Monday, November 15, 2021


 I logged on when Michael Mulgrew was talking about class size. Emily James is also on from UFT.  The third person is Mark Treyger, the Education Chair of the City Council.

Mulgrew speaks and then turns it over to Emily James on the petition. Emily led the petition drive for Paid Parental Leave. She talks about the petition. She shares a link to She then introduces Councilmember Treyger.

Treyger then speaks. He thanks Mulgrew and Emily. Treyger is the sponsor of the bill. He says, why now? City ignored Campaign for Fiscal Equity money. He talks about the difference between the 34 maximum and the difference when he taught at New Utrecht with 28. He said it was so crowded sometimes there were 40 in a class. We are in receipt of billions of dollars from Washington and money from Albany. We looked at the health code for classroom occupancy and it hasn't been looked at since before World War II when tuberculosis was an issue in 1938. Oversize classes a problem for years. School Construction Authority has under five staff part-time looking for space. The SCA doesn't take this seriously. We can't go back. We have to move foward. We looked at the code. We are giving them a five-year period to get this done. Mayor's signature program was UPK. They found away to seat over 70,000 kids in one year. When administration wants to get things done, they move heaven and earth to get it done. His parents were a teacher and a para. Nobody including District 75 being pushed out. The committee will be with stakeholders will make sure this gets done. Task force on compliance plans. Prioritize classroom capacity plans. Language in the bill to let parents go to court. Remedy would be compliance with the law. We have tweaked the original draft to give DOE five years and put in the task force to make sure no child is hurt. This is about public growth. We have to met kids where they are at. Kids living in temporary housing need one-to-one instruction. We have the ability and responsibility to address this and get it to the finish line. Critical negotiations on language. Hoping to get this voted on November 23. Mayor will get 30 days to sign or veto. We are working on having enough people to override if needed. Please sign the petition.

Emily James asks for members to share their stories. Nine year teacher says last year was the best year of teaching because she didn't have 30 students in a class. Full in-person with 11 kids in her class in January. She developed strong relationships with students and their families. 

Another teacher follows who is a kindergarten teacher. Smaller the number, the more enriching the students' experience. She has 16 this year and when compared with the limit of 25, the difference is amazing. Children come in with varied skill levels. 

Mulgrew comments on districts outside of NYC getting a great education with smaller classes last year and this year. Why don't students in NYC get that? It is a safety issue. Two schools closed last week. Don't NYC children deserve what others have outside the city?

Treyger talks about personalized instruction. He says this is an equity issue.

A teacher from the Bronx is next. He says he usually teaches five classes of 30 students.  He can't give students individualized instruction. This year classes are in the teens. It's enjoyable. After the pandemic administration will say we don't have the resources. 

Emily comments on joy of learning with smaller class sizes.

Another teacher is from the Bronx who always has 32 or 31 except for two years. Small groups last year. it shouldn't be a luxury to have 18 or 19. Non-readers SIFE students. During snow days, more learning would go on. 

Mulgrew comments that in the past we were told that it didn't matter the class size as long as there was a quality teacher. This should be the norm with lower class sizes.

11-year teacher chapter leader talks of having 19 in a class last year. He made great relationships last year and he wanted those kids this year. 9 students extra this year. Now he has 28 students which made it considerably harder. Limitations with extra students. Same students but 9 extra. 

Emily responds that it is a great case study.

Mulgrew says we are sharing the petition.

Delegate from Beacon High School is excited about this campaign. Asks if the union has thought about bringing this up through our contract campaign. We are in a position of strength. We mobilized for a strike last year, and got more. Could we mobilize through contract campaign?

Mulgrew says it comes down to negotiating committee. We want to expand negotiating committee. 400 people representing 123,000 members. We want smaller class sizes, but is this the issue we want to lead on. Do we want to do it like this but in a smarter way. Every negotiating committee has discussed this. We have to think about the consequences of a strike because of the Taylor law.

Treyger says we have a three year down payment plan from DC. President signed a hard infrastructure bill but the soft infrastructure bill would free up hundreds of millions of dollars for more teachers to lower class size. This is the right time financially and politically.

3K teacher from Rockaways says some children come to the classroom in kindergarten not ready. Many had never held a pencil or a crayon. As a teacher, wants to make them ready to learn. Volunteered to go to 3K and to get those children ready. Some parents know their children are not ready. Children in pampers and pullups. Children who can barely speak. When we could help 8 students, it was blown out of the water. 3K puts in the foundation. Take into consideration our even younger learners.

First year chapter leader and was on medical leave.Mulgew says DOE sysfuction causing problems in schools. 

First year chapter leader says we should not have to make up for DOE problems. 32 students in first grade.

Mulgrew comments on how city council used to provide funds to keep lower grades at lower class size.

Nine year former chapter leader who has been through arbitration talks about enforcement. Says he has been through arbitration but this needs to be tied to funding.

Treyger says the DOE has to give all of the schools resources. Look at John Dewey HS which was on the verge of closure seven-eight years ago. Dewey has no theater and culinary programs along with new administration so it has 2,400 now. Enforcement will be a report every year. Second, there will be a task force to get compliance. Parents will have the right to sue. They can work with advocates who can sue like they sue to get IEP adhered to. Public report, compliance plan and there is no excuse that there is no money. NY is in receipt of billions of dollars with more on the way.

Mulgrew adds that the UFT would have standing to sue on this. If parents and the union were suing, case law would be established. Much more teeth there with multiple people having standing. City will need a capital plan to increase capacity based on the needs of the community. City must be able to forecast where space will be needed. None of that is happening now. Many ways to do this but citing of schools is done based on politics now.

Treyger adds that since Dewey has recovered from being down to 600 students, other schools in the area are less crowded.

Emily adds that for high school teachers with 34 maximum teaching five classes makes 170 caseload.

Mulgrew says that 170 students means if you spend 2 minutes on each one that means 3.5 hours a night. 

Emily's conclusion is to say there will be a took kit to engage members. They can get City Council members to sign on. Trying to form a subcommittee to meet to come up with further ideas. If bill passes, there will still be issues to be resolved. 

Mulgrew then concludes that there is going to be a fight. We have to thank people who are doing the right thing by sponsoring it and pushing Councilmembers not on board. If bill passes, that is just the start of the fight. It will be attacked. If one good thing can come out of this damn pandemic, this would be it. Thanks Treyger and people on Zoom. 

Treyger concludes by saying powers that be are worried because this will commit money to education for years to come


Anonymous said...

Mulgrew's UFT has been on the wrong side of this issue for decades.
Nothing will change with the UFT.

Anonymous said...

Waste of time. Bullshit bill.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Waste of time. Nothing changes.

Honestly, I’m over this job. Haha. They really should come up with early retirement incentive. I have put in two decades. Let me leave at age 50 with 25 years and collect right away.

All I think about from the minute I get to work each day is when can I go home.

I’m sure a lot of other people think that way as well, but won’t admit it lol

Anonymous said...

You are a disgrace to society.
Don't brag that you do nothing each day for over $100,000 a year in salary and benefits.
Admitting you don't even try to help the kids marks you as a disgusting person.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody surveyed teachers to rate how sasified they are with their job 1-10 totally dissatisfied - very satisfied and why?

James Eterno said...

It is a good idea.

Anonymous said...


I think people who are dissatisfied are still trying to do a decent job. The issue is that this job is like Groundhog Day. Each year, the same bs, the same kids who do nothing and there’s no intervention. All the prepping for a superintendent visit and for what.

Sometimes, after a lot of years, people are tired of it. Tell me differently.

Am I the only one who thinks this job is repetitive and really not that fun?

I try to do a good job, but at the end of the day each day, I’m done.

I wake up at 445 and just want to get home each day.

I’m sure others feel this way, but to call people a disgrace is wrong. Nowhere am I bragging about doing no work.

Anonymous said...

Smaller class sizes are not needed. Why do we need smaller classes when we get all of these very helpful PD's and Teacher training that is so helpful? We need to have another round of Renewal School programs that has principals force teachers to pass students who don't attend class and do no work. Or Maybe we should spend more on useless surveys that are forgotten about the next day. So glad I only have a few years left. It is funny how many schools had an increase in Graduation Rates, but learning loss has caused so much harm to our students.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha. You are correct.

Anonymous said...

How happy the teachers are in the school depends on one person and that is your leader, the principal. I was an ATR and I saw the morale of the teachers different in different schools. The schools with the high morale had a supportive and encouraging principal who treated their staffs with respect and as professionals while the schools with the teachers who had low morale had principals that made their staff unhappy by being miserable, unsupportive, playing favorites with teachers and low balling observations and creating fear in their staff. I've seen schools where the kids were awful but the morale was high because their principal was supportive not threatening.

Anonymous said...

You want low Morale, then come visit my High School in Queens. Teachers new teachers leave and don't even try to get Tenure. Unless you are the Principal's pet you are doomed no matter how good you are. Low passing rates? Don't expect many effectives or highly effectives. Teachers fear observations and the blood pressure rises as we walk in the front door. No matter what, a student does we must maintain a welcoming environment by overlooking everything. Pot in the halls and restrooms, students abusing teachers, and students ...................Take your morale and shove it. Give us an administrator that know how to be a principal and be respected by the staff and students.

Anonymous said...

11:05 you must not have a very effective Union Rep.