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.

[SIGNATURE]
[PRINTED NAME]

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 dcorum@uft.org should you have further questions.

Danny Corum
COPE Coordinator
United Federation of Teachers
Legislation & Political Action
52 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10004
dcorum@uft.org
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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

UFT Leadership Spend Member Money On Questionable Causes.



























Since the beginning of my blog, I have questioned some of the money that our leadership has given or spent on programs that many of the rank and file do not support.  In fact, my very first blog post was about the non-educational programs that our hard earned money was going to and I objected to it since it was not going to further the education agenda which it should have gone to.  Over the years, the UFT leadership has been using member dues and COPE funds for very questionable uses.  Remember the very embarrassing quail incident?  If that wasn't enough the UFT's Paul Egan, who caused the uproar, also gets paid a very handsome salary  paid for by us. When I go to a UFT function, I get cookies and, if lucky, a wrap, not a $40 meal of quail and booze while picking up the tab for 24 of his union friends on our dime.

Now it seems that the UFT is spending our money on causes that I personally object to.  The most egregious is being a co-sponsor of Al Sharpton's  anti-police march across the Verrazano Bridge.  The very same Al Sharpton who, in my opinion, is a racial arsonist.  Yes, the very same Al Sharpton who falsely defamed a prosecutor of rape in the Tawana Brawley case and is anti-Semitic, who worked closely with Chancellor Joel Klein to attack teachers by agreeing with the Chancellor that the racial achievement gap was because of the schools and is a notorious tax deadbeat.

This is the very same UFT who refuses to go after vindictive school administrators because they are fellow union members, while supporting an anti-police march.  Aren't the police officers fellow union members too?  How can the UFT leadership talk out of both sides of their mouth and justify the use of the rank and file funds for this purpose?

A man I respect very much is Pat Lynch, the head of the police union, who is very upset with UFT President Michael Mulgrew and minced few words criticizing the UFT for the substandard contract the UFT negotiated with the De Blasio administration and the co-sponsoring the anti-police march organized by Al Sharpton.  Rather than rehash what he said, you can read it Here.

That brings me to the UFT's COPE contribution that's supposed to be used for legitimate lobbying for the interest of its members.  Over the years I have been increasingly disappointed in how our COPE contributions have been spent.  When I first started teaching, my Chapter Leader, recommended that I contribute $5 a paycheck and that's what I did since I naively thought all the money was going to make our profession better.  As I become more and more disenchanted with the union's priorities, I reduced my COPE contribution to $1 per paycheck.  By the time I started my blog, I reduced it to the minimum $0.50.  Once the Quail fiasco hit the newspapers, I realized that our COPE money was being misused and I stopped contributing altogether.  I sent a letter to UFT headquarters to the COPE coordinator stating I no longer wanted to contribute to COPE and had my Chapter Leader sign the release form sent back to me and that was all I had to do.

Until our union decides to include the rank and file in how our money is spend, I will not give a penny to COPE and neither should you..

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bad News! No Retroactive Per Session Pay After All.


 Despite assurances from UFT President Michael Mulgrew that all the members will get back every dollar owed to them, it now appears that the City and UFT have worked out an agreement that there will be no retroactive increases for per session pay for the 2009-14 time period.  Why do I believe this is the case? It turns out the new per session pay rate has increased by only 2%, (instead of the 2.12% when the 2013-14 retro is included) from $41.98 to $42.82 starting this summer, that's why.  The per session increase of 2% does not include any retro payments from 2009 to 2014, as promised by Michael Mulgrew.  Had these retro payments been included, the new per session rate would be much higher. 

While I understand that calling Michael Mulgrew's claims of getting all our retro payments into question may cause him to place me on his list of trying to punch me in the face, I stand by my analysis that his claims appears to be false.  In fact, this is another example of a group of his members being screwed by the union leadership and the City.  Now it seems that all the members who put in for per session activities between 2009 and 2014 will not be getting any more money after all.  Had all the retroactive raises been incorporated in the new per session rate, the per session rate would be $46.18 not $42.82.  This tells me that the City has no intention of paying members any more per session money, based upon the new per session rate and the union has apparently allowed it to happen.

To all the members who were assured by our union representatives that all the retros will be paid, here is another example of our union not telling us the truth. The real truth is that the DOE agreed not to adjust the per session pay of $41.98 that was paid out between November of 2009 and June 2014 for the new per session rate.  That's the only answer why the new per session rate is only $42.82 and not much higher. Therefore, don't expect any additional checks coming to the members who were looking for a payday of $1,000 or more owed to them for their per session work for the 2009-14 time period.

It seems as the contract terms become clearer, the long list of members being screwed just grows.  The ATRs, ex members who resigned or were terminated, newly minted administrators, members who died in service, went on disability or unpaid leave, and now added to the list are the members who worked per session.  The list continues to grow with the new contract.  I hate to think who's next to be screwed by the contract down the road. Hopefully its not you.

Remember the chart the UFT put out?  It shows that we should have received  the 2013 and 2014 retro raises, Here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The NY Post Shows Its Hypocracy When It Comes To Improving Schools.

         


















Over the Bloomberg years and in the beginning of the De Blasio Administration, the New York Post, echoed the education reformer slogan that a great teacher in every classroom is the major factor in closing the racial/income academic achievement gap.  To the New York Post it wasn't tight school budgets, a bloated DOE bureaucracy, large class sizes, unqualified administrators, social-economic factors, or family.  It was about firing teachers for any or no reason at all and making sure every classroom had an effective teacher.  Just like the education reformers, the New York Post would write editorials saying that the quality of the teacher is the most important factor in a child's educational development while ignoring the fact t5hat the schools were hiring the cheapest and not the best teachers for the schools.

However, in an attempt to dump on Bill de Blasio's inequality agenda, the New York Post editorial cited poverty as the root cause of the gap, the blind spot that all education reformers ignore.  That;s right, the New York Post editorial finally admits its the elimination of poverty that needs to occur if the inequality gap is to be closed.  The editorial claims that raising the minimum wage, universal pre-k, and affordable rents are praiseworthy, however, the real problem is poverty.  Interesting how the New York Post all of a sudden claims poverty  is the major factor in the inequality gap when it suits their purpose to belittle Mayor De Blasio's plans but never questions education reformers on this same issue?  What a hypocrite the New York Post is.

One needs to just look at the John Hopkins study to realize its poverty and family that is the most important factors in reducing the inequality gap, not a great teacher in every classroom.Its time the education reformers and their media allies admit it.

.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Principals Continue To Advertise For Teachers Outside The DOE Approved Process.


















Even before the Open Market Transfer System had closed on August 7th, principals were trying to hire teachers outside the DOE approved process, be it, the open market, ATR pool, or new teacher finder programs.  A couple of years ago, I uncovered a school who advertised on Craigslist and it was reported to the union leadership who chose not to make an issue of it.  Now I have seen two separate Craigslist advertisements.  One being from a well regarded school, Bayside high school.  The school's Craigslist advertisement is found below.
_________________________________________________________

Bayside High School Teaching Positions (Bayside High School - Bayside, NY)
compensation: Per most recent UFT contract
Bayside High School anticipates that the following positions will be available for September 2014:

-Commercial Art (Digital Art)
-Computer Programming (Computer Technology)
-Media Communications (Music Production/Recording Arts Technology)
-Technology Education (Environmental Engineering)
-Natural Resources & Ecology (Environmental Engineering)
-Drafting/CAD (Environmental Engineering)
-Business and Marketing (Non-Profit Management)
-Sports Medicine/Personal Training
-Chemistry
-Physics
-Chinese Language
-Japanese Language
-SWD Biology
-SWD Mathematics
-SWD ELA
-SWD Social Studies
___________________________________________________


If interested, please complete ALL of the steps below:
1. Email cover letter AND resume to hiring@baysidehigh.org
2. Compose email subject line to include position of interest and name, according to the following sample: CHEMISTRY: SMITH, JOHN
3. Submit all requested information at:
https://docs.google.com/a/baysidehigh.org/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHhhNDViSUI4bjBXUkxzZFI4aDYyY1E6MQ
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • do NOT contact us with unsolicited services or offers
post id: 4608899530
posted: a day ago
updated: a day ago
email to friend

___________________________________________________

That's right, the school is advertising for 16 vacancies outside the approved DOE hiring process. If you noticed, there is no requirement to have a valid teaching license or be certified.   Is this Craigslist advertisement the exception?  Unfortunately, its not.  If you look at the picture next to this paragraph you will
see another school advertising for an 8th grade Science teacher on Craigslist.  The question is what is the DOE doing about this?  Better yet, will the union do the right thing and demand that the DOE follow their own rules and regulations and punish these schools for circumventing the hiring procedures.  I won't hold my breath waiting for the DOE and the UFT to take action.