Posts Tagged 'UFT Executive Board'

Report from UFT Executive Board October 6, 2014

This was the third Exec Board of the year.

Francesco Portelos was the only speaker for the open mike. His main point was that there are many members who need assistance who are coming to him, but the union should be providing better service so that members go to them instead. I didn’t follow much more as he rambled a bit. I was surprised he didn’t share his story of being observed in an Italian class (he’s in excess, an “ATR”).

After minutes were approved they moved to the Staff Director’s report, as Mulgrew had not arrived. LeRoy Barr reported on upcoming events including for UFT Disaster Relief (10/13), Making Strides (10/19), Teacher Union Day (11/2, new location, NY Hilton), and a reception at the next DA for those with 100% attendance from last year (10/22). He also mentioned the Chapter Leader training weekend.

In the question period Bill Goldman (New Action, CL Tottenville HS) asked what response the UFT has had or will have to the report out of UCLA from a few months ago that showed NY to have the worst segregation in the nation. Emil Pietromonaco indicated he would get back to Bill. (later Michael Mulgrew said we should do a new resolution)

Jonathan Halabi (me, CL HS of American Studies at Lehman College) asked if the DoE’s past practice of needlessly our arbitration dates through (here I asked for help – the chair mentioned class size, but there is another category, possibly para terminations?) has continued under the new administration. (Has the bad practice been undone). Emil’s response was that “only time will tell.”

Michael Mulgrew then gave his report. Listening to Fariña is like listening to a teacher. No more single letter grades. Culture. Curriculum. Training. Cooperation. Parent Engagement.

We are not looking to “undo” but to change the DoE. (This may have been in response to me).

The problems with professional development are coming from people not knowing how it should work. We don’t want pre-canned PD, “like a faculty conference” or “told me to keep a log.”

There are problems in Special Ed, problems with ELLs, with struggling schools. How do we move 1831 schools in the right direction at the same time? Trying to change the culture of the school system.

Michael reported on the events in Philadelphia. He described this as a political maneuver by Corbett, and pointed out that two of the votes in favor of voiding the teachers’ contract came from appointees of the former Democratic mayor. We will monitor Philly carefully, and continue to send in retirees to work on the governor’s race.

Our focus on the elections will be the State Senate. Key races everywhere, except NYC (only Schneiderman and Di Napoli). There is an independent expenditure committee (?) trying to retake the senate for the Republicans.

There was no political report, and the only report from districts came from George Altomare about the Italian American history group.

Leroy Barr reported on upcoming vacancies on the Executive Board (nominations to be offered next meeting). He also explained that the issue of unfairly terminated probationers was being dealt with by assuring that, if a principal wants to hire a discontinued probationer (in a different district, or under a different license) that we will assure those who are offered a second chance will be able to take it. This does not require a resolution.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

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Report from UFT Executive Board September 22 2014

This was the second Exec Board of the year.

The agenda was compressed, to accommodate a 6:30 visit by Carmen Fariña.

There was no open mike. After minutes were approved they moved to the Staff Director’s report, as Mulgrew had not arrived. LeRoy Barr responded to questions from two weeks earlier: We still don’t have the number of discontinuances from last year. We know of 261 extensions of probation (these are the probationers who contacted their borough offices). There were approximately 650-700 Ineffective ratings, and 5500 – 6000 Developings. There are approximately 1600 excessed members (often called ATRs).

LeRoy encouraged us to return our Smallheiser ballots, and announced a new location for the November 2 Teacher Union Day (the Hilton).

There were no questions during the question period.

George Altomare made the only report in Reports from Districts, and spoke of the successful Climate Change march.

Michael Mulgrew then gave his report. The joint Mulgrew-Fariña letter on lesson plans needed work because DoE legal kept getting it wrong. Principals are getting wrong info from the networks; they complain that they have been instructed by the networks to do things that are clearly illegal.

Only 350 schools are missing from the contract implementation survey, but we want to get all of them. most committees are in place. Curriculum is lagging. For professional development, there are principals who, instead of collaborating, are dictating. There is clear alignment between “us” and the DoE on beginning the conversations.

Special Orders of Business

Carmen Alvarez nominated Evelyn DeJesus for VP Educational Issues. There were no other nominations, and LeRoy Barr cast one vote, electing her. Mel Aaronson nominated Thomas Brown for Assistant Treasurer. There were no other nominations, and LeRoy Barr cast one vote, electing him. New Action did not make a nomination for VP Educational Issues. We disagree with Unity on many of the major educational issues (testing, evaluation, curriculum, etc). However, in ouor discussions before nominations were do, our supporters indicated that we find Evelyn DeJesus to be open, collaborative. We know we can talk with her. We can work with her. We decided, unanimously, not to offer an alternate nomination.

Michael Shulman (New Action) moved a resolution raising the issue of unfairly discontinued probationers. It resolved that the  UFT will contact all recently fired probationary teachers, determine those who were unjustly terminated, and  present a case to the chancellor requesting that these unjustly terminated teachers be given a second chance. Michael Mulgrew got up to agree with the sentiment, but wanted the promise of who we would reach to be defined, and not to be “all.” And then discussion continued, including members of the Executive Board who do not frequently speak, making suggestions to alternately broaden or sharpen the language. The motion’s maker, Shulman, indicated several times that these proposals were in line with the intent of the resolution. Speaking a second time (I think it was a second time, my notes were scribbled and fast), Mulgrew suggested focusing on probationers who had appealed their discontiuance, Finally, VP Anne Goldman pointed out that the comments and suggestions were moving this towards a finished product, but that in fairness we should not vote before the best language had been reached. The body voted unanimously to refer the resolution to the next Executive Board, October 6.

The meeting was adjourned. Fariña arrived, spoke for about 3 minutes, followed by dinner.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

Report from UFT Executive Board September 8 2014

This was the first Exec Board of the year.

There was no speaker for the open mike.

After minutes were approved they moved to the Staff Director’s report, as Mulgrew had not arrived. LeRoy Barr mentioned the Labor Day parade and thanked those who turned out, mentioned the ATR meetings that are happening in the borough offices all this week, and spoke about the Citywide Chapter Leader Meeting this Wednesday, at 52 Broadway, at 4:15 PM. Secretary Emil Pietromonico announced vacancies for VP- Educational Issues (Catalina Fortino moving to NYSUT) and Asst Treasurer (Mona Romain). He spoke about two meetings for members who had been rated ineffective – seventy or eighty members came to each.

Question Period:

Kate Martin-Bridge (New Action) asked for the number of current teachers in the Absent Teachers Reserve (Excessed Teachers, often referred to as ATRs). Emil said the person who answers the question was currently meeting with ATRs, and he would get back to us.

Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action) asked, what someone like Robert Jackson, who has been a hero for public education in NYC, had to do to get the UFT’s support (NYSUT endorsed his opponent in the primary). Paul Egan responded that Jackson had challenged an incumbent, and that they had equally stellar legislative records, and that state endorsements are handled by NYSUT.

Michael Shulman (New Action) asked how many probationers were discontinued or had their probations extended last year. They will get back to us.

William Goldman (New Action) asked how many Ineffective and Developing ratings there were. Jackie Bennett was called on, but said the numbers won’t be finalized for a few weeks. Emil Pietromonico reported about 650 – 700 Ineffectives and about 4800 Developings.

Presidents report (Mulgrew arrived during the question period). #1 Issue for us is contract implementation. Surveys went out to chapter leaders. Very smooth opening to the school year. Glad de Blasio is getting kudos on the pre-k. It means our kindergarten teachers will get better-prepared kids next year. Primary election is tomorrow, please vote. A big issue with implementation will be PD. When we used to do PD we didn’t like it because it was not ours. Over 6000 new teachers this year. Extra people retired in June. Speaking about the reaction in Staten Island, he said that the shirts that we’ve seen (supporting NYPD) have been appropriate.

On evaluation, the DoE offered a fourth option:  for teachers rated E: four informal observations and nothing else.

At that point he ended the president’s report, and Emil moved the agenda to vote on approving this fourth option (actually a contract change). Ellen Driessen (DR, District 20, Brooklyn) asked if, while we are it, we could get the Highly Effective 3 + open your classroom reduced to just 3 informals (answer, we asked, this was all they were offering). Passed unanimously.

Reports from Districts – Shelvy Abrams, Anthony Harmon, Vince Gaglione, Michael Freedman, George Altomare

Legislative Repor – Paul Egan

Special Orders of Business

1. Peoples Climate March. Sterling Roberson motivated. Michael Shulman (New Action) asked if literature would be distributed at the Chapter Leaders meeting Wednesday (while acknowledging that there is a conflict with a Chapter Leaders weekend, so attendance might be lower). LeRoy Barr answered positively. The resolution was unanimously adopted.

2. Endorse Zephyr Teachout for governor. Regina Gori (New Action) motivated. LeRoy Barr rose to oppose. Paul Egan rose to oppose. Jonathan Halabi (New Action) rose in support. Sandra March rose to oppose.

We will edit this section to include some of the debate.

The vote was overwhelmingly against endorsing. Yet we do not believe that every Unity Exec Board member voted.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

Report from UFT 12/16/13 Executive Board – Calling the Question too fast

No President’s report. Mulgrew was absent.

Staff Director’s Report (?)

I was late and missed the staff director’s report. LeRoy Barr appeared not to be there. Perhaps Ellie Engler (who was present) gave the report

Questions

I missed the questions

Reports from Districts

There were many reports from districts

Legislative Report –

Paul Egan was absent, and called in to Emil Pietromonaco that there was no legislative report.

Special Orders of Business

1. There were resolutions recommended to the NYSUT Representative Assembly. These were non-controversial (). Mike Shulman added the Mandela resolution from the previous week.

2. New Action brought forth a resolution, calling for a change in the rules of order for the DA. If a question is called before there has been a speaker against, the proposed rule would require the chair to ask for a speaker against before allowing the question to be called. Jonathan Halabi (me) motivated. John Soldini, former HS VP, spoke against, saying that calling a point of order would accomplish the same thing, Kate Martin-Bridge countered, saying that in the last two years at the DA, calling a point of order has not gotten the chair to ask for a speaker opposed, Sterling Roberson rose to warn the body not to be “fooled” by the resolution, Mike Shulman rose to underline that the resolution was clear and that there was no attempt to “fool” anyone, and Richie Mantell finally rose to table the motion, due to unclarity about Roberts Rules, etc. The motion to table passed, unanimously.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

Report from UFT December 9 Executive Board

Open mike – no speaker.

President’s report. Mulgrew was present.

Everyone is asking him first who the Chancellor will be. He said BDB has his own process, which we will let him go through. He rattled off five names in contention (Alonso, Cashin, Darling-Hammond, Farina, Starr). He said each of them had their supporters and detractors. And that none of them was a corporate reformer. Mentioned that Henderson is one, but that BDB interviewed her for political reasons. 

There will be a debate at the Delegate Assembly on Wednesday – what should the system look like (structurally). (Followed by a resolution for voting in January)  120 principals signed a letter asking to keep the networks. Out of 1800 principals. And some of the signers were not aware that they had signed. But these are networks, such as the one for Consortium schools, that are actually supporting their schools. They have good networks.

There needs to be an Office of Teaching. The Office of Accountability should be staffed with 3 people, not 360. We already have state and federal accountability. (In response to a comment from the floor) – Legal is all Ivy League lawyers. Do you know how much they are costing us?

There was a meeting in the Bronx this (Monday Dec 9) morning with chapter leaders, principals, superintendants, DRs… discussing evaluations.

These is Bloomberg’s time to trumpet his educational triumphs, but it is falling flat. Even the Post ran an editorial challenging his graduation rates.

People think everything will be better on January 2. Won’t be so.

Staff Director’s Report (LeRoy Barr)

LeRoy spoke about last Thursday’s rally, and Monday’s Reclaim the Promises event.

Questions

I  asked the only question:  First I asked if Mulgrew would be back (he was not) then I asked how would the debate Wednesday be organized, and could we see the recommendations in advance. Emil Pietromonaco answered that there would be a bulleted list. And about getting that list before the DA, I don’t think he answered.

Reports from Districts

Janella Hinds reported in more detail about the event in the Bronx held earlier Monday (see above).

George Altomare reported on an upcoming Per Diem Cttee event on Affordable Health Care, and on a social studies pd event.

Legislative Report – Paul Egan was present, but there was no report.

Special Orders of Business

There was a “Transition Report” on the agenda. Turns out it was already covered, that was what Mulgrew was doing under the President’s report.

There was a resolution to honor Nelson Mandela. Sterling Roberson spoke, followed by Anthony Harmon, George Altomare, Mel Aaronson, and LeRoy Barr. It passed unanimously.

Mike Shulman was not present – but I wish he was there, so he could have talked about divestment, about how Teachers Action Caucus (one of New Action’s predecessors) began a grass roots postcard campaign to get the UFT to divest our pension funds from South Africa, and how this minority cause came to become UFT policy.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

Report from UFT October 21 Executive Board

There were no speakers for the open mike.

Mulgrew gave the president’s report. He wrote letters to King, Walcott, Cuomo, and Duncan about massive special education violations. We need a wish list for the new administration.  We need a plan to restructure the NYC school system (we don’t want the current system; we don’t want to go back to the old system). We need changes in our teacher evaluation agreement. MOSL. Other districts in the state – some have horrible formulas, some have great formulas – he mentioned one district (I don’t think he named it) where 97% of teachers were effective or highly effective. We need a longer menu. Student projects should count. And we must restart the evaluation system, since the DoE rolled it out this year (I didn’t get his exact words, but the sense was that this was done badly).

There were no questions during the question period, but Emil Pietromonaco responded to several questions from the previous meeting of the Exec Board:  There are over 1700 ATRs, about 100 less than this time last year. There were 270 September retirements, consistent with numbers from the previous two years. There are now 17 Union Initiated grievances against the DoE’s implementation of the new evaluation system – the top four are:  1. Outside Evidence (principals rating things that were not part of an observation or an artifact), 2. Photos of lesson plans and other artifacts used for “evidence” 3. Multiple Observers 4. Goal Setting

There were many reports from Districts about various conferences and events, including the Strides Walk. George Altomare and Ellen Procida discussed a class-size win (it related to music classes, but I didn’t catch the details. George testified about teaching guitar, and Ellen mentioned something about the number 50, so perhaps the DoE was arguing that 50, which is the limit for required music classes, was also the limit for instrumental instruction)

There was no legislative report

There were two resolutions during the special orders of business.

1. Supporting Obama and the Democratic Senate Majority – this was written in relation to the fiscal cliff, so in a sense was dated. But there are new deadlines in January and February, and so the resolution was written to support and protect the Affordable Care Act, and extended by amendment offered by the Retired Teachers Chapter to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid against anything the GOP might try to pull in the Budget Commission. George Altomare motivated (and amended). Passed unanimously

2. Resolution on evaluations based entirely on test scores. Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action), motivated.  I said there were other changes that needed to be made in our evaluation system, including at the local level through renegotiation, but I was addressing a change that needs to be made in the State Law – if a teacher is rated highly by the principal on all 22 elements of Danielson, but gets I’s on both the State and Local measures, then the observations and principal’s evaluation of the teacher don’t count – are not allowed to count.

LeRoy Barr got up, essentially said that it’s complicated and that in the past principals had total control. “None of the local 20% should be based on test scores.” He then moved to table (remove the item from consideration without a yes or a no vote.)  The motion to table passed with only New Action voting against.

The resolution is posted here.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

Report from UFT October 7 Executive Board

Open mike – there was only one speaker, Marjorie Stamberg, who spoke about the repression of teachers in Mexico, especially from the south (I think she mentioned Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas). Marjorie spent time this summer in Mexico. She said that she would bring the information to the Committee on Economic and Social Justice. She left packets of informational material with some of the Executive Board members (including me)

Mulgrew was absent.

Francisco Peña (New Action) asked where we were with Factfinding, wasn’t the report already due. Emil Pietronomico answered that factfinding is ongoing, and passed the question to attorney Adam Ross, who reported that the last day is November 4, and that we expect a report shortly thereafter.

Michael Shulman (New Action) asked about the City’s suit against the UFT over arbitrators. Emil passed this question to attorney Adam Ross as well, who explained that arbitrators are chosen by mutual agreement, which the City does not seem to accept means that we must agree with their choices. In addition, the City ended an effective time-saving mediation program – they force every case to trial (I’m not sure what “trial” means here – jd). They brought us to court, and we (UFT) are moving to have the case dismissed.

Joel Garcia (New Action) asked for the number of current teachers in the Absent Teachers Reserve (Excessed Teachers, often referred to as ATRs). He also asked what was going on with rotation. Emil quickly conferred, and said he would get back to us next time.

Doug Haynes (New Action) reportedly hearing anecdotally about a spike in retirements, and asked whether there actually was such a spike. Emil said he would get back to us.

Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action) asked, since observations under the new evaluation system had begun in many schools, what sorts of problems and complaints, expected and unexpected, were we hearing about, which ones were showing up a lot. Emil said issues are being reported through an online system, and that there are different issues. Most people noticed that he did not respond to the question.

There were four resolutions during the special orders of business.

1. On inclusive language (say “member” when we mean members, and “teacher” if we specifically mean only teachers – remember we organize counselors, paras, secretaries, related service providers, etc, all of whom are UFTers)

2. Improve NYC’s electoral system

3. On the 53rd Anniversary of the 1960 UFT Strike (George Altomare, in the discussion, talked about events leading up to the strike)

4. Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on High-Stakes Consequences for State Tests – LeRoy Barr motivated, strongly, this resolution which was not on the agenda, but was signed and submitted by six Executive Board members (Emil, LeRoy, Anthony Harmon, Marie Kallo, a signature I don’t recognize, and Sterling Roberson)  The “whereas”s reaffirmed UFT policy, including much that New Action disagrees with – including Common Core, and using test scores to evaluate teachers. The resolution, however, called for a moratorium on consequences for the tests.

Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action), rose to reaffirm that there were major differences on much of this resolution, but that we fully supported the moratorium, and that the resolution should get unanimous support.

Which it did.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.