Wednesday, April 19, 2023


I was on the call on time.

President's Report

We will have an update on contract actions. Moment of silence for Betty Gotfried who formed the Adult Ed Chapter. Mark gave a tribute. Visitor today Andy Pallotta who is retiring. Pallotta addresses the DA.    Calls going around the state a great experience. Thanks everyone.       


Gun violence in schools getting out of control. Watching Supreme Court. Overreaching on many different issues. Fox lawsuit. They had to pay $800 million for lying. There will be other cases.


Housing and bail reform still out there. Charter fight is not over. Zombie charters not in law. Turning charters from k-5 to k-8 to k- 12 not in the law. Charters in NYC are half empty. Charter Institute is basically Fox News. How can they have waiting lists when they are half empty? Cohorts in public schools measured from total cohort. If a charter starts with 25 students and 12 graduate, they boast a 98% graduation rate. Charters don't backfill. We have a class size reduction law in NYC, how we could we supply more space and have to pay for more charter schools. This is a complete fallacy. We will do more if we have to. Zombie charters won't work. Charters are half empty. If there is a real need, then go to those schools. Class size law is going to get implemented. Charter piece is not dead. Mulgrew spent day in Albany on Monday and went to Syracuse on Tuesday. Spent time with Pallotta.

Class size

We have a working document that has to be approved by the DOE, the UFT and CSA. 20% will have lower class sizes in September. First based on student need. We have to be in complete compliance in five years.

City Council and budget fight

Mayor calling for additional cuts. City Council digging it its heals. Progressive caucus with us. Albany sent NYC schools more money than ever before last two years. Schools still got cut. Does state get to tell City not to supplant money they  send? State sent more money but administrators telling us city schools got cut. City Council breakfast at UFT next Tuesday.

Curriculum project

Project not going well. Conversations with Chancellor going well but not the implementation. We are hearing about third party vendors and we say no.

Contract negotiations

Very good meeting with governance committee this morning moving things. Happy that LA got a 21% increase over three years. They got the top salary up to $121,000 to recruit teachers. We have an issue recruiting teachers here. Chapters upset with being disrespected and having no autonomy and no voice. This is a national problem. We need to have this fight and have it now. Half of the time is wasted. We got a big problem. Political landscape around education: we are used to being attacked by privateers. Other stuff being driven by educators. Data driven instruction is to drive us and the children nuts. Assessing the assessments. This is not a joke. People are disconnected from work going on in the schools. Chapters want toner so they can print shit. Salary division said they couldn't do it. Why are we still submitting per session sheets? Can we have an app that fits into the system? Ridiculous crap. Contract Action Team met yesterday. People are fed up with everything. Next week, informational leafleting. We will push it from Tuesday through Friday. DOE making us waste time instead of working with the children. Large survey with numbers on our side. Mulgrew will start this on Monday. Money issue one, issue two is autonomy and listening to us. Are we ready to engage in this? (Mulgrew asks each section in the hall.) There is traction to go right now. City is not in love with the DOE. Chancellor is trying. People want to know what the hell is going on. Focus needs to be educating children. Everything else is just crap. Some at DOE need therapy; we hope they can get it. We deserve a good contract, a damn good contract.

Staff Director's Report

Academic high school awards May 5. UFT pedal pushers first ride on April 25. Spring Conference May 20 at NY Hilton. AIDS walk May 21. 5K run June 10 at 9:30 a.m.

\Question Period

Question: Curriculum: When will we know what curriculum we will use? When will we be trained?

Mulgrew answer: It will be 15 school districts using HMH. We are trying to work it out with the DOE. This is the tough part of being a union because it is frustrating. Something that works out at Central on paper might not work in the schools. We are adamant on a couple of things but this is not a subject of collective bargaining. We want teachers doing this. In 10 minutes, can cut $30 million in contracts. Literacy part is solid. Must be responsive to 200 cultures. DOE doesn't get that. If we don't get this done by the end of May, it's probably not going to work. I love when they say we don't work summers. We relax and then we plan for the next year. More optimistic than last month. We are grinding to get there as it will be better for students.

Question: JHS CL. Remote work on clerical days. Virtual training for math and science in building. Are there discussions on doing virtual training from home?

Answer: Traveling to schools to turn on computer is a waste of time. NYC has an official position that there is no virtual work. We know that isn't true. Go to the DOE on a Friday. Most are virtual.

Followup: We have to register and go online from school. Systems crash.

Answer: We are in discussions to try to clear this up. It is ridiculous to travel to school to open a laptop or iPad. I am not talking about content of webinar. I completely agree. We will keep advocating for this.

Question: D3 CL. Teachers looking to go on open market. Are principals able to see when staff go on open market?

Answer: They can't see it but nothing stops one principal from calling another. Principals not yet seeing budgets so the Albany difficulty in getting a budget is impacting us. Chill out on the open market. If you see something you like, go for it.

Question: Delegate from D25: What is happening with the 2023-24 calendar? When will it come out?

Answer: We have sent back what we feel the calendar should be for next year. Plan is to have it out by the end of the week but don't hold your breath. We were told it would be done before the break. It was not. It is a tight calendar. We are the most diverse city so this isn't easy. Next year Passover and Easter are nowhere near each other. We have a proposal. 

Question: Retiree. Many of us were locked out by a glitch. We received a letter thanking us for attending. Has another meeting been scheduled for those locked out?

Answer: Another meeting has been scheduled. We have fixed the glitch. We want to focus on specifics of finding your doctor. We want clear, precise information.

New Motion Period

 Matt Driscoll: For next month to tell Supreme Court to keep hands off the right to strike. Big business unrelenting drive to limit the strike. 2018 Janus Supreme Court decision limited public sector unions. 2017, members signed pledge to stay in union and our membership went up. 1959 decision protected unions from damage caused to company by unions. Glacier Northwest case is to limit the right to strike. This is a national movement to defend the right to strike. Call on UFT to defend union rights. Support Teamsters Local 174.

Nobody wished to speak against.

The vote:

On the phone: 576 Yes to 69 No

In the room: 189 Yes to 38 No

Total is 88% Yes so it is on next month's agenda.

Lamar Hughes: For this month: to move resolution 2 to resolution one.

The vote:

On the phone: 435 Yes to   156 No

In the room: No figures announced.

Total 78% voted yes so it is moved up.

Special Orders of Business

Resolution to endorse Queens, Bronx and Staten Island District Attorneys for reelection:

Melinda Katz in Queens as Borough President got money for Queens schools.

Bronx is Darcel Clark in Bronx has been a strong supporter of principles we believe in.

In Staten Island it is Michael McMahon is a supporter in various jobs.

Nobody wishes to speak.

The vote

On the phone: 488 Yes to 84 No

In the room: 205 Yes to 16 No

Total 86% Yes so they are endorsed. 

Melinda Katz and Darcel Clark are in the room and wish to address the Delegates. 

Clark speaks up for teachers. Says teachers shape lives every day. Wants schools to be a safe haven for kids. We will ensure those kids have a safe environment. Introduce kids to criminal justice system in a positive way. 

Melinda Katz speaks next. Only three female District Attorneys in NYC history. Elizabeth Holtzman, Darcel and now Melinda. Melinda worked hard to keep schools open. Mentions Jamaica HS. Fights about principals that we won. Job is to keep Queens safe. Teachers care. Amazed at what teachers do. Partnership with the UFT. Appreciates UFT.  Both DAs are NYC school graduates.

Resolution 2 to endorse City Council members: 

Elizabeth Perez Brooklyn Borough Rep says all 51 council seats are up for reelection. Adrienne Adams and a bunch of others are mentioned. All have demonstrated to UFT political action people that they will be the best candidates to support our school communities. 

Ryan Brickenwall amendment to add Tiffany Caban for D22. He says she is a progressive ally. She got questionnaire yesterday. 

Mulgrew: We have a process.

Political action person speaks on process. Tiffany will be in next round as we are emphasizing for round 1 people who had a serious primary. We will endorse many more candidates.

Ryan speaks again and asks that Tiffany Caban's endorsement stay on the floor.

Bronx High School of Science Delegate speaks against endorsements. Some of these Council members voted for budget cuts for schools and so it seems wrong to give a blanket endorsement for all of them.

Leroy Barr speaks against amendment for Tiffany because they didn't go through the process. This would disenfranchise people. There is a process. Don't short circuit the process. Not speaking against Tiffany Caban. Vote against short circuiting the process. Don't want to disenfranchise our folks in her district. 

Anthony Harmon speaks against the amendment a there is no proper vetting. Vote on the original motion. This will open up a Pandora's box if we circumvent the process.

Martina a Delegate speaks in opposition to Council members who support budget cuts and support charter schools. 

Anthony Harmon says comments should be on amendment. 

Someone calls the question on all matters before the body. Amendment is then pulled by the maker.

On the phone: 465 Yes to 61 No

In the room: 170 Yes to 25No

89% vote to close debate.

The vote on the endorsements

On the phone: 299 Yes to 202 No

In the room: 167 Yes to 42 No

Total is 66% Yes so the resolution carries.

Mulgrew mentions that last year we had many new Council members. They had to learn and they advocated after the vote to cut budgets

Resolution on Earth Day for a national week of action around green schools, transitioning to a green economy.

Ryan B again speaks in favor. Calls for a standing environmental justice committee in the union. Plugs green schools not charter schools event. 

Nobody wishes to debate.

The vote

On the phone: 426 Yes to 47 No

In the room 201 Yes to 4 No

Total 92% vote yes and resolution passes.

Resolution opposing eGovernor Hochul's proposal to expand chharter schools. 

Janella Hinds motivates it and Ilona Nanay supports her. Nobody wants to debate.

The vote

On the phone: 488 Yes to 14 No

In the room: 202 Yes to 3 No

98% vote for it. 

(The meeting is adjourned as the UFT has to tell members how to vote at NYSUT meeting.)


John Q. Teacher said...

Hmmm, Mulgrew saying that education kids is the most important thing and that, "everything else is crap". Could this mean that the city is going to push for using our extended time for more instruction instead of PD/Parent Engagement? I hope that this is NOT THE CASE! If anything, the extended PD/Parent Engagement time should be self selected by the teacher and if desired, could be done partly remotely. (And Mulgrew is lying by stating that NYC has an official no remote work policy) As a matter of fact, the new DC37 contract stipulates that more remote work options will become available to its members.

JP said...

Did they explain why the medical givebacks could be so bad and why AOC has to be our spokesperson? We can't even depend on our own union? Says a lot about near 100% paying those dues.

By the way...For the person who considers AOC so sharp...This is our #1 cheerleader.

A study by the nonpartisan Center for Effective Lawmaking indicates far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is one of the least effective Democrat members of Congress.

The study references the New York Socialist’s total of 21 bills introduced, of which zero received action in committees, floor votes, or became law.

Ocasio-Cortez is ranked 230th out of 240 on the list of effective Democrat lawmakers.

“She introduced a lot of bills, but she was not successful at having them receive any sort of action in committee or beyond committee and if they can’t get through committee they cannot pass the House,” political scientist Alan Wiseman told the New York Post.

“She wasn’t as successful as some other members were — even among [other] freshmen — at getting people to pay attention to her legislation,” Wiseman added.

Shelley said...

We need to have a fight? Where is the fight, Mike? Leaflets on budget cuts and classroom size? On respect? What about the money? That's the fight we need to have. The money we get paid. Wages. Doesn't anyone in this union care about wages?
Pattern set? We need to fight the pattern set.

unknown said...

Amen Shelley... we do enough on the front of doing the right thing and being team players and all that shit... contract time means show me the money.

That being said... I am glad there is some discussion about all the nonsense data stuff. It's ruining all the joy of teaching.

Jeff said...

At least the dues collectors are gonna stop this. NOT!

liberals=ccp2323 said...

Under Obama and Biden we have the most mass shootings. I wonder why??? They want to take our guns and turn us into China. Celebrities have security, and stores have security; why are schools gun-free zones??? So shooters can go there and kill??? Maybe if they were not gun free and guarded by ex-marine or vets mentally ill people might think twice or get killed quick.

JAmes mentioned Dominion ridiculous lawsuit; precedent has been set like raids and ridiculous charge on Trump.Shhhhhh James won't say what a disaster this resident is or how the vaccines were not effective with all his bullshit the mainstream media lied as normal.

James believes AOC is great too lol, I mean can we transfer his brothers cop brain into his?

James Eterno said...

Since you brought up guns, this is part of Nicholas Kristof's column in the NY Times:

"We’re caught in a spiral in which perceptions of rising crime lead more people to purchase firearms — about 60 million guns have been sold in the United States just since 2020 — and this in turn leads to more gun violence, which leads to more fear and gun purchases …. You get the idea."

Further down:

"Because of our complacency, the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the United States is now gun violence, eclipsing vehicle crashes. In 2020, more than 4,300 young people died in America from firearms; the figure in the Netherlands for 2019 was two. At this rate, it will take a couple of millenniums for the Netherlands to lose as many kids to guns as we do annually."

This is from Slate on the good guy with a gun being a strategy to stop bad guys with guns:

"As Republicans like Abbott and Paxton double down on the same pro-gun proliferation response to every mass shooting, evidence accumulates that weapons are rarely effective means of deterring or stopping mass shootings.

"Last year, a group of public health scholars published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association examining 133 school shootings from 1980 to 2019. An armed guard was present in about a quarter of the incidents in the study. Those schools actually suffered death rates nearly three times higher than schools without armed guards. Similarly, a 2020 review of gun policy research by the RAND Corporation think tank found no evidence that the presence of more guns had any effect on gun violence. Criminologists at Texas State University found that unarmed staff or the shooters themselves are far more likely to bring a school shooting to an end than someone with a gun returning fire."

Assault weapons ban and universal background checks. One answer is to start voting on limiting guns like independents vote based on preserving abortion rights.

Fan of the Blog said...

I think we all get to a point every school year where we are just mentally beat-up, tired, worn down, and puzzled by how much nonsense the DOE, UFT, and individual schools we put up with. This year, April 24th is my boiling point.

The incompetence, supervisors who have no reason to be in the position they are in, the lack of a contract (over 7 months and counting), and all of the social-emotional focus instead of educating the students. I tell people all the time that if you can retire, to go for it if you financially can.

How can you be a new teacher in this environment? It's unbelievable. To teach until 62 to collect a Full Pension to boot. There are so many stupid people in education. One day at a time.

Thank God for this blog and the somewhat normal people on here. Thank you James for being a source of information, someone who fights for our rights, and an advocate for free speech.

Have a great day everyone! 40 something more days of this nonsense until the 10 week Summer break is here!

JA said...

When drunk drivers crash, hurt or kill someone, is that considered car violence?

Sheila said...

To Unknown: car deaths are accidents, death by gun is usually intentional, so your logic falls down a bit there when asking if deaths caused by cars should be considered car violence.

Furthermore, when comparing automobile accidents to gun murders, there are 3x the number of deaths caused by gun owners in the US as those caused by a licensed driver. That's a lot more, especially since people driving cars usually don't go out for a ride intending to kill someone.

Sheila said...

BTW sources from my comments were Pew Research Center, WAMU Radio, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.