UFT Executive Board March 25, 2019--Forest Hills in the House, and UFT Condemns Teacher Assault in Indiana
From Forest Hills High School
Adam Bergstein—chapter leader—Wants to say what’s happening—A month ago voted no confidence by 90% of 215 voters. That vote invigorated staff. Empowered and motivated them. Now is sense of urgency, driven by passion to fix and save FHHS. Staff used to be apathetic. Tyrannical principal fixed that. Over two years, staff because sick and tired of being sick and tired. Staff is now voice or reason and tenacity, reaches out to chancellor and superintendent. UFT helped on regular basis. Amy Arundell and Janella Hinds and LeRoy Barr helped foster this movement and empower us.
We have a sense of confidence, and desire to remove principal. Have removed superintendent. Great that staff is willing to put themselves out. The “don’t tell anyone” that chapter leaders hear so frequently is gone. Wanted to take school back and continue positive environment principal did not allow.
New superintendent working to get things back on track. Have added more deans. Trying to negotiate clubs and activities back. Superintendent is willing to work with staff, not obsessed with unilateral motives. We want Michael Mulgrew to come as celebration when principal is gone. We want school where it’s been for decades. We are still fighting, and we will be here on April 12 to celebrate. Thanks to union for help.
Moment of silence for Sheryl Moraldi
Staff Director—LeRoy Barr—Over 100 people for para luncheon Saturday. Great events. Middle school luncheon Saturday 9-3. Sunday Herstory brunch 10 AM. NY Social studies conference April 13. HS awards on April 12. Exec. board April 8.
Reports from Districts—Shelby Abrams—Thanks everyone for support Saturday. Was a carnival, did many things. Welfare fund showed up. Everyone greeted, felt at home, will return. Thanks everyone.
Schoor—Al Shanker insisted we support organization of paras, would have quit if we hadn’t.
David Kazansky—Thanks people for Purim costume party, will be Passover Labor Seder April 9.
Amy Arundell—Week ago Friday Queens HS bowling event 40 schools, 200 people, half high schools in Queens. Had tables for certification, supported teacher centers, saw schools new to participation. Great event. Maspeth HS won.
President’s Report—Michael Mulgrew—Thanks Shelvy for para event. Was a lot of fun. Schools, students, carnival booths, well done.
Thanks Adam from FH for coming. Key we strategize as other side lies and obfuscates. Thanks them for staying on path.
Headed into last week of budget, short on revenue. Next year’s can be much worse. Revenue trending down. SALT package is having an effect. Not easy for New Yorkers doing taxes. We were attacked, in complete alignment with governor here. Bad on us and 9 other states as we support forty others. At least now Congress is on our side.
APPR is pivotal, passed both houses, all matched, want to get through. But this is Albany, so we keep an eye on it.
Health care, hospitalization, constant challenge. Out of network hospitals charge whatever they like. NY State law says we can’t question it. We are not here to enrich hospitals as they double CEO bonuses. We want members to have binding arbitration process to question bills.
We are focused on teacher eval and funding for schools based on need.
City—We are arguing about student discipline. They are now having a real conversation with us. They want to suspend all suspensions, which we know won’t work. We cannot base policies only on children who act out.
City budget right after this. State budget ends Sunday or Monday, and then we go into City Council budget. We want to change culture of observations and eval. I will be harsher on Tweed, because they don’t help, thinks schools there to serve them when opposite is true. Important week for us.
New Director of Grievance—David Campbell
New Political Director—Cassie Pruh
New Attorney—Beth Norton
Thanks people who took new positions.
Jonathan Halabi—Update on BETA—Bronx Academy, and with new contract, and extra arbitration days, do we have initial priorities of how we use them?
David Campbell—Just bring them. Ideally we can schedule them faster. Ones that effect more people are priority. We have many more slots with class size agreement, so we can bring smaller ones, quicker.
Eliu Lara—Spent hour and a half at BETA. Majority of supplies done. Visited superintendent, says he will contact assistant, make sure this gets done.
Special order of business—
Modify student form to add veteran status
Don Nobles—I can tell you how difficult it is for a serviceperson to come back. Veterans don’t know what’s available to them. We just want a check off. Is parent a veteran? When it’s checked yes, it means parents get letters advising them of rights. Will be code so children get benefits if entitled. Almost no cost for this. Simply makes sense.
Evelyn de Jesus—Rises in support. Wants to support Don for work with veterans. UFT working for rights of veterans to get respect and help they need. I learned a lot today about veterans. Children can use parents’ GI Bill for college. Principal told us he had no idea how many kids had parents who were vets. Wants to protect legacies.
Kate Martin Bridge—As a family, my cousins were able to use GI Bill. Uncle died as result of disease incurred in war. Father served. Should allow for those of us who were affected to help.
Nobles—You want to help implement program?
Martin Bridge—Other people would like to help.
Schoor—Will vote on existing resolution and see if CSA will allow for and/ or other trained personnel.
Appropriate accountability measures for transfer schools
Pat Crespino—These schools take kids other schools want gone. Every one will be on state list if allowed. UFT will continue to work with NYSED to develop provisions that make sense. We have 11 transfer schools on state lists. Please support
J. Halabi—Rises in hesitant support—Should go much further. Worked in Columbus. Earlier versions were used, principal moved people from school to school, which resulted in high schools closing. Accountability measures hurt schools with students of color. Is weapon against us, not objective. When Brooklyn Tech got F, city refigured it. Shouldn’t be used against transfer schools. Should extend to other schools unfairly threatened.
Resolution to oppose weapons in school based safety drills
Whereas, Indiana teachers were assaulted with plastic pellets in something called an "active shooter drill,” and;
Whereas, in actual assaults, teachers have saved student lives, and;
Whereas, in the course of doing so, some teachers have sacrificed their own lives, and;
Whereas, it’s of no benefit whatsoever to terrorize people in schools, be it therefore
Resolved, that the United Federation of Teachers categorically opposes the use of weapons of any sort against teachers, students, or anyone present in schools in drills or any school-sponsored activities.
Arthur Goldstein—As teachers, we tolerate a lot from children. It’s our job to help them learn so they’ll know better next time. We expect more from adults. In Indiana, a bunch of administrative geniuses decided to assault working teachers with plastic pellets, causing welts, bruises and cuts, not to mention the moment of terror wondering whether or not the weapons were actually lethal.. Twice a month we all hear about more crazy things from Bloomberg’s leftovers, who’ve infested our school system. Let’s tell them in advance how we feel about this, and let’s teach them it’s unconscionable and absolutely unacceptable. I urge you to pass this resolution.
We are adjourned