Archive for July, 2014

Discontinued?

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

During the last decade under the Bloomberg / Klein administration principals have been given much greater power and autonomy. As we know too well, many principals have abused this power. One form of abuse was the unjust discontinuance of probationary teachers. In some cases principals replaced probationers with hire friends or relatives. In others, incompetent principals erratically and arbitrarily fired young teachers, without reason.

There are discontinued probationary teachers who have other Principals willing to hire them but they are barred by the NYC Department of Education. The Unity leadership of our Union has not intervened. New Action / UFT calls upon our Union to press the new City Administration to reopen these cases. Let’s support our most vulnerable members.

Special Ed under Bloomberg

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

Special Ed Under Bloomberg

“I want you to love your job again.” These were the words of Carmen Fariña to special education teachers, school psychologists, social workers, speech therapists and other related service providers.

Special Education for 12 years under Bloomberg has been devastated, to say the least. It was if Bloomberg took a bulldozer to special education under the guise of reform. And the children with special needs suffered the most.

Children’s’ needs were totally ignored in the interest of cutting the budget. Klein empowered incompetent principals who had no time for individual students’ special needs. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it is impermissible to recommend services based on the availability of the program or personnel, space, budget or administrative convenience.

Bloomberg’s policies on special education bordered on child abuse and neglect! Often parents and staff had to advocate for the appropriate programs and related services for their children through the Special Education Complaint Form. Impartial Hearings spiked 300%. Caseloads for school psychologists and school social workers increased considerably, causing a rise in work disputes! Increased paperwork and SESIS forced special education teachers and providers of related services to interact more with computer monitors than with children.

Under the new de Blasio Administration and new Chancellor Carmen Fariña, it should be possible to reverse the damage done to thousands of children during the Bloomberg years of neglect. We need directives from the new administration to reverse the Bloomberg era abuses. Then, with the proper funding for programs, services and materials, the most vulnerable in our system may finally receive the services that will best serve their needs, and teachers, school psychologists, social workers, speech therapists and other providers can again love their jobs.

Restore Our Parking

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

In 2008, Bloomberg eliminated traditional parking passes for teachers. Other agencies had “park anywhere” passes, and there were reports of abuse. But for school personnel, the pass just meant a shot at a spot in front of the school, if they got there early enough.

Bloomberg and the City gained nothing, except for inconveniencing thousands of school workers. The symbolism of undoing this will be huge. New Action proposed that we work with de Blasio, leading to the bipartisan resolution before the June 11 Delegate Assembly. We urge your support.

Transferring? Know Before You Go

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

Due to school closures, myriad mini-schools opening, and the creation of the ATR pool, more UFT members have needed to transfer in the last few years, including right now, than at any other time in our history. You should “know before you go.” Check the Learning Environment Survey, the Inside Schools review, any word of mouth you can find. In that spirit, New Action brought the following resolution to the May 19, 2014 UFT Executive Board:

Resolution on Identifying Schools with High Staff Turnover

WHEREAS, the Open Market 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 turnover 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.

Unity argued that this would embarrass hard to staff schools, and voted it down.

CONTRACT RATIFIED- WE CANNOT WAIT FOUR MORE YEARS!

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

Over 90,000 UFT members voted on the new contract proposal. 77% approved it. However, there are issues in the schools not addressed by the contract. And while the new de Blasio administration’s tone is a refreshing, we have not seen change filter down to the schools.

We should work with de Blasio and Fariña to address

NOW:

  • End FSF – Stop Discriminating Against Experienced Educators
  • End Quotas and Arbitrary Rules for Extension of Probation
  • Fire the Lawyers – 200 is 200 too many

SOON:

  • Repair our Grievance Machinery
  • Review Arbitrary Discontinuances
  • Modify the Behavior of 300+ Abusive and/or Incompetent Administrators