First, The union agreement to allow a non-educator to be chancellor was a mistake and needs to be ended. The chancellor controls the DOE budget priorities and his emphasis has been the hiring of more and more non-educators at the top levels at Tweed at the expense of the educator.
Second, mayoral control. Who in their right mind would allow one person (the mayor) to determine policy for an education system that he has no understanding of. This too must end. The two most powerful people who control the schools are both non-educators who are clueless what goes on in a classroom. How could a union allow this?
Third, The October 2005 contract disaster that made teaching in the classroom unbearable. The union must recover all the givebacks in the next contract. Not one but all! This terrible contract givebacks for you teachers who forgot what you gave up are listed below.
- Increased workday - 150 more minutes a week in the classroom.
- Longer work year - 192 days this year alone.
- Elimination of grievances for Letters-In-File (LIF).
- Elimination of the Seniority Transfer System.
- Inclusion of administrative assignments - cafeteria, hallway, and bathroom duties.
- The expansion of the number of ATR's.
- The suspension of a teacher for up to 90 days without pay and health benefits based upon hearsay evidence.
Fifth, stop the recruitment over the retention of teachers approach. Our union seems more concerned with recruiting teachers than retaining teachers. Just look at the givebacks on the classroom teacher just so that our union could pay the newbie teacher a competitive salary. Is there any wonder that we have seen teacher resignations double to 4,600 last school year? How about those housing vouchers and loan forgiveness programs for newbie teachers?
Sixth, stop allowing the DOE to hire teachers from alternative certification programs (Teach for America & Teaching Fellows programs) as well as conducting an intergalactic job fair for foreign teachers while experienced teachers are relegated to be ATR's.
Seventh, The union's acceptance of the dismantling of the large traditional high school and the resulting overcrowding of the remaining large high schools is disgusting. To further spike the data the union looks the other way as small schools don't need to take special education and ELA students for the first two years. Further, these small schools can weed out the level one students with attendance and/or behavior problems. By the way where do you think these students end up? Right. the remaining large, increasingly overcrowded, traditional high schools.
Eight, The union's acceptance of weakened and non-enforcement of student discipline codes. The union should be demanding a strengthening of the student discipline code and bring charges against administrators who refuse to enforce these codes.
Ninth, Demand that the DOE culture of teacher disrespect end by requiring a fair and impartial investigation of any alleged teacher misconduct. presently, a principal can find any excuse to remove a teacher and the non-educators that are at Tweed assume the teacher is guilty until proven not guilty (you expected me to say innocent?. According to the DOE no teacher is innocent if accused).
Tenth, Go back to the State 3020-a process, where teachers have due process rights.
Eleventh, all excessed teachers must be placed before a school district would be allowed to hire a newbie teacher in that subject area.
Twelfth, make the Fair Student Formula (FSF) for the schools salary blind and does not give the lower salaried teacher an advantage as it does now.
Under Randi Weingarten and her staff the once-strong union has become reactive rather than pro-active. All I hear from our union leaders are talk, talk, talk, but little action. Under her leadership we have seen a deterioration of the classroom environment and teacher respect. It's time to stop the DOE micromanagement of the classroom and let teachers teach the way that is best for the students in that teacher's classroom