Archive for the 'New York' Category



Abusive, Incompetent Administrators – Overlapping Problems in our Schools

(from an updated version of the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2014 Chapter Leaders’ Meeting).
For a printable version click: Fall 2014 Leaflet Front and back

The number of incompetent principals in the system, according to Carmen Fariña, is over 300. Many are the same principals who are abusive of our members, other staff, or students.

The UFT has a PINI Program – principals in need of improvement. Unfortunately, PINI is not utilized as much as it should be, and Unity Caucus will not use PINI in the hundreds of schools where members are too afraid to fight.

Campaigns against these abusers are especially needed. Can you imagine conditions so bad that your colleagues are too scared of reprisal to complain? These are schools where the union should be going in to organize, where the leadership should be addressing the problem principal directly with the Chancellor. But instead, our leadership may provide some individual support to the teachers involved, but does not challenge the abuser.

What do do: Contact your District Rep. Contact New Action. Read “A Primer on School Changehttp://www.uft.org/news-stories/primer-school-change. (New York Teacher)

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Some Urgent issues for today – Funding

(from an updated version of the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2014 Chapter Leaders’ Meeting).
For a printable version click: Fall 2014 Leaflet Front and back

Which costs more: hiring a brand new teacher, or placing a teacher whose salary is already being paid? Clearly, it is cheaper for the City to place the teacher whose salary is already being paid.

Fair Student Funding (FSF), though, perversely “charges” the principal pretend money, and leads most to avoid placing the teacher who is already on payroll!

Fair Student Funding leads to discrimination against experienced teachers, and costs the City more money!

Excessed teachers in the ATR pool will not be part of this calculation – but principals have become used to avoiding them and will continue to discriminate.

This can be easily fixed: School budgets should be charged the Citywide average teacher salary for each teacher, not school average.

Some Urgent issues for today – Teacher Evaluation

(from an updated version of the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2014 Chapter Leaders’ Meeting).
For a printable version click: Fall 2014 Leaflet Front and back

New Action has opposed the Teacher Evaluation System since its inception.

Rating teachers based on the Danielson model look like the “checklist” we used to decry. Tying evaluation to student test scores is inherently arbitrary and unfair.

Yet this is the system in place. What should we do?

The union worked with Fariña to creating additional observation options. The new contract reduced the number of items we are rated on. These are positive changes.

But we need more. State law linking ratings to student test scores should be amended. “Developing” ratings have consequences – including getting passed over for transfers. We need the right to appeal D’s. And we need a process for questioning the principal’s judgment BEFORE the final rating.

“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.

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.