Saturday, June 30, 2018

Psalm of Mark Janus (The Freeloader)

by Deadbeat Poet
The dues paying member is my shepherd,
   I shall not want.
He provideth me with rest days and vacations.
So that I may lie down in green pastures
Beside the still waters.
He restoreth my back pay.
He guideth my welfare without cost to me.
I stray in the paths of the non-righteous
For my money's sake.
Yea, though I alibi and pay no dues
From generation to generation
I fear no evil, for he protects me.
The working conditions which he provides
They comfort me.
He annointeth my head with the oil
  of worker's compensation.
Sick pay, holidays, and a pension.
He represents me in grievances.
And my cup runneth over with ingratitude.
Surely his goodness and loving kindness
Shall follow me all the days of my life
Without cost to me.
And I shall dwell in his house forever.
And allow him to foot the bill.

Thanks to Jonathan

Toby Goes on Strike

Things are tough all over. First Janus, and now this. Yesterday Toby just sat down, a block away from my house, and said, "That's it. I'm sitting here, and I'm not moving. I don't care what you say and I don't care what you do."

Sometimes Toby sits because when I tell him to sit I'll often reward him. These days, he doesn't feel like waiting for me to tell him to do it, so he'll just does it himself. He's trying to train me to dispense doggie treats on demand. Desperate at his refusal to move, I gave in and tried to give him one. But he wasn't having it.

"You think you can buy me off this cheaply? What's that, one of those Milk Bone Minis? Not even bacon flavored? Forget it."

I don't really understand. Toby's from Puerto Rico, and it's pretty hot over there. Yet he just hates hot weather. I tried to negotiate with him. I offered him larger doggie biscuit rations. He was kind of interested, but when I told him he'd have to come a little more quickly when called, rather than sauntering over at his own speed, he wasn't having it.

"That's a giveback," he said. "No givebacks."

"No it isn't. We're negotiating. You want more doggie biscuits and I want you to come a little faster.

"I'll think about it," he said, and we kept going.

When we got to the boardwalk, we started doing the training thing, where I ask him to sit, down, and come.

"Sit," I said, and he did.

I left him there and walked away, as I'd done a million times before. When I turned around he was standing.

"I thought I told you to sit."

"Come on man, it's hot out here. Can't a guy just turn around and look at the ducks or the beach grass once in a while?"

"Yeah but you're supposed to come. That's when I can give you a treat."

"Listen," he said. "I don't negotiate in public. You're gonna have to take that up with the 400-member negotiating committee."

I was beginning to feel outmatched. 

We arrived at Nawlins on the canal, which happens to be a dog friendly restaurant, I said let's stop for lunch.

"What's on the menu?" he wanted to know.

I told him it was a cajun place, and that they had things like gumbo and catfish.

"Can I get Freshpet Tender Chicken with Vegetables and Brown Rice, with a large bowl of water on the side?"

"No Toby, I told you they sell cajun food. It's not like that."

"Forget it," he said. "Let's just rest here for a while."

I didn't understand why he couldn't move a few feet and let me sit on the bench, but that's how it was.

"Also," he said, "I demand that cousin Julio come over to visit more often. It's always fun when cousin Julio comes to visit. We hang out, and run around in circles like we're insane. Who could ask for more than that?"

"I don't know, Toby. Julio lives with my daughter. She works and can't just come over here any time you want her to."

"You better make it happen," said Toby. "You're lucky I let you walk me at all. There are gonna have to be some big changes around here, or I can't promise what's gonna happen."

He's a tough little guy. I'm gonna have to seriously hone my negotiating skills if I want a win here.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Another View on Charters

by Someone Who Works in One

I’ve worked now in a number of charter schools. For people who’ve only worked in public schools charter schools seem like a mysterious, sinister world. Do teachers really have to work insane hours without a contract? Can your principal fire you for not liking your shoes? Are troublesome kids “counseled out”?

The answer is more complex than either “side” wants to admit. 

First of all, disclaimer: I’ve never worked at one of the “excellent” charter chains like Success Academy or KIPP. I have heard about the insane work hours at those schools. 7-5, or 7-6? I did interview at one of those chains where the principal cheerily said that “most teachers are here from 7-6.” I made a beeline out of that school.

Most charter schools have an “official” work time and an actual work time. The official work time is somewhere between 8 and 8.5 hours. The actual work time is almost always about an hour less, as most charter school days are not that much longer than the DOE school day. So after school when the kids are gone most teachers find themselves staring at the wall or watching Youtube vidoes. And then they inevitably sneak out. And there are DOE schools where the principals are crazy and your “official” work time is nothing close to your actual work time. Bulletin boards every three weeks! After school tutoring every day! I’ve seen it happen where a unionized DOE school has a bunch of young exhausted teachers there from 7-5 easily.

One thing about charters is for whatever reason (bussing, lunching in DOE buildings) many have a later start time than DOE schools. 9:00 is a pretty typical start time. This might or might not be to your liking. I’ve never been a morning person so I like it.

Now the thing about being fired. Yes it’s true — you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. There’s an upshot to this though — in the DOE, being fired is, like, a big deal. There’s a permanent red flag under your name, your social security number is put on the ineligible list, and many teachers have been completely traumatized by the endless “PIP” plans, “support logs,” and scathing observations. You’re made to feel harassed, worthless, evil, a danger to kids, as you sit through that painful appeal hearing with the principal hollering into the phone about what a lousy person you are. 

At a charter school, everyone takes getting fired with a grain of salt. Each charter school has massive turnover every year. People come, people go, and who cares if you got fired because in the charter world, who hasn’t? And principals who hire you all know the deal. They know that they need a teacher, and it’s best not to inquire too much as to why it didn’t work out at ___ Charter School. It’s a short term contract. At my charter school a long-time beloved veteran guidance counselor is leaving. He’s been there three years, which in charter world is an eternity. I just attended a DOE retirement party where the people had been working at the school for over 20 years. Most principals when firing people at charter schools give very vague reasons. “Not a good fit,” “don’t see a place for you,” etc. Corporate speak. But as I said, most people leave with an attitude of “Bye Felicia!” I’ve rarely seen people get truly devastated at being fired in a charter school. A few times teachers and principals have had to be fired because they showed up in the NY Post as having been fired from the DOE for something really serious.

Now about charter schools “counseling out” students. I can say with 100% certainty that maybe they do that at Success or KIPP, but at most charters it’s actually the opposite problem. Enrollment is always a struggle. So charter schools get a high proportion of kids with special needs, with behavioral issues, with academic struggles. It’s how they recruit — many go to public schools and have some sort of agreement with guidance counselors that if a student is really struggling, the counselors will suggest a different setting. And still by September enrollment is usually low and then there’s a beeline to find basically anyone. Kid got expelled from ___ school for starting a fire? Call them ASAP.

Most charters, however, are much looser with actually following the IEP guidelines required for kids. I have read some IEP’s which say specifically “6:1:1” setting and instead they are in an ICT class with 25-30 students. “Needs a para.” No para. It’s an eternal complaint of teachers in charter schools that there are so many kids with severe learning/behavioral challenges and so little support for them. After awhile teachers tend to become burned out. Regents passing rates and graduation rates at the charters I’ve worked at have been stunningly low. There are few consequences — charters are afraid of angering parents as enrollment is a struggle. One girl finally got suspended when she brought bleach to school and bit a dean. But this girl had been running wild the whole school year. She harassed me during lunchtime, following me into other teachers’ classrooms and physically shoving me and saying “get up bitch and get me my work because I want to leave for the day."

Charter schools have an opposite problem —holding onto high performing kids. I’ve seen it happen too many times. A child comes in, does amazingly well academically, and then starts to get frustrated. Few extracurriculars. Staying in school later when their friends in another school are playing after school sports. The behavioral disruptions in classrooms scare them. And finally at the end of the year they find a better school and leave. And everyone is depressed. “____ was amazing, so sad she’s going to another school.” “But it’s better for her. She’s too good for this place.” This conversation happens over and over again.

One surprising thing I’ve learned about working in charter schools is that teachers are often closer than they are at DOE schools. First of all we spend more time together. But I think another thing is the shared frustration, the attitude of we the teachers vs. the clueless admins. In DOE schools I often found many teachers where their highest priority was being close to the admin. I once knew a lady who loved to march into the teachers’ lounge every day and announce that she’d just had breakfast with the principal. In charters there are maybe one or two people like that but most dislike the admin and what’s the point of being close to them, when you’re likely working there one year, maybe 2 or 3 at most? Plus admin turnover is so high that being “close” to admin can amount to absolutely nothing. Many people I’ve met working in charters I’ve remained close with long after leaving the school. The shared experience bonds us forever. 

And so here’s a hopefully more balanced look at working in charter schools. It’s neither as amazing as the NY Post would have you believe, nor as awful as some UFT bloggers insist. It’s actually just like your average job: crappy in some ways, okay in others, pay is decent, and if you don’t like it, well, just stick it out till June and go elsewhere.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cynicism Is Our Deadly Enemy

Predictable though it was, it's disappointing to lose Janus. Those of us who pay union dues will now have to support freeloaders who benefit from our dues and work despite contributing nothing. It's ironic these self-serving individuals hold jobs as teachers. As role models, do we teach our children to get theirs and screw everyone else? In the Trump era, for a whole lot of people who watch government propaganda on Fox, the answer may as well be yes.

In New York, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez sees things differently. She says cynicism is the enemy of the people. A lot of people say, "Why bother voting? Why get involved?" This, of course, is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Ocasio stood up against her sitting Congressional representative, who spent most of the last 20 years in Virginia rather than the Bronx. She organized her community, and now her community has chosen her, one of its own, to represent it.

Her model is the one we win with. We are not without influence in our union. Yet a whole lot of members say, "Why bother?" In fact, three out of four of us could not be bothered to get off our asses and vote in the last union election. How can we, as teachers, be role models when we can't even bother taking part in our own community?

I look at Facebook and read people saying things like, "They killed the union." No they did not. They cannot kill the union. The union lives or dies by our hands, not those of Donald Trump, and not by those of his illegitimate Supreme Court. Despite the Janus ruling, the justices don't get to decide who stays and who goes. That's on us.

I've read a whole lot of comments about how the UFT sucks, how we don't have this or that, and how these people are going to pull their dues, because screw the union. It's funny, because they are the union, even though they seem not to know it. Funnier still is the fact that they are playing right into the hands of the moneyed interests that funded Janus. The Koch Brothers and the Walmart Family, among others, are dancing with joy that you're withholding dues.

If you think they care about your salary, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The fact is they want to pay wages as low as possible. They don't want to cover your benefits. They're tired of paying for your medical insurance. They don't like work rules saying that you can't be compelled to teach four classes in a row, or do excessive paperwork, or clean the bathrooms. This is what the Janus case is really about. If you think Donald Trump, with a long history of stiffing people who work for him, really cares about people like us, you're either uninformed or under the sway of Fox.

There is a cure if the union sucks, and the cure is not destroying the union and leaving yourself at the tender mercies of Donald Trump and his thugs. No, the cure is getting off your ass and getting involved. I'm not just saying that. I'm chapter leader of the largest school in Queens, with over three hundred members. It's not precisely a walk in the park, but I'm not complaining. I've worked for years to expand my voice, and I've gotten it out not only here, but in a whole lot of other forums.

I'm not a genius. I'm just determined. You don't have to do what I do, and you don't have to be me. But you have to be someone. There is something you can do. You can get involved right in your building. You can spread consciousness of what it means to be union. You can fight to get your principal to stop doing whatever crazy shit she's doing. Look at CPE 1. Look at Townsend Harris.

What do those schools have in common? They have communities who stood up. They have union that wouldn't be silenced. They have union that expanded its voice and reach by becoming part of a larger community. In the case of CPE 1, that was largely the parents. I've seen and met the CPE 1 parents, and man, I would not want to be on their bad side. I would not want to be with Principal What's-Her-Name as she twiddles her thumbs at Tweed for full salary.

In the case of Townsend Harris, the students themselves were allies of the union. They looked at the principal's miserable history and wondered how the hell this person managed to get yet another gig at yet another school. They held sit-ins and filmed administrative abuse. They worked hand in hand with the union and wrote about their efforts.

The UFT is not magic. But our potential is endless. We can stand together. We can make alliances with larger groups in our communities. We won't always win, but it's our job to push the envelope as far as we possibly can. If you're a freeloader, you're nobody. You're not part of our community, and you're a terrible role model for our children.

We are what we make ourselves, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is the crest of a new wave. We need to grab that wave, ride it together, and move into the future. The GOP House and Senate disappear in November, and Trump follows them soon thereafter. That's the will of the people, and we will not take no for an answer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Janus Is Decided and Unions Lose

Screw Trump, screw his racist xenophobic anti-labor minions, and screw his illegitimate SCOTUS.

Story is here. 

It appears members must opt-in to union. If our original opt-in cards won't do, I'll spend the summer getting people to sign them.

First Day of Summer Brings Contract to DC 37

I woke this morning to two messages that DC 37 has a contract.

Under the $1 billion contract, the nearly 100,000 members of District Council 37 will get wage hikes of 2% in the first year of the contract, 2.25% the next year and 3% the year after that.

NYC Educator rates this pattern as Not Terrible, particularly given the draconian and insulting proposals de Blasio has been offering the cops. I do not wish to do better, and I'll tell you why. Historically, improving on money has entailed givebacks. I don't think we've got anything to really give back anymore. My personal contract asks are unrelated to money.

This notwithstanding, the city can save a whole lot of money by returning Regents grading to high schools. They can also stop sending us all over the city to schools in which Boy Wonder supervisors mistake UFT teachers for doormats. I've had friends forced to stand outside in sub-freezing weather while guards checked ID one by one. They could've waited in line inside, but that would've been Not Stupid, and Boy Wonder doesn't play that. More recently members have been forced to sit in 90 degree hell rooms in chairs I wouldn't use to sit Michael Bloomberg. (You see what I did there? I was gonna say my dog, but I love my dog.)

There's a giveback I can live with. They can also save the time of supervisors by giving fewer observations to teachers who reach effective or better. I am personally willing to sacrifice the extra observations. Of course the city can save a whole lot of money by placing the teachers in the ATR. I realize imperial principals will not like that, but let the city sweeten their contract. Perhaps they can finally get the free donuts and prostitutes they've long coveted for their offices.

There are health savings, too, and I'm afraid I can't generate the same enthusiasm for them. Alas, they apply to all of us:

The city also struck a deal with the Municipal Labor Committee, which represents all city worker unions, to save cash on employee health care.

New rules will require workers to go to outpatient health centers, instead of hospitals, for some kinds of treatment.

And new employees for their first year must join the HIP Health Plan of New York, the cheapest health care plan the city offers, but will be able to switch to a pricier plan after that.

But city negotiators were unable to persuade the union to pay higher health care premiums.

I'm glad we won't be paying higher premiums, but I really question the "outpatient health centers." First of all, I have no clue what they are. Second, I would very much like to know what "some kinds of treatment" actually entails.

I do know that my experience with the super-saver no-co-pay clinics enabled in the last round of bargaining has been unimpressive. I only went once, when my daughter fell and hurt her leg. We sat in a room of maybe thirty people and were told there was one doctor to attend all of them. They also let us know that they didn't have an x-ray machine. We went over to a nearby urgent care, paid the fifty bucks, and my daughter was seen within minutes.

DC 37 has also gotten parental leave, and has gone a little differently than we did.

As part of the deal, DC 37 members will also get partially paid family leave starting next year. The union is opting in to the state’s family leave program, and members will be allowed to take 10 weeks off to care for a family member while getting paid up to 55% of their salary.

We'll see what happens. If I were Michael Mulgrew, I'd move in the direction of negotiating non-monetary issues. Hopefully UFT will be able to also negotiate something Not Terrible. For me, this will represent a sea change in the direction we've been headed for the last few decades.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

End-Year Reflections, Especially on Paid Parental Leave

On this, the last day of the school year, I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy summer. I hope you have something you love to do, and that you do it. If not, I hope you find that thing you love doing.

This year was revelatory for me in a number of ways. I find myself able to quietly negotiate with a group of people from Unity Caucus, and a little more optimistic that we can push them toward addressing teacher issues. There are a few issues I'm really focused on. (I also found myself very much at odds with people I'd previously thought of as allies. I can only conclude I'm not at the vanguard of the socialist revolution, whatever that is and whenever it's coming.) Here are a few things I'd like to see addressed.

We have to do something to adjust the awful evaluation system, the one that's jackhammering teacher morale to the center of the earth. I thought the Assembly bill to make testing optional was a step in the right direction, and something within our immediate reach. Of course I was wrong. There are other things, like Danielson, removing junk science altogether, and reducing the mandated number of observations. I think we have to be careful that two observations be an option only if they rate the member effective or higher. That not only gives members a chance to do better, but also gives Boy Wonder supervisors an incentive not to indulge their vindictive moronic tendencies. Boy Wonder supervisors tend not to favor extra work for themselves.

Then there's the Class Size Conundrum, the one that's well past its golden anniversary. I'm not expert on negotiations, but it boggles my mind that we have a state law reducing class size that the whole state is ignoring. How is it that we are supposed to negotiate that into our contract? Why on earth would we offer to give back anything whatsoever to get something that's already mandated? And how can self-proclaimed student lobbyist Andy Cuomo sleep at night when he blatantly disregards the C4E ruling?

We also have the Absent Teacher Reserve. Last I heard it was around 800, but that almost certainly doesn't include provisionally placed teachers, many of whom will be returning right back into the ATR in September. I know I'd feel like an ATR if I weren't assured of a position come the fall, whether or not anyone called me that. The glaringly obvious solution is to just place them, whether principals like it or not. If they suck as badly as stereotypes in the press would have us believe, let principals prove it.

There's CR Part 154, which pulls instructional time from my ELLs and replaces it with, well, less than nothing.They have fewer periods of direct English instruction. Not only is it not replaced, but they're supposed to magically acquire English in core subject areas, though they're not given a single extra minute to do that. Instead, the teachers are supposed to figure it out. Good luck with that.

Some of my friends don't agree, but we have an enormous victory in paid parental leave. I find most of the arguments against it to be nonsensical, and addressed the bulk of them here. There are just a few more I'm going to answer.

1. If you take the leave, you're stuck working for another year.

OK, that's true. But if you don't want to keep working for another year, why are you taking the leave? Why don't you just quit right now? Then you'll have all the time in the world to do anything you like. This is not very different from sabbatical requirements. I took half a year off for restoration of health when I had cancer. I suppose if I'd dropped dead I'd have been responsible to pay back my salary. (I'm not expert on the afterlife, but I'd hope to have no need for salary there.) In any case, I was delighted to be back at work. I generally like my job, but even if I didn't, take my word, it would be a whole lot better than where I was for that half year.

2. The six weeks are not pensionable.

What? You mean I'll have to work an entire six weeks to get back to where I was before having taken off six weeks with full pay? First of all, if that's your worst problem, you lead a charmed existence. I doubt that, though, if that's how desperate you are for an argument. But hey, if you're the sort of person who would rather leave your newborn with someone else for the first six weeks of her life, you can always turn down the paid leave and retire on time. It's all about your personal choices.

3. Fathers can't take the CAR time.

That's true, but it was true before this agreement as well. I adopted a child from Colombia and let me tell you. if everyone had to go through what I did, there'd be a lot fewer kids around. Let me add that I find this argument incredibly ironic given the fact that you've just spent a whole column telling me how awful this deal is. Why are you so worried that fathers can't get the deal if it sucks so much? The fact is fathers are eligible for the new part of the agreement, the one the union negotiated that gets six weeks of paid leave, as opposed to nothing.

4. If you have your baby in the summer, you miss out.

If you have your baby in the summer, you aren't required to be at work. Also, you therefore don't miss out on those six pensionable weeks previously deemed as being of pivotal importance. So it's a WIN-WIN!

5. Kids who are seven need as much attention as kids who are six.

That's true, but without this agreement you don't help seven-year-old kids. You simply hurt kids of six, five, four, three, two, one, right up to newborns.

6. We haven't seen the Memorandum of Agreement.

This is the only argument I've seen that bears discussion at all. I'd hope they made a broad agreement and are basing the MOA on said agreement, but I'm not privy to negotiations. I can't really deal with what I don't know. I take positions based on what I see.

For example, when I saw details about the 2014 Contract, I didn't like them. The notion of waiting eleven years to get interest-free back pay did not much appeal to me. The notion of taking a seven year 10% pattern, let alone giving it to my brother and sister unionists, didn't much appeal to me either. A big thing I didn't like about that contract was the vague promise to achieve health care savings. In fact our co-pays exploded as a result of that agreement. Details of that agreement were likely as not made after the MOA came out. I didn't need any further evidence about that deal anyway.

Unless leadership is making outrageous fabrications about this agreement up front, most arguments against it are nonsense. I used to be very upset, years ago, when Unity would say we just tore down everything for no reason. The 2005 Contract was an abomination, and merited every word said and written against it. They were wrong in that case. In this case, unless an enormous shoe is about to drop, they seem to be right.

Paid parental leave is a huge gain, I don't mind giving up a few hundred bucks to support it, and I'm not willing to take a stand against it simply because it's not perfect. Few things are. I mean, there's my dog, there's a song called Morning Has Broken that Cat Stevens sings, and there's that first cup of coffee in the morning.

There are also a lot of people of all ages who make me smile every time I see them, too numerous to mention here. This notwithstanding, I thank each and every one of them. To them, and to all, have a fabulous summer, beginning around three o'clock today.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Stupidest Day of the Year

That would be today, Monday, June 25th. In high schools at least, grades are in, the year is over, Regents exams are done, and everything is pretty much finalized. But former chancellor Dennis Walcott needed his pound of flesh, and we're supposed to teach today. It's a little bit of a challenge.

You can't give homework, because the students aren't coming back. You can't start something new, because tomorrow the students won't be here. You can't really review anything in depth because you only have one day, and you aren't building toward a project or a test, or indeed anything. Every student knows this is the last day, and there are few consequences, if any, for anything that happens on this day.

This could've been different. For example, the Regents exams could've been one day later, and we could've taught one day before they began. It would be pretty easy. We begin Tuesday instead of Monday. Or Wednesday instead of Tuesday. You see how that works? Then there's one more day of actual instruction, if you value actual instruction.

Of course, if your goal is to waste the time of teachers and students by giving one more day of school after everything is essentially finished, you make today a full day of classes. As far as I can determine, that was the goal of Dennis Walcott when he insisted on a full instructional day after grades were in. The man was a prince. At least Bloomberg thought so, after what's-her-name, the executive with no educational experience, went down in flames after a few weeks on the job.

This day is yet another reminder that the ghost of Michael Bloomberg haunts the hallowed halls of Tweed. We're the largest district in the state, the largest in the country in fact, and it wouldn't be that hard for the chancellor to ask Albany for a schedule change. Push exams back one day and we won't have a day of massive student absence and wasted teacher time.

Of course no one asks me, or you, or anyone who actually does this work. It's important that we leave such pivotal decisions in the hands of people like Dennis Walcott. After all, he may have taught for five minutes somewhere,  Or maybe he hasn't. But he did show a bunch of students how he made waffles. Also, he didn't sully his reputation by going out and getting some stupid degree in school administration. He simply took over as chancellor because Michael Bloomberg wanted him to. And Bloomberg must know the right thing to do, or why would he have all that money?

I'm actually not going in today, because I have something personal to attend to. I'm glad because it was really tough for me to figure out what to do. But all over New York City, teachers are scrambling for things to do that will make sense to kids who know that today is largely meaningless. I envision a lot of video and playing hangman. That makes as much sense as just about anything.

Except, of course, changing the schedule to add a teaching day at a meaningful time. If we were to do that, it would be a whole lot easier for teachers to prepare. We'd be working toward something, and we wouldn't be facing a half-empty room.

That's common sense. Of course, common sense is the least common of all the senses, so we can only hope against hope that it prevails.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Another Day, Another Corrupt Administrator

You know you shouldn't take your Lexus SUV and register it in another state to skimp on insurance, don't you? What? You haven't got a Lexus SUV? Well, you should've been a principal. You could've cleared a million bucks from DOE since 2012, as did the other principal who enabled the scam. That way, when your Lexus SUV got dirt on the windshield, you could trade up for a better Lexus. (In doing so, you could also save big on Windex.)

If you were a lowly UFT member, you'd have to be sure to report your arrest to the DOE. Otherwise, you'd face dismissal. One of the really cool things about being a principal, aside from the million bucks you take home every few years, is dismissal seems not to be a thing. You get reassigned and hang around an air-conditioned office in Tweed, perfecting paper airplanes. There are a lot of subtleties to this particular art. My Asian students tend to fold the paper in half before constructing them. If I were a principal at Tweed, I'd have time to examine each and every pattern, conduct thorough experiments, and determine once and for all whether the Asian or American model was better.

I have to admire the solidarity among principals. One says to the other, "Hey, just say you live at my place in Pennsylvania," and there you go. You save several thousand bucks a year, which helps with those darned inconvenient lease payments demanded by Lexus. Geez, don't they know you're a principal? That means you're top dog. Top dogs shouldn't have to pay for stuff. Does Donald Trump pay for his frequent golf outings? I mean, sure, he collects the money because he owns the places, but you and I foot the bill. Bills are for the little people.

While the principal doesn't feel she herself needs to follow the law, there are indications she's a little demanding of others:

Since the Post reported the alleged scheme last November, Port Richmond parents, staffers and students have complained about her management. On Friday, a group of school leaders sent a letter to Chancellor Richard Carranza demanding her “immediate removal.”

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest this principal is more demanding of others than she is of herself. I mean, if she were much loved, no one would fret much over her swindling the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. When supervisors are reasonable and kind, you don't have people up in arms trying to run them out of town. They keep their torches and pitchforks in reserve for more appropriate occasions.

Here's the thing--principals behaving badly always run the risk of being sent to Tweed to ponder paper airplanes. But this one's being left in place. You see, if you lie and cheat, it doesn't disqualify you from being a New York City principal. After all, when New York City principals feel like cheating and lying to UFT members, there's an entire division they call "legal" which is exclusively devoted to that practice. Not only that, but the DOE hires hearing officers who go right along with all that nonsense. You want to place a letter in file about an incident that happened over three months ago. Sure! You want to leave a letter in file over three years? Go ahead. If the member demands you take it out, just say you did and slip it back in again.

So it's not altogether surprising that, in the cesspool that is the New York City Department of Education, administrative corruption is just part of the daily grind. Will new Chancellor Richard Carranza put a stop to this?

So far, crickets on his end. Is he thinking about it? Are his hands tied? Is he waiting for the right moment to act?

Personally, I have no idea. But just to be safe, I shall sit while I wait for this particular cesspool to be pumped.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Two Hour PD that Ruined the School Year

 by guest blogger Charter Chess Champ

Recently a couple of colleagues of mine were commiserating on the school year. How had it gone so wrong for everyone? Why did every day see a drop in morale, sudden resignations, and dangerous student fights that put the safety of the staff at risk? 

Finally we boiled it down to one thing. “You know, when I look back, it all went downhill in August, when we had that two hour PD about dress code.”

A little context here. In August a brand new principal walked through the doors promising to fix everything that had been lacking in the school in years prior — discipline, structure, test scores, graduation rates. She had a bright smile and was full of new ideas. Many of the most skeptical staff were won over.

And then the two hour PD on dress code happened.

A human resources lady called us in for a professional development that was deemed so important we all had to sign in and take a google survey at the end of the PD to affirm our attendance and that we had paid attention to the PD.

The PD laid out, in excruciating detail, exactly what staff could or could not wear. No stone was left unturned. On Mondays, we all had to wear the student uniforms, complete with the requisite black shoes. Men could not wear polo shirts — all shirts had to be button-downed and collared. No plaids. Shirts had to be tucked in “with the leather belt visible.” Women had to wear dressy blouses — no cotton sort sleeved shirts. We were not allowed to wear any clothing that had any kind of writing on it — the theater teacher (and myself) loved wearing shirts with lyrics from Broadway shows that we loved. No, no, no. No sneakers under any circumstances, not even gym teachers. No open-toed shoes. Heels recommended.

All this would have been okay had the principal not addressed the staff with a cheery, “Just dress like me.”

We looked at her. She was indeed dressed to impress. She was wearing a designer dress with a price tag that was probably over a teacher’s bi-weekly paycheck and on her feet were $800 Christian Louboutin red-bottomed pumps.

For those who don’t know, red-bottoms were shoes worn by Louis XIV ( Not only was red-dye expensive, but red-bottomed soles meant the royals never had to dirty their feet unlike the common people of the Third Estate. 

It was a real Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” moment. And in one throwaway phrase, she lost the respect of the staff.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ten Things About UFT Paid Parental Leave

I support this agreement, and I'll explain why. I'll also address comments and questions I've been seeing and hearing.

1. We should get something for nothing.

I'm not opposed to that argument, actually. I'd love to get something for nothing.My Macbook Air, the one I'm using now, is falling apart and I've got it put together with Scotch tape, literally. I'm gonna have to replace it and it's gonna cost me a thousand bucks, even though I'm a great guy. We have given back 73 days to achieve a permanent benefit for our members. We have left this place a little better than it was before we had this agreement.

2. This means our raise is only 1.29% a year, or something like that.

I'm not sure I recall that figure correctly, but let's say it's true. There are several assumptions that go into that, and they aren't all bad. First, we've discounted the two years at 4% we'd have gotten if Bloomberg weren't such an asshole. If we hadn't, the annual raise would be closer to 2%. For the next seven years or so, we got 10% in raises, the lowest pattern I've ever heard of. People will tell you, "Hey, that sucks," and they'll be telling you the truth. Nonetheless, that's the deal UFT ratified. I don't think it's reasonable to conflate the last contract, which is old news, into this agreement.

We gave up a new contract, one we haven't got anyway, for precisely 73 days. I don't know about you, but it felt to me like we waited 73 years for the last one, and it sucked anyway. Hopefully we've learned from that, but whether we have or we haven't, I'm certainly ready to wait 73 days so that new parents can have six weeks of paid leave.

3. Someone else got a better deal.

Maybe they did. Good for them. Someone else is not us. Maybe someone got a two percent raise plus leave. But maybe they'd have gotten a six percent raise without it. Do you know if that's true? Me neither. Others got a worse deal. We have people working crap jobs with no benefits all over the country, and as we "Make America Great Again," there will surely be more. In any case, this is not a contest. What we have now is better than what we had yesterday.

4. It's a choice to have children.

Please. It's a choice to breathe. It's a choice to not firebomb the principal's car. On the other hand, it's a choice to support young UFT members. That's my choice, and that's what we've agreed to do.

5. I already had my kids. Why should I help with yours?

We are a community. We support one another. Let me tell you something--I've been teaching for 34 years and I've never had an actual disciplinary meeting. Why should I help with yours? Why should I pay for the services of a chapter leader, or a district rep., or anyone? I'll tell you why. It's because we are a community. It's because we stand together, and it's because your problems are my problems. That's why I will go with you to your disciplinary meeting with the principal, that's why I will go with you to Step Two, and every step afterward. That's why I will use every resource I can muster to get you out of trouble. I'm proud to help you if I can.

6. Why don't we have family leave, instead of just parental leave?

Hey, that's a good question. I'd like to have family leave too. Why don't we work for it? I will
support you. Also, why don't we have wings? I don't know. But I'm still not gonna criticize the fact that we have legs. I'm pretty happy to have legs. They're very convenient when I walk my little dog Toby. (Also, why aren't I writing blogs saying the UFT sucks because adoptions are limited to humans? Aren't canines people too?)

7. The UFT sucks, so there must be some big secret in the fine print.

Show me what it is and we'll talk. Meanwhile, I happen to know something about how this came about. It had something to do with my brother Mike Schirtzer telling Emily James to come to UFT Executive Board and talk about the petition she wrote that had gone viral. This was one time that Mulgrew responded directly to comments and promised to work on it. He did, and now UFT parents will have six weeks of paid leave when they have or adopt children.

8. There's a hidden cost.

Okay, show me what it is. As far as I can tell, we wait 73 days one year, and we've obtained a permanent benefit next year and each year thereafter. It sounds like a good deal to me, and unless you have evidence otherwise, I don't understand why we're even discussing this.

9. I have to use my CAR days before I get this benefit.

The UFT Q and A was poorly written, and left a lot of people with that impression. But actually it said you may use your CAR days before you take the benefit. It didn't say you must. A lot of people read it that way, though, because again, it's poorly written. And speaking of poor writing:

10. UFT Unity has done it again.

That's one of the worst headlines I've ever seen, and it was attached to a hastily produced flyer handed out at the DA yesterday. I will leave the immediate interpretation to your imagination. However, we high school reps played a big part in this. We have been bringing all sorts of people to the Executive Board, and Emily James was one of them. This is an instance of cooperation between us and Unity, and it's unfortunate they are unable to acknowledge it. Real unity is more than a caucus name.

My members are jubilant, and it is my considered opinion that critics of this deal are scraping the bottom of the barrel for arguments. We are better off with this agreement than we were without it, and that goes in the win column. I'm very proud to have played some small part in making this happen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

UFT Delegate Assembly June 20, 2018--We Unanimously Approve Paid Parental Leave

4:31 Mulgrew calls us to order.

Two reasons for rescheduling—One was Janus, and the other was he knew we were close to parental leave agreement, wanted to bring it up for vote. UFT has agreement for up to six weeks at full pay.

National—Seems that President has reversed position on separating families. We will see if that holds out. Found out yesterday some of those children from Texas were shipped to NY. Juxtapose that with what we were doing today—giving parents time with children, and you see what is right and wrong with this country.

Thanks DA for being strong on this. Government hoping we only pay attention to worst stuff while they do other things. DeVos holds gun hearings and won’t talk about guns. Worried about outbreak of bear attacks instead.

In September, they will have new plan. Wanted to use billions for “choice” and vouchers. They will try again. We have to be diligent.

Then there is Janus. No decision, but could come tomorrow. Or Monday, or every day next week. 20 cases outstanding. We have had two NYSUT teachers who’ve sued against anti-Janus law in NY State. We knew this was coming. We kept it quiet so it wasn’t scuttled while negotiating it. Similar suits in  NJ, PA and others. We expect to win lawsuit but opponents have unlimited funds.

If Janus comes as we expect, we will continue all work we’ve been doing. Have been successful in conversations. People need to know it’s about them and their ability to protect family. If it’s worse, will call emergency DA.

NY State Legislature—bad news—Senate has not passed favored APPR bill. We want no strings attached. They’ve attached charter caps, back door vouchers for yeshivas. Good news is some Senators outside NYC met with NYSUT and said this bill will never affect our schools. Would only affect NYC. NYSUT Presidents said they would not screw NYC colleagues. First time every one of them has agreed.

Says let’s have a good old time w NYSUT colleagues at AFT convention. Session won’t be extended.

NY City—Negotiating team will work through summer. Cannot say more.

Wary of new chancellor, so far has been good on our policies. First major act was paid parental leave.

PPR—We said we would not let city fleece us. We have done our job quite well on that one. What will be required is nothing in next round of bargaining. One time requirement will be extension of 73 days—that’s it. Equals 30 million dollars and city will pay 51 million a year. We did our jobs well.
4,000 new family members among UFT every year. All of these things are now covered, birth, adoption, surrogate, etc., as long as kids are under age of six. You will get six full weeks of full pay. There is no 50, 75%, is six full weeks for anyone. Includes people who don’t work for DOE.

First day someone can take leave is September 4th, going forward. If you have child August 1st, you will qualify for two weeks. Spent a lot of time on “unicorns,” magical creature we will never see, but are covered. No matter what we do, someone will become more creative than we are.

For birth mothers, you may still use sick days and expand to 12, or 14 if you have C-section. Father gets six weeks, no six days. If you are married, child or multiple children equals six weeks of pay, not six each. Three weeks together, four and two okay. Father could take weeks and mom could use sick days if she wishes.

You must work for DOE for one year to qualify. While you’re on paid parental leave, you have to serve at least ten months. If you take a child care leave after paid parental leave, you still have all leave rights. You have to work ten months before you qualify for another. If you become pregnant right away and come back to work, you will not qualify.

What if you had a surrogate who was halfway through term and I got pregnant? You are covered under medical exception. If you have twins, you have six weeks of leave, not 12.

We will do a resolution in support of this deal. We tried to get this done for a few years. We had a mayor who said he wanted to do it, and it wasn’t getting done. Now it’s part of his legacy. If mayor or men in this room got pregnant it would’ve gotten done faster.

This is why it’s so important to have a union in the first place. People were frustrated because we didn’t have it. Grassroots pushed this up. If there’s momentum we can do it. That’s collective action. If we had to wait, it would be part of our next negotiation, and we would get worse deal.

City pays Welfare Fund, which will send money to members.

Governor working for education now, will only sign Assembly version. Is out there because of our collective activism. Think about these things when talking to members. No one gave us PPL. We had to fight for it. Will they try and take it away? Make us pay more? Of course.

We had a plan. Things came up and we used them to our advantage. We fought constitutional convention. We worked with state officials. State officials understand NY State must lead the way and they must protect public school system. We need to educate pols because lies will come after them.

We still have more to do and always will. We will face Janus, come up with plan and meet with negotiating team. Most important thing is we are members of the United Federation of Teachers.

Everyone who took part in this campaign should stand. Most do. Mulgrew thanks us. Mulgrew’s negotiators stand. Chapter leaders who had baby showers stand. Says we won, and it was nice. Scott Stringer said UFT got into a fight and won. Mayor turned to UFT, said it was hard fight, was good fight, and UFT won.

Remember when charters said only certain ones could certify their own teachers? They lost. We sued them, and they lost.

LeRoy Barr—Thanks spring conference attendees, members at Puerto Rican Day Parade, and Evelyn de Jesus. Sunday is Pride Parade 15th St. bet 7 and 8 at 2:30. Labor Day Parade Sept. 8, Mulgrew Grand Marshall.

Mulgrew mentions raise this week. Says it’s responsibility for every generation of the union to leave something. This generation will be known for paid parental leave.


Q—Single test in specialized HS—we demanded change, chancellor and mayor on board, how do we control narrative?

A—32 editorials against us. Chancellor took it on right away. Mayor previously silent. We have to help. Framing may not have been done well. Discovery program getting done, could’ve been done 4 years ago. We will help in Albany. What is fairest way to recognize excellence? We don’t believe it’s single test score. Multiple measures better. Barely got out of committee in Assembly. No way it would pass. We will have to lobby and educate.

Q—Welfare fund will distribute checks. What if they are not UFT members? Will they get checks?

A—Agency members get it. Only for UFT right now. Other unions not included.

Q—With PPR will there be impacts on retroactive payments


Q—Says classes were large when I started, still are. Very sad we allow children to be packed in. Teachers complained about class size thirty years ago. Only NYC has these sizes. Bad for us and children. How do city, state, governor allow it? This is racism, disgraceful. Maybe we need to go to like PPL supporters. Too many straws on camel’s back.

A—Didn’t call you out of order because you’re retiring. Thank you, and you never asked question.

Q—Been a lot in news about ATRs and cost. Can we change narrative?

A—Report from one org that never said anything good about union. ATR at 800, lowest it ever was at this point of year. Had between 3-500 for decades. I said 800 for 1700 schools, how many absences do you have? These people are funded by people who go after unions. Hope this is no longer a story soon. We have long term strategy. Want to know chancellor’s position. They can place everyone.

Q—Why haven’t we implemented courses in colleges for teachers to learn about unionism? Newcomers don’t get it.

A—The more we can do at earlier level the better. Some colleges do it. New hires saw us, we have over 800 signed union cards. We went, did what we needed to do. We need better teacher prep. Let’s just get them when they walk in, new law allows it.


Woman with baby—CL from Staten Island—Moves to add motion on paid parental leave. Reads motion.

James Vasquez—Point of information—Who is Emily James?

Speaker says she is not Emily James, who started petition, but is grateful to her for doing so.

Passes to be placed on agenda.

Resolution on APPR—

Elizabeth Perez
—Speaks in support. One test does not measure success or growth. Wants Senate to pass bill. Asks for support.

Vote passes.

—We will ask NYSUT to do early endorsement against candidate opposing Golden.

Resolution on Paid Parental Leave—Melody A
.—CL, with CL in training. Quotes Nelson Mandela on how we treat children. Speaks of how undocumented families are treated now, we stand with children no matter how they come into our lives, no matter gender. We will fight to keep families together. We support our children and future students with this.

CL—Proposes amendment—strike first whereas, not important he didn’t give it to us for three years.

Peter Lamphere
—Has amendment—Add additional resolved—that UFT continue to work to win benefits to care for sick family members, as other NY employees have. Thanks rank and file for signing petition and working for it. Our work on this issue not complete. Private sector laws are for caring for sick family members. Important we win that benefit as well.

Emma Mendez—opposes amendments. Have cared for sick parents. Respect position. Don’t want it lost in an amendment that speaks to one issue. Should have own space, own resolution. As for first, mayor did delay and we shouldn’t remove.

Dermot Myrie—Supports Lamphere. Also for teachers with sick children.

Joy Schwartz—Calls questions.

Second amendment fails—

First amendment fails

Resolution, unamended, passes unanimously.

Mulgrew—Asks retirees to stand. They are applauded. May call emergency DA.

We are adjourned. 5:38

UFT Negotiates Paid Parental Leave

UFT members will now be able to take up to six weeks of parental leave at full pay.

The price for this is the extension of our current contract by 73 days.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Another Day, Another Corrupt Administrator

Michael Blomberg made it a point to close schools that got low test scores, and that specter haunts our schools even today. Though Mayor de Blasio made it a point to do things a little differently, he still closes schools, including Jamaica High School. Though that was closed on false pretenses, neither he nor Carmen "It's a beautiful day" FariƱa could be bothered checking on them.

Though it was a new day, there was a lot left over from the old one. De Blasio doesn't close schools quite as quickly as Bloomberg did, but he closes them nonetheless. Now they are renewal schools, which means they suck. However, sometimes they are dropped from the list. A friend from a school that was dropped told me, "It's very gratifying to know that we suck less."

Of course, if you're a principal, and people say you don't, in fact, suck less, that can be a problem. I mean, it doesn't threaten your job or anything, since you can cost the city hundreds of thousands in fines for, oh, sexual harassment or malfeasance, and the worst that happens is you're assigned to watch paint dry at Tweed for full salary. Still, it doesn't look good, and if you're intent on being superintendent, chancellor, supreme leader for life or what have you, it's important to take precautionary measures.

Over at Dewitt Clinton, they have a system. If you fail, they give you a packet. What's in the packet? Who knows? A question? A test? A ping pong paddle with a rubber band and ball? Whatever it is, you take it home, you get your smart girlfriend to do the work, you copy the answers off of the internet, or maybe you draw a horsie, and there you go. You passed.

It doesn't matter if you haven't shown up to class all year. Showing up to class is for losers. What a bunch of idiots, showing up every day, doing homework, taking tests, answering questions, and showing respect to their teachers and classmates. Everyone knows that's a waste of time. You can stay home, watch TV, take drugs, have sex, and do whatever. It doesn't matter. When time's up, all you have to do is open the packet, do something or other, return it, and there you go. 65. Who needs more than that? Well, maybe there are standards:

One student who has returned the packet “did not demonstrate mastery” — and will fail, the teacher said.

Oopzie. I guess it isn't smart to do the work yourself. Maybe slip twenty bucks to one of those losers who showed up every day. Heck, if you really want to pass, make it twenty five. Thank goodness you don't have to pay off the teachers. I have a friend who has a student who didn't show up all year. One day in June the kid dropped an envelope containing $265 in cash. Though my friend returned the envelope the following day and failed the kid, we now know the going rate to bribe teachers is 265 bucks. Students can be bought off more economically, and with inflation and everything, DeWitt Clinton is the economical choice.

Of course it's somewhat predictable that things like these happen. In a high pressure system in which test scores determine whether you live or die, Campbell's Law predicts that the more pressure you apply, the more corruption there will be. Thus you see principals changing grades all over the place. At least this guy handed out the packets and pretended to make the students work for the grades.

It's too bad we can't simply allow students to pass or fail on merit. Evidently, when students fail in NYC, it isn't their fault. It's the school's fault. It's the teacher's fault. It's the fault of the ATR. It's the union's fault. It's my fault.

The only thing you can be absolutely sure of is it's not the principal's fault. We know this because no matter what principals do, the very worst thing that can happen to them is they get sent back to Tweed  to sit around in some office somewhere at full salary. Assistant principals may be at fault, because I have seen occasions where they are punished severely. I mean, it depends what they do. I know one AP who got caught having sex with a principal on her desk. I think he got transferred to some other school or something.

In extreme cases, though, APs are given the ultimate punishment. They are bumped down to teacher. What a terrible fate. How demoralizing, to have to do actual work after having been in a position of authority. That's why it's always best to hold off on being thoroughly corrupt until you become principal. Then you can do any damn thing you want and no one can touch you, even if they write about you in the New York Post.

Monday, June 18, 2018

UFT Executive Board June 18, 2018--How on Earth is Fair Student Funding Fair?

6:01 Secretary Howard Schoor welcomes us.


Staff Director's Report--LeRoy Barr—Puerto Rican Day Parade—thanks Evelyn de Jesus. NYC Pride March June 24. Labor Day Parade 9/8—UFT will march first. Saturday, Poor People’s Campaign in DC.—Met with Forest Hills HS teachers, CSA superintendent, will keep posted.

President's Report--Michael Mulgrew—No Janus today. Still 20 outstanding cases. Will be a release on Thursday. Event in Brooklyn, UFT has 1,000 cards signed already. Will continue.

Negotiating committee met. Waiting for new date. Will negotiate during summer. New chancellor wants contract finished. We have a lot of demands. Still working behind scenes on paid parental leave. Hoping members can use it soon.

We are number one at Labor Day Parade. Went from last to first

Proud of colleagues around state who have held line against Senate. All about screwing NYC. Our colleagues have refused to do so for APPR. Thanks us for serving this year. Wishes us a great summer.

Schoor—demands based on member surveys.


Arthur Goldstein—Right now, if you read the papers, it looks like it's ATR season. Evidently a self-appointed a bunch of budgetary geniuses are upset that ATR members receive salaries.  It appears they’ve studied the situation in detail and determined the city could save money by not doing so.

It doesn’t occur to them to simply put the ATR to work as full time teachers. It also doesn’t occur to them that this could reduce exploding class sizes that are already the largest in the state. The reformy education blog Chalkbeat calls that idea controversial, saying that principals will simply hide vacancies. Evidently principal insubordination is not controversial at all. Chalkbeat also makes baseless assertions about teachers getting bonuses--I've been teaching since 1984 and I've never gotten one--and seems to believe teachers being brought up on of charges is the same as being convicted.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth we have this thing called fair student funding. This makes schools responsible for paying teacher salaries, and can certainly discourage principals from hiring experienced members in the ATR and out. It’s also my understanding that a lot of schools just get a percentage of it. How on earth is it fair if your school only get 88% of what the city’s literally calling “fair?”

What can we do to enable principals to hire the best teachers and school based personnel, in or out of the ATR, regardless of salary, and how can we make sure our schools are adequately funded?

—You were at negotiating meeting. When we sit down with them, we will talk about the things you mention. Attorneys say we can’t negotiate about how we fund schools, but there is a direct effect on our members. Leon Goldstein HS is a great school, runs out of funds, doesn’t have per session. If school were funded differently would be better. We will see what city is thinking.

Speaker—Nancy Simon—Adult ed.
—Egregious abuse of evaluation under Rosemarie Mills. After teacher 30 years retired last September. Mills distinguished herself with hostile, toxic work environment. Multiple grievances, letters calls. Contacted mayor and government. In news, most recently two weeks ago. Lawsuits settled and pending. eval. process abused, huge rise in U ratings.

Has been successful. Number of U ratings will be as bad or worse this year as last, which was highest on record. Had to use FOIA to get figures. K-12 has 1% or less ineffective last four years.  Adult ed. 13-14 7%. 14-15 9%, 15-6 7% 16-17 15%. Expecting same this year. Numbers are red flag, along with all other evidence of wrongdoing.

Please take steps to make this info known, to prevent reoccurrence, to move botched leadership out.

Schoor—Adult ed. is part of bargaining demands. Ellen Procida will report.

Procida—Union and individual grievances, trying to resolve as package. Have resolved for 22 who will get money for unpaid hours. Coverages will be paid at higher rate. Teachers will be placed in license and seniority. You will get sufficient hours to complete programs. Will be time for adult ed. teachers to prepare and do paperwork. Adult ed. teachers will be able to cover for colleagues. Ind. grievance will be emailed.

Debbie Poulos—paperwork—166 paperwork reports this year, 100 fewer than last. 76% resolved as we speak. Other 25% being resolved, two going to arbitration. Resolution sheet we gave out had an impact. When CLs used it, principals resolved issues. Continue to work on QR and PPO related paperwork. Let me know if that’s happening. Being resolved immediately. Finding out after QR and PPO, unfortunately. Have new process for that. Will have joint agreement, we hope.

Schoor—Two best things are agreement for OPW and also one about lesson plans and collection, duplication. Debbie has worked hard on this.

Mike Sill—Personnel—On ATRs, was article in News, this is DOE created problem from school closings and false charges. FSF definitely issue. 800 people in ATR now. Numbers only take into account plusses in ledger, but ATR saves money by not hiring as many subs. ATR saves schools money, articles don’t reflect. We have put out numbers, are waiting for corporate media to publish, not holding breath.

Open Market not working for ATRs with seniority. Not enough to just sign up. Principals don’t know how to manage number of resumes. Suggest they contact schools directly, or visit if possible. Things get lost on Open Market. Resumes printed out look distorted. Many transfers but not working for many.

Jonathan Halabi—Do we have an idea of how many probation extensions?

—Will have them later.

Reports from districts

Rashad Brown—Pride parade Sunday 15th St. between 7 and 8th Ave.

We are adjourned. 6:34