Archive for August, 2014

Letter to the Chief: Restore Teacher Eligibility

From the August 8, 2014 Chief-Leader:

The UFT contract has been ratified and hailed as bringing in a new era for Teachers. Yet many problems in schools have not been addressed. During the last decade under Bloomberg and Klein, Teachers’ rights have been diminished. Teachers can no longer grieve inaccurate observation reports. Hundreds of probationary Teachers in schools with abusive administrators were unjustly fired. Some of these probationers have other Principals willing to hire them but haven’t been given the chance because the Department of Education has declared them ineligible to work.

Large numbers of new Teachers have had their probations arbitrarily extended. Seniority transfers have been eliminated.

The new Chancellor and Mayor should look at these issues. They should also address the corruption in our schools that has gone on the last 10 years. Some of these Teachers were fired and the Principals hired their friends and friends of family members. This is a citywide problem.

These probationary Teachers deserve a strong fight from our union. We urge President Mulgrew and Chancellor Fariña to work together and do the right thing and restore these Teachers’ eligibility to work.



Unjust, unfair firing of probationary teachers – give them a second chance.


NEWS RELEASE                                            Contact: Greg Distefano

August 28, 2014                                           Phone: 718 757 4552


Unjust, unfair firing of probationary teachers – give them a second chance.

Press conference

Tuesday, September 2, 4:30 PM

in front of the Department of Education (Tweed), 52 Chambers Street.

Stephanie (Barchitta) Casertano  PS3 Staten Island and

Dana Parisi PS253 Brooklyn,

both discontinued, will speak briefly, will deliver their appeals to Carmen Fariña, and will be available for interview.

Others may join them.

Under the Bloomberg / Klein administration, many principals were hired based on management, not educational/pedagogical skill. While some grew to be fine principals, hundreds remained incompetent and became abusive. And as probationers can be fired without cause, hundreds of probationary teachers were unjustly discontinued and prohibited from working anywhere in the NYC Department of Education.

The teachers here today could work elsewhere in the system – other principals want them. They spent many years of college preparation, and were fired without being given proper support. But they are unfairly barred. They are asking the Chancellor to review their discontinuances. And we urge the Chancellor to review all the discontinuances of incompetent principals.

New Action is a caucus within the United Federation of Teachers.

“We Will Not Go Back” – support march for justice

New Action supports the “We Will Not Go Back” march on Staten Island this Saturday, August 23, 2014. Further, we support the UFT leadership’s decision to be a sponsor.

The event, called by the National Action Network, is demanding justice for the deaths of Eric Garner, 43-year-old father of six from Staten Island, and 18-year-old Michael Brown, killed in Ferguson, Mo. There are three co-sponsors: the NAACP, the UFT, and SEIU-1199.

Garner, a Black man from Staten Island, died after being placed in a chokehold by a policeman on July 17. He had been selling loosies. Michael Brown, a Black man, was shot at least six times by police and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 7. The killing has generated protests in Ferguson and around the country. The protests in Ferguson have been met by disproportionate police force, including military equipment and paraphernalia, including tear gas, tanks, assault weapons, and sniper rifles.

The Staten Island Advance quoted de Blasio:

De Blasio said protesters should model their rally after a 2012 peaceful march in which he was a participant to change the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.
“It was the decisive moment in crystalizing support for change in the stop-and-frisk policy,” said de Blasio, according to the report. “It was an absolutely peaceful demonstration that got its message out and there was absolute coordination between the police and protesters.”

In the wake of the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, New Action’s Michael Shulman proposed to the UFT Executive Board a resolution opposing stop and frisk. A similar resolution was passed, and the UFT’s stance led the way to a citywide coalition calling a powerful demonstration. Opposition to stop and frisk became a key plank in Bill de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor.

There has been some negative reaction to the march and UFT’s role. The PBA’s president denounced Mulgrew. Others have questioned the leading role of Al Sharpton. While we understand the objections, the march is organized for justice, not against an organization or for an individual. New Action strongly supports the march. Marching for justice is the right thing to do. Further, New Action applauds our UFT leadership for endorsing the march. We are with Mulgrew on this one.

Assemble at Bay Street and Victory Boulevard, Staten Island (short walk from the Staten Island Ferry), 11 AM this Saturday, August 23, 2014. The march kicks off at noon, and is scheduled to end at 3. See here for directions. Or click here to see if you can get a seat on a bus caravan.

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August 2014