Monday, September 01, 2014

Chancellor Carmen Farina Declares War On Teachers.

On Sunday, the New York Daily News interviewed Chancellor Carmen Farina and asked her what her goals were for the 2014-15 school year.  Not unexpectedly they were the Mayor's pre-k program, higher passing rates on State tests, and more parental involvement.  However, when it came to teachers, the Chancellor showed her true colors, she told the Daily News that she will train principals how to terminate teachers they don't want rather than collaborate and support hem.  Notice, she didn't say "ineffective teachers" but teachers who principals don't want.

The Chancellor also went after the ATRs by claiming that there will be a dramatic reduction of teachers without a classroom by mid October.  Did she mean that the ATRs will be offered vacancies?  No, according to the Chancellor, the reduction will be due to the conditions of the new contract that has already resulted in 97 teachers taking the buyout (almost all of them were retiring anyway) and by actively going after ATRs for dubious disciplinary issues.

Interestingly, the Chancellor is full of contradictions as well as she, on one hand, wants principals to properly document teacher actions that can lead to termination while , on the other hand, wants to improve teacher morale.  Let's see if you redouble the efforts to target teachers that will improve their morale, what an idiot!  I guess the Chancellor believes in the statement "that the beatings will continue until morale  improves".  Moreover, she claims she wants to improve teacher retention.  How can she do that when she refuses to remove vindictive and incompetent administrators that result in high teacher turnover in their schools?  Furthermore, class sizes, the largest in the Stace, are not being reduced.  Finally, her failure to discontinue the "fair student funding" and freezing already tight school budgets forces principals to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for the students basically assures for high teacher turnover going forward..

The Chancellor claims there will be no "forced placement" and that there is mutual consent. However, if a Principal requires that an ATR interview and offer a position, the ATR has no choice but to accept the interview and the position or the DOE will consider that the ATR has resigned.  That, to me, is not mutual consent and is a forced placement. What is the union's position?  They just close their collective eyes and the disconnected leadership will claim that you must take the position.  According to UFT President, Michael Mulgrew,  there is a new attitude at the DOE.  Yeah, a new attitude as the DOE redouble their efforts to target the classroom teacher, lead by a very disappointing Chancellor..

Sunday, August 31, 2014

On Tuesday Wear Blue To Support Our Fellow Union Members In The NYPD.

Outside of our union leadership, the ultra-leftist elite, and racial arsonists, there is a groundswell of support for the police and the difficult job they do to keep our big city safe.  I remember how scarey it was to walk in the city at night and in some neighborhoods at any time of the day in the 80's and 90's but thanks to the police officers and their dedication to make our streets safe, that's just a bad memory.   However, our President, Michael Mulgrew, and his lackeys unwisely used member funds to co-sponsor Al Sharpton's anti-police march in Staten Island last weekend.  Its time that the rank and file of the UFT show their appreciation and support of our fellow union members by wearing blue on Tuesday, the first day of school.

The idea originated from teachers in Staten Island and I strongly support the wearing blue campaign and it won't cost any union member one red cent.  Please show your support for your fellow union members by wearing blue on the first day of school.  I will.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The DOE Secretly Holds A Job Fair That Excludes ATRs.

Yes, the same old DOE has once again, secretly held a job fair for the remaining vacancies in the school system and excluded the ATRs.  According to UFT President Michael Mulgrew this is supposed to be the new DOE attitude of cooperation and understanding that he bragged about. It seems to me that little has changed when it comes to the DOE.

The DOE job fair was held on Tuesday, August 26th at the Armory in Washington Heights and according to my sources the UFT was there as well which brings up the question why didn't the UFT object to this exclusionary DOE job fair?  The answer is obvious, the UFT aided and abetted the DOE in excluding ATRs so that the DOE can continue to claim that the ATRs are not looking for jobs.

Unfortunately, the UFT is more the problem then the solution when it comes to adequately representing its members.  Its the only municipal union that allows the City to bestow "second class citizenship" on some of its members and looks the other way when the DOE tries to punish the members a second time when they failed to terminate them in a 3020-a process. Is it any wonder that the ATRs don't trust the union leadership?

While I still believe in the protections union membership gives me, I realize that this disconnected UFT leadership  is not doing their job.  I need to rely on myself to uphold my rights and asking the union leadership to do their job is simply a pipe dream. To me its the same old "gotcha mentality" in the DOE and a union that looks the other way when its most vulnerable of members are targeted.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Finally, We Will Be Getting Our 2% Raise And Retro In Our Second Check.

The union, in their press release, has informed the members that our 2% raise for the yeas 2013 and 2014 will be in our second check of the fall (September 30th).  Included in the raises will be the retro payments for the same time period, or so the union claims.  The per session retro payments for the 2013 and 2014 period will be sent out on October 3rd.  Just to remind you, we get 1% for each of the two years, starting from May 1, 2013 and May 1, 2014 so the retro payments will be low, probably averaging about $750 for the average teacher salary.

Interestingly, "newbie teachers" will be getting a more significant raise of 4.3% ($2,000) as both the UFT and DOE encourage the hiring of new teachers at the expense of retaining experienced teachers who are stuck with the measly 2% increase in their salary in the DOE's "education on the cheap" policy.

Finally, most of the teachers will be getting their final ratings the day they return to school, September 2nd and there may be some very unhappy educators as a result.  Hopefully, the number of "ineffective or developing" educators are small but for the ones that get that designation, remember, you need two "ineffectives" so make sure it doesn't happen this school year.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Disconnected Union Leadership.

One of my quotes on my blog is "A union that allows its members to be disrespected, is a union that no longer deserves the respect of its members". Unfortunately, our union has lived up to this quote, be it the contract that made ATRs a second class citizen, screwing ex-members who didn't retire, or using member funds for non-educational or  political reasons. In addition, our union leadership has negotiated a vastly inferior contract that defers our 8% raises and retro payments till as late as 2020!  Hopefully, one does not die or resign before the raises are paid out.

The union has become increasingly disconnected with its members as there is little accountability by
the union leadership to show that they are representing the interests of its members rather than their own interests.  A case in point is President Michael Mulgrew using his position as President of the UFT to issue an "Action Alert" to co-sponsor and provide funding to Al Sharpton's police bashing march.  Its one thing to march as a private citizen but its another when you circumvent your member wishes and put the union's money and prestige at the service of a racially divisive march, led by a known racial arsonist,  anti-Semite, and tax deadbeat.

 I have never been more embarrassed and angry about the direction our union leadership is traveling, hugging the Chancellor while she made ATRs second class citizens and praising the new DOE attitude while saying little when the DOE kept the "fair student funding" and froze school budgets.  Need I remind one of the union's support of the badly flawed teacher evaluation system?  Moreover, if you disagree with Common Core, Mr. Mulgrew will "punch you in the face". Finally, the contract negotiated with the De Blasio Administration was based upon making the City look good at the expense of the members.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Poverty Is Destiny For Too Many Children When It Comes To Academic Achievement.

New York State Education Department proudly claimed that the Common Core based, high stakes tests showed that the small improvements were proof that their policy is working.  Of course, what NYSED failed to mention was that the State lowered the "cut scores" that accounted for most, if not all of the improvements.  Furthermore, many more students decided to  "opt out" this time. Finally, the NYSED Commissioner's conclusion that "poverty is not destiny" is not supported by the very information that he presented in the press conference.  Unfortunately, the NYSED data shows the continued inequality between Black and White communities that is reflected nationwide and shows up in the racial/income academic achievement gap.

Interestingly, the NYSED Commissioner John King said in "putting the lipstick on the pig", by hailing the results as showing that the State's education policy is working, I wonder what kind of glasses he was using to make that statement?   Moreover, he claimed that poverty is not destiny crowd has been proven wrong by the results.  Really?  He showed a scatter graph that indicated that some schools with high poverty levels did well.  Of course he failed to mention that the schools were either screened academically or were the Charter schools that have exclusionary policies to eliminate many of the poor performing or disruptive students before they reach the third grade.  The scatter graph does show that the deeper the poverty rate of a school, the lower the test scores.  It seems that Mr. King should go back to school and understand what his own graph shows before he makes claims that are false.  A column by "Ed the Apple" explains further about the State's flawed conclusion as Mr. Goodman shows that there were no high achieving schools in zip codes with deep poverty.  Furthermore, based on the NYS data, many schools in the predominately White/Asian District 26 had a 70% passing rate while the heavily Black District 27 had many schools that had close to a 0% passing rate!  No racial/income academic achievement gap there.  It must all be about the teachers Mr. King.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How To Deny The Union Your COPE Money.

I have made no secret for my contempt of the UFT leadership's use of our union dues and COPE money for questionable causes and political action that gives its members no say in the matter.  Since the union leadership feels that its members don't count when it comes how they spend our money, this post is dedicated to those members, who believe as I do, that our hard earned money should not go to our quail eating leadership or supporting a racial arsonist like Al Sharpton, who has never apologized for his false rape accusations, anti-Semitic statements, or his failure to pay his overdue taxes, like the rest of us are required to do.  All our money should be going to making our profession better and the classroom a less hostile place. The union took in $6 million dollars of COPE contributions last year and that should be used for the members, nobody else!

If you want to withdraw your COPE contributions, one of my anonymous commenters was kind enough to supply the information. Below, in red is the procedure.

How to cancel your COPE contributions from your paychecks:

Please send a fax requesting to cancel your COPE contribution. The information they need from you is displayed below.

They will send a cancellation card to your address on file along with a pre-paid return envelope so that you can fill out the card and send it back right away. As part of procedure, they must also receive the following fax from you:

RE: COPE Cancellation
TO: Danny Corum, COPE Coordinator

My name is ___________, File # _______________. I would like to cancel my COPE contribution as soon as possible.


Please do not forget to sign and print your name on the fax. The fax should be sent to (212)510-6435. Your contribution will be cancelled when they receive the fax and the cancellation card back from you. Please do not hesitate to contact them at (212)598-6826 or at should you have further questions.

Danny Corum
COPE Coordinator
United Federation of Teachers
Legislation & Political Action
52 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10004
phone: (212)598-6826
fax: (212)510-6435

 Maybe if enough of the members stop contributing to COPE, our union leadership might get the message and start listening to member concerns and not misuse money for their own personal ideology and needs.