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New Action/UFT and MORE: Support Chapter Leader and School under attack

New Action Caucus / UFT and MORE Caucus, and our representatives on the UFT Executive Board wrote to the Unity Caucus controlled leadership of the UFT, asking for real demonstrations of support for an embattled Chapter Leader (Marilyn Martinez, Central Park East 1, facing trumped up 3020a charges) and an embattled school (JHS 145, District 7, threatened with closure at the PEP, in service to Moskowitz).

 Shamefully, the leadership chose not to come to the Chapter Leader’s 3020a hearing. We hope they do better with the PEP in support of JHS 145, but if they do not, you can still attend: Wednesday March 22, 6PM, HS for Fashion Industries, W24th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

March 9, 2017

Dear President Mulgrew, Vice Presidents Alford, Hinds, and Mantell and Assistant Secretary Barr:

As you know, our union, and the labor movement as a whole, is under major threat by the anti-labor initiatives promised by the Trump administration, as well as by the inevitable return of a case like last year’s Friedrichs to the Supreme Court.

In such an environment, it is crucial that the rank and file members of our union see that the UFT is at the front lines fighting to defend members publicly at every available opportunity.

There are two important opportunities to do so in the coming days that our union leadership must act on.

First, the Chapter Leader of Central Park East I, Marilyn Martinez, is facing 3020A charges which are clearly retaliatory from the abusive principal Monika Garg.  Fifty parents and UFT members attended the first two days of hearings last week.  We ask that you or Elementary Vice President Karen Alford attend the final day of the hearing this Friday, March 10 in order to send a clear message to the DOE, the arbitrator, and UFT rank and filers that the UFT supports this chapter leader. We further ask you to offer the assistance of the UFT press office in publicizing this defense.  We further ask that you intervene personally with the chancellor around this case. If we do not defend our chapter leaders publicly and strongly, we may soon not have a union to defend at all.

Second, JHS 145 in the Bronx is facing a closure vote at the Panel for Educational Policy meeting on Wednesday March 22nd. The largely immigrant school community has mobilized to oppose the closing. As unionists committed to defending public education, we must join our voices with those of parents, students and teachers in opposition to this proposed closure. The Delegate Assembly scheduled for that day should adjourn early to allow Delegates, Chapter Leaders and the union leadership to attend the nearby PEP Meeting en masse.

In Solidarity,

UFT Executive Board members high school division

KJ Ahluwalia, Arthur Goldstein, Ashraya Gupta, Jonathan Halabi, Marcus McArthur, David Rosen, Mike Schirtzer

Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE caucus UFT)

New Action Caucus / UFT

Resolution on Academic, Comprehensive, and CTE High Schools

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

(click here for more information about this resolution)

Whereas the DOE has closed many academic comprehensive and CTE high schools since the late 1990s and,

Whereas large parts of the city have left students and parents with no large schools to choose and,

Whereas in some cases elementary and middle school students have been placed in schools with high school students and,

Whereas hundreds of small high schools have been created to replace large schools often without replicating the numerous curricular options, services and extra-curricular activities that the large schools once offered and,

Whereas the campus school model has led to the DOE creating multiple administrations in each building leading to increases in cost and bureaucracy, and

Whereas large academic, comprehensive high school buildings were designed and built to accommodate one school, but forcing several schools to share space often leads to poor utilization of the cafeteria, auditorium, gyms, or their use at peculiar and limited times of the day, and

Whereas large academic, comprehensive high school buildings were designed and built with a single wing of science labs, a single wing of music rooms, of art rooms, and other and specialty rooms, leaving those specialty rooms inaccessible to students from small schools once the building has been dissected, and

Whereas in many small schools there are predominantly inexperienced staff members who face serious challenges enforcing the UFT Contract and protecting members’ rights, and

Whereas in a December 4, 2002 UFT Delegate Assembly resolution the UFT affirmed our commitment to “encouraging a variety of educational settings for students and staff,” but decried the lack of foresight and planning, and

Whereas, in May 2005 the UFT’s Small School Task Force issued a groundbreaking report, recommending changes to how small schools are created, and

Whereas the efficacy of using one building to house multiple schools had not been studied or evaluated, be it

Resolved that the UFT should establish a committee which will:

  • Study the efficacy of the campus school model
  • Review the conclusions in the UFT’s Small School Task Force report
  • Determine what options, activities and community experiences have been denied students in campus buildings
  • Determine which campus schools have had some success and why
  • Evaluate the effect of breaking up large schools have had on the UFT Chapters
  • Examine the practices that have enabled some small chapters to address these challenges

and be it further

Resolved, that this committee shall make recommendations, including but not limited to, how to increase cooperation among the schools in a campus, improve the delivery of services to students, develop a greater sense of community and cohesion within the buildings, and/or how to reconstitute some of the large academic, comprehensive and CTE high schools,

And be it further resolved that this committee shall make recommendations for helping strengthen chapters and support chapter leaders in campus schools.

Stand up for Public Education – Defeat Cuomo’s Voucher Bill

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

Andrew Cuomo continues his fight against public education and the students of New York State. We must continue to oppose him.

Support the resolution on tonight’s Delegate Assembly agenda, against the “Education Tax Credit “ bill (it’s just a voucher bill.) Support the resolution against Cuomo’s latest attempt to raise or eliminate the charter cap in NYC.

And join the NYSUT and UFT social media campaigns against both of these attempts by Cuomo to undermine public education.

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

Press Conference Held to Highlight Unjust Discontinuances

New Action /UFT held a press conference on Sept. 2 , the first day of school , to highlight the unjust firing in recent years of probationary teachers in schools with abusive administrators. Teachers spoke of their situations and letters were left at the security desk to be delivered to Chancellor Farina . More than 25 UFT members were present consisting of both active and retired members. Chancellor Farina has yet to respond to these letters. A resolution was brought by New Action UFT at the UFT Executive Board on Sept. 22 calling for the UFT to meet with Chancellor Farina and restore these teachers eligibility to work. Any Probationary teacher who was fired unjustly should contact Gregory  Di Stefano at 718 757 4552 to participate in further actions.

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(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the November 2013 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: November 2013 Leaflet

The Teacher Evaluation Train Wreck is Unfolding Before Us


From Requirements of Education Law Section 3012-c:

“Teachers rated ineffective on student performance based on objective assessments must be rated ineffective overall. Teachers who are developing or ineffective will get assistance and support to improve performance. Teachers who remain ineffective can be removed from classrooms.”

This means that a teacher rated “ineffective” on both State tests and Local Measures must be rated “ineffective,” even if the principal finds them exceptional in the classroom.

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

Rating teachers based on using some form of the Danielson model is one thing. To tie our evaluation to student test scores is unacceptable. To have in State Law that a teacher’s rating can be based entirely on test scores is outrageous.

On Oct. 21, 2013, the 10 New Action members of the UFT Executive Board proposed:

Resolved the UFT will make it a legislative priority to remove from NY State Law any provision that makes it possible to rate a teacher ineffective entirely on test scores.

Resolved that the UFT will discuss this priority with the Mayor-Elect, in order that we might jointly lobby the New York State Legislature to effect this change.

The UFT Should Address State Education Law, 3012-c

This reasonable position was tabled by the rest of the union leadership. Their substitute resolution calls for expanding MOSL to include student work, including projects and portfolios, calls for a review process for teachers who get “Ineffectives” on local and state measures to see if the local measures were “appropriate,” “fair” and “reliable,” and calls for a moratorium on “high-stakes consequences” for state tests.

This does not go far enough. While these proposals, if negotiated with the DOE, would bring some relief from this evaluation system, they do not address the real problem: ANY EVALUATION BASED ON STUDENT TEST SCORES will not improve teaching. It will not improve our schools. It will not improve the education of our students.

The biggest difference between the New Action resolution (tabled) and the substitute resolution?  The substitute does not address necessary changes to the State Law that established this evaluation system. The legislation itself must be changed.

Teacher Evaluation – What’s Coming? and What Next?

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

What’s coming?

This storm is just starting. Many teachers have as yet to be observed. We are 11 months away from year-end ratings. Very few of us have begun to digest that low scores on the 20% State and 20% Local Measures Components will trump the judgment of a principal who supports you and thinks you are effective.

And we are a full year from teachers with I’s working in fear of their jobs, and teachers with D’s having to report both to their own principal and to an outside administrator.

And, little as we like to think of it, we are almost two years from at least hundreds of tenured teachers being fired.

What Next?

We should continue fighting problems caused by the DoE’s unfaithful implementation of the system King imposed. We should look to renegotiate many of the problematic aspects.

But at its core, this is a system that rests on rating teachers based on standardized test scores, that weakens tenure. We need to go back to Albany and advocate for a repeal of the misguided legislation that led to this evaluation system.

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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.
May 2020