Archives For November 2012

Vacation Days Lost from Sandy

November 19, 2012 — 1 Comment

The DOE and UFT announced this afternoon that school will be in session during Feb 20-22.

Authur Goldstein, CL at Francis Lewis HS, wrote to Mulgrew before the deal was made.  With permission, we republish it below.

Note that the UFT has negotiated the city to allow members who already have vacation reservations to take those days as sick days without additional penalty.

Dear Mr. Mulgrew:
I was somewhat dismayed by your letter stating we must make up days in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I’m a little shocked the union would conclude this without having even consulted rank and file.

This, however, is not at all my only concern. First of all, there has been very public talk of relaxing the minimum attendance requirement statewide. We certainly ought to be open to that, and examine our options before simply agreeing to Chancellor Walcott’s very public pronouncements. As you pointed out in your letter, we have worked up to 196 days a year and there was never extra compensation for our efforts.
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For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Contact: Julie Cavanagh – 917-836-6465

UFT Race to the Top Agreement: A Terrible Mistake

The UFT has agreed to sign onto NYC’s RTTT application, adding as many as 100 schools to the city’s three-year-old "Innovation Zone" and expanding online learning and instruction among other technology-based techniques. This agreement is a terrible mistake, selling out teachers and kids. This agreement was made despite the fact that there is no research to show that the millions of dollars currently being spent on online learning in the 250 schools already in NYC’s Izone have worked to improve schools, or help students learn. According to Gotham Schools, the UFT leadership’s Mendel said, "the union wanted to facilitate efforts to boost student achievement, even if it’s not clear whether the efforts will ultimately pay off," and, "that we should be experimenting with different things. If they don’t work, shut it down. If they do work, then expand them."

MORE caucus does not believe in this time of devastating cuts to our schools allocating millions of dollars to experiment on other people’s children is what is best for our schools or the students we serve. According to Julie Cavanagh, MORE caucus UFT presidential candidate, "There is no evidence to support online learning anywhere else in the country. Putting kids on computers does not "personalize" learning; it does the opposite. This RTTT application, which the UFT has agreed to, would allocate funding to support the creation of as many of a dozen new schools built on the basis of online learning; which would ultimately likely help the DOE in closing down existing schools rather than improving them, in the process causing more chaos, disruption and "churn" and excessing more teachers."

This agreement also obligates the UFT to adopt a teacher evaluation system tied to test scores by 2014-2015, which many experts have stated and highly flawed TDRs revealed, is highly volatile, unreliable and unfair. "Before the UFT negotiates any new teacher evaluation system with the city, they should require that the teacher growth scores already completed by the state, that do not take class size or demographic background of students into account, be revealed to individual teachers and are proven to be valid. MORE caucus is also calling for a democratic membership vote to adopt any potential evaluation system before an agreement is made," said Peter Lamphere, MORE member.

MORE caucus believes the UFT leadership should insist on progress for reducing class size, the top priority of parents and the ONLY way to truly personalize learning or differentiate instruction instead of agreeing to misguided and destructive policies poorly disguised as potentially beneficial experiments on our children. Class sizes have risen five years in a row, with the union leadership doing little or nothing to stop it.

We are proud to release the first issue of our weekly newsletter, MORE News.

Please distribute copies to your coworkers and fellow educators.

For Immediate Release

Press Contact: media Kit Wainer, 917-846-3292

What the Department of Education should be doing in response to the crisis
Reopen Schools Rationally
No school should open without heat.
Traumatized students from the same school should not be separated to different schools.

Help Affected Students

Create an email/website/phone to DOE where families have relocated in order to account for all students.

Direct principals to create a list of students who need immediate services who were affected by hurricane (based on zip code) .
Relieve ALL staff of Professional Development on Tuesday November 6th to do outreach to students and their families.*

Provide extra guidance services in affected schools – use the experience of those in our ATR/ACR pool (excessed educators)by assigning ATR and ACRs to specific sites in hurricane zones.*
Offer sign-ups for FEMA, red cross services, NYC welfare services (emergency unemployment/food stamps/WIC/ benefits/medicaid) on school site.
Open schools for Election Day, extended hours for schools for use of facilities by students (electricity, food, heat, internet), where it wouldn’t interfere with poll sites.

Helping affected teachers and other UFT members:

Explicitly extend appeal process for those who missed work, make explicit with checkoff boxes for days this week (please seehttps://survey.vovici.com/se.ashx?s=705E3ED00F3F5EC1

For those facing long-term absence because of the hurricane, allow other teachers to donate sick days without penalty

What our union should be doing
Helping Students
Coordinate volunteer, fundraising, and donation efforts in communities where our student’s and their families live.*

Help defend UFTers and other city workers

Call on the city to treat all our brothers and sisters who were forced into work last week equally.

Support teachers who lost property/damaged property with immediate funds from AFT Disaster assistance.

Better communication with members by answering facebook posts, emails, phone calls to district representatives.

Press the city to grant all appeals for workers who cant make it to work, without loss of sick days.

What can your chapter do?
If you are in a school affected by relocation/closure
Reach out to MORE’s experienced chapter leaders for help filing grievances/safety grievances. Email more@morecaucusnyc.org or join our chapter leader meetup listserve.

Share you stories

Send photos/story of how we are helping and the impact on community to more or post on our website / FaceBook
Provide a platform for parents who are affected to speak on their stories and how they helping their communities – reach out and gather their stories and post to our website / FaceBook.

Help our students

Advocate with your school to allow teachers a flexibility of curriculum in the coming weeks.

Relieve affected students of homework, tests, penalties for book losses in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Support a demonstration on the onemonth anniversary targeting the inequalities in the recovery.

In addition to running in next spring’s elections, MORE organizes events ranging from educational forums and protests to social gatherings. For information about MORE or to get involved, visit www.morecaucus.org. You can also “like” MORE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MOREcaucusNYC or follow on Twitter: @MorecaucusNYC

*3 of our proposals passed during sunday nights conference call have since partially been implemented

From UFT website

1. Guidance counselors in excess may be reassigned to help students cope with Hurricane Sandy
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 6, 2012

Guidance counselors in excess may be reassigned for the rest of this week (Wednesday, Nov. 7 through Friday, Nov. 9) and next (Tuesday, Nov. 13 through Friday, Nov. 16) to schools in affected areas within their own districts to help students who suffered trauma as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

2, School staff may volunteer with Sandy relief on Nov. 6, but principal must OK

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 5, 2012
Many school staff members have expressed a desire to volunteer at a shelter or other organized relief effort for Hurricane Sandy instead of attending the professional development activities at their school.

If your principal gives permission, staff members who wish to volunteer may do so tomorrow rather than report to school. Staff volunteering must use this form as proof that they volunteered so that their absence will not be charged to their leave balance. This form should be filled out by the organization or shelter operating the volunteer effort and returned to the school secretary or appropriate individual at your school.

3. We know a lot of you have already donated your time and money to Sandy relief efforts. If you have, please consider digging a little deeper and giving what you can to the UFT DIsaster Relief Fund. If you haven’t yet pitched in, please do so. UFT members need help and donations to the Disaster Relief Fund will directly benefit these members. You can make a secure online donation here: http://www.uft.org/donate/hurricane-sandy-relief

Relief Efforts

November 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

MORE wishes all our best to our students, their families, and our colleagues who who suffered from the hurricane

Thank you to all the first responders, medical, and utility workers – our union brothers and sisters who have not seen their family for days because of their heroic relief efforts.

Please consider joining the thousands of city workers, teachers and other volunteers who have helped with relief efforts, including at a number of the public schools in our region still being used as shelters.

To make a financial contribution to the relief efforts, consider these locations:

Other important links: 

DOE appeal form to appeal days missed because of the storm (and not lose days from your CAR)

Federal disaster employment assistance for non-teachers out of work because of the storm: