Archive for April, 2015

Resolution in support of Unit Costing for the NYC Department of Education

The following resolution was submitted to the April 27, 2015 UFT Executive Board. Jonathan Halabi (me) motivated, and began by excusing the technical nature of the details.

1. School Closures + 2. Unit Costing + 3. End of Seniority Transfers + 4. Fair Student Funding have led to a crazy system where principals avoid hiring experienced educators (to save money) but end up costing the city more (by hiring brand new hires). This is the combination that floods the ATR pool.

Schools that desperately need experienced educators are coerced into avoiding them. Schools, principals, teachers, and kids are the losers, and only Klein and Bloomberg and the reformers are winners.

And now that school closures seem to be stopping, Andrew Cuomo is going to start it up again, with receivership.

The easiest link in that quartet to attack is Unit Costing – especially since we can negotiate outside the contract, with Fariña who has every reason to agree with us, and it is either cost-saving or cost-neutral.

The reso was tabled to check if it is in conflict with previous resolutions. We expect to revisit it at the next UFT Exec Board, May 4.

Whereas under the Bloomberg and Klein regime, the number of educators seeking to transfer was forced to go up, while it became harder for educators with significant experience to transfer;

And whereas massive school closings led many experienced educators to seek transfers;

And whereas the end of seniority transfers took away the guarantee that most educators would be able to easily find new placement, and introduced “mutual consent” whereby an educator could be easily rejected;

And whereas the end of unit costing put an actual price next to each educator’s name in the school budget;

And whereas Fair Student Funding gave principals budgetary incentive to avoid hiring experienced (and expensive) educators;

And whereas this helped flood the ATR pool and keep it full;

And whereas this led to many administrators avoiding accepting experienced educators;

And whereas this result was caused by all four of the above changes taken in combination – massive school closings, the end of seniority transfers, the end of unit costing, and school based personnel budgeting – and that any three of them would not have been enough to cause this crisis;

And whereas this led to de facto budget cuts for schools that did not lose educators in any given year, due to contractual raises;

And whereas this led to the perverse practice of principals hiring brand new educators, inflating the DoE budget, which is real, in order to reduce the school’s budget, which is not;

And whereas the new de Blasio Administration and chancellor Fariña have not continued the practice of massive school closures, but Andrew Cuomo has forced “receivership” into law, which will force experienced educators to apply for new placements;

And whereas the United Federation of Teachers successfully bargained a clause in the new contract that removes the financial constraint on principals hiring ATRs, but 1) that provision does not apply to other experienced educators, who our schools desperately need, and 2) notwithstanding the clause in the new contract, many principals are reluctant to take ATRs because of a long history of paying a financial penalty for hiring experienced educators;

And whereas Klein’s DoE successfully argued that unit costing was not subject to collective baragaining;

And whereas the new de Blasio Administration and chancellor Fariña have been willing to engage in constructive conversation with the UFT, therefore

Be it resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will vigorously raise the issue of returning to unit costing (ie, charging each school the citywide average for each salary) with Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for school year 2015-2016, and will negotiate a rapid implementation, without harming current school budgets;

And be it further resolved that these discussions and negotiations are understood to be separate and apart from any contract negotiations.

Advertisements

Funding

The current teacher funding formula is another Klein leftover. It encourages principals to avoid hiring experienced educators. It punishes schools that hire them. This hurts principals, teachers, schools, kids. Shouldn’t Mulgrew and Fariña be ending Fair Student Funding?

Cuomo’s War on Educators

Andrew Cuomo got much of what he wanted in his attack on NY state’s teachers.   Tenure now will take four years. Fifty percent of our ratings will be based on standardized tests that our students take. It will be quicker to fire teachers. This set of changes is designed to “churn” teachers, to make teaching a short-term career – in some places. Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Cuomo’s partner, made clear which places do and which places don’t deserve experienced educators – April 1 she proposed exempting top (affluent) districts from the new evaluation system, and the next day she proposed exempting high-performing NYC schools.

It’s not just teachers who Cuomo targeted – the new system will lead to many more tests for our students.

It is impossible to ignore the role of our union’s leadership in this. The NY Daily News reported: “city lawmakers said they were told by Mulgrew’s team that voting for the package would not be held against them.” On March 29 Mulgrew e-mailed the membership, claiming victory. Once members learned the details, he backpedaled. On April 1 he sent out a correction.

New Action applauds the acts of protest and solidarity against Governor Cuomo’s “educational reform.” 150 schools linked arms around their schools. We must build so next time 1700 participate. But it is hard to get behind a campaign that says 50% tests is too much, but 40% is ok. The vast majority of teachers know that evaluating us based on test scores makes no sense. It is time for Unity leadership to discard its discredited, pro-testing stance.

Note:  
September 2014 New Action moved to
endorse Zephyr Teachout in her race against Andrew Cuomo.
Unity blocked this endorsement.

 

Support the Resolution to Protect Planned Parenthood

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the March 2015 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: March 2015 Leaflet

On March 10, 2015, New Action/UFT introduced a resolution denouncing the attacks on Planned Parenthood. Since the Republicans in the House and Senate have set their sights on defunding Planned Parenthood and have several bills in the Congress to completely get rid of the program it is important that the UFT use its influence to stop this and involve the AFT and NYSUT and publicize this fight among our members and our allies in labor and our allies in the community, at large. The resolution is on tonight’s agenda – we urge you to support it.

New Action Wants Your Thoughts and Your Help

What do you think about what you read here? Do you have suggestions for future topics? E-mail us, write us, or call us. We want to hear from you.

You can join us by filling in the coupon below. Financial contributions are always welcome. Do you receive our leaflets in your school? If not, one of the most important ways you can help is to distribute leaflets in the mailboxes in your school. Let us know how many you need. You can also send share links to interesting articles with your members.

*********************************************************************************

new.action.uft@gmail.com
Michael (Bklyn) (646) 286-3288
Jon (Bx) (917) 856-6595
Greg (SI) (718) 757-4552

********************************************************************************

_____ I would like to join New Action/UFT ($25 for pedagogues, $15 for all others)

_____ I would like to distribute New Action/UFT material at my school
_____ Number of copies

Name _______________________            Title _________________________________

Address ____________________________   School _____________________________

Phone _____________________ E-mail _____________________________________

Abusive Administrators

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the March 2015 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: March 2015 Leaflet

With so many abusive and non-collaborative administrators, isn’t it time to reinstate the union’s Principals in Need of Improvement (PINI) program? Unity leadership ended the program, but we desperately need it restored and expanded to the literally hundreds of schools with problem administrators. If your school has abusive or non-collaborative administrators, let your DR know. E-mail the leadership, remind them that we need PINI back. And contact New Action/UFT.

Protest action at Tweed – Unfairly Discontinued Probationers

New Action/UFT announces on Thursday April 23 2015  a protest action at Tweed Courthouse 52 Chambers Street  Manhattan on behalf of unjustly discontinued Probationary teachers. This action will take place from 3:30 – 5:30. Please make every effort to attend. The teachers need your help.

For questions or comments please contact Greg Di Stefano at 718 757 4552