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UFT Executive Board September 11 2017--UFT Defends DACA and Dreamers

Howard Schoor welcomes us—6 PM—

Speakers

Roberta Pikse—Adult Ed.—In June dismissed with no reason after 16 years. Never got U rating before. Got 2 U observations last year. Year end U rating. Dismissed via email. Teaching adults very different. Many uncertified teachers working. Many U ratings this year by new principals. All appointed by Rosemarie Mills.

Had meeting of 20 teachers, most of whom never had U ratings before. She’s waiting on grievance. Mismanagement destroying program. Asks EB for support. Asks for info on how many teachers let go, and how many U ratings. Asks for resolution against harassment. If they can mistreat us, will mistreat you.

Dianne Jenkins—Adult Ed.—Number of students who vitally need adult ed.—those who don’t have HS, English skills, tech skills. 40,000 per year. Rosemarie Mills, from day one, put us on notice they are in a battle and she planned to win. She had no experience in adult ed. Nor do those she hired. Staff rude, walks into classrooms, stop lessons and harass in front of students.  Teachers walking on eggshells expecting U ratings and discontinuance. They serve parents of K-12 schools. Need able help. Asks for help.

Fran Myers—Adult Ed.—Mills knows what’s going on in chapter more than we do. We need info on discontinuance and percentages to strategize. Demand transparency.

Sean Ahern—2011 DA passed reso on teacher diversity. 40% decline in black teachers. Shanker Institute published study. Feb. 2016 asked DA about follow up. L. Barr gave report on initiatives. One was Men Teach. Promised 1000 teachers of color. Any info on success—can they share with membership? Filed FOIA on recent hiring. Have 120 pages of reports. Will share. Doesn’t appear anything changed since 2014. We need more than spin, UFT should ID cause of problem. Should take leading role. T

Schoor—J. Hinds will look at it.

?—School founded six years ago to teach construction trades, was happy place. Were productive. Sent students into trades making more than college grads. Principal was removed. Don’t know why. Joyce Polfis new principal. 21 of his colleagues left willingly, out of 30. It’s like a different school. We look the same, but we aren’t. If everyone who wanted to leave did, there might be only 6 left. I returned to support students. This was done by design. Principal encouraged open market. his shows disregard for well-being of our students and community in S. Bronx. We had the attention of the mayor, teachers looked forward to coming to work, and kids would stay late. Clear we have crisis of leadership.

Peter Roman—Adult Ed—Has Action committee—has been under attack for 5 years. Numbers shrinking each year, not by accident. Has intimidated every CL. Discipline hearings increased, CLs rated ineffective. 20-30 annual U ratings, and also discontinuances. Observations used to meet quotas of hostility. Mills breaks or bends every rule. We feel let down by union and betrayed by DOE. Vacuum in chapter leadership. Mills will install candidate of her choosing. Need to reconfigure and expand CL position, provide mechanism for AE committee to meet, asks for own DR. No one should suffer so long with supe with unchecked power and entrenched backing of DOE

Schoor—We have brought this up with DOE. LeRoy Barr has led meetings. We will meet on Thursday. Some ratings overturned, issues resolved. Will continue to focus on chapter.

Emil P.—Comes to speak about passing of Bob Ostrowski. On Exec. Board for long time. Was a DR, a borough rep. for two boroughs. Had a unique ability. Best listener I ever met. Was a skill. Was a good guy. Would resolve problems. Read everything. Was Assistant Sec. Did all he could do to help. Was my mentor. Had finger in everything. We discussed Yankee and Met fans. Yankee fans demand excellence, and expect all wins. Met fans stay home with hats on backwards and believe they can will team to win. Worked twice. We should all try harder to listen.

Moment of silence.

Schoor—If anyone wants to speak later about him, please do.

Minutes—approved. (Mugrew is here)

President’s Report—Michael Mulgrew thanks us for being here. Thanks those who supported Bob and his family. Tough loss for us.

This year will be challenging. Constitutional Convention and Janus, and we have to move public ed. forward. Concerted effort to weaken workers rights and destroy public ed. alive and well. They want to weaken us to when workers were just pawns. Wednesday you will see people come out for CC, same people who fund Janus. They want cheap, no-benefit workers.

Told DOE we have to move forward. We can’t have blowups at certain schools. CBA gives us right to consult. We have to put things on record. Thanks Adult Ed. We are holding DOE accountable, but we all have to do this. CL can now go online and share consultation with principal. If things aren’t worked out at school level, district has to do it. Things resolved via paperwork complaints. Bad principals don’t want info out. We have to use tools in contract.

We will get involved when things aren’t resolved at school level. Contract is agreement, and they agreed to it.

Next step—we don’t want legal process stalled. We want every workplace positive and collaborative. Chancellor agrees about consultation.

Asks we tell everyone to use contract, especially with consultation. Let them know things will go about their heads.

If this local is greatly weakened, public ed. will go bye-bye.

Urges us to vote tomorrow, and in general. We will really push CC after tomorrow. Everyone in schools knows to vote no.

Much improvement on standards for ELLs and special education. Still have a way to go. Problems with early childhood.

Thanks all who came out for Labor Day. Bus broke down but we hired another. We waited for the bus and let everyone else through. Left no one behind. Said a lot about us.

UFT has largest union in Florida, thanks those who helped.

6:38 Mulgrew leaves

LeRoy Barr—busy summer. Harlem week, West Indian Day Parade, Labor Day Parade, thanks everyone. Asks for moment for 9/11 victims. CL meeting coming up, Oct 14, UFT ELL symposiums, Oct. 15 UFT Strides walk. Next Wed., DA, everyone wear pink.

Schoor—Thanks Barr for bringing up 9/11. Moment of silence

Questions:

Mike SchirtzerMORE—Budgeting problems—schools with veteran staffs and no Title One are being hurt. Little to no money for extra activities and enrichment. Is there anything we’re looking to do? Mulgrew said we’re the only “Fair Student Funding” system.”

Schoor—We got money for you last year, will do so again. Will work for other schools.

Arthur GoldsteinMORE—I was a little surprised to read in NYSUT United that they oppose APPR and want local control. I’ve felt that way since its inception, as have the American Statistical Association, Diane Ravitch, Carol Burris, and a significant number of activist NY State principals. When we voiced this, we’ve been told at multiple levels of UFT meetings, that if we didn’t support APPR, we must support total power for principals. We don’t.

I’d argue the most egregious part of these laws is the advent of members losing the presumption of innocence, with burden of proof on the teacher. I’d argue guilty until proven innocent is fundamentally un-American. I’ve been to hearings and seen firing under this system.

Here’s my question—does UFT leadership agree with the NYSUT position that localities ought to negotiate APPR? If so, can we oppose burden of proof on members?

Schoor—In discussions. Can’t answer right now. Hopefully soon.

Ashraya GuptaMORE—are we negotiating leave for anyone having or adopting a child, or for family leave? State offering program that can be used for family leave. What’s on table?

Schoor—State law doesn’t affect us. We are negotiating with DOE. Adam Ross will address.

Ross—Trying to mirror in child acquisition. Trying to match what mayor got, at brutal price, from non-unionized workers. Mayor now asking too much. We don’t want to pay too much. Negotiations continuing.

Gupta—Status of immigrant advisors—seems vital to support DACA. Will help/

Schoor—Not finalized yet.

Gupta—Paperwork due October 5th. Would be helpful if we can support them.

Marcus McArthurMORE—Transfer high schools—I work in one—We serve students from all over city that may have struggled. We deal with kids who haven’t passed exams, who are homeless, former dropouts. At end of year we learned state, for ESSA requirements, might be changing way we are evaluated, specifically that 67% need to graduate or we might be shut down or taken over. Only 4 citywide meet criteria of 57. What’s status of discussions?

Janella Hinds—We participate in think tank along w NYSUT. We were concerned about these things, about ELLs, about students in poverty. Sat on committees, discussed accountability and assessment. Wanted to ensure fairness, and no harm done to schools. We believe our voices have been heard, will continue to advocate for all our schools.

Jackie Bennett—Also we yelled and screamed about this issue at public hearings. Issue is state commissioner is new, doesn’t understand about transfer schools. Have to be part of process. Should be human look as well as number look. We will be out in front of things that don’t make sense. Won’t be just numbers. Will have to wait and see.

Kuljit S. AhluwaliaNew Action—There’s talk of targeting senior teachers. We cost more. Can we see if bad ratings are given by age. How can we protect due process?

Schoor—We looked at those numbers and didn’t find a lawsuit. About 135 ATRs took buyout.

Ellen Procida—Won first SESIS arbitration, wasn’t fixed, and now 33 million is set aside for SESIS work. Not same as before. 37K plus members will get money. Will be link to correct issues. Will be email tonight if we have non DOE email, otherwise paper letter. 50 to 10K dollars.

Reports from Districts—

?—on Florida. Reaching out. UFT and AFT sent update. 7500 messages went out. Waiting to see what happens. Retirees called members around country. Found that folks picked up phone, asked to patch them through to pols, 60% said yes. Also working on CC, and with AFT organizing.

Eliu Lara—Thanks people who helped give laptops and printers to students. Got support from state. Raffled metro cards. Got school community together and had great event.

Janella Hinds—Thanks for Labor Day Parade on behalf of NYC Labor Day Council. Great that UFT was at end of parade. Thanks all who participated. August 3rd, EB passed reso supporting Spectrum workers, striking 5 months. Will be an event soon, will give details.

Schoor—Thanks Mike Schirtzer for bringing up.

Alan Abrams—Had principal/ CL consultation so that extra work wouldn’t be added. Used contract empowerment notes given by Debbie Poulos.

Schoor—Debbie Poulos put out cheat sheet on paperwork.

Sterling Roberson—Over summer UFT and NYIT help entrepreneurial program, used mixed reality, not yet on market. Many students participated, very successful. Thanks Barr and Hickey. Provided food and Chromebooks. Useful in social studies—students walk through ancient environments. Enhances instruction. Will continue.

Karen Allford—UFT busy in summer. New Teacher week in August, saw 1800 new teachers, here, Brooklyn and Bronx. Mulgrew spoke, Chancellor was here. Teacher Center had classroom sessions, behavior management and IEPs.

Still collecting for disaster relief. Working with AFT.

Reshad Brown—Pride committee—250 marched in parade. Thanks everyone who came out.

Carmen Alvarez—UFT Education Forum for educators and parents. Right after Trump decided not to support DACA. Can use tools to fight attacks on schools and students. Here, Thursday Sept. 14, 4 30 to 6 30.  Needed now. Will send flier.

Khierra Kersey-Heggs—Class size person, grievance dept., Thanks DRs and CLs for getting numbers in quickly. Please do so next Thursday, and Sept. 20, before 4 day weekend. Important they come in early as possible.

Mike Friedman—Says student watched what was happening as towers went down, now is living in US, we serve them, very proud.

Paul Egan—Legislative Report—various soccer and football talk—

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—Says many of us are boycotting NFL

Egan—politics—Good legislative session, got great funding. Teacher’s Choice up to 250. Asks that we spend it so as not to lose it. Dial a Teacher funded at level we asked. Tomorrow is primary day, please vote. Last time turnout was 18% in competitive year. May be lower this year.

Interesting things—senate resignation—Dan Squadron. Democratic committees will meet. 3 candidates out there. Could be anyone.

In LI, Sherriff’s race. Phil Boyle GOP Senator may win. Would resign Senate and open up election where Democratic performance is high.

Focused on Constitutional Convention. No one wants to give up pension, but won’t be enough. We need to vote beyond our borders, call, email, text friends. Have produced postcard. Fill in names of five people you’ll talk to, and UFT will send it back to you. All NY State will vote, we need them all

Resolution on supporting DACA


Arthur GoldsteinMORE—Evelyn de Jesus is not here so she asked me to speak to this. No one speaks like Evelyn, but I’ll do my best.

We all come from somewhere. My grandfather came here on a boat from Russia when he was 13 years old. Maybe he read on the Statue of Liberty “Give us your tired, your poor.” One of Trump’s people said that was written later. But a lot of things were written later. We had to wait until later to address slavery. We had to wait until later to give women the vote. We’re still waiting for the President to be elected by the will of the people, and I’m pretty sure few here would object if we did that later.

Donald Trump does one thing after another, and just when you think there is no more bottom of the barrel left to scrape, he outdoes himself. I was pretty shocked when he targeted 800,000 kids who spent virtually their entire lives here. He told them not to worry, that everything will be great, but he says that about absolutely everything he does. We’re gonna throw tens of millions of Americans off of health care, and it will be great.

I’ve told this body several times that corporate astroturf groups are not real advocates for children. Those of us in this room who wake up each and every morning to serve the city’s children, we are the real advocates, and this resolution is just one example of our advocacy. We are the ones who really place students first. The fact that both of our caucuses conceived of this at pretty much the same time is good evidence of that.

We stand for 1.1 million students in NYC, and we have to stand every dreamer in the USA.  I urge you to vote for this resolution.

Passes unanimously.

Resolution on assisting teachers who assist in transfers

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—calls for us to encourage members who are transferring to do due diligence, and asks us to publish names of schools with high turnover. We just heard of a school with over 50% turnover, and there are others. In E. Bronx, Westchester Square Academy, only 6 of 40 returned.

People transfer without knowing what’s going on. They need the info. Crucial info is whether or not it has stability. Some don’t. Our members need to know. 50% is a red flag. In one school 85% left. Those coming in didn’t have that info. We also need to remind people they have obligation to do due diligence.

LeRoy Barr—Speaks against. We study this. This is only one data point. There are lots of data you can collect. This number, absent context, can be misleading. Things shift. In the end, best way to determine where members can go is for them to contact DRs and borough offices.

Mike SchirzerMORE—We’re only speaking of schools with exceptional turnover. Over 50% is a lot. Gene Mann does this in Queens as part of an email. Being done on small scale.

Eliu Lara—Speaks against. For many reasons people transfer and that’s why we have Open Market. We want to know reasons.

Rashad Brown—calls question.

Resolution fails on party lines.

We are adjourned.

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