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Mitigating MOSL Madness

Linking student test scores to teacher evaluations has always been a mistake. Good teachers can end up under legalized micromanagement known as a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP) because of a quirk in a formula, input issues, systematic inequities in the system, or simply a bad test day. A couple of years of problems in a row and even a tenured teacher can be on the chopping block.

Still, in recent years, UFT Leadership has stood by the practice, largely citing MOSL as a check and balance to weaponized observations. It’s true, in our system, test scores and observations are ‘averaged’ together to give teachers their final rating. That means that if a vindictive principal contrives a Developing MOTP rating for a teacher they’ve targeted in observations, that same teacher’s MOSL score can often bump them up to Effective overall. Unfortunately, this argument conveniently omits the opposite possibility. A teacher with Highly Effective observations can be bumped down to a Developing if they have a fluke MOSL score.

Why MOSL Doesn’t Work (even in a good year)

One of the big flukes in MOSL calculations has to do with bad inputs. You’d be surprised how many of us get tied to phantom classes that don’t really exist (or which are closed down after a few months or weeks). One year, I received a 3.50 (Effective, .01 short of Highly Effective) on MOTP, and was surprised to return to school with an overall rating of Developing. It turned out I’d gotten an Ineffective on the MOSL, which trumps even Highly Effective MOTP scores. That prompted me to look through the raw data, where I figured out the problem. It turned out that my scores were linked incorrectly to a phantom class we ended up cancelling, so my scores were based on the test results of students I didn’t actually teach. Because I was listed incorrectly as their teacher of record, on paper it looked like I didn’t teach them anything while being their teacher. In truth, I didn’t teach them anything, because I wasn’t their teacher (indeed, these were students retaking an old Regents from years ago). It took me a few months, but my principal signed the paperwork acknowledging the mistake, and I got the DOE to fix the problem. With scores recalculated based on students I actually taught, I had an Effective overall. But the onus was on me to prove it. The same thing has happened to other teachers I know, many of whom opt to keep the Developing rating just to avoid doing the paperwork.

Are your students ‘Present’ enough to count?

Another problem I’ve seen come up many times is students who are members of a teacher’s roster counting against the teacher even though they don’t actually go to class. Technically, if a student doesn’t show up to class, they’re supposed to be taken out of your equation. This should happen if a student doesn’t show up to school at all during the year. But, let’s say you teach a student first period, and they never show up to your class, but do attend third period every day. That means that they are officially present. So, if that student takes your Regents and fails it, you’ll see a bad growth score tied to you, even though you might have done all the outreach in the world and still never met them. I’ve seen this many times, and unlike the previous situation, there’s currently no way to petition the DOE to address a MOSL score that resulted from faulty attendance assumptions.

Which schools are ‘comparable?’

Currently, teacher growth scores are calculated by comparing the results of teachers from schools with similar student populations. What that means is vague to most of us, but even if schools have populations who come in at similar levels, it’s absurd to assume equal conditions.

Here is an example of why. I used to teach at a high school that gave freshmen two hours a day of instruction in Living Environment. Now I teach at a school where students get only one 45 minute period of Living Environment. Differences like these are not accounted for in the system. There is no weighting for the fact that students are getting more than 2x as much instruction in school 1 vs school 2. Inevitably, this means that because of differences in school policy on which the teachers have no control, teacher 2 would be at a significant disadvantage in a competition with teacher 1. If the practice at school 1 was prevalent enough, a good LE teacher who only saw their students for 45 minutes would arbitrarily be deemed Developing or Ineffective.

Similarly, there is currently no adjustment made for students attached to you who are not correctly serviced. Wrongly given a bilingual section of a class even though you don’t speak the language of the students? Have an ICT class without a coteacher? Teaching a class with 40 students? Too bad, you’ll be judged under the assumption that your classes are in compliance and compared to teachers at schools where students actually are fully serviced. Again, teachers doing the best with what they have are penalized for failings of their administration or of the system more broadly.

COVID

Finally, we come down to COVID. This is the first time students will be taking Regents in years. Many students will be taking the culminating Regents in a given discipline, like Algebra 2, even though they were arbitrarily passed through with waivers for the introductory subjects, like Geometry and Algebra (perhaps without actually understanding the subjects well enough to pass an exam). Students have been through tons of trauma, all while getting accustomed to not doing state testing. In that context, how can we really project what student growth will look like with so little data on the past?

We are kidding ourselves if we think we have any idea how to calculate growth in the context of a pandemic where students haven’t been tested in so long. I’m not a fan of standardized testing to begin with – I’m a special education teacher and think it’s absurd to subject our students to the process. But, if we are going to have standardized tests this year, we at the very least shouldn’t use them as part of APPR. If we’re really going to have them, we should consider this our ‘benchmark year’ so that when we resume MOSL in 2022-2023, we at least have some recent data with which to calculate growth. In the meantime, we can take our cue from NYS to disband with APPR this year entirely, or at least use a city-wide MOSL that defaults to Effective, so that no one is at risk of getting Ineffective or Developing because of a likely testing fluke. And maybe, just maybe, before we subject our teachers to individualized MOSL again, we should find a way to fix the flaws discussed above too.

Commentary and Notes on the UFT Delegate Assembly, 5-25-2022

Short Version: Though there were some decent resolutions passed on Asian American curriculum and gun control, from an opposition perspective, this was a very disappointing May Delegate Assembly. The reports lasted until 5:00. There was no attention to critical subjects like the impending MOSL nightmare and our APPR mess, for which Mulgrew has suggested previously that he has only made tepid responses that will be unlikely to work. While Olivia Swisher was called on to speak during the question period, no opposition delegate was called on to raise a motion during the new motions period. Remember: we haven’t been called on since November. Then, the decorum resolution was rushed through. Three resolves that UFC put into one amendment, despite popularity over the phone, failed to pass after a one-sided (Unity-friendly) debate on the resolution itself, and only two speakers being allowed to debate the amendment – one of which was LeRoy Barr (President of Unity Caucus). I was ready to speak to this amendment on the phone, but Rashad Brown called the question after only one opposition speaker – Ryan Bruckenthal – got a chance to speak.

If this is how UFT plans to handle future delegate assemblies, the message isn’t ‘unity,’ as they’ve been pretending (little ‘u’), it’s ‘Unity’ with a big U.

Very disappointing, overall. If you are interested in seeing the resolutions/amendments UFC planned to make on APPR, mayoral control, gun control, and Tier 6 go here.

Long Version (full notes):

4:19, begins.

Mulgrew: A lot of tough things we have to talk about. Rashid Mathis, who does the voice for us, suddenly passed away at the age of 41. He did all of the town halls and helping us through hybrid during the pandemic. We’ll do a couple of moments of silence. Moment of silence begins for Rashid Mathis.

California, Buffalo, and Texas. We all know about the gun violence. We always thought that when Sandy Hook happened, it wouldn’t happen again. But it has. I don’t know what it will take to get these cowards to stand up to the gun lobbies. Just like during the pandemic, teachers were on the front lines during the pandemic. Teachers were killed to save students. Don’t know where we’ll go for this. How can we use this as a moment to say enough is enough with this? We have gun violence in NYC here as well. We have schools who are professionals at lockdowns because they have so many. It’s plagueing our city. There were teachers on the train in Brooklyn, helping, and welcoming students the next day.

3 in Buffalo were NYSUT members: 2 teachers and a bus worker.

We’re always at the center of anything going on in society, because of where we work. All the pluses and minuses of society – they always show up in schools. So let’s do another moment of silence for these three incidents.

For us, nationally, I’m not going to do a report. Everything becomes about gun violence and a woman’s right to choice.

In Albany, mayoral control is on the table, but looks shaky. We have a resolution saying we need a balance. Some people say why support any mayoral control? We don’t want the school boards. We had a series of mayors who were at war with the BOE. That was the governing body. The problem is that war of mayors in succession with the BOE led to school budgets going down. Mayors were sick of it and strategically said it was the BOE’s fault, and vice versa. That war was about 20 years.

One thing that mayoral control has solved is budget. It’s a clear signal to the City that the mayor funds the public school system. But we can’t just have one person announce one policy whenever they want. We have too much evidence that this doesn’t work.

But, other cities have mayoral control and it looks nothing like ours. That’s why we’re lobbying for checks and balances. We’re also lobbying for lower class sizes. All of this is in discussion right now.

Also in discussion is some states are getting in front of the supreme court decision on Roe v Wade and others are getting in front of gun control. So this is what we’ve been focusing on in Albany at this point. Next Wednesday, the legislative session should end (or Thursday). But we think they might extend, because of all the politics involved.

For us, the issue on class size – we’ve blown up the myth that it’s impossible to do in NYC. Mathematics is on our side. BOE got away with this for years by saying we don’t have enough classroom space. That’s not true at all schools. Many schools have the issue, but many have plenty of space. Right now, the average class size is actually low – the lowest since I’ve been here. So, we’re saying, since we’ve won 7.6 billion dollars in funding federally just to our school system, 5 billion of which still hasn’t been spent, and we now have a contract for excellence, aid for title 1 (an additional 1.3 billion dollars annually from NY just for NYC). We have the money and we have the space, but the DOE won’t get rid of its law, because they don’t want to. They’ve never believed in it, and I don’t think they want to be responsible for it – or anything. At lower levels, 20 children is the right number – 32 is insane. But should UFT members have to pay to have children in smaller class sizes? Does any other agency pay to have their working conditions like this done correctly? Do police officers pay for their guns? Do figherfighters pay for their AC? Does sanitation pay for their trucks?

Easy way to fix many issues is class sizes. Shut up on just needing better teachers. Want me to be a better teacher? Lower the class size. This doesn’t mean we ‘work less’ either. We just increase the quality of our education. And the DOE is going to just continue to lie about this. They are undefeated on lying and cheating to NYC.

In the latest budget, NYC is forcing schools to INCREASE class sizes. They cut so much, that principals will be compelled to raise class sizes. How come class sizes are 30% higher than the rest of the state despite same allotment? Because the DOE doesn’t want to do it. Because if they do this, they probably can’t expand the bureaucracy.

The Superintendent process has started. Each one of these processes has turned into a competition, not a who is the right person. At first, we thought that in the C37 process, real parents would be involved. So everyone is talking to the parents. It’s a competition, not a question of who is the best person to do be a Superintendent. We got rid of the Executive Superintendents, which is good, but now we’re just shuffling the bureaucracy around via the Superintendents. We’re gonna engage in this process–have some fun. DRs are getting invited. I hope you will participate and have some fun, but the candidates you should push for are the ones you think will be there to work with us, rather than the ones who call legal to see if they can say good morning back to you.

Calendar isn’t out yet. Keeps getting pushed up. Waiting to do our SBOs. Business of setting up schools next year has to be set up now.

Principals know nothing about budgets right now. So they start talking to each other, then rumors become true. A lot is rumored about excessing. What’s that mean in terms of falling enrollment? Some schools have low enrollment, others high.

June 9th PD is coming. In our consultation, 3 months ago, we were told by DOE that the Principals Weekly would have an announcement – that it should be remote unless it’s absolutely essential for a person to be in the building. Now, you must be informed by this Friday if it’s necessary to come in. If you don’t think it’s true, contact the District Rep or Borough Rep immediately.

June 28th: Back when I was a CL, we had no virtual PDs, but had picnics. That should also be virtual this day. That means it’s a virtual day, and they have June 14th.

US History and Government Regents are cancelled. We don’t know what question it was that it got cancelled. Children will get waivers if they pass.

Politics: they redrew some of the lines in New York State. On the last Tuesday of August, New Yorkers are not here, but people we’ve endorsed who are running against eachother, along with other scenarios. So do we want to redo the process – members from the district must interview the candidate. The biggest one is the new congressional seat, this district (10), not sure how many are running – probably a lot. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler are running against each other. We’re going to have low turnout because of the timing. So this will become about early voting and absentee ballots. 25% would be high. Nothing will shock me if someone know one who has ever heard of…Jimmy the-rent-is-too-damn-high …wins this kind of thing.

A vacation day can’t be denied just because it’s asked for in the month of June.

Go back to September, close your eyes. You’re all leaders in your schools. Think of all those peaceful calm conversations you had every day (laughter). Remember you got to December, and you got a break. The numbers were inflamed and through the roof. January was the worst month of the worst school year ever. Did you ever think you’d be here on the Wednesday before memorial day? This wave is going back down. I thank you all for getting the members of this union through the year.

4:57 PM

LeRoy Barr: Puerto Rican Day Parade is back. We will participate, as in the past. Sunday, June 12th. Make sure to come out and celebrate.

There is an LGBTQ weekend being planned here for June 25th – 26th, here, and in conjunction with AFT/NYSUT. It will culminate in the June 26th parade.

5K run on Coney Island funded 6k for our disaster relief fund.

Daniel Dromm Scholarships, reach out to Rashad Brown.

Albert Shanker scholarship, 1 million will be given away on June 7th, please come out.

School Secretaries award luncheon, Saturday, June 11th.

Next DA is on June 8th.

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend.

Mulgrew: Met with Ukranian Teacher Association President. They appreciated our donation and help from the disaster relief fund. Some pretty harrowing stories. 90% of teachers are still in Ukraine, they refuse to leave. VP was 15 days in her basement with her 11 year old child, but she had service, and she was amazed as teachers kept teaching virtually even through the fighting. Because we’re teachers.

5:02

Question Period

Olivia Swisher: Never been called on before. UFT’s stance–what can we do as a union–about gun violence. We were 4 blocks away from the union and were in a shelter in place. We’re the largest local. What can we do other than have conversations?

Mulgrew: We’ve had rallies, gun buybacks. We have to make a decision, because we have so much gun violence here in our own cities. I thank g-d all the time. There’s crazy issues around the city. There was an emotionally disturbed individual who ran into a school. NRA convention is coming in Texas. I know there’s a resolution people have told me they want to bring to the floor today. The strongest advocates are the mothers. They’re done. We’re in a battle with gun lobbiest and politicians who are afraid to stand up. Majority of NRA members agree we don’t need these rifles. But there’s too much money in it. And NRA will spend money to get candidates out there who vote with them. That’s Citizen United. The NYPD is confiscating guns at a record number, but the city is infiltrated.

Name Missed: Shake the hand of a soldier if you see them. Question about school day. The Chancellor talked about how he wants the school day to be longer. He’s still talking about that. What is the likelihood that our day will change?

Michael Mulgrew: No. We have schools…If you want to extend time, we can have teachers work on different schedules or on Saturdays. This isn’t mandatory – it’s voluntary. Why have a longer schoolday? That’s the first question. Finland has a shorter school day and they’re considered best or second best in the globe. So what do they want to do? More of the same? More thinking about actually good curriculums? Do we want kindergarteners in school longer so we can do more damage to them via assessments instead of letting them play?

Teacher will work 70 hours a week for their children, but say you’ll add 20 minutes to the schoolday and they’ll go crazy. Why don’t they train people on this stuff? I do believe this mayor wants to make a difference. Dyslexia screening, yes, but how? We aren’t all reading teachers. There’s a skillset you need.

Next week the socio-emotional screenings are due again. Why? This was an 18 million dollar screening. The minute you identified kids needing outside help you were supposed to get that help. Didn’t happen. So why are we doing all this?

Online-Bryan will do this today. This was difficult, we all had a relationship with Rashid.

Margaret Negrelli: June 28th, principals are saying that they’ve been told it’s their discretion.

Mulgrew: We talked about the pandemic and other reasons we shouldn’t be in person. Email LeRoy Barr.

Name Missed (Bronx): Issues with getting into DOE emails. Are they tracking us when we get these codes sent to our non-DOE phones?

Mulgrew: That is our official response. We don’t have DOE phones, so we can’t be asked to use our DOE phones to do DOE work. The reason for it is we’re getting hacked. That’s why we have a double authentication system. That’s fine, but they don’t pay for your phone. Enough is enough. Double Authentication should only happen if we don’t have to use our devices, or at least give us a stipend to use our own devices.

Matthew Colacurto: We have a good Superintendent (D. 79) who is being forced out. So what can we do as a union to help them make the decision to keep the good Superintendents around.

Mulgrew: I agree with your assessment about your Superintendent. Working with the union doesn’t mean they’re in the tank with us – it means they solve problems. Your Superintendent has to deal with issues that don’t fit into the other districts. They’ve risen to the ocassion.

Motions:

Name Missed: Motion to move motion 11 (Asian American Curriculum) to number 1, because May is AAPI month. (Mulgrew apologizes for clapping). Person starts motivating, and is stopped because motivating the motion is out of order.

Mulgrew: Motion to thank Rashid for everything he has done (unanimously passes).

Motion moving the Asian American Curriculum motion from 11 to 1, passes 95%.

Mike Sill: Moves a new resolution to number 2, resolving to condemn gun violence and putting in programs to identify students, supporting bans on high capacity rifles/other safety measures. Passes 97%.

Resolutions:

AGENDA ITEM #11 – ASIAN AMERICAN CURRICULUM RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, the New York Department of Education Mosaic Curriculum for K-12 students purportedly
includes information about African American, Latino/Latina/Latinx, and other diverse student
populations, but does not include information about East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, West
Asian or Pacific Islander communities or immigrants from those communities (Hereafter referred to as
AAPI)
WHEREAS, reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans jumped 342% from 2020 to 2021, continuing
a pattern from the previous year: Anti- Asian crimes increased 124% between 2019 and 2020 (NY 1
News, April 8, 2022)
WHEREAS, AAPIs represent 18% of NYC’s public school population, according to a study in the New York
Times in January 2022, (but only 1-2% of the nation teacher population, according to PEW research.)
WHEREAS, Asian Americans have been part of American history since the 16th century , including major
waves of immigration in the 1800s, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and
selective immigration policies in the 1970 and 1980s that have had a resounding effect on the
composition of NYC schools to this day, but that history has been missing in the school curriculum;
therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the UFT supports the inclusion of AAPIs in the DOE Mosaic Curriculum; and may it be
further
RESOLVED, that the UFT partner with the Asian American Education Project in moving forward state
legislation supporting the inclusion of curriculum representing AAPI history.

Seung Lee: Endorses, mentions how we have a high percentage of Asian American teachers and not students.

Passes, almost unanimously.

Resolution 2: Reads some names of recent casualties in the tragic events in California, Buffalo, Texas, and NYC. We’re tired of hearing about all of this. Tired of Republicans shucking and jiving. Tired of politicians paid for by merchants of death. Since politicians don’t want to get this done, we have to–as the people–take care of this. This is a school issue and organize our people power. Please support this resolution.

Margaret Joyce: Endorses. There have been more shootings than there are days in the year so far. It’s too much. Shocking that our elected officials can’t have sensible gun laws. Guns are now the leading cause of death in children. Need to reaffirm resolves from AFT. Want action and change.

Ilona Nanay: motion to amend at the end.

Resolved, that the UFT and AFT take steps to immediately divest pension fund monies from all companies that manufacture and sell weapons that have no purpose other than mass destruction, especially AR-15 and other types of such weapons.

Mulgrew: needs clarification, because we already divested I think. Asks trustees. We divested from fossil fuels…(I think this too). Trustees confirm. We were the first pension fund to divest I believe.

Ilona Nanay: Thrilled to hear that, thank you.

Tom Murphy: Time to act. Please vote for this.

Passes overwhelmingly.

Emily Black: Congratulations on your re-election.

Mulgrew: I never talk about this, but thanks for everyone who ran. It’s not easy. Thanks to the union and election for handling it.

Emily: Decorum resolution. Need to have good debate and not fall to polarizations. Need to be professionals. Our important work has to be done. The people who will suffer the most. Our youth will suffer if that work can’t be done (below).

RESOLVED, that we the members and delegates of the United Federation of Teachers regardless of any
caucus or affiliation recommit ourselves to the principles of respectful and open debate; be it
RESOLVED, that we affirm our commitment to argue our differences without attacking the intention or
integrity of individuals; be it
RESOLVED, that we renew these commitments with the sole purpose of maintaining the solidarity and
integrity within our union, the very fabric of who we are as union activists.

Geraldo Maldonado: Rise in support. We are professionals and educators. Discourse important, as is respect.

Linda Acevedo: Rise in support. I work hard to bring back vital information back to the people. Heavy heart that there was stuff I wanted to tell them, because so little got voted on. We have diverse opinions. This year was a disaster. Whether it was for the right reasons or not, month after enough – things were brought up. We need to have voices heard and be able to represent our schools.

Olivia Swisher: Motion to amend. In support, but have three resolves to add.

RESOLVED in the spirit of camaraderie, transparency and fairness, the chair will adhere to the rule of calling on alternating sides for and against so as to allow for equal voices on matters being debated.

RESOLVED  that In the spirit of preserving the delegate assembly’s position as the ultimate deliberative and decision making body of our union that reports should not take more time than deliberative business.

RESOLVED that a joint subcommittee be formed to discuss restructructuring procedures and protocols for the Delegate Assembly, and determining recommendations for bylaws and the agenda.

LeRoy Barr: Rises in opposition. This discussion is important. We have customs and Robert’s Rules, so going back and forth doesn’t have to happen the way said here. Putting a limit on the time that president makes report. On a month to month basis, we had to have reports during the pandemic. Sometimes reports are longer, some times they are shorter. This is a critical time for this union. I always get thank yous.

Ryan Bruckenthal: speaking in favor of the resolution. Will support either way. This amendment speaks to ways in which we can increase democracy. Democracy is power, and our union is better when things are more democratic. There are different caucuses and tendencies. This type of debate is productive. Unity is good sometimes, but we can have really productive debates, so regardless of how this goes right here, optimistic about pushing democracy further.

Rashad Brown: Calls question. Voting to close debate without attention to whether anyone else wants to debate.

Mulgrew then mischaracterizes point 1 to suggest that he has to call on people ‘for and against’ at all times…as people are voting.

Amendments do not carry (287-293–roughly 50/50 on the phone, much less in the room).

Original Decorum Resolution:

Yays: 436, nays: 105 (phone). Room: yays: 140, nays: 15.

Passed.

What does ‘Unity’ look like? – Executive Board Minutes, 5/23/2022

LeRoy Barr: We will begin with an open mic. There are two speakers, so you each only get 5 minutes. This is not a debate portion. We will ultimately have a conversation about the online policy. We have to make sure people can be allowed in, but also have to verify that they are UFT. Christina is responding, I believe, to allegations at the last executive board meeting RE election complaints. We are one union, elections are over. We want people to be here, but are having difficulty verifying everyone, so bear with us.

Christina Gavin: Can you pause, because we are waiting for a few people to get in (Ronnie Almonte and Daniel Leviatin).

LeRoy Barr: We have tech on this, but we can’t let people in if it says ‘iphone,’ for instance. We need to know who folks are. We got 20+ emails.

Christina Gavin: I’m here to discuss 2 false allegations presented here in front of the executive board. First had to do with a Google Group that I made in 2020 following a request I made in January in 2019 to you (LeRoy Barr) for a UFT group that librarians could communicate on. So I made the Google Group, and we sent that information to you. Beth Norton claimed that because the word UFT is in it, it’s the UFT’s. The process to join is to email me on personal email, and I join you. There must not have a been a thorough investigation, because this is not a UFT listserv.

Second claim has to do with Bill Woodruff. He knows I was recording, and continued to talk for over 40 minutes. He said I’ve messed up using an expletive, among other similar statements, and indicated that wounds need to heal at our union. He apologized sincerely and said Christina did nothing wrong. Later, she found that a false allegation was made by Bill against her. It appears that Ms. Lopez also spoke with him and filed another complaint against Christina. The bar was public, no part of the bar was set aside for a UFT function, and I had express permission from the bar to distribute. I did not take or use any of the UFT resources on that date. In addition to verbally assaulting me, Bill Woodruff prevented me, Peter Zucker, and even Unity members from handing out election complaints. I would like to invite you to visit the website I put up to see Bill Woodruff’s comments, which are transcribed.

Mary Perez: I am a CL from the Bronx, D79. Speaking about the same event as Christina. Had 10-12 teachers go to this bar at 3:00, and William was greeting. Conversations were great, there were no flyers anywhere. I saw William in the front the whole time I was there. He wasn’t drinking or eating anything, just waiting. I saw a lot of people later giving out UFC flyers, but I wasn’t there for that. I was there socially. Christina came in when I was at the bar at a stool. We were getting ready to leave, I saw her flyers and I saw her on the phone, and I don’t know what the conversation was, perhaps about joining UFC, but I made her know I wasn’t interested in anything. But, I felt she just continued behind me. I felt uncomfortable and harassed by her. My friend asked her to leave me alone. I felt she was there for an agenda.

LeRoy Barr: These comments are in response to an election complaint made here. So you heard from both sides, and I wanted to make sure that you all heard that. There’s no back and forth. It’s just a chance for us to hear, and we usually don’t respond. With respect to the UFTlibrarians@gmail.com (did I get that right), this election was a little different. We got complaints about members who just happened to work for UFT using their own personal accounts that had UFT embedded in it and we told them that they could not use their own personal accounts because it had UFT embedded. In the context of the election, we ruled that way. The UFT librarian account falls into that ruling. This meeting should not be recorded. I will drop everyone and make this an executive session. If you can’t adhere to that, it will affect whether we do this in the future. This is recorded for minutes, but we are not recording outside of that.

With respect to the district 7 account, we heard different accounts. We ruled everyone should be respectful. The election is over, and this is one union.

Official minutes all approved.

Michael Mulgrew: Nice to see so many people here. Right now we are in Albany, a lot going on. Today the assembly conference over Mayoral Control, and also talking about class sizes. Spring conference went great. June 2nd is the end of the legislative session, early because of primaries. Lots of lines redrawn, elected officials are freaking out. For us, we’re focused on the legislative session and getting finished. We’ve already received funding, but there are major policy issues.

Calendar: the sacred calendar that never comes out. Was just on the phone, DOE has finally sent up the calendar for approval to the state education department. Hope to be finished shortly. Once out, we’ll send it out, and SBOs will kick right in. Ridiculous that bureaucracy gets in the way of calendars getting out.

June 9th guidance, it will be treated the same way as election day. In consultation, DOE agreed that it would be a virtual day unless it’s actually necessary to bring people in.

32,400 people filled out contract survey, those results will go negotiating committee. Gonna bring people in again for that June 15th.

Questions Period

Mike Schirtzer: 3 questions, and please also address at DA.

(1) Can we move forward SBOs on scheduling.

(2) Are we included on the new state guidance on appealing regents scores.

(3) APPR, is our district included.

Michael Mulgrew: Chapter leaders like to do SBOs all at one time. Debra P. says we’re ready to go once the pilot workday is out. As for questions 2 and 3, we haven’t heard from DOE yet, but hopefully will hear on Wednesday. I did sign for the waiver for APPR, and we just need to see where they are. We both have to agree; we both have veto power. It’s up to the school districts, not the teachers union.

Michael Friedman: Superintendent, who I’ve known for 30 years, who is very good. I haven’t always agree with him, but he cares about kids, is knowledgeable, is humane. He was put in a position not to be a finalist, though now is after all the politics. But, he was clearly the best candidate at that town hall. And I’m worried. We have many issues in this district, e.g. special education. We need this person to be in charge, and it’s disconcerting what’s happening.

Michael Mulgrew: That superintendent is a good man. There’s a lot of politics in some of these districts. You have people running campaigns, which has made it very interesting. What I’ve gathered is that they’re backing away from the original position that they’re going to take the recommendations of those involved in the process. They’re saying that they’re the final determiners. As far as I’m concerned, if people feel strongly, we’ll support them in making sure that our voices are being heard.

George Geist: Shout out to Jeff P. for talking about all the safety stuff to his school.

Michael Mulgrew: Jeff and his team have been doing a great job during this pandemic. They visited every school in a 2 week period and came up with a report RE ventilation etc before anyone went back to the buildings. We have multiple schools on lockdown every single day. So thanks for the shoutout to Jeff.

Reports from Districts

DeShanna Barker: Two fridays ago, Queens high schools had our annual bowling event. It was successful. The spirit of solidarity was there and we felt the sense of normalcy. Hopefully next year we’ll make it a COPE event.

Seung Lee: Great turnout at the AAPI Parade.

Melody: Plea for paid leave. How can patients manage after surgeries and cancer treatments with all the time we have to take off for ourselves or our loved ones? We have great healthcare, but it’s only good if you can do it without the detriment to their family. I was one of the people who was negative in my CAR after spring break. We need to make our benefits at least equal to that in the private sector. We need to attack paid leave head on, or we are failing women.

Janella Hinds: Great abortion rally on May 15th. Proud that UFT was marching, because abortion rights are workers rights.

George Altomare was acknowledged for his 60+ years of service to the labor movement. George is just one of many founders who has been fighting for workers rights for decades. So the ALC gave him an award last Tuesday.

Tammy Miller: Provider appreciation ceremony went well. Shelly Abrams was awarded.

Rashad Brown: Annual scholarship from pride committee. It only takes for a UFT member to nominate, then the committee decides. We have at least one recipient per borough. We’re going to go to the schools and allow their schools to celebrate them. We will also be doing some fundraising.

Second, PSLF loan forgiveness. October, the limited waiver ends. Right now, we have a lot of rules that can be overlooked. So we’re going to send out a video to district reps.

Mary Atkinson: Some of our superintendent town hall forums have happened. I encourage you to join if yours hasn’t happen yet. We are going to hear from the candidates and to listen to feedback from community members. Everyone has a chance to speak at the end, when candidates are dismissed. There is a chat, you can give feedback.

Mike Sill: We are all UFT members. Compelled to say something – 250 years ago, James Madison wrote that: “A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.” Our debate aught to strengthen us, not weaken us. That talk at our meeting about what happened at the bar, but to assume the worst about motivations – that does not strengthen us, it weakens us. We should have debate post-election, but we should not cast dispersions on our members or assume negative motivations. We are one union , so let’s act like it.

LeRoy Barr: Willing to work with any activist willing to take on the work. Only way to get through this is together. Every conversation strengthens us, so co-endorse what Mike Sill said.

Business

LeRoy Barr: AFT resolutions going up very shortly. Two resolutions

Seung Lee: (1) condemning hate crimes against Asian Americans. We should take a leadership roll here.

*Passes unanimously.

Rashad Brown: (2) Resolution to pardon Marcus Garvey. National situation that needs to be handled now. Marcus Garvey was wrongly convicted of mail fraud. He is a civil rights hero. J. Edgar Hoover hired an African American in the FBI just to infiltrate his organization and wrongly convict him. We need to push federal legislators to pardon Marcus Garvey.

LeRoy Barr: J. Edgar Hoover cut his teeth on Marcus Garvey – that was the FBI’s original counter-intelligence program. We need to come to terms with our history.

*Passes unanimously.


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June 2022
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