Archive for May, 2014

Assist teachers who need to transfer by Identifying Schools With High Staff Turnover

The following resolution was introduced at the UFT Executive Board Monday, May 19, 2014. It was defeated on a caucus-line vote

UFT Executive Board Resolution on Identifying Schools With High Staff Turnover

Whereas, the Open Market Transfer Period runs from the present through the beginning of August, and
Whereas, every year thousands of our members apply for schools to transfer into, and
Whereas, high turnover rates are an indication that a school may have a problematic administration, and
Whereas, our members seeking transfers may not know which schools have high turnovers rates, but that information is available to the UFT, therefore be it
Resolved, that the UFT will establish a procedure in which a member can call a borough office and learn if a school in that borough has a high turnover rate, and be it further
Resolved, that the UFT will publish a list in the New York Teacher which details which schools have exceptionally high staff turnover.

The Unity speakers against asserted that publishing the names of high turnover schools would be calling those schools bad schools, and that some high turnover schools are simply hard-to-staff schools, and that the staffs of those schools would be publicly shamed. Further, members already call the borough offices with questions.

High turnover rates are one of a number of factors that potential transfers should know about. Sometimes there is an understandable reason for a high number, but usually there is not. New Action continues to believe that teachers who need to transfer should have as much information as possible about the schools they are applying to.  In agreeing to the open market transfer system in 2005, the union should have assumed the obligation to protect transfers by providing such information.



The Cost of Lowering Class Size

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the April 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: April 2014 Leaflet Front 2014 and back

Lower class size is often at the top of the list when members are asked what changes could improve schools. There is more than one way to get this done, but we often think of doing it contractually, since there already are class size limits in our Contract. Article 7M caps kindergarten at 25, elementary at 32, junior high school at 33, and high school at 34, with larger classes allowed in Phys Ed and required Music, but with several (often frustrating) exceptions allowed.

We have been warned that lowering class size limits contractually would require a trade off in money. That’s as far as that conversation usually goes. But how much money? It turns out, reducing the class size limits by one student would cost about 1%. Now that would lead to interesting conversations in schools – if we tried to lower class size contractually, would members forego 1% for a decrease of one? 2% for two? 3% for three? 4% for four? or prefer to maximize raises and seek to lower class sizes through some other route?

Abusive? Unqualified? Both? – The Office of Adult and Continuing Education

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the April 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: April 2014 Leaflet Front 2014 and back

Most New Yorkers are unaware that thousands of adults across the City attend free ESL, GED, and job training programs run by the NYC Office of Adult and Continuing Education (OACE), a branch of the DOE.  Many of the adults who come to improve their lives are parents of children in NYC public or charter schools.  OACE teachers are dedicated adult education professionals.

Since September 2012, the OACE has been run by an elementary/middle school superintendent, Rose-Marie Mills, and her numerous elementary and middle school administrative appointees, whose mission has been to impose an elementary school curriculum for teaching adult students. Large sums have been squandered this year on children’s books with inappropriate elementary themes to be used in adult education classrooms.  Teachers had absolutely no input in selecting these materials.  Moreover, all suggestions for adult appropriate materials were ignored or denied.

There are boxes and boxes of unused warehoused children’s books, and OACE teachers have been left with a dearth of appropriate instructional materials.  Nevertheless, Superintendent Mills demands test scores gains, and teachers who don’t make the cut will receive unsatisfactory ratings.

Mills is obsessed with data.  OACE teachers have been harassed and disrespected nonstop since she commenced her reign of terror. Morale is at an all-time low.

The new DoE administration needs to take a close look at the OACE.  Misspent funds?  Completely data driven program?  Terrorized teachers?  Is this any way to run an educational program?

Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
May 2014