Archive for October, 2012

GOING FORWARD IN 2012-2013 … OUR PRIORITIES

(from the New Action September 2012 Chapter Leaders meeting leaflet)
For a printable version click Leaflet 2012 September)

GETTING RID OF MAYORAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION

Mayoral Control has been an absolute disaster for educators, students, parents, and our communities.  Bloomberg has literally wrecked our schools with constant reorganizations, test prep, bashing our members, attacking our union, gutting special education, and closing schools.

ABUSIVE ADMINISTRATORS

We sincerely hope you are in one of the many schools with collaborative principals. That relationship makes for a healthy work environment and benefits staff and students. Too many principals, however, are not collaborative, and many are downright abusive. We need to modify the behavior of all abusive and troublesome administrators.

Last year New Action worked to rid Bronxdale High School of John Chase. He was removed from that school. New Action has published “14 Things You Can Do to Get Rid of an Abusive Administrator” which you can find on our website – or e-mail us at new.action.uft@gmail.com.

DEFEAT THE ULTRA-RIGHT

The current election is a choice between the current administration, and a party that would gut social security,  medicare, and Medicaid, a party that would promote vouchers, a party that displays outright hostility to unions, their members, and their rights. We cannot afford to have Scott Walker’s “no contract” policies go national.

We must commit ourselves to tirelessly working to reelect Barack Obama president. This includes phonebanking, talking to friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and even making trips to battleground states. We are under no illusions, we have had serious disagreements with Obama, including around Central Falls and Race to the Top. But where we disagree, we can talk and engage in dialogue.

We must do everything in our power to reelect President Barack Obama and defeat the ultra-right in November.

CONTRACT

The settlement of our contract is long overdue. The economic situation in no way the hang up. Rather, Bloomberg has insisted on outrageous concessions, including some that pit newer colleagues against more senior, that erode tenure, and that allow teachers to be fired as a result of a school being reorganized.  Bloomberg’s contract demands would disrupt schools and communities, and his “reforms” have.

We are currently in factfinding – but there is a danger that when the factfinder gives us some of what we want, and gives them some of what they want, that non-negotiables will be included.

We demand a good economic package, with no concessions on core issues.

TEACHER EVALUATION

We oppose tying tenure decisions to standardized tests. The negotiations on Race to the Top in New York State led to many dangerous concessions. 25% or 40% of tenure decisions will be based on student test results. This has the potential for disaster for our members.

The DoE shows nothing but bad faith on our current appeals process. 100% of the decisions being overturned is not a process – it is a farce, a cruel hoax.

New Action remains deeply concerned about the potential for Bloomberg’s proposals for teacher evaluation system to be a thinly disguised assault on due process rights.

STAND UP FOR CHAPTER LEADERS

As part of Bloomberg’s campaign against seniority and tenure, he has singled out one group of unionists in particular: Chapter Leaders.

The examples are numerous. Many have been reported on in our union paper. But the numbers reported are only the tip of the iceberg.  Some cases include chapter leaders being singled out for program abuse, forced to transfer schools, harassed with multiple “unsatisfactory” observations, and in every borough, chapter leaders who are singled out for unsubstantiated U-ratings.

We need to stand up for those who are our first line of defense—UFT chapter leaders!

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From the Archives: ANDREW JACKSON H.S. CLOSED – IS YOUR SCHOOL NEXT?

December 1993

Without any consultation the Queens H.S. superintendent and the Board decided to close the schools and “clean house” of existing staff. At the December 1st D.A., the Jackson H.S. chapter leader said “if they can do it to us, they can close any school and displace its staff without regard to seniority.”

A chapter resolution was presented calling on our union to take legal action, if necessary, to prevent the closing. A Unity member presented a motion to table, which passed.

The belated response of the union was to pass another resolution protesting the manner in which Jackson was closed. But will the union back up the resolution? Will we militantly protest the closing of any school without prior consultation with the UFT and the school staff?

We cannot allow the Board to make us scapegoats for their failed policies.

(Reprinted on the Leaflet 2012 June from the Delegate Assembly)

Mayoral Control – The Verdict is in!

(from the June 2012 Delegate Assembly)
Click Leaflet 2012 June for printable version

The Bloomberg/Klein years have been an absolute disaster for education, our members, our students, our parents, our communities, and our schools. For New York City educators the verdict is in – we cannot suffer three more years of mayoral “mis” control of our schools. The last time the UFT faced this question, we put together a Task Force. It engaged 1,200 educators, parents, students, elected officials and community groups in numerous public hearings. The Task Force concluded that its primary goal was “passing legislation in Albany which will change the system of governance to make it work better students, for teachers and for schools.”

The Task Force recommended:

 

  • Checks and Balances to prevent abuses of power in the current system
  • Real Voice for Teachers, Parents and the Community to restore school and district leadership teams to the rightful place as leaders of educational and budgetary decision-making.
  • Rule of Law to stop the DOE from simply ignoring the parts of state law it finds inconvenient.;
  • Transparency and Accountability to end DOE’s practices of. arbitrary school closings and other secretive practices.


But after the Task Force recommendation, President Weingarten agreed to give the mayor absolute control over the PEP which has decided the fate of scores of schools.

The UFT is NOW reconstituting the Task Force to examine mayoral control.

NEW ACTION HAS ALREADY CONCLUDED THERE’S BEEN ENOUGH “TINKERING” WITH MAYORAL CONTROL.We call for an end to mayoral control of the school system. We should not place our faith in the next “friendly education” mayor. We are calling for an end to mayoral control!

We do not oppose the call for another Task Force. They may come to the same conclusion. HOWEVER, New Action will not participate in yet another Task Force.

It is in the interest of the educational community to conclude that mayoral control of the schools has been a disaster. We call for an independent panel of people, fairly and democratically chosen with background and knowledge in education. The precise make-up of the new panel should be determined after broad discussion and consultation with all stakeholders.