Central Park East 1 has had several teachers removed by its principal, some have left because of harassment, and others that are still there are facing threats to their jobs. The MORE/New Action representatives raised the below resolution at Monday’s Executive Board meeting. Leroy Barr, head of Unity caucus and staff director for UFT spoke to “table the motion” which in effect is going against the resolution. Mr. Barr said “we need time to meet with the DOE about this” and “we are already doing some of what the resolution calls for”. Arthur Goldstein of MORE motivated this resolution by calling on the UFT to take aggressive, public actions against abusive principals and New Action’s Jonathan Halabi asked that the body pass the resolution, because in the last couple of weeks untenured teachers at CPE1 have come under attack. Earlier in the evening during the open question period for UFT members, MORE’s Norm Scott said the biggest threat to our union is “the unchecked power of principals and that the union has allowed them to get away with hurting our members”. Unity caucus voted as a bloc to table the resolution.
Members of CPE1, including the Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez, showed up in force to support the resolution. Photos above.
Resolution in Support of Central Park East 1 Teachers and Parents
April 3, 2017
Whereas the Principal of Central Park East 1, Monika Garg, has engaged in a persistent pattern of harassment of teachers and other unionized staff over the last 18 months,
Whereas 4 out of 7 tenured teachers who exercised their free speech and union rights by signing an open letter to the principal have now either come under investigation or been pushed to resign, while all have faced some kind of disciplinary action, thus showing these actions to be retaliatory in intent,
Whereas these investigations have targeted the union’s strength specifically, with both the school’s chapter leader, Marilyn Martinez, and union delegate, Catlin Preston, facing charges,
Whereas parents at the school have organized an unprecedented show of support for these teachers, with more than 90 showing up to support Marilyn Martinez at her 3020a hearings, several attending our recent Executive Board hearing and dozens writing statements in support of the teachers,
Whereas parents believe that the principal’s actions are causing substantial harm to the children in the school by removing teachers without warning and carrying out investigations in which children as young as 6 and 7 are interviewed privately without their parent’s knowledge or consent, and in which parents feel that their families were manipulated in order to build cases against teachers while children were left without guidance or support,
Whereas the impact of these actions can be seen in the results of last year’s school survey, in which Monika Garg saw the steepest declines in both parent and teacher dissatisfaction of any school in the city, with 0% of teachers saying that they trust the principal and 0% of parents saying that the principal works hard to build trusting relationships,
Whereas both the teachers and the parents of Central Park East 1 have asked us for their support, and parents have been demanding the removal of the principal for over a year, with over twothirds of last year’s parents having signed a petition stating this, and are planning a public rally in conjunction with their next SLT meeting on April 6th,
Whereas Superintendent Alexandra Estrella has received hundreds of emails from parents and has ignored most and has acknowledged few of their requests, and
Whereas Estrella promised a facilitator, to improve communication at the school, and told elected parents that is was already in place several times… even though no facilitator has ever shown up, and
Whereas Estrella appointed Garg, a principal with no commitment to CPE1’s mission, to head the school.
Therefore be it resolved that the UFT leadership join the UFT staff of CPE1 in taking a public stance against this pattern of harassment and retaliation against teachers at Central Park East 1; and
Be it further resolved that the leadership supports the return of Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez and Delegate Catlin Preston to their classrooms at Central Park East 1 immediately should their hearings find that they are entitled to retain their positions with the Department of Education and work in the classroom, and
Be it further resolved that the UFT publicly supports the overwhelming majority of parents at Central Park East 1 who are asking for the removal of Principal Garg and will support their planned April 6th rally, by utilizing the UFT press office, sending a speaker and issuing an action alert to mobilize UFT members and leaders to attend, and
Be it further resolved that the UFT leadership will publicly admonish Superintendent Estrella to respond to CPE1 parents and faculty, to respect agreements she has made with them, and to respect the mission of the school.