JW Email 26


Hello, good evening,

       Though this email is packed, I may have to do another one by the end of the weekend.
       The UFT is falling apart.
       Especially in the Bronx.

                                                            JW

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LAYOFFS THIS COMING WEEK?  EXCESSING?

There has been a lot of talk this week in schools and on the net about what kinds of bad-news letters will be sent around this week. Part of the problem is that the words "layoff" and "excess" are used interchangeably, when they're different.  It's also true that some general usage terminology doesn't jive with the wording in the contract. Some people are thinking excess letters will be sent out, some CLs are telling people they'll be getting layoff letters, and some think the notice will be sent in emails (June 4th), others say letters.

One person heard a rumor that some DRs are telling people that principals do NOT have to excess people by seniority, but can excess whom they considered "the least effective teachers." To many of us, that sounds like a mis-reading of Klein's memo to principals, in which he told him he'd really LIKE that to be the case, but I didn't see anything in that wording that gave them the order to do it that way.

Teachers for a Just Contract sent around this alert:

           LAYOFF NOTICES BEGIN NEXT WEEK
           6,500 UFT members will get layoff notices by DOE email beginning next week. 
           Layoffs will be by license, by inverse seniority, citywide.  

           For more information, reply to this email.

           WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16
           SAVE THE DATE!  UFT CALLS A CITYWIDE RALLY AGAINST LAYOFFS (Finally!)

Knowing they are well informed, I wrote Marian Swerdlow for clarification, and here's the best I can do to explain it for now:

We are apparently in a "citywide excess condition" as described in Art.17.D. of the contract:

          D. Layoff    1.  If a Citywide excess condition causes a layoff of staff in 
                                     any licensed position . . .

Whereas I had thought an "emergency layoff" condition had to be declared before anything, Marian pointed out that that phrase doesn't exist in the contract.  The word "emergency" does come up in this UFT post dated June 5, 2006:

Now, a person can remain as an ATR indefinitely while still seeking another position, and because these positions are not limited no one can be laid-off unless there is a true citywide layoff situation or major budgetary problems that require the DOE to cut back severely on staff. In such emergencies, the DOE must follow Ed. Law section 2588, which states that part-timers and regular subs must be let go first and if all vacancies have been filled then layoffs must follow a strict seniority pattern starting with the most junior person in the city.

The DOE will no longer let principals take an excessed person off the school’s budget until that person has a job. This stops the wholesale excessing of personnel. But while this is a positive for many of members it may serve to retard some of the job acceptances in the open market system.

This new provision not only gives our members a no-layoff provision under ordinary circumstances but keeps them from being bumped or excessed all over the city.




Some people are incensed that the UFT has not stood up to this with massive demonstrations before now.  In fact, word has it they are going to be mounting a massive demonstration in lieu of the June 16th Del. Asembly. More on that next time. 

I believe that there is much we don't know about the negotiations, and we don't know whom the union is trying to protect behind closed doors — including themselves, in their own positions of power! There are some who believe it is all bluff and positioning, and there will not be any layoffs. They first threw around the figure 8,500 layoffs, then it was 6,500, and now I heard just this afternoon that it's really only going to be 4,500, since they'll lose 2,000 to attrition. 

For more help putting this into context, read Ednotes here on the 1975 strike situation. 

What REALLY disturbs me is that there is no viewable SENIORITY LIST. The DoE has bungled the software on them and it's been coming out wrong for a whole year.  Do they HAVE accurate lists somewhere? Or is this purposeful chaos?

Read Ednotes here on what appears to be the devastating inability of Mulgrew and Unity to handle bigtime politics:

"Are we looking at a loss of 12-15,000 teachers here in NYC? What would seniority mean then when 460 charter schools are filled with first and second year teachers while public school teachers with goodness knows how many years go looking for jobs?

(Parenthetically, Frizz suggests UFT stands for "Unity Fails Teachers")

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RETIREMENT INCENTIVE

The Legislature has passed the governor's bill, but will BloomKlein accept it?  That decision will affect practically everyone in the system, whether you're a prospective retiree or a new teacher threatened by layoffs.

There are some comments in Under Assault here that are material to the discussion of the what the buyout would entail.

Don't anyone get their hopes up. Mulgrew wants this, but so far BloomKlein does not.

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THE NEW TEACHER EVALUATIONS - ANALYSIS at ICE-Blog

"The most important, if not the only, reason for a union's existence is to provide protection to its members that individually any single member could not provide. Seniority rules and tenure were developed to protect teachers from administrative discrimination by giving administrators enough time to evaluate new employees and recognize that employees become more valuable (and should be paid more) as they become more experienced.

"Nothing could be more anti-union than the erosion of these basic rights. Yet, time and time again our Union, in order to protect its own interests, has sacrificed ours as experience becomes a liability and in this recent legislation the protections from arbitrary dismissal are significantly weakened."

Also:   "When a small percentage of employees are dismissed for impotence you either have a competent group of teachers, an effective and protective union or both. The fact that there are not large numbers of teachers being fired means that someone is doing their job. Why do we want to fix this system? It doesn't appear broken."

Read the whole of Jeff Kaufman's take on the evaluation system negotiated by Mulgrew. It's subtitled:  What was our union thinking?

South Bronx thinks Mulgrew stinks at cards, that there was no pressure on him to sign off on the evaluation system.  "Sheldon Silver would have done his bidding for him.  Why fold when you have the best hand?" 

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TO RECALL OR NOT TO RECALL — That is the question.

The "duties of the chapter leader or his/her designated representative" as outlined in Art. IX, Sect.4 of the UFT Constitution include distributing literature, holding meetings, representing the union at the school level, presenting complaints or recommendations to the office of this organization, presiding at chapter meetings, and carrying out the duties as formulated by the Exec Board.

These formulated duties seem to be spelled out on this UFT link:
  • Holding at least six regularly scheduled chapter meetings each year.
  • Forming a chapter consultation committee that meets monthly with the principal and then reports the results to the chapter.
  • Representing all chapter members in informal resolutions of problems with the administration and in grievances.
  • Attending the Delegate Assembly, district and citywide chapter leader meetings and divisional meetings.
  • Explaining the union’s positions to staff and telling them about union meetings, programs and activities.
  • Serving as a resource for members about pensions, health coverage and other matters.
  • Producing a chapter newsletter, maintaining the UFT bulletin board and disseminating UFT materials via members’ mailboxes.
  • Working with parent groups.
  • Ensuring that the contract is enforced and implemented at the school level and members’ rights and benefits are protected.
  • Leading the chapter in discussion, development and implementation of educational policies in the school in accordance with union policy.
  • Explaining the union’s political action activities to the members and collecting VOTE/COPE check-off cards.
  • Attending training sessions.

For compensation, CLs get relief from teaching (in elem. schools 4 additional preps; in JHS and HS no Circ. 6R; in large HSS, they teach 4 instead of 5) and a monetary compensation ($5 per member plus some extra for having an email account).  In any case, they can do anything they want with this money:  buy food for chapter meetings, commute to meetings, xerox stuff for the chapter, it's not specified, and no one keeps accounts. (One CL kicks part of it into the end-year party, so each attendee doesn't have to pay so much.)
A person complained in the listservs about a chapter leader who "hangs out with supervisors and wanna be supervisors," calls for few meetings, and has neither the vision or the fire to change and demand action with the building."

We all know CLs who take the job and abandon most or all of the duties. One has to wonder why they don't just quit. Must be the money and the no-kids, no-duties periods. To recall a CL, the UFT Constitution provides the following in Article IX, Section 6:

          SECTION 9:  "Upon receipt of a written petition signed by at least one-third of the
            membership of any chapter requesting the removal of the chapter leader from office,
            the President shall assign a person who is not a member of the chapter to conduct a
            referendum [presumably from the UFT's office in that borough].  All members of the
            chapter shall be entitled to vote.  If two-thirds of the chapter members voting in the
            referendum favor the removal of the chapter leader from office, a vacancy in that
            position shall be declared and a new chapter leader shall be elected to take office

So, for ex., in a school of 100 members, 34 have to petition, but it's possible to recall a CL with less than half the membership (e.g., if only 70 vote, 46 would be needed to remove).

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FOR THE VETS on OLDER KINDS OF LICENSING

I'll pass this Ellen Fox explanation on because I was licensed/certified so long ago I didn't remember the details. I had told her that I was certified by the state when I started, but not by the city. She said:


"You never were "certified" by the City, only licensed.  This was done by the old Board of Examiners, which ceased to exist sometime in the early 90's, I think.  In those days, State certification was not required.  I, for one, never got State cert.  But then again, back in those days, the City's licensing process was actually more rigorous than the State's certification rigmarole.  So the State didn't actually require NYC teachers to get State cert.  But after the demise of the Bd. of Examiners, and after a grievous decline in the quality of the City's licensing procedure, and a concomitant tightening of the State's certification requirements, the SED stepped in, and required that all NYC teachers attain State certification.  For a brief while, it was "Start teaching, and get your cert. within a certain period of time."  Surely you remember the days of the PPT's and CPT's.  Now, I think you can't even walk into a classroom without some sort of provisional State certification."


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RALLY

The Bronx Science principal's fairly insane decision to U-rate 20 math teachers should make people's blood boil enough to attend this rally on June 10th.


June 10th: Justice for The Bronx Science Twenty

          Stop Harassment of Teachers -
          Justice for The Bronx Science Twenty


                        Picket at Mayor Bloomberg's house
                             - June 10th, 4:30pm -
                        79th St. and 5th Ave., SW Corner

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DISSATISFACTION WITH MULGREW & PERHAPS . . . INSIDER INFO COMING OUT

There have been a couple of anon. comments on this ICE-blog post that make me think Mulgrew's honeymoon is over — and that people are willing to spill some of the rotting beans. 

As for this one . . .

"The approval of the $5,000,000 MILLION for the new teachers was a DONE deal between BloomKlein & the UFT. Mulgrew pretended to be upset as part of the show. I am a special education teacher who has been an ATR for 3 years and cannot find a job. I am sure that there are so many other ATR teachers who have the special education licence and don't have jobs. This is a complete stupidity not to give jobs to experience teachers."

         . . . remember this bit of footage in Ednotes a week ago:

               A visit to a school by a UFT district rep this week exposed the duplicity of the UFT. Remember Mulgrew
              telling people at the DA to go to last night's PEP meeting to protest the $5 million being spent in new
              teacher recruitment in the midst of budget cuts? 

              I got this email from the CL:   He told us that they didn't want the PEP presence to be "too big" and
              intimated furloughs to hold off layoffs.

Look at the comments at 3:05, 7:39, and 10:08, which sure look like the work of an insider. Here's some bits: 

     3:05 a.m. ANDREW STEIN INDICTED IN PENSION CASE......
     THE REMAINING ISSUE IS WHEN will UFT Bloomberg Vichy ally Michael Mulgrew
     and other New York labor leaders let their members know exactly who they are
     suing(last week's press release)to recover hundreds of millions in stolen
     pension funds?wouldnt the members want to know which bank to boycott? and why
     didnt the UFT fully vet their good pal Hevesi after Weingarten engineered the
     union's mayoral endorsement in 2001 even though a majority of her members
     favored Ferrer? . . .
                                                 
   7:39 p.m. . . . check the filings behind the L.M.2 forms- which are summaries -
     for hidden raises, consulting fees to friends, lawyer fees and the real fraud: 
     a slush fund called "52 Broadway Associates," where Mulgrew flunky David Hickey
     hides the payoffs and cash disbursements and shills for the private caterer he
     hired.- offering other unions and companes a 10 percent discount if they use
     the UFT caterer,thereby screwing the members! what does Hickey get by shilling
     for a private company located on the members property?
     Mulgrew is hiding the 52 Broadway Associates disbursements from the U.S. Labor
     Dept.
     Hickey worked for the PBA when the lawyer Hartman stole $7 million! how do you
     steal from cops?
     ask Donna- she knows.

   10:08 the next day: what did Mulgrew know about Brian McLaughlin and when [did
      he]know it? did he report him to the feds? they are bosom buddies.
   
                 [according to this Daily News clip, McLaughlin is a "disgraced labor leader ... sentenced to 10 years
                 in 2009 for stealing $3.1 million from Little Leaguers, lawmakers, contractors and his own union.]

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"PHILANTHROCAPITALISM"

This important new term (new at least for me; Wiki doesn't have an article on it yet, but does for "Venture philanthropy") is explained in this New Republic article, which elaborates on the vortex that teachers and kids are getting sucked into and spun downwards.

It's all about relinquishing control of ed policy to private foundations. "One of the most effective methods for the delegitimation of government in our day has been the notion that charity may do the work of public policy, that private wealth is the answer to social crisis," says author Leon Weiseltier. He concludes with: 

       "Billionaires can also be dumb and dangerous. The merit of an opinion or a policy
        has nothing  to do with the social and economic position of the person who espouses it. 
       Money never made anything true or good. The question of what sort of city New York
       should be is not the question of what Michael Bloomberg should do with his money. 
       Charity is a blessing, but not when it is an expression of disdain for the democratically
        constituted state, which, for all its errors and exasperations, is still what protects 
        us from many of history’s and nature’s punishments."

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ALERT:  for WONKS ONLY!!!


THE NEW CHARTER SCHOOL LAW

Leonie Haimson has some comments on the five questions posed by GothamSchools on new legislation paving the way for 114 charter schools to open in NYC in the next four years.  I don't see a shortcut how to post this, so I'm including the whole Gotham piece with Leonie's comments in CAPS.

Five questions the new charter school law leaves unanswered


by Maura Walz

One consequence of the charter cap legislation passed in Albany today is clear: it’s now possible for 114 new charter schools to open in New York City over the next four years, more than doubling the number of charters and students in them. Statewide, the door is open for 260 new charter schools to open by 2014.
         But the new law also includes a slew of changes to the way the schools are opened and run, leaving advocates, officials and observers with at least five big unanswered questions.


1. What’s the deal with the new Request for Proposals process?
Under the old charter school law, educators could ask to open charter schools simply by applying to do so. Now, prospective school leaders will have to formulate their applications as responses to Request for Proposals. These will be issued by both the Board of Regents and the State University of New York’s Charter School Institute.
           Advocates and union officials today disagreed on exactly how the RFP’s will be used. One school of thought is that the RFP will be a tool for limiting charter school leaders’ freedom to open in a location of their choosing. Indeed, the law declares that operators that receive an endorsement of their school district will have a leg up in the RFP process. That could make it harder for operators to open schools in some upstate districts whose school boards strongly oppose charter schools. (Or imagine a less charter-happy mayor in New York. Mayor de Blasio?)
WAIT TILL THE HEDGEFUND OPERATORS GET TO HIM; OR WHO EVER ELSE WILL BE RUNNING.  THEY WILL HOLD OUT THEIR MILLIONS AS THEY HAVE TO CUOMO AND OUR STATE SENATORS.
        In an interview today, city teachers union President Michael Mulgrew said that the union plans to “advocate through the RFP.” He meant, he explained, that the UFT will lobby authorizers not to issue RFPs for schools in neighborhoods deemed overwhelmed with charter schools.
But charter school advocates said they aren’t concerned about the RFP process. Beyond creating more bureaucratic hurdles for authorizers and new charter schools, they said, the process will not significantly change how authorizers determine which schools should open. “The difference may appear larger than it actually is,” said James Merriman, head of the New York City Charter School Center. 
FOR ONCE I AGREE WITH MERRIMAN. UNLESS I’M MISSING SOMETHING, IT’S HARD TO SEE THIS AS A BIG CHANGE.


2. Can the New York City schools chancellor continue to authorize charter schools?
Until today, the city Department of Education’s charter school office played a similar role to SUNY: It accepted applications for new charter schools, reviewed and approved them, and then passed the applications on to the Board of Regents for final approval. The city acted as the main authorizer for those schools, monitoring the schools and shutting them down for poor performance.
         Under the new law, the schools chancellor can still recommend charter school applications to the Regents — and now can also recommend schools to SUNY for approval. And that recommendation matters to some degree: The rubric authorizers must use to evaluate applications gives preference for schools with a district endorsement. But it’s unclear whether the city will retain the power to oversee and shut down failing charters.
           John White, a deputy chancellor for the city, noted that the law still names the chancellor as one of the state’s three “charter entities” who legally have power to oversee schools.
           But Jonas Chartock, the head of SUNY’s Charter School Institute, said that his reading of the law suggests that his center will retain the ultimate oversight over schools it authorizes.
           “To me, it’s not exactly clear,” said Merriman. “A reading of the bill would allow either interpretation at this point. It’s something that I think we have to see how counsel for the various parties…view that.” 
MORE CONFUSION LEADING PROBABLY LEADING TO MORE LAWSUITS.  THANKS ALBANY!

3. How does the law force charter schools to accept more English language learners and special education students?
The law requires that charter schools maintain a certain number of English language learners and special education students over time. Schools are supposed to hit targets for both student enrollment and student retention that match neighborhood schools. Here’s what the law says authorizers have to make sure of:

THAT SUCH
   37  ENROLLMENT TARGETS ARE COMPARABLE TO  THE  ENROLLMENT  FIGURES  OF  SUCH
   38  CATEGORIES  OF  STUDENTS  ATTENDING THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WITHIN THE SCHOOL
   39  DISTRICT, OR IN A CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION  OF
 &n
 bsp; 40  ONE MILLION OR MORE INHABITANTS, THE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, IN WHICH
   41  THE  PROPOSED  CHARTER  SCHOOL  WOULD  BE  LOCATED;  AND  (2)  THAT SUCH
   42  RETENTION TARGETS ARE COMPARABLE TO THE RATE OF RETENTION OF SUCH  CATE-
   43  GORIES  OF  STUDENTS  ATTENDING  THE  PUBLIC  SCHOOLS  WITHIN THE SCHOOL
   44  DISTRICT, OR IN A CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION  OF
   45  ONE MILLION OR MORE INHABITANTS, THE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, IN WHICH
   46  THE PROPOSED CHARTER SCHOOL WOULD BE LOCATED; AND

But it’s not clear how that requirement will be enforced. Among other implementation problems is data-keeping. “SUNY’s going to need access to data we’ve never been able to obtain,” Chartock said.
THEY’VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO OBTAIN DATA ON ENROLLMENT IN THEIR OWN CHARTERS?  WHY NOT?
THIS PROVISION IS NOT JUST HARD TO ENFORCE – BUT HARD TO DEFINE “COMPARABLE.”  ANOTHER SERIOUS FLAW IN THE LAW.


4. Does the law change relationships between charter schools and district schools that share space?
The new law creates a “building council” to coordinate collaboration between schools housed together. Right now, co-located schools have building councils that include only principals from each school. The new councils will include principals, teachers and parents from each school in a building.
THE CHANCELLOR RETAINS THE  UNILATERAL POWER TO IMPOSE HIS WILL AND DECIDE ON CO-LOCATIONS.  THE COMMUNITY AND PARENTS HAVE NO VOICE.  HE WILL DEVISE THE BUILDING PLAN, AND THE BUILDING COUNCIL WILL BE LEFT TO ARGUE AND FIGHT AFTERWARDS.  THAT’S POWER?   THE LAW ALLOWS COMPLAINTS TO THE COMMISSIONER; BUT SO WHAT?  THERE HAVE ALREADY BEEN COMPLAINTS.  NO CHANGE THERE.
          The council does not have the power to veto the city’s co-location plans. But it will be able to draw public attention to the plans.
AFTER THE FACT.  AND WE’VE HAD PLENTY OF PUBLIC ATTENTION AND WHAT HAS IT GOT US?
           And public attention isn’t without its own kind of power: The new mayoral control law created public hearings when schools were recommended for closure.
          The hearings created quite a firestorm and arguably played a role in the recent court decision overturning city-enforced school closures.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?  ANTICIPATE MORE LAWSUITS (IF WE CAN FIND ATTORNEYS TO REPRESENT US) BUT THIS IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE FROM THE CURRENT LAW.  PARENTS LOSE OUT AS USUAL.


5. Where does the money come from?
The increased bureaucracy and oversight required by the new law will require resources. Given the state’s doomsday fiscal climate, it’s unclear where that money will come from. Already SUNY’s Charter School Institute, which will see the number of charters it oversees double, is facing a proposed 70 percent funding reduction under budgets proposed by both the Senate and the Assembly.
           The law also includes a provision requiring that any improvements to a charter school facility worth more than $5,000 must be matched in the district schools that share its building. The measure was widely praised on all sides as a way to assure equity between charter and district school students.
            “But I want to be very, very clear,” Merriman said. “We do expect that the mayor and the chancellor step up and meet their commitment to provide such funding so that charters and district school students attend school in equal and high quality facilities.”
HIGH QUALITY FACILITIES?  JUST FOR THE STUDENTS IN CO-LOCATED SCHOOLS?  WHERE HAS THIS GUY BEEN?
THE VAST MAJORITY OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE FORCED TO ATTEND SCHOOL IN OVERCROWDED AND INADEQUATE FACILITIES; AND THE RAISING OF THE CAP WILL MAKE THIS CRITICAL PROBLEM EVEN WORSE.  SLAP ON SOME NEW PAINT; BUT KIDS WILL CONTINUE TO GET EDUCATED IN HALLWAYS AND CLOSETS.
ALTOGETHER THIS LAW IS THE WRONG ANSWER TO THE WRONG QUESTION.