Archive for the 'UFT elections' Category

New Action to Run Slate in Spring UFT Elections

Priority Issues

Fight administrative abuse – Defend Chapter Leaders, Probationers, and ATRs

Last year NEW ACTION and MORE brought Chapter Leader after Chapter Leader up to UFT Executive Board meetings to speak up against the 200 or so Principals and Administrators who are making life hell for UFT members. These included Chapter Leaders from, CPE 1, Tottenville High School, and numerous members from the Adult Ed chapter, and teachers from other schools.

New Action supports a union led campaign against abusive administrators. We would bring back our Campaign for Principals in Need of Improvement (which Unity dropped without explanation)

The new contract has many more arbitration days. We need to ensure that these are used to fight abusive administrators.

In order to prevent the harassment of veteran staff the DOE must return to unit costing. The current teacher funding formula is a leftover from the Bloomberg/Klein administration. It encourages principals to avoid hiring experienced educators. This hurts principals, teachers, schools, and students. It’s time to end “Fair Student Funding!” The DOE won’t bargain FSF in contract negotiations? Then we should be pushing the issue outside negotiations, and joining with schools and community groups who are also being hurt by this process.

Provide basic rights to probationary teachers. Too often, these educators have been unfairly discontinued by their principals. Where a principal has shown questionable judgment, it is in our interest to challenge that judgment. Basically, probationers can be discontinued without cause. This is just not right or just.

 

Evaluation

End tying ratings to bogus test scores. –The recently concluded contract reduced the number of observations for highly effective and effective rated teachers to two a year. For Unity Caucus this was a big improvement since only a year ago their leaders were arguing that teachers wanted more observations.

Remove student test scores from teacher ratings.

Allow teachers to challenge the judgment of administrators – we must be allowed to challenge an observation that is wrong

 

Lower Class Size

We have been dragging our feet to long on this. There have been NO REDUCTIONS IN OVER 50 YEARS. In contract negotiations the UFT has pitted salary increases against a reduction in class size. Why wait to push for the implementation of the CFE court ruling.  How will conditions ever improve until we address this? We need to address class size outside of contract negotiations, and to involve parents and community organizations in this just struggle.

 

Segregation

Schools in New York City have become the most segregated in the nation. We have an obligation to remedy this situation. The DoE has ideas. The UFT needs to offering our own solutions.

We must also address the ongoing crisis of disappearing Black and Hispanic educators.

 

High Schools

Bloomberg, with Gates money, and Unity Caucus support, broke up many of our large high schools. Gates declared this experiment a failure, and walked away from it. Many neighborhoods in New York City are no longer served by an academic comprehensive high school that is large enough to provide rich academic and extra-curricular options. Teachers are denied the opportunity for the range of professional conversations that a larger department provides. Where mini-schools have obviously not worked, we should be urging the Department of Education to merge schools.

High school teachers formerly had borough-wide PD with teachers in the same subject area, with the possibility of a wide ranging exchange of ideas. High School teachers need these opportunities restored.

Regents Exam grading must be returned to the schools.

 

Improve Our Health Benefits

The newly concluded contract introduced 2-Tier system that places new members in HIP for the first year is a disgrace. In the next contract will the City and our union agree to put new members in an HMO for the duration of their probation? Our dental benefits are woefully inadequate! Why is there no coverage for implants? Shouldn’t deductibles be brought down?

And while we are glad to have won parental leave, the six weeks is just a start. We should be looking for more, for a more comprehensive and longer lasting leave that covers taking care of a sick parent or relative as well as childbirth.

NEW ACTION AND MORE SWEEP ALL SEVEN HIGH SCHOOL EXECUTIVE BOARD SEATS

MORE-New Action Election logo idea 2 (5) (2)NEW ACTION AND MORE SWEEP ALL SEVEN HIGH SCHOOL EXECUTIVE BOARD SEATS

The announcement on May 27, 2016 that Jia Lee, New Action/MORE presidential candidate won 21% of the citywide vote was a terrific victory, especially since this was her first run for the position. Michael Mulgrew won with a total of 76%. While a solid victory for Unity Caucus it is interesting to note that in the last UFT election (2013) he received 84% and in 2010 his vote totaled 91%.

Clearly, the fact that Mulgrew was not cross endorsed by New Action, as he was in 2013 and 2010 was a big factor in his decreased vote as President. The total vote for Mulgrew was 39,175 and for Jia it was 10,743

Our major goal in this election was to win the high school division. We did!

Several significant factors characterized this election:

  • New Action/MORE won all seven high school seats by 2,292 to 2,077. Our candidates: Kuljit Ahluwalia, David Garcia-Rosen, Arthur Goldstein, Ashraya Gupta, Jonathan Halabi, Marcus McArthur, Michael Schirtzer will meet as they begin to serve as executive board members. This victory continues the legacy of New Action’s role in the high schools, Beginning in the mid 1980’s, New Action dominated the high school division. After 1985 when Michael Shulman won the Academic HS Vice Presidency, New Action has either won or played the determining role in high school elections. Only after Unity Caucus rammed through UFT constitutional changes did Unity win the HS Vice Presidency. Divisions no longer elect their VP’s – instead all officers are elected by the membership at large, thus guaranteeing no division can elect their own representative.
  • This election cycle, it was New Action/MORE that won the high schools. It could not have been done if the caucuses ran separately. The combined strength of New Action and MORE not only secured the high schools but increased our vote totals in all divisions. For the two caucuses, this was the first attempt to turn the direction of the union around. Our major joint campaign literature- featuring Jia Lee and the New Action/MORE program- was distributed to 60,000 UFT members. In addition, New Action and MORE put out tens of thousands of additional pieces of election material to the schools. In future elections, an increased focus on the intermediate and middle schools may turn that division to New Action and MORE.
  • Literally, hundreds of Chapter Leaders agreed to distribute New Action/MORE literature in their schools. We were very successful in having our members and supporters in the schools get out literature not only in their own schools but to surrounding schools. New Action played a major role in having our retiree members distribute in over 300 schools.
  • The total vote went up considerably from the previous election. In 2013 only 18% of in-service members voted. The three caucuses—New Action, MORE, and Unity made a larger vote turnout a priority. This was also accomplished. In 2013 the total vote was approximately 42,000. This election the number was 52,000.

New Action and MORE have a real challenge going forward. The UFT led by Unity Caucus has ignored so many issues facing our members. We have an obligation to put forward our program on behalf of the entire membership. Our election commitment was to activate and mobilize UFT members for a better contract in 2018. Immediately, we have to protect members and Chapter Leaders from abusive administrators. We are committed to opposing the use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers. We must demand the permanent placement of ATR’s and putting a stop to the practice of arbitrary and capricious discontinuance of probationary members. We will continue to support the Opt-Out movement. We must fight for real union democracy. We do not have any confidence that Unity Caucus has these issues as their priority. Most importantly, we must foster membership involvement at the school level. UFT members must know and feel their union has “their backs.”

Where we agree, where we disagree

From New Action’s May 2016 Leaflet

Where We Agree

We agree that 200 lawyers at Tweed is about 200 too many. But we need leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that the current funding formula for schools makes no sense, that principals are forced to discriminate against experienced teachers, that schools, kids, teachers all get hurt. But we need leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that abusive and incompetent administrators are a problem. But we need leadership that restores and expands the Principals In Need of Improvement Program, resurrects the highly successful Organizing Committee, and targets principals who go after our members, leadership that brings the abusers to Fariña, sits down, and gets them out.

We agree that arbitrary extensions of probation are unfair. But we need a leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that parents have a right to opt their children out of tests. But we need leadership that actively informs parents of this right.

Where We Disagree

We disagree with a leadership that insists that student test scores be part of our evaluation.

We disagree with a leadership that is in love with the Common Core. We disagree with one-size-fits all in math, and we can’t believe that teachers are being stopped from teaching whole books and are limited to chapters or excerpts.

We disagree with creating separate, unequal “rights” for members in excess.

And we disagree with jobs and promotions being given out based on obedience to a caucus instead of merit.

Vote MORE/New Action

Combat Abusive Administrators – Return to Fair Funding! – Get rid of the Lawyers! – Protect Probationers

Protect ATRs – Fight for Union Democracy – End “Drive By” and “Test Score” Teacher Evaluation

Support Jia Lee, Opt Out Leader, for UFT President


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