UFT Executive Board Minutes 5-9-2022: Election Complaints, PERB, and APPR

6:01 LeRoy Barr: Open mic period: Norm Scott supposed to speak, but isn’t here. Mike Schirtzer mentions he’s running late. Leroy says if he’s running ten minutes late for the ten minute period, maybe we’ll give him 60 seconds? (Laughter).

Minutes approved.

Mary Atkinson: Had a great decision from PERB last week for one of our district 7 chapter leaders, who has since left the school. Part of that decision is that she be returned. She was a long-time CL who was bullied and given bad ratings and given 3020-A charges in retaliation. NYSUT represented and Bill Woodruff were there and she won on every level of case. She won that her fine (6k) must be returned to her, she must be returned to her school, that the DOE must stop rating her ineffective in retaliation for her union work. Our CLs are our first line of defense, so this is a great win for her. We will be there to join her when she returns to the school. Should also thank Bill Woodruff, the UFT, and NYSUT.

Rashad Brown: Pride committee, scholarships. Application deadline closes May 21st.

Tom Brown: Had a great retirement meeting. With the pandemic, we’ve almost exclusively dealt with internal benefits. Going to go back to external meetings in June, dealing with NYC and US races. We are looking at going from Zoom meetings to hybrid meetings. October 18th, expect a hybrid meeting.

Name Missed: Manhattan held a new member meeting, with several guest speakers from UFT staff. Was a good event.

LeRoy Barr: Next Saturday, May 14th, is the 5k walk in Coney Island, starts at 8:30 AM. Spring Conference at the Hilton, need a nice turnout, so make sure to participate. That’s May 21st at 8:00 AM. It’s a full day of events. Provider award celebration is here Friday, May 13th.

Norm Scott: Given 10 minutes by LeRoy. Election stuff. Election is over, we’ll have results in a day or two. Things get heated. We’ve seen it. Things will tone down once it’s over and we can have some dialogue I hope. This election brought out a lot of people who weren’t involved before. Some were neutral or on other sides. But one thing that people were enraged by the most was that people weren’t being heard, whether at the DA or elsewhere. People don’t mind losing a vote if they have a chance to present their point of their view. Fine with majority rule, but the minority needs a chance to present their case. If we don’t get to talk about where we differ or disagree-that can’t happen.

Election complaints: different levels of complaining. One thing that bothered some was that people who were working for the union were doing things on union time. We were trying to track that, which caused some consternation. But we felt that if you were on the clock, you shouldn’t engage in union politics. But what we found was that we were being charged for doing things on school time. Well if we did, that shouldn’t be a UFT issue, that’s DOE. We were also stopped from giving flyers in mailboxes by Unity CLs. Can understand when a principal doesn’t get the memo, but people running on your slate should be told that they have to allow us in. We had times where we went 3 times, and were told by CLs that we wouldn’t be allowed to put in mailings.

Some complaints on what UFC has done. One complaint tonight. We had a candidate, who did not realize he was a candidate. He complained. Friday, I spoke to him and he said he didn’t complain – he made an inquiry. He showed him what he wrote, and saw that yes, it did look like a complaint. So I’m going to explain what happened – a misunderstanding. This candidate indicated he had an interest in running, but was convinced that exec board would be too much work (even though the food is great!). Once he saw his name, he realized he didn’t have the time. When I spoke to him on Friday, explained the exec board and that it involved a zoom every 2 weeks, he said that he’d be fine serving under those conditions. He had thought it was a much more time-intensive position. So this was a misunderstanding on the part of the both sides. I told him we regret it, but part of the issue is he didn’t make it quite clear. There was a lack of clarity. We have addressed that and hopefully to the satisfaction of the exec board. Please enjoy my Beef Wellington.

Mel: When do you call a point of personal privilege?

LeRoy: We have open mics historically. So it’s not a point of personal privilege. It’s something we haven’t done in a while, but when people call, we do it.

Michael Mulgrew: Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. Getting calls on Mayoral Control and following the resolution. If you’re following, Superintendents are getting large staffs and it’s going to be a Superintendent-based system. We’ll be part of the process. At the end of this legislative session, we’ll get the APPR option passed. Don’t think DOE will do it (not having APPR final processes, because of COVID). Same situation this year as last year, but have to wait to see where that goes. Besides that, it’s about waiting for that transition in the DOE to happen, and it’s getting late. A lot more names are popping around. Sure a lot of you are hearing the different names being bandied about.

This Saturday, Janella Hinds will be leading us. Rich has brought the run back to Coney Island. There will be a big mobilization on abortion and Janella Hinds will be coordinating that. That ends the report.

Questions:

Mike Schirtzer: APPR, if the Governor signs the bill. Do we have a position. Do we, the UFT, think it should be waived?

Mike Mulgrew: DOE said that our APPR worked so why waste the observations we did. I have signed the form for the waiver. So I guess that’s technically my official position since I signed the form.

(Question on Calendar): Mulgrew: We’re looking at all the things that go into the calendar, so we’re looking at instructional days. Our goal is to set the calendar this week. That would be earlier than the last two years, which is sad to say.

LeRoy Barr: 3 election complaints.

  1. What Norm touched on. This complaint is election fraud by (name redacted). Complaint was made to Carl Cambria that he was placed on ballot without knowledge or consent. Spoke with Norm about this improper nomination. Recommend that complaint be upheld. In future elections, all candidates should sign a form to their nomination. Executive Board reserves right to take future action if election is impacted. Apparently candidate wasn’t aware he was on the ballot until members of his school approached him. In text exchanges, it appears that the candidate was interested in one position (NYSUT Delegate), but not executive board. Appears that there were communication issues, and our text data isn’t complete (parts of conversation deleted). The candidate does not want to be on the ballot and this allegation should be upheld. Mike Schirtzer debates. He gave his information to be on the ballot, said he wanted one position but not another, is that correct? Vote: Upheld, Schirtzer abstaining.
  2. Competing complaints by Unity and UFC candidates. There was campaign activity, allegedly, at a UFT event in March. Recommendation: complaint should be dismissed, and that all candidates be reminded to have professional composure. Bill Woodruff allegedly did not allow UFC literature to be distributed at a UFT event, but did allow Unity materials to be distributed. UFC candidate was told by Woodruff to stop handing out flyers and was yelled at by Woodruff, allegedly. But, two other witnesses suggest that there was no campaigning of Unity materials until UFC handed out flyers. Union resources can’t be used for campaigning, so Woodruff was right to stop all campaigning. So I think this event was purely social and there was only unity campaigning in response to UFC campaigning. This allegation should be dismissed. But, did Woodruff act unprofessionally by allegedly yelling at the UFC candidate? Other witnesses suggest this characterization is inaccurate. Given that there is conflicting accounts, so we should reject the complaint, but should remind others to be professional. On the other hand, the UFC candidate is alleged by witnesses to have been unprofessional. Still, it’s difficult to say whether this rose to the level of unprofessionalism. Therefore, we recommend rejecting this as well. Vote: accepted recommendations, Schirtzer abstaining.
  3. Complaint that candidates have been treated unequally with respect to equity in NY Teacher ads. Marie W., independent candidate for Executive Board at Large. Recommendation: complaint should be dismissed. More ad space was given to other caucuses (Marie W. got 1/8th). We voted that caucuses get 2 pages and independents get one quarter of space. Our recommendations were meant to have equity. Marie W. alleges that UFT violated election rules because election rules was posted too late in April, but that post was actually a follow-up notice. So this allegation should also be rejected. Third, in March, there was a meeting with Cambria with reps regarding using the UFT election system. Marie W. Indicated that she did not want to use this system. A breakdown of related costs was provided to each slate and to independents on April 6, 2022. Cambria has not received any responses on this, so there was no information to report back. That allegation should be rejected. Vote: accepted recommendations, Schirtzer abstaining.

Meeting adjourned at 6:44 PM

UFT, Let’s Join NYS in Cancelling Overall Ratings This Year

As reported on the ICE blog, NYS has passed a bill in both houses that allows districts to waive APPR (teacher evaluations) this year. Last year, a similar bill was passed, but the Unity machine argued that we should have them in NYC anyways. I still remember the arguments: observations are good for tenure, we should be ‘proud’ that our observation system works unlike many upstate, and teacher evaluation is ‘good’ for our professional growth. So, I suspect Mulgrew and co. will make the same arguments this year.

Those arguments, of course, are nonsense. If you’re at a school where observations are generally fair, you might not be aware of the problems with APPR. But those of us working in schools with weaponized observations or maddening MOSL flukes know the issues. Our teaching evaluation system has been bad even in a good year. Observations are easily abused by administrators targeting teacher unionists, and MOSL is arguably junk science. Add to that that this year, teacher observations were arguably a public health hazard , because they dictated group learning strategies during a pandemic.

Unlike last year, this year abusive principals finally have a chance to get back at teacher unionists they’ve been unable to penalize with fabricated ‘Developing’ ratings. This year, if you are being retaliated against with weaponized observations, you’re subject to the craps game that is our junk-science MOSL system. That means that next year, many of our unionists will be on TIPs and face legalized micromanagement. They’ll also face the possibility of losing their jobs if they have another unlucky year or two in a row. Other teachers off the radar will also be casualties. And that’s because, unlike last year, when we were able to use a ‘citywide’ MOSL measure that defaulted to Effective for every teacher that picked it (and basically everyone did), this year the MOSL is back in its old ‘individualized’ fashion.

Teachers are rightly more afraid of the MOSL than usual this year. In high schools, Regents have been gone for so long that we have no idea what to expect with many students taking them for the first time. That goes double for teachers of upper-level subjects like Algebra II, who fear that students who had Regents waived for both Algebra I and Geometry, might not have actually been prepared to take the Regents for the first time in the culminating subject. With students taking these tests again for the first time in years, it’s absurd to be using them to evaluate teachers as part of the MOSL. We need to get a sense of what these tests will look like for students taking them ‘post’-pandemic, before we start allowing the system to come down on teachers because of aggregate student scores. So, let’s not be the only district in NYS to have teacher evaluations this year. This isn’t the year to open up the door for TIPs and the gateway to future ‘incompetence’ charges. Let’s cancel APPR this year, like everyone else in our state.

Why is there so little time to get a new ballot if you didn’t get one in the mail? Executive Board Meeting Minutes 4/25/2022

Approval of the Minutes: All approved unanimously.

LeRoy Barr: Welcome back. Reminder of dates: 5k Walk on May 14th at MCU Park in Coney Island at 8:30 AM. Spring Conference is on May 21st at the NY Hilton at 8:00 AM. Nurse Award Dinner on May 17th. Reach out to Ann Goldman for questions. Better Speech and Hearing Celebration is on May 18th, virtually. Great event, please sign on. We can get you the link. On Monday, May 2nd we have the Eid holiday. The following Monday is the next Exec Board. May 25th is the next DA. Friday May 15th is the Provider Award event.

Report from Districts:

Mike Sill: Summer school postings are now up on the DOE. We are involved in speaking to members on the intent list, people on a LOA who have to declare their intent to be on a leave by May 15th. If they don’t declare their intent, they can be declared voluntarily resigned. This does not apply to people on leave for vaccines. There’s a similar but alternative process for them.

Certification: EdTPA, costly and burdensome, is now done away by the state.

Mike Schirtzer: Shoutout to people in ‘Listen Up,’ talking about class size and SEL. Shoutout to Emily James and everyone else involved.

Michael Mulgrew, President’s Report: Still working out calendar for next year. New crew at DOE.

DOE Vaccination card issue. Small number of teachers believed to have fraudulent vaccine cards. They are removed from payroll. We have to put on our unionist hats, not about the vaccine. Does the City and DOE have the right to just remove teachers from payroll? We think, no. There was no disciplinary hearing, they were just removed from payroll. We have begun to take legal action.

Listen Up was a great event. It worked out really well. We just sent out the video today. We’ll be doing more of that through this Spring. Class size was big, but so was curriculum. Wrong curriculum could mean kids won’t be able to read. Kids need to be happy.

Going to arbitration on 683 and vacation days. We said don’t ask, but someone asked. So now we need to see where that ends up.

This week, state assessments. We are still in appeal to federal government to stop schools being labeled as failures.

Marty Walsh was here. We’re talking about retirement security. Not just about us. A national conversation about retirement security helps our pensions. Everyone should have retirement security.

Mike Schirtzer: US History. Totally new regents. One prototype. June 1st, early. Are you aware? Anything you can do? Mulgrew says he’s working on it. Need prototype year to year.

On election: UFT election. Mulgrew refuses to answer, says any questions on election must be sent to Carl Cambria.

Carl comes up. Mike asks: why is it 2 weeks before deadline this year to get a ballot delivered if it wasn’t sent to your house this year? It was 1 week before the deadline last election. Not to mention there wasn’t the spring break issue last time. Members who just got back from vacation and were told they have to go in person to AAA to get ballots in person. Is there anything we can do to extend that deadline?

Carl Cambria: AAA can’t guarantee extending deadline will allow ballots to get back in time. What we have done is allow teachers to go to AAA in person this Thursday Friday between 9 and 5 and submit ballots in person. Post office isn’t working at the same pace as last year, which is why we landed where we landed.

Lamar Hughes: Anything you can shed light on for supporting people with vaccine issue? Many swear they are vaccinated. Mulgrew says we are reaching out to them. Get in touch with Michael Sill. Need answers to key questions, at individual level, as soon as possible.

Priscilla Castro: During Spring Break, had 43rd conference. Great conference, paras, autism, etc.

Name Missed: Great conference last week. Paras were happy. Manhattan event.

Joe (last name missed): behind on Shanker scholarship, but students will get acceptance emails tomorrow. Expecting up to 185 students accepting the award. That’s up from previous years. We’ll get information to the boroughs. June 7th is date of scholarship.

Motion to adjourn.


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