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On September 28th, 95.6% of Chicago teachers voted to go on strike. They have been negotiating since 2014 for a just contract on top of non-negotiable items for the public schools and students they serve.

There are some striking similarities to NYC public schools, in the kind of attacks they have faced: disastrous budget cuts that have had effects on the equitable allocation of resources and professionals for mandated services in special education, libraries and other programs, such as arts and physical education. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under the advisory of Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist who is leading the way for the charterization of Chicago’s schools, has withheld and cut funding to the public schools.

The Chicago Teachers’ Union want something very simple- the assurance that public school educators and students have what they need in order to have thriving public schools in Chicago. If an agreement cannot be made, teachers could go out on strike as soon as October 11. In 2012, Chicago teachers led the national educational justice movement when they went on a successful strike that gathered the help of communities and parents to fight for the schools that Chicago students deserve.

Now they need support from everywhere across the country!

Here are some of the core issues for CTU:

– No more budget cuts
– Restore the jobs lost (1,000 teachers laid off without recall rights)
– Keep salary steps and lanes

To learn more details, go to the Chicago Teachers Union site

ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE: Continue Reading…

The overarching theme at 52 Broadway on Wednesday was paperwork. There’s a lot of paperwork, too much paperwork, paperwork is the scourge of civilization, and the number one concern of UFT members is paperwork. Principals are evil, among other reasons, because they don’t hand teachers paperwork filled with curriculum, scope and sequence. Mulgrew goes off on tangents, makes in jokes with his BFFs, but every road leads back to paperwork.

I’m sure there are abuses of paperwork. I’m sure there are abuses in making teachers write curriculum. I’ve seen them, and I’ve moved to correct them. Now, though, there is a form for that. I certainly hope it’s more effective and less restrictive than the APPR complaint form.

In my job, I get complaints all the time, from all sorts of people. In my building, at least, paperwork is not a particularly pressing concern. Members are more concerned with ratings. Why did this AP walk in and see things that didn’t happen? How come when a dozen kids raise their hands, on video, my supervisor sees only two? Why does he always observe me last period on Friday before vacation in my worst class? Can Mulgrew really get rid of crazy supervisors? That would be something good for everyone, even remaining supervisors who aren’t crazy.

Mulgrew shared some interesting news. We’re going to replace the test-based junk science in the APPR system (the one Mulgrew himself had a hand in writing and creating) with authentic measures, or it’s no deal. What will they be? Who knows? Portfolios perhaps. You may recall them rearing their heads maybe twenty years ago. You needed a portfolio for every student. It needed to be in the classroom at all times. If you didn’t have one it was the end of the world. Until the next year, when portfolios were out, passe, utterly without value.

And with the new matrix, the portfolios, or whatever the hell there is, will count for half your rating. This, evidently, will reduce the principal’s input to 50, rather than 60 percent (or perhaps less, with the magical outside observers who know nothing about you, your school, what you do, or who you teach). Of course Mulgrew vehemently denies that the matrix makes the junk science/ authentic ratings or whatever they may end up being 50 percent. But with only two axes, it’s hard for mathematically-challenged individuals such as myself to fathom why they don’t count for half. On the other hand, if they actually do not count for half, won’t the principal still have the lion’s share of control in evaluation?

Continue Reading…

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The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) recently conducted a survey of United Federation of Teachers (UFT) members to find out more about their working conditions and students’ learning conditions. The findings of this survey indicate that the decay of the New York City schools has reached crisis levels under the leadership of the Unity Caucus, the incumbents in the current elections for leadership of the UFT. Change is urgently needed.




How to correctly fill out the ballot3-1

Join the Thunderclap! You can think of it as an “online flash mob.” Click the link to take part in a coordinated Get Out the Vote message across Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Fewer than 18% of working educators voted in the 2013 UFT elections; let’s send a message to our colleagues and to UNITY caucus that NYC educators deserve rank-and-file leadership. It’s time to demand a genuinely member-driven union!

If a UFT Member does not receive a ballot, they should call American Arbitration Association to request a replacement ballot.
(800)529-5218 (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. only).