Archives For February 2018

Murry Bertraum HS at 411 Pearl St, New York, NY

in Lower Manhattan, adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall

This Wed., Feb. 28, the Panel of Educational Policy (PEP ) will vote on the proposals to close 13 community schools. It is very important for as many folks as possible to attend this meeting to show support for the school communities that would be adversely affected by these actions.

There will be a press conference and rally against school closings before the PEP  at 5:30 and you can sign up to speak at the PEP at that time as well.

MORE/CASCADE (Coalition Against School Closings and Displacement Everywhere) is fighting against the current round of school closings in NYC. We are against labeling any schools as “failing,” against Renewal and Receivership School programs that don’t help, against targeting these schools for Charter Co-locations, and against closures. We see the connection between school closures and the privatization of our education system as well as the anti-displacement movement.

The next meeting of CASCADE,  Campaign Against School Closures and Against Displacement Everywhere. Is on March 10, at 2:30 at the CUNY Graduate Center.  All are welcome to come and strategize about how to stop school closings.

UFT Executive Board members elected from High School Division, who are members of the MORE and New Action caucuses, met to discuss the following contract demands

Please help us formulate a complete set of demands that addresses all levels and titles in the UFT, by attending the MORE Contract Forum on March 14th at the CUNY Graduate Center – Bring your coworkers!

1. Real Raises: Set a pattern or follow a city pattern with raises that are equal to uniformed/sanitation workers.

2. Do away with C-6/professional assignments so high school teachers can have two full preps to prepare, especially those that are in ICT/ESL co-teaching situations. If C-6 cant be totally done away with then they should be limited to pedagogical related assignments only (no lunchroom duty).  This also addresses the proliferation of teacher teams.

3. Class size violations: with the proliferation of oversized classes we need some type of accountability for DOE/principals for every day that a class sizes are over contractual limts.

4. Unit pricing: Stop the so called “fair student funding” formula, which “charges” principals more for veteran teachers.

5. Regents grading should be done back in the home schools

6. Transfer system: Return to the seniority and SBO transfer plans.

7. Two observations for tenured teachers, like the rest of New York State.

8. Teacher diversity and school integration: Can we collectively bargain actions to address this? See the Teacher Diversity Committee’s report here The Disappearance of Black and Latino Teachers in New York City – Toward and agenda for action

9. DOE PD’S that occur in schools will be accredited towards CTLE hours

10. Immigrant liaison: UFT passed a resolution on this. Can we collectively bargain training for UFT members as well as adding this to comp-time menu and/or C-6?

11. C-30 process, education leadership and iron-clad contract enforcement: The C-30 panel should have the final determination of any administrative hiring. We must demand that administrators’ behaviors are consistent with promoting a respectful working/learning environment. Any administrator that is found to be routinely violating the contract at their school shall be automatically removed and face charges for permanent removal.

12. Due Process for UFT members under investigation or exonerated: A small adjustment for the type of outside complaints described would be for a parent to have to sign a complaint in writing that was made by a student. Those things don’t currently happen and would filter out a fair amount of capricious complaints. Another small adjustment would be to require the investigation process to consider the intent as part of its process. This would compel all parties to consider context of any action in their decision. Investigators’ final report should have to state the apparent intent behind the act in writing in their final report.  This would absolutely lighten the burden for those who go through the process. It’s a small shift but it has powerful consequences on all levels. The DoE is the only district in the state with a bureaucracy to support investigations like what we have. The local CBA (our contract) needs reflect that uniqueness with fairness protections (many of which that haven’t yet been though of yet) that do absolutely account for that.

A larger shift would be to advocate for a written schedule of fines or punishments for infractions reflective of progressive discipline and for that schedule of fines/punishments to be made public. In general, significant efforts should be made to make the discipline process more fair and more predictable. This would take that process out of the hands of a vindictive administrator and protect teachers and students.

 

 

Join MORE at two important protests!

The first, on Wednesday 2/21, joins school communities facing closings and co-locations to protest the deBlasio administration’s arbitrary actions.

The next, on Saturday, 2/24, unites union members across the city in a protest of the upcoming Janus case being heard in front of the Supreme Court, which threatens to cripple public sector unions by stripping them of the ability to automatically collect fair share fees from workers they represent.  Look for Lisa with the MORE banner at the corner of Worth and Lafayette in front of the Starbucks. Click here to RSVP.

Also – don’t forget to save the date for our MORE Contract Forum on March 14th – click here for a detailed flyer you can distribute to your coworkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singing “We are Family / We Need Family Leave!” UFT educators march from union headquarters to the DOE, waving signs and banners that demanded paid leave to care for family members as a human right

Check out coverage here on New York One and video from the rally below.

Speakers on the steps of Tweed included recent father Alex Jallot, Gladys Sotomayor, who lost many weeks of pay caring for sick parents, MORE/UFT presidential candidate Jia Lee, and UFT Treasurer Mel Aaronson. Members emphasized that we need family leave that covers care for new children as well as elderly family members, and why such leave should not cost members extra money or losing other benefits.

If you’re interested in getting involved with this issue or another issue, come to the MORE General Meeting, February 10 from 12-3, at CUNY Grad Center. RSVP here.

Thank you to Rosy Clarke, Dan Lupkin, Jia Lee, Peter Lamphere and Norm Scott for the photos and video.

During the week of February 5th-9th, in schools across the country, educators are taking part in a National Black Lives Matter Week of Action. The week of action has three central demands: 1) to end zero tolerance discipline policies and implement restorative justice, 2) to hire more Black teachers, and 3) to mandate Black history and ethnic studies be taught throughout the K-12 curriculum.

The Black Lives Matter Week of Action is part of a long history of teachers standing up for what is right, in our classrooms, in our schools, and in our communities. Most teacher unions agree: The Chicago Teachers Union, the New Jersey Education Association, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the Seattle Education Association and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association are among the growing list of teachers unions that have voted to support this crucial and timely week of anti-racist action in schools. The National Education Association’s Human & Civil Rights Department has even developed a website for teachers to share stories and resources.

Yet at the United Federation of Teachers Delegates Assembly on January 17, 2018, the largest teachers’ local in the country, at the leadership’s suggestion and after only five minutes of debate, voted against supporting the NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action. Delivering the union leadership’s rationale against the resolution, LeRoy Barr, the Assistant Secretary of the UFT and the chair of the ruling Unity caucus, called Black Lives Matter a “divisive” issue. He argued that with the anticipated Supreme Court ruling on Janus v. AFSCME, which will likely allow public sector workers to receive union representation and benefits without paying union dues, it is crucial to remain “united.”

But united in support of what? The Black Lives Matter week of action is about uniting to support students by implementing restorative justice, hiring Black teachers, and teaching Black history and ethnic studies. These are basic anti-racist demands that any organization of educators should get behind. Furthermore, most of the students we teach and the families we serve in NYC are Black and Latino. No doubt they can unite behind these demands. This week of action is just one of the ways educators can build greater solidarity with the communities we serve. Far from being divisive, this is about unifying and strengthening our union and the communities we serve.

If, in the face of the attack on collective bargaining that Janus represents, we are in fact divided, it is because we have failed to engage and organize the union’s membership. The privatization of schools has disproportionately hurt the careers of Black teachers. As a union, we should know that an injury to one is literally an injury to all. A union that can’t support a movement to make “Black Lives Matter” won’t be able to build the solidarity necessary to overcome Janus and other right-wing attacks on working people.

We have to rebuild our union from the bottom-up and educate ourselves and each other about the problems we face and the steps we can take together to confront them. Grassroots collective actions in our schools—such as the Black Lives Matter Week of Action—can be part of this process. We invite teachers across New York City to join us and other teachers around the country by taking part in February’s Black Lives Matter week of action as a first step to building a school system where Black Lives Matter.

NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action Organizing Committee
Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) Steering Committee
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE)

We are asking UFT members and members of the community that support our statement to sign on as an individual. We will release the names of everyone who has signed on after February’s week of action to show the broad support this statement has and encourage UFT leaders and members to support the week of action in the future. If you’d like to sign on as an individual please fill out this form.