy De Vos and it was settled today. Any teacher whose name was on the lawsuit has student debt completely erased. Any member who could have been able to reduce debt is going to have a chance to be involved. Members screwed by loan companies. 

Thanks to all of you who wore pink. That is a huge issue to us. Breast cancer rate higher than national average. Thank Servia Silva who has run strides. We are the biggest group. Thanks them. (delegates cheer.) Servia and team have raised $10 million. We want this eradicated. This feeds the soul. We want 3d imaging for mammograms. We have partnered with Lennox Hill for this. It can detect three years before other machines. That deal is in place for 3-d mammogram. Half of members 50 and above did not have baseline mammograms on record. Goal to have 100% of members 50 and above to havea mammogram. Whole schools show up for Strides. They walk with member who has cancer or who has survived.  Thanks everyone and ends report.

Staff Director's Report

Making Strides walk this weekend. First new chapter leader weekend postponed. Townhall for new members. Election Day November 2. Many political endorsements coming up. Teacher Union Day is November 7. That is the anniversary of our first strike. Veterans Committee asking people to join on November 11. Next DA is in November.

15 minute question period

Question: Chapter leader gives name and school: MOSL deadline 10/22, is there any guidance coming from UFT?

Mulgrew Answer: We will send out something on MOSL Friday.

Question: Middle school chapter leader asks about waivers on Regents for global.

Answer: Conversations going on at State Education Department. It is good to have Betty Rosa at SED who tells us what is going on and makes decisions on behalf of the kids. She told previous governor she doesn't work for him.

Question: District 25 Two informal observations?

Answer: Principal can do observations. Mulgrew says he was observed 18 times one year. One principal he asked to observe him more but it blew his mind.

Question: What happened to the mayor's substitutes?

Answer: There weren't 11,000 but was 6,500.  Happy court intervened to put date back. People were supposed to be redeployed. We have enough to cover for an emergency. About 2,000 unvaccinated on absence without leave. About 900 got exemptions. Hopefully we have long term solutions.

Question: Paras covering classes at lunch?

Answer: We rolled that agreement over from last year. Schools that lost paras due to the mandate realize it's a big deal.

Question: New York Health Act, we passed a resolution at the DA supporting it in 2015 and now we put out an ad against it?

Answer: We will not support the New York Health Act. It would cost members thousands of dollars. NY Health Act will not give us everything we want and have money left over. People go on what is on social media but our lawyers don't agree. Facts, people, not rhetoric.

Question:  New teachers in school not getting paid yet? Two pay periods, nothing. Told check is in the mail.

Answer: Mike Sill is looking into this and writing the chapter leader's name down. The check is in the mail is not appropriate.

Question: Testimony at City Council to get the 20% back for weekly testing. Is there an update on that?

Answer: Things are falling apart at City Hall. It is not where we were at last year. Last year it was a model for the country; this year it is not. Will it be fixed before this administration leaves? Probably not but cases are dramatically falling.

Question: School nurses in egregious state. Nurses being split to go to uncovered schools. 400 uncovered positions. Ads offering more money. What can we do to ensure more nurses? Will it take the death of a student to get a nurse into every building?

Answer: Mulgrew agrees with the nurse. We thought we crossed this hurdle last year. We took a big hit with the mandate. Said it over and over. Eric Adams has worked with us on this issue. Adams says it's unconscionable that there is not a nurse in every school building. DOE makes excuses about DC 37 nurses vs UFT nurses and there has to be a ratio. We are pushing on this. Administration is crumbling near the end. This is like how we were short 1,500 safety agents before the mandate. DOE hired private people for outside the schools.

Motion Period

Motion for today's agenda on the UFT urging the City Council for City Council Speaker. Hybrid vote: Voting at home. Then Mulgrew asks for vote of those in the hall. 87% yes-13% no. Internally it was way over 87%.

Point of order from Peter Lamphere on people from Mulgrew's Unity Caucus only being called. Mulgrew says it is out of order.

Motion on NY schools on 9-11 on a curriculum on the day.  It passes easily. Peter Lamphere makes a motion to extend motion period. Mulgrew doesn't entertain it so many people who wanted a hands off our healthcare motion to be raised and were not able to raise their motion. A chant goes on of "Hands off our Healthcare." Many delegates walk out.

Special Orders of business

Resolution to support a bunch of City Council endorsements. Mulgrew forces a vote on ending debate when nobody wants to debate. It gets 86% yes-14% No. On the actual endorsements, it is again 86% yes and it carries.

At automatic adjournment time, a motion is made to extend. 62% vote in favor. 449 to 276. Mulgrew extends. 

Motion to endorse Eric Adams and Brad Lander for comptroller. A unity Executive Board person says we must endorse Adams or he will only get support from charter schools.

A Delegate on the phone speaks against Adams saying we got fliers in the mail saying not to vote for Adams.  That is followed by a Unity retired district representative. He praises Adams. Says Adams respects teachers and doesn't respect DOE. Admits we don't agree with Adams on everything but says nobody is better suited than Adams now. This is followed by another Unity retiree. The question is called and 75% vote yes. Vote on the actual resolution is 76% yes.

The final resolution was to for the UFT to urge a woman to be chosen to lead the City Council as Speaker. Mulgrew leaves the chair to speak for it. A speaker against is ruled out of order and cut off the phone by Leroy Barr who is now chairing.  87% vote yes.

Meeting is adjourned.  

News 12 from the Bronx covers the healthcare protest as did amny. CBS 2 is on the retiree healthcare issue also.


 This is from the UFT concerning Election Day:


Sounds okay but not so fast. This is from the Department of Education on Election Day:

Election Day Guidance 

As shared in previous editions of Principals Digest, and as per the 2021–22 School Year Calendar memoNovember 2 (Election Day) is a remote, asynchronous instructional day for all students, and attendance must be taken on this date for every student. Please note the following:   

Professional Development: Election Day is also a professional development day for teachers. The DOE-UFT MOA on Digital Classrooms states that in the event all students in a school are fully remote, teachers and mandated related service providers shall be permitted to work remotely; however, the principal may, with reasonable advance notice, direct staff to be on site. Therefore, principals should inform these employees by the end of day on October 15 if they are expected to report to work in-person on Election Day. Otherwise, principals should prepare to provide professional development remotely on Election Day.   

If a per diem substitute’s assignment includes Election Day, then they would work that day and can be directed to report in-person, as needed. Principals may choose to include substitutes in professional development, where appropriate.     

Please note that kitchen staff, school safety agents, and custodians are expected to continue to report in-person and may not work remotely on Election Day.    

The UFT says, "November 2 will be a remote workday for all school-based UFT members." DOE says, "The DOE-UFT MOA on Digital Classrooms states that in the event all students in a school are fully remote, teachers and mandated related service providers shall be permitted to work remotely; however, the principal may, with reasonable advance notice, direct staff to be on site." Who is right?

Election Day used to be a day off and then it was a day off for kids but a professional development day for staff many years but now it is considered an instructional day and PD day. Why the change?

The school calendar is so tight this year that the DOE-UFT created this instructional day out of thin air. While not exactly educationally sound, it is not the end of the world.

The DOE is throwing schools a few hours of per session to create assignments for the students. This seems like wasting money to figure out busy work for kids on what had previously been a day off for them.

At some point, the UFT and DOE should agree to a fixed number of days in the annual school calendar, as most surrounding school districts have, so we can end the annual uncertainty about having the correct number of state-mandated school days. 

For all of us who have correctly criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio's school policies, we have to admit he has added three holidays to the school year (Lunar New Year, Eid Al-Fitr, Juneteenth) without asking for anything in return from teachers. The annual calendar juggling ritual that this year includes a faux instructional Election Day is a consequence.


There will be a statement made inside and outside the first live Delegate Assembly since March 2020 that business as usual conseasionary unionism is no longer acceptable to UFTers. Today at 4:00 PM is a rally outside 52 Broadway with the theme, "Hands off our healthcare." 

The UFT and many other unions forced through privatization of retiree Medicare effective January 1, 2022 and the contracts for active employee healthcare are up for renegotiation next year. The city wants more savings. There have been givebacks already in 2014 and 2018 such as new city employees being forced into HIP for year 1 which severely restricts choices of doctors, emergency room co-pays tripling to $150, and more. The only way to stop more concessions on healthcare and everywhere else is to draw a line in the sand and say that's it.

That process begins today outside the DA.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


This is from the Chief Leader civil service newspaper's coverage of last week's City Council Education hearing.

The Council questioned officials about social-distancing guidelines. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has recommended that students stay three feet apart, which is measured from nose-to-nose, many classrooms have desks crammed nearly on top of each other, raising concerns.

'Social' Charade'

The DOE said that desks were arranged so that students were three feet apart when measuring from the center of each desk.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew called the policy "absurd."

"This was done because they want to be able to say they brought back every child," he said. "They're trying to veil it as the CDC when it's not."

He also criticized the DOE's decision to scale back quarantine protocols late last month. Unvaccinated students who are exposed to coronavirus are no longer required to quarantine if they are masked and maintain three feet of social-distancing, while previously they would have been required to learn remotely for 10 days.

Mr. Mulgrew called the changes "disgusting," adding that Test and Trace Corps has stopped performing investigations about how COVID was transmitted in schools.

From 'Model' to Travesty 

"It's a shame, because at one point our test-and-trace facility was a model of what to do, and now it's a model of what not to do," the exasperated union leader said.

This leads to this question:

What is Mulgrew, the leader of the most powerful union in the country according to his Unity caucus, doing about these "disgusting" changes that are putting educators and students at risk of catching a serious disease in what is still a pandemic?

Answer: ?

Monday, October 11, 2021


 Michael Mulgrew's latest email ending the emergency coverage agreement is below.

I have to laugh when he says we won't be exploited: The evaluation system, doing nothing when the DOE sent UFTers into unsafe buildings for useless PD in March 2020 when COVID was raging out of control, contracts with salary increases that don't keep up with inflation including one that made us wait almost 12 years to be paid back in full for work we did in 2009, working 7 days of spring break in 2020 in exchange for 4 sick bank days and a promise the UFT can go to arbitration for pay later (later turns out is December 2021 so it looks like another almost two year delay to get anything), etc.

Dear _________,

As you have so many times during this pandemic, you stepped up again this past week to minimize the disruption to teaching and learning caused by the vaccine mandate. Understanding the need to maintain the safety and well-being of our students and colleagues, many of you showed flexibility and assumed duties that were not part of your normal scope of work.

The DOE’s lack of organization made your job more difficult than necessary, yet again. The DOE continues to show little understanding of what short-staffed schools actually need. That is why we are writing to you today to inform you that the emergency staffing agreement that took effect on Oct. 4 will not be renewed for this coming week.

We can be flexible when necessary, but we will not be exploited. Starting this week and going forward, you may only be asked to perform the job duties delineated in your DOE-UFT contract. If you are asked to do anything else, please let us know immediately by calling 212-331-6311 on Tuesday.

Please also let us know if you normally have a borough or central office position and have been redeployed to a school inappropriately — either out of your work borough or outside your license area.

Principals have been given additional funds to hire substitutes. They should follow the traditional means of filling absences and vacancies rather than pulling staff from their regular assignments.

We will continue to support our school communities, but we cannot let the DOE take advantage of our members’ goodwill. It needs to provide us with the proper staffing and send us substitutes so we can continue to do the work we are best trained to do. The DOE’s lack of planning is unacceptable, and it is the DOE’s responsibility to make this right.

Thank you again for everything that you do.


Michael Mulgrew

UFT President

Saturday, October 09, 2021


How many students are there in our school system? Sue Edelman is attempting to discover the truth.

Where are they?

City educators are scrambling to find what some officials fear are 150,000 or more kids who have not yet set foot in school — and others who don’t show up on a given day.

“Reach out to every absent student every day,” the Department of Education instructed principals last week in a memo obtained by The Post.

Schools were told to follow up daily with each missing kid until they nail down the reason why he or she has not shown up — whether for one day or not at all.

“Outreach to families may include phone calls, text messages, postcards, and where possible, home visits,” the memo says.

In another urgent missive, principals told staffers that all schools with more than 20 percent of students absent will get weekly visits from DOE higher-ups — a dreaded occurrence. “We cannot continue in this direction,” one administrator warned.

“No one wants a visit from central when we’re understaffed and missing most of our paras (classroom aides who serve kids with special needs],” a teacher said, referring to a personnel crunch since the vaccine mandate took effect Oct. 4.

“I think they’re getting a lot of pressure to make things look normal when we aren’t being given the tools and staffing we need to be normal for the students.”

The directives went out a day after the City Council’s education committee held an oversight hearing to get answers on COVID-19 testing in schools, quarantines and student attendance.

Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger, the education committee chairman, said he had heard from contacts that some 150,000 students “have not come into a building” since classes started Sept. 13.

“Does that sound right?” Treyger asked LaShawn Robinson, the DOE’s deputy chancellor for School Climate and Wellness.

Robinson called that figure “unofficially, far from accurate,” but she did not give a better number. “We’re focused on every student, every day.” she said. Treyger, who has urged the DOE to offer families a remote instruction option, also hit a brick wall when asking First Deputy Chancellor Donald Conyers how many students are attending city schools.

“I don’t have that number to give you,” replied Conyers, the DOE’s second-in-command to Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, who did not testify. 

So, are your schools crowded or empty?