Archive for the 'Chapter Leaders' Category



Welcome Back, Chapter Leaders

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2013 Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT Leaflet 2013 September

Welcome! New Action welcomes you to the Citywide Chapter Leader meeting.

New Action/UFT is one of several caucuses (political parties) in the United Federation of Teachers. There are differences between the caucuses. But we believe that whatever differences there are, that the external enemies of our union and the threat to the members outweighs our differences.  Today we see that, as our entire union faces the challenge of the new teacher evaluation system.

We work with our leadership, yet remain independent and critical of the leadership when warranted. To that end, we have worked with Michael Mulgrew and Unity Caucus in a bipartisan relationship that we believe benefits the membership. New Action chairs Michael Shulman and Jonathan Halabi, and eight additional New Action supporters, give voice to members’ concerns on the UFT Executive Board.

ABUSIVE ADMINISTRATORS

We sincerely hope you are in one of the many schools with collaborative principals. That relationship makes for a healthy work environment and benefits staff and students. Too many principals, however, are not collaborative, and many are downright abusive. We need to modify the behavior of all abusive and troublesome administrators.

Particularly troubling are principals who target UFT chapter leaders. We need to prioritize standing up for Chapter Leaders – they are our members’ first line of defense!

Organizing a response requires a strong chapter. Chapters that regularly meet and discuss issues of importance are chapters that are in a better position to mobilize.

CONTRACT

We have been working without a contract, or rather, under an expired contract, for 47 months. On Halloween it will be a full four years. The settlement of our contract is long overdue. The hold up? Bloomberg and his demands for unreasonable concessions, or for breaking the pattern and trying to pay us less.

But there will be a change in City Hall come January 1. We look forward to a contract, before this year is out:

  • with RETROACTIVE PAY – for EVERYONE – including recent retirees.
  • with NO GIVE BACKS
  • with 4% and 4% for the first two years (2009-10 and 2010-11)
  • and that allows us to work under a CURRENT, UNEXPIRED CONTRACT

Teacher Evaluation

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2013 Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT Leaflet 2013 September

TEACHER EVALUATION

New Action opposed the adoption of this new teacher evaluation system every step of the way. It weakens tenure and introduces rating teachers on students standardized test scores. We advocate changing or repealing the state law.

Already chapters are seeing disagreements between the DoE and the UFT about how the system should work. This was not ready for 2013 implementation.

But today the system is here. We are immediately faced with complexities: school-based committees have already chosen local measures (MOSL). Members must choose which observation model soon. There will be artifacts, discussions. At the September 9 UFT Executive Board, Regina Gori, Exec Board member and Chapter Leader at the Brooklyn New School, asked what recommendations we can make to members for the choices they are facing. The answer directed them to the “Quick Start Guide” for information, but the leadership is not willing to make recommendations, indicating this is a personal choice.

Our members come to Chapter Leaders seeking advice. They do so because the CLs often have greater knowledge or insight. Likewise CLs approach our union’s leadership. It is unseemly to deny advice to chapter leaders. This should change, now.

With good information, Chapter Leaders can lead informed chapter discussions. And discussion of issues that matter, including teacher evaluation, helps build stronger chapters.

GOING FORWARD IN 2012-2013 … OUR PRIORITIES

(from the New Action September 2012 Chapter Leaders meeting leaflet)
For a printable version click Leaflet 2012 September)

GETTING RID OF MAYORAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION

Mayoral Control has been an absolute disaster for educators, students, parents, and our communities.  Bloomberg has literally wrecked our schools with constant reorganizations, test prep, bashing our members, attacking our union, gutting special education, and closing schools.

ABUSIVE ADMINISTRATORS

We sincerely hope you are in one of the many schools with collaborative principals. That relationship makes for a healthy work environment and benefits staff and students. Too many principals, however, are not collaborative, and many are downright abusive. We need to modify the behavior of all abusive and troublesome administrators.

Last year New Action worked to rid Bronxdale High School of John Chase. He was removed from that school. New Action has published “14 Things You Can Do to Get Rid of an Abusive Administrator” which you can find on our website – or e-mail us at new.action.uft@gmail.com.

DEFEAT THE ULTRA-RIGHT

The current election is a choice between the current administration, and a party that would gut social security,  medicare, and Medicaid, a party that would promote vouchers, a party that displays outright hostility to unions, their members, and their rights. We cannot afford to have Scott Walker’s “no contract” policies go national.

We must commit ourselves to tirelessly working to reelect Barack Obama president. This includes phonebanking, talking to friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and even making trips to battleground states. We are under no illusions, we have had serious disagreements with Obama, including around Central Falls and Race to the Top. But where we disagree, we can talk and engage in dialogue.

We must do everything in our power to reelect President Barack Obama and defeat the ultra-right in November.

CONTRACT

The settlement of our contract is long overdue. The economic situation in no way the hang up. Rather, Bloomberg has insisted on outrageous concessions, including some that pit newer colleagues against more senior, that erode tenure, and that allow teachers to be fired as a result of a school being reorganized.  Bloomberg’s contract demands would disrupt schools and communities, and his “reforms” have.

We are currently in factfinding – but there is a danger that when the factfinder gives us some of what we want, and gives them some of what they want, that non-negotiables will be included.

We demand a good economic package, with no concessions on core issues.

TEACHER EVALUATION

We oppose tying tenure decisions to standardized tests. The negotiations on Race to the Top in New York State led to many dangerous concessions. 25% or 40% of tenure decisions will be based on student test results. This has the potential for disaster for our members.

The DoE shows nothing but bad faith on our current appeals process. 100% of the decisions being overturned is not a process – it is a farce, a cruel hoax.

New Action remains deeply concerned about the potential for Bloomberg’s proposals for teacher evaluation system to be a thinly disguised assault on due process rights.

STAND UP FOR CHAPTER LEADERS

As part of Bloomberg’s campaign against seniority and tenure, he has singled out one group of unionists in particular: Chapter Leaders.

The examples are numerous. Many have been reported on in our union paper. But the numbers reported are only the tip of the iceberg.  Some cases include chapter leaders being singled out for program abuse, forced to transfer schools, harassed with multiple “unsatisfactory” observations, and in every borough, chapter leaders who are singled out for unsubstantiated U-ratings.

We need to stand up for those who are our first line of defense—UFT chapter leaders!

From the Archives: ANDREW JACKSON H.S. CLOSED – IS YOUR SCHOOL NEXT?

December 1993

Without any consultation the Queens H.S. superintendent and the Board decided to close the schools and “clean house” of existing staff. At the December 1st D.A., the Jackson H.S. chapter leader said “if they can do it to us, they can close any school and displace its staff without regard to seniority.”

A chapter resolution was presented calling on our union to take legal action, if necessary, to prevent the closing. A Unity member presented a motion to table, which passed.

The belated response of the union was to pass another resolution protesting the manner in which Jackson was closed. But will the union back up the resolution? Will we militantly protest the closing of any school without prior consultation with the UFT and the school staff?

We cannot allow the Board to make us scapegoats for their failed policies.

(Reprinted on the Leaflet 2012 June from the Delegate Assembly)


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.
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