Posts Tagged 'Mayoral Control'

Why New Action opposes the recommendations to modify mayoral control

At Monday’s Executive Board the Committee on School Governance presented a set of School Governance Recommendations.

The committee worked hard on its recommendations. The individual proposals are positive.  But they are framed as modifications, as checks and balances on Mayoral Control.

One of the positive proposals deserves special mention. The UFT now stands for no waiver for the Chancellor. New Action’s David Kaufman made just such a proposal, well-reasoned, last time we had a governance report. And it was roundly, and wrongly, rejected. We wish that Dave were here today to see the union belatedly adopting his proposal.

New Action has opposed Mayoral Control. It has been a disaster for our schools, our students, our members. Last year we circulated petitions calling for an end of Mayoral Control. And we remain opposed to Mayoral Control. This year we declined to serve on the Governance Committee – the correct conclusion – ending Mayoral Control – was obvious.

Thus, at Monday’s Exec Board, we felt compelled to vote against otherwise positive recommendations, for not being part of an overall stance of ending Mayoral Control.

Our union, the UFT, should take the committee’s recommendations, and embed them in a proposal to end Mayoral Control. Then  New Action/UFT would proudly endorse them.

 

An Unfortunate Decade of Mayoral Mistakes

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the February 2013 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT 02/2013 leaflet

Year

New Action Recommends

Did we listen?

Result

2002 No to Mayoral Control No. First Mayoral Control bill gives Bloomberg unfettered control Countless Disruptive Reorganizations – managers (not educators)  dominate the DoE bureaucracy
2009 No Extension of Term Limits No, even though we could have stopped Bloomberg by swinging a handful of City Council votes The worst of Bloomberg’s terms
2009 Let Mayoral Control Sunset No. We put in “checks and balances” …. … but those “checks and balances“ did not limit the mayoral dictatorship
2009 No Waiver for Chancellors No Cathie Black
2009 Endorse Bill Thompson against Bloomberg No, we sit out the election Bloomberg squeaks by for four more years of school closings, abusive administrators,  and mountains of paperwork
2013 Remove Christine Quinn from consideration for our endorsement

???

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New Action challenges mayoral control

On Tuesday, January 22, New Action Co-chair Jonathan Halabi presented a resolution at the UFT Executive Board meeting calling on our union to get behind a bill to take absolute control over the PEP away from the Mayor Bloomberg. The bill introduced by Velmanette Montgomery and David Weprin would have severely reduced the number of appointees to half of the current level, effectively taking away the mayor’s power to close schools in the city. Halabi pointed out that the PEP has been a rubber stamp for the Mayor, and that this bill would potentially provide instant relief. In the meantime, our committee on school governance should continue to meet and work towards it recommendations.

While New Action/UFT has opposed mayoral control from the start and has recently initiated a petition drive against mayoral control, we considered this bill an important first step to that end. Three speakers on the UFT Executive Board rose to speak against supporting this important piece of legislation. They argued that the UFT has a committee on school governance and this proposal would second guess the committee’s work, that it wouldn’t give all the stakeholders a chance to weigh in, etc.

New Action speakers argued that we should not wait for the results of a committee report when we have a concrete bill that would make for a more democratic process if passed now.

The caucus-line vote was overwhelmingly against supporting the Montgomery/Weprin bill with only five New Action members present voting in support, as all of the Unity caucus members voted no. It is all the more surprising that at a publicized press conference called by Montgomery and Weprin the announcement said UFT representatives would be present.

New Action secured 2,200 signatures to end mayoral control on petitions this past spring. New Action is committed to work for an end to all vestiges of mayoral control—control which would never have come about without UFT support.

End Mayoral Control of the Schools

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the November 2012 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2012 November

It is almost ten years since State legislation gave Mayor Bloomberg control of New York City schools. Our union played a major role opening the door to making that happen by letting our legislative friends in Albany know we did not oppose the change.  This has proved to be disastrous for educators, students, parents, and our schools.  New Action opposed giving mayoral control to this mayor.

In November 2008 New Action introduced a proposal to campaign against Bloomberg’s effort to overturn term limits. That proposal was defeated at a November 2008 UFT Executive Board. That was a colossal mistake – mistake number two.

In the last mayoral election New Action/UFT was the only caucus to endorse William Thompson for mayor. The UFT stayed neutral and Thompson lost by four percentage points. Mistake number three for our UFT.

In June of 2012 the UFT called for a Task Force (a second one) to look at Mayoral control. This followed a New Action petition campaign calling for an end to mayoral control. That campaign garnered over 2,100 signatures. New Action is adamant that the UFT should not tinker with mayoral control but rather call for its demise. We chose not to serve on the Task Force – the right conclusion is already obvious.

This month we have learned that the MORE caucus will call on the UFT to reject its support for mayoral control. New Action welcomes MORE’s effort to weigh in on this topic. A united union can successfully turn back this near ten year disaster.

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!

Mayoral Control – The Verdict is in!

(from the June 2012 Delegate Assembly)
Click Leaflet 2012 June for printable version

The Bloomberg/Klein years have been an absolute disaster for education, our members, our students, our parents, our communities, and our schools. For New York City educators the verdict is in – we cannot suffer three more years of mayoral “mis” control of our schools. The last time the UFT faced this question, we put together a Task Force. It engaged 1,200 educators, parents, students, elected officials and community groups in numerous public hearings. The Task Force concluded that its primary goal was “passing legislation in Albany which will change the system of governance to make it work better students, for teachers and for schools.”

The Task Force recommended:

 

  • Checks and Balances to prevent abuses of power in the current system
  • Real Voice for Teachers, Parents and the Community to restore school and district leadership teams to the rightful place as leaders of educational and budgetary decision-making.
  • Rule of Law to stop the DOE from simply ignoring the parts of state law it finds inconvenient.;
  • Transparency and Accountability to end DOE’s practices of. arbitrary school closings and other secretive practices.


But after the Task Force recommendation, President Weingarten agreed to give the mayor absolute control over the PEP which has decided the fate of scores of schools.

The UFT is NOW reconstituting the Task Force to examine mayoral control.

NEW ACTION HAS ALREADY CONCLUDED THERE’S BEEN ENOUGH “TINKERING” WITH MAYORAL CONTROL.We call for an end to mayoral control of the school system. We should not place our faith in the next “friendly education” mayor. We are calling for an end to mayoral control!

We do not oppose the call for another Task Force. They may come to the same conclusion. HOWEVER, New Action will not participate in yet another Task Force.

It is in the interest of the educational community to conclude that mayoral control of the schools has been a disaster. We call for an independent panel of people, fairly and democratically chosen with background and knowledge in education. The precise make-up of the new panel should be determined after broad discussion and consultation with all stakeholders.

Petition to End Mayoral Control

This one needs no explanation. Mayoral Control has been a disaster for students, parents, teachers, schools – even in many cases for administrators.

Download the petition to add your voice, your coworkers’ voices, your neighbors’ voices. Print as many as you like.

Completed petitions should be returned by June 12, 2012.

Petition to End Mayoral Control


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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