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UFT Executive Board April 23, 2018--Discontinuance Not So Bad After All

6 PM Secretary Howard Schoor welcomes us


Andrew Savage—School of Art and Design—UFT Delegate—Thanks Mike Schirtzer and MORE Caucus, and his chapter. UFT chapter has been working under state of oppression. Principal has produced record turnover, 30 exited or forced out. Contract violations, violations of labor law, retaliation, unhealthy work environment. 

CL asserted right to vote on SBO, Principal disagreed, rated CL ineffective. Various letters placed in file. Member spoke at faculty meeting over bathroom policy and also gets lowest observation letters of career. Won APPR complaint, was observed on half day for one hour. got worse ratings.

Other consultation committee member developed own plans, was forced to teach ICT without co-teacher. Was observed, immediately when he got new co teacher, got adverse ratings.

Teacher was asked to take AP class, declined, observed 5 times, got adverse ratings.

I joined SLT, asked questions was rated ineffective. First bad rating in 8 years. Endless examples of reprisal from principal and admin. Principal tries to recruit spies at chapter meetings. Police state-like atmosphere.

UFT leadership has taken action. We don’t have time for grievances. Filed three article 23. 3 denied and one in limbo. Traditional remedies have not produced change. Ask meeting with Mulgrew. Don’t want retaliation and bullying.

Schoor—Alison Gendar wants contact info, school came up at last meeting. We haven’t been able to get in touch. We need correct info to make issue. Thank you for coming.

Gladys Sotomayor
—Same issues reoccur. Principal not educational leader. Same patterns of abuses principals are OK with because DOE lawyers support fiction.

Being ATR is stressful. Struggle to become part of teaching profession. Not possible either as union member or professional.

Majority of principals not part of educating teachers. Concerned about contract and ATRs. We shouldn’t be subject to abuse of two-tier observation system. As ATR I’m under old system, considered as sub.

Cannot move from one license to another. Keeps me from finding full-time position. Consequence of closing school or poor educational leader.

CSA allows abuses to continue. We ought not be in solidarity with them. We need people who understand true pedagogy to review us.


Jonathan Halabi—What’s the teacher table lunch?

—Evelyn de Jesus not here. Will answer next time.

President’s report—Michael Mulgrew 6:16

Chancellor will be here on May 21st.

Safety—Sent out to CLs with no incidents—we want every school to have functioning safety committee. System broken. If you report, you get in trouble. If you don’t you get in trouble. We have to push ourselves because we own whether things are reported. They can be reported to us or DOE. Current system will never work.

Principal said he got in trouble for 400 incidents. Did not allow them to go to zero. Engaged in process, asked UFT for help. Trained entire staff, and it worked. Still has 40-60 incidents. Any school could have that. Not big deal. Post complained of schools that reported, but many didn’t.

May 4th, someone from nurse chapter available. When people OD, sad, critical, but many people when they come out tend to be violent. Nurses bear the brunt. We had a nurse horrendously assaulted. We want presence for sentencing on Staten Island May 4th. Not our first—have had many in every borough. Keep telling us we can’t restrain, patients’ rights, but we need common sense. Restraints would help prevent this.

Thanks tech team for app. 2K uploads. Seems to be working well, good reviews, and great suggestions. Tomorrow will send out app to activists. Not finished loading app. Will load more and more. Appreciate you telling us suggestions, have had great ones.

Next phase rollout of new UFT platform. We will track everyone who interacts with member. Will be kiosks here and in Brooklyn. Next is Queens. One at a time so as not to be SESIS. We want our techs there. We want enough people to support each office. Next is Bronx. Then, Staten Island because we save best for last.

Big change for us as organization, as we do membership teams. Trained 50 new doorknockers. One on one conversations will make a difference. We must beat back Janus. We will finish before Memorial Day, our goal.

6:25 Mulgrew leaves.

LeRoy Barr—resolution to attend Mayday rally at Washington Square. 5:30. %K run that weekend. Will receive election packages, put them in hands of people who run election. Want them done early in May. EB May 7, DA May 16.

Schoor—Press conference tomorrow for paid parental leave 9 30 City Hall steps. Come to city council hearing, will put out date.


Jonathan Halabi
—On membership teams, I’m fortunate in that team is half my school. If we do our job can we help neighbors? I have retired friend who never joined. Can we know how many potentially not members?

Schoor—1 or 2%. Good question about assistance. Paul Egan not here. Will ask at next EB.

Mike Schirtzer—With folks that presented, their superintendent, is this an active problem with her?

Schoor—Manhattan Village Academy also, answer is yes.

Dwayne ?—She’s a commonality. Have had conversations about this.
Schirtzer—Maybe she’s a superintendent in need of assistance? Could we walk over and say hello?

Dwayne—Sounds good, We are thinking about this. This is strategic planning

Arthur Goldstein--Living in the United States with no job and no health insurance is no fun at all.

In New York City, though, even that’s not quite enough for the DOE. Instead of just firing a non-tenured teacher, the city brands the teacher with a scarlet letter of discontinuance, warning every potential employer that this person is to be avoided like the plague. Now it’s true that this can be overcome sometimes, if a principal is particularly determined, or if the teacher gets certified in another subject area.

All too often, though, this has the effect of taking not only the teacher’s position, but also her livelihood. It’s gratuitous and draconian, and I can only assume it’s a by-product of the rampant anti-teacher policy of Joel Klein, who had a disturbing habit of poking his beak where it need not go.

I understand that tenure is not a divine right, and that we have to earn it. I don’t understand why principals and superintendents, who may or may not be insane, are granted the power not only to strip UFT members of jobs, but also livelihoods. I’ve seen people discontinued for the offense of reporting malfeasance on tests. I’ve seen teachers get adverse ratings during classes when they were administering tests because admin wanted to discontinue and couldn’t be bothered coming back on teaching days.

Surely the new chancellor isn’t Joel Klein, and the current mayor isn’t Michael Bloomberg. I certainly hope they are not out to ruin people’s lives. Can we work to roll this back?

—Under Bloomberg few got second chance. Process was opened up under last chancellor. We hope that will continue. They said look from their perspective. Just fired a person and don’t want to rehire. They have safeguards to not rush to hire these people. Is ability to be rehired. Some will not be rehired.

Sun Lee
— Went to training in Manhattan for membership team, but there is someone on my roster I never see. Can we add that to training?

Schoor—Will report back. Shoutout to Ahluwalia, Dinner tonight was outstanding.

Report from districts

Mike Schirtzer—Attended social studies conference. One of best I’ve attended, Proves teachers teaching teachers are the best. Great award recipients. Got selfies with Mary Beth Tinker. Leticia James, tireless advocate, is amazing. Spoke beautifully, complimented union and educators. John Giambalvo won award because he ran immigration workshops for newcomer population. Janella Hinds and Anthony Klug were there as charter teachers said they wanted to be in UFT. Lets you know everything you have to know about this union.

Jonathan Halabi and Michael Friedman—Second year Bronx District, run by Eliu Lara, gave donations to students who were grads or passed equivalency. Great event, worth supporting. You can send donations.

Amy Arundell—reports on Queens prom boutique—wonderful event. About the heart of our union, students. We had about 200 brought by teachers and chapter leaders. Shares letter from teacher—Thanks UFT, kids excited about outfits. Thanks UFT who helped find perfect outfits. Wonderful when system works to help students. Thanks Adriana O Hagen, for driving all over, finding things and having vision.

?—Bronx borough rep—took dresses to Staten Island, used gym as warehouse for outfits. Many people so needy and impressed. Thanks volunteers and community. Loved watching men show boys how to tie a tie or put on a suit jacket—experience many students never had before. Gave dress to woman for quinceñera.

Sterling Roberson—UFT participated in ACT regional conference in Baltimore, Mulgrew keynote speaker. Moving CTE forward across country. Celebrated accomplishments and laid out challenges. Thanks city educators for fine job.

George Altomare—Said by many people already, uplifting to be at meeting with emphasis on giving and teaching. Not new. Every year social studies does this, but there is much other business. Leticia James very good, pro-labor. Reached out for history of UFT. Union of professionals goes back to John Dewey, progressive who believed teachers should form curriculum. Mary Beth Tinker, great speaker, contributed to Supreme Court and taught students to fight for rights. Wish more people came.

Rashad Brown—June 2 floor 3 scholarship brunch honoring Danny Drumm.

Schoor—reads email, thanks from Jerry Goldstein, decades later. Got UFT scholarship 1988. Used it on books, food rent, Made very real difference. Got degree in physics, PhD Dartmouth, worked for NASA. Was critical help.

We give 1 million every year.

PROSE report—Jackie Bennett—we  have good news, and a school that doesn’t work like PROSE school. We select schools for how well they work together, and innovation. When press looks at it, they call it wild. Teachers ask for things like time, small group instruction. About full school community.

Bar very high. We take small fraction, 170 now. We’re learning about collaborative schools and how to sustain them. 4 day work weeks in some schools, longer days. Special ed. model with small group instruction with content teachers. Schools are all in, everyone working together. Some schools collaborative by default. Nice principal. If principal leaves, things fall apart.

If you listen to press, we focus on kids that struggle the most, and shining examples of success. What we are evolving in is focusing on middle and how you bring it up.

Report on SBOs Mike Sill—SBO season. SBO process is opportunity for chapter to change elements of contract. No chapter has any responsibility to do SBO. Opportunity to have leverage in schools. What has principal done for us lately? Could be a situation in which you improve conditions. Why don’t you show me and we can revisit SBO next year?

Changing extended time very popular. Contact DR, make sure we don’t end up with people giving away their own agency, OPW or lunch.

We are adjourned. 7:05


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