Wednesday, November 14, 2018

With A Democratic State Senate, This Should Freeze The Charter School Cap.

The blue wave hit the NYS Senate and the Democrats will control the Senate in January.  One of the changes will be that the Senate Republicans cannot demand an increase in the charter school cap.   Moreover, with many Democrats agreeing with Mayor Bill de Blasio on keeping a freeze on the charter school cap, there are few available openings for new charter schools in New York City.   Finally, even our charter school Governor, Andrew Cuomo, will be hesitant to push for an expansion of the charter school cap since he has presidential ambitions and will not risk alienating the teachers unions and their traditional allies.

Presently, in New York City there is only 8 open spots available for new charter schools and the Democrat controlled legislature is unwilling to expand the cap.  Further, its highly unlikely the charter friendly Governor will waste political capitol to actively push to expand the charter cap.  Finally, the linking of Wall Street hedge fund billionaires with the charter movement  as well as President Donald Trumps support has alienated the general public in New York City and makes it extremely difficult to support expanding the charter school cap.

Read the New York Times article Here.  The New York City Charter School Center has the statistics on the charter school cap.

Goodbye Bloomberg and Klein.  So long the Republican controlled Senate.  No more charter school supporters getting their way.  The heyday for education reformers and their charter school allies are over.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

UFT Leadership's Animal Farm

Back in 1945 George Orwell published a book called "Animal Farm" that was based upon the 1917 Russian Revolution.  The book showed how some animals were more equal then other animals.  The same can be said about the UFT leadership.  In today's New York Post a prime example of this is President Michael Mulgrew getting free tickets for the U.S. Open year after year from the legal group that gets millions of dollars from the UFT.  Read Susan Edelman's New York Post article on it Here.

By contrast teachers cannot receive any gift greater than $50 dollars and are never offered "freebies".  This is the very same union leadership that agreed to Charlotte Danielson for teacher evaluation, without member input.  Moreover, the very same union leadership that allowed the ATR pool to occur, without educator input, and agreed to the useless rotation without member discussion.   Finally, it's the very same union leadership that agreed to inferior raises and significant "givebacks" that made teaching in the NYC classroom a minefield.

Both the DOE and the UFT have a pecking order that treat different groups differently.  President Michael Mukgrew and his cronies are the "pigs" in Animal Farm while the rest of us are simply farm animals.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Breaking News - ATRs Are To Stay In Place For The Semester.

I have been informed that the DOE will leave ATRs in place, at the school they started in for the rest of the semester.  I had heard this rumor last month and it seems that is what has happened, with some exceptions.

Will ATRs be rotated at all?  I do believe they will be rotated for the second semester.  Let's see if that actually happens.

Just to remind ATRs, the useless rotation was proposed by the UFT leadership back in 2012 and adopted by the DOE.  So blame our union leadership for the rotation that make ATRs a stranger in a strange land.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Consequences Of Mayor Bill de Blasio Keeping Bloomberg Holdovers At Tweed

When Bill de Blasio became Mayor of New York City, many hoped that the Bloomberg era policymakers at Tweed would have been forced to resign as he would "clean house".  Unfortunately. the Mayor appointed Carmen Farina as Chancellor and she retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers.  The result was the conflict between the DOE and teachers continued as teachers looked at the DOE as the enemy.

DOE policies like school-based "Fair Student Funding" which incentivizes principals to hire "the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their school.  Tight school budgets that was only funded at 90% of their appropriate funding.  The 1,000+ ATR pool that wastes $150 million dollars a year.   Finally, the continued hiring of incompetent and vindictive "Leadership Academy Principals" that , rather than collaborate with staff did the opposite and dictated to their staff.

However, the worst offense by the Bloomberg policymakers at the DOE was violating student privacy laws by giving student names and addresses to charter schools in violation of State and Federal privacy laws.  By giving the charter schools public school student names and addresses, the charter schools,  armed with this knowledge they were able to pick off students that were not English Language Learners and did not need Special Education services, by sending them glossy flyers about their charter school.

Susan Edelman of the New York Post published an article that shows why the DOE may have violated student privacy rights and both the State and Federal government have initiated an investigation.  On the nyc public school parent blog more information is also available.

The DOE's apparent violation of student privacy rights should result in many resignations at Tweed if the Mayor and Chancellor do their "due diligence".

Monday, November 05, 2018

If ATRs Had Their Own Bargaining Unit, They Would Have Voted Overwelmingly No!

The UFT contract easily passed with only school nurses voting against it.  However, if ATRs had their own negotiating unit, they would have overwhelmingly voted no!

Why did ATRs vote no?  Let me count the ways.

  • ATRsa re treated as second class citizens.
  • ATRs are forced placed.
  • ATRs cannot refuse an assignment.
  • ATRs are rotated without consent.
  • ATRs have few opportunities to take per session jobs.
  • ATRs are observed in strange classrooms.
  • ATRs are observed by field supervisors.
  • ATRs have no input in student grades.
  • ATRs are discriminated by the DOE's school-based fair student funding policy.
Now you know why ATRs voted no on the contract.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Maximum TDA Limit Raised To $19,000 For 2019.

Starting  January 2019 the maximum annual limit will increase by $500, from $18,500 to $19,000.   If the educator is 50 years of age or older, the TDA allows a "catch up" contribution of $6,000, which is unchanged from 2018.  Therefore, the total maximum limit for educators 50 years of age or older is $25,000.

The more you contribute to the TDA, the less you pay in taxes that year since your TDA contribution is tax deferred..  Moreover, the TDA is exempt from State and City taxes in New York State.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Rotatuon Or No Rotation? That Is The Question.

Rumors are flying around that ATRs will stay in one school the entire school year,  However, according to the DOE ATR rotation is still in force for this school year.  When will ATRs be rotated is anybody's guess.?

Originally, ATRs were to be rotated this month and that may still be the case.  However, I have also heard that ATRs will stay in one school for the semester   It is possible that the ATRs will not be rotated at all.  Of course nobody at the DOE or UFT will confirm or dispute the rumors.

Even principals have no clue on how long they can depend on having the ATR in their school.  Therefore, they cannot assign ATRs to a class since they cannot depend on the ATR being in his or her school a month from now.

You would think that for stability sake the DOE and UFT would have come to an agreement on how long an ATR is assigned to a school.