Report from UFT October 21 Executive Board

There were no speakers for the open mike.

Mulgrew gave the president’s report. He wrote letters to King, Walcott, Cuomo, and Duncan about massive special education violations. We need a wish list for the new administration.  We need a plan to restructure the NYC school system (we don’t want the current system; we don’t want to go back to the old system). We need changes in our teacher evaluation agreement. MOSL. Other districts in the state – some have horrible formulas, some have great formulas – he mentioned one district (I don’t think he named it) where 97% of teachers were effective or highly effective. We need a longer menu. Student projects should count. And we must restart the evaluation system, since the DoE rolled it out this year (I didn’t get his exact words, but the sense was that this was done badly).

There were no questions during the question period, but Emil Pietromonaco responded to several questions from the previous meeting of the Exec Board:  There are over 1700 ATRs, about 100 less than this time last year. There were 270 September retirements, consistent with numbers from the previous two years. There are now 17 Union Initiated grievances against the DoE’s implementation of the new evaluation system – the top four are:  1. Outside Evidence (principals rating things that were not part of an observation or an artifact), 2. Photos of lesson plans and other artifacts used for “evidence” 3. Multiple Observers 4. Goal Setting

There were many reports from Districts about various conferences and events, including the Strides Walk. George Altomare and Ellen Procida discussed a class-size win (it related to music classes, but I didn’t catch the details. George testified about teaching guitar, and Ellen mentioned something about the number 50, so perhaps the DoE was arguing that 50, which is the limit for required music classes, was also the limit for instrumental instruction)

There was no legislative report

There were two resolutions during the special orders of business.

1. Supporting Obama and the Democratic Senate Majority – this was written in relation to the fiscal cliff, so in a sense was dated. But there are new deadlines in January and February, and so the resolution was written to support and protect the Affordable Care Act, and extended by amendment offered by the Retired Teachers Chapter to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid against anything the GOP might try to pull in the Budget Commission. George Altomare motivated (and amended). Passed unanimously

2. Resolution on evaluations based entirely on test scores. Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action), motivated.  I said there were other changes that needed to be made in our evaluation system, including at the local level through renegotiation, but I was addressing a change that needs to be made in the State Law – if a teacher is rated highly by the principal on all 22 elements of Danielson, but gets I’s on both the State and Local measures, then the observations and principal’s evaluation of the teacher don’t count – are not allowed to count.

LeRoy Barr got up, essentially said that it’s complicated and that in the past principals had total control. “None of the local 20% should be based on test scores.” He then moved to table (remove the item from consideration without a yes or a no vote.)  The motion to table passed with only New Action voting against.

The resolution is posted here.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

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