Monday, September 09, 2019

UFT Executive Board September 9, 2019--UFT Supports Dorian Victims, Census, Trump Victims and More

6 PM—Secretary LeRoy Barr calls us to order, welcomes us.

Barr recognizes new members. We applaud. Barr explains process.


Barr announces Smallheiser winners.

Barr—9/18 CL meeting. After will be 100% attendance celebration. 9/25—Tribute to founder Abe Levine 4 PM. Without Levine, UFT would not have come together. Brought factions together. Celebrated divergent thought. RTC meeting that day. CL training Oct. 5, 6. Oct. 20—Sunday, Making Strides even 8 Central parkt. Also Teacher Union Day 11. Sept 22, Alzheimer’s walk Coney Island, 9 AM.


Arthur Goldstein
—I’ve been a teacher since 1984, and I have never seen a test as useless as the NYSESLAT, which ostensibly determines English levels of English language learners. Last year I taught a class of supposedly advanced ELLs. Most of them were deemed proficient in English by the NYSESLAT. Many had passed the English Regents exam. Some who’d done both were unable to produce a coherent sentence in English. Almost none were able to produce a reasonable college essay.

This may work well for those of us who teach beginners, as we appear to be geniuses. But I have recently been hearing of teachers whose ratings have been dragged down by student performance on the NYSESLAT. What can we do to ensure the next commissioner is not insane, and what can we do to make sure the NYSESLAT is replaced by a test that isn’t a piece of garbage that any thinking teacher could improve upon with 90 minutes and a laptop?

—There has to be a test out there somewhere. Evelyn De Jesus is working on it, and will continue to do so. We will keep you informed. We want someone who understands the needs of people who are school based and that needs of members are at the forefront. If they are insane we will find sanity for them.

Michael Mulgrew—President’s report—Asks new members to stand—welcomes them to more applause. Hopes everyone had a restful summer, thanks those who worked. This year we have to focus on what we can get done during next two years of this administration, after which there will be a mayor’s race. Must focus on what we’d like to keep.

Thanks those who came to Labor Day Parade, and those who prepared.

School opening has been smooth so far. Met with 2000 new members. Seems like there will be 5000 new hires. Much drama over gifted and talented, Looks like it will stay and there will be more access.

December 23—We are continuing convos with state and city. Commissioner has resigned. Thinks we’ll get there. Should never have happened, they know they were wrong. Safety issue, under ESSA we have to report attendance. Thanks parents and teachers for getting voices heard.

Over last few years, we’ve run more and more programs—we now have a call center here at UFT. It became tough to answer phones before. We want people to look at us as a resource. We are now answering more calls than ever, more work but work we want to do. Proud to be seen as support for school related or other things. We need to be patient—improving every day. Thanks everyone who went for training. We will get answers people need.

Outside of political work, consultation was important last year. Must build on what we started last year. Will push reluctant principals. Will have empowerment plans for every district. This will help empower and organize school chapters. Will have reports on how many schools were involved. Schools that use this tool are getting results. Gives us documentation to do what needs to be done. Thanks us for taking the time to do this. Thanks those who provide food. Says it will be a long and interesting year.

NYC performs well and keeps great graduation rate. Only way to make good policy is to listen to people who work in classrooms. A lot of people resist that and blame schools for everything. That continues to be our fight. They are supposed to support us. Thanks us.

Barr—union initiated grievance over envision math—members got training rate—our position is they should get per-session as posted. We will fight to get them paid.

Carl Kain—Over summer three decisions on behalf of individuals. Are precedents. Regents scoring doesn’t have to be both January and June. Can be one or other.

ELA scoring and religious accommodations—DOE said if someone missed training on Saturday couldn’t come until next question—we won, and had people trained on Sunday instead.

Paras and DC 75—Para was terminated, but placed back to work. First, service in D75 will count toward para probation now, of one term. Also defined term as five months.

Reports from districts—

Serbia Silva—invites to welcome back fest Lex 3rd Ave, cosponsored UFT and CD 4 10-1. Will register UFT there. Sat Sept 14

Rashad Brown—Reports that June 30 UFT marched 50th anniversary Stonewall Riots. Didn’t go to big corporatized parade. This was anti-corporate march. Thanks Anthony Harmon.

Janella Hinds—Heard about caring kind Alzheimers walk. Many members impacted, especially among families. UFT has developed partnership—If you’d like to participate we will have our first ever team with Caring Kind. Looks forward to phenomenal group

Eliu Lara—Reports that past June 20 brought school community together—gave kids laptops, printers, scientific calculators, backpack of school supplies, had reps from all over state. Kids were very happy and thank all of you for support.

Karen Alford—thanks to borough reps, staff and all who came out for new teacher week. Signed up over 2K over that week. Our ranks are growing. Just signed 220 on line. Please look for new members and support them, meet greet and help.

One of our schools, PS 52, will be on Inside Edition. Every student will get backpack of supplies

Doreen Berrios Castillo—First ever new secretaries orientation. DOE only 110

Arthur Goldstein—I want to talk about our trip to Texas. Evelyn De Jesus, LeRoy Barr, Janella Hinds, Tom Brown. Marie Callo, and maybe others in this room went last summer. We met AFT teachers there who told us what life was like without collective bargaining. It was mind-blowing for those of us who take that for granted. I know they were very happy to see us, and to see there is another way of doing things. I also know we will continue to support them.

We visited one of Trump’s internment camps, where we were denied entry. We stood in front of the building and held vigil until some guy with a gun offered to arrest us if we didn’t move to the sidewalk. We did that, and when we were just about finished he came around with some friends and their guns and told us we would now have to move all the way across the street. They also had tow trucks and threatened to tow our vans.

Randi Weingarten told us all to get in the vans. She told me if anyone was going to get arrested that day it would be her, and explained to me that getting arrested in Texas was no fun at all. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and we got to visit a Catholic charities facility that supports newcomers. We gave them a whole lot of necessities, and it was gratifying to see little children playing with teddy bears we’d brought them.  Tom says the family to whom we gave money is very grateful and in touch.

I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, and I hope we follow up soon. I’m ready.

Tom Brown
—Met many people, but walked in and saw a lady and her son. We took a tour, met Blancita and her 16 year old William, spoke only Spanish. Had arrived 3 days earlier, had walked fro Honduras for three and a half months. Wanted to get apprehended, asked for authorities.

Were granted asylum, but then had all their personal items confiscated. Were brought to bus station with nothing. We met them, sitting in a corner at Catholic Charities. They were on their way to Houston where father was. Had gone there 15 years ago. After three days father sent them bus tickets. That evening they were headed to Houston. Had not seen husband for 15 years, Willie had never met him. Had no money, broken cell phone. Group came, gave them money.

William sent pictures with clothes he and mom bought with money we gave him. Started school last Thursday. Wanted to thank all of us, AFT and UFT. When we met in lobby they gave us t-shirts. I took off my AFT shirt gave it to William. Have photo. They are forever thankful to us.

To meet someone who walked 3.5 months—they came because they’d been abused. They had to get out. Father was in Houston. They are together now. Have to go to court in three months for official asylum. Was proudest moment of being AFT/ UFT member.

Legislative report—Cassie Pruitt
—More political—Please that yesterday at Columbia was successful training of union advocates to be presidential delegates. 200 showed. Will keep posted.

Thursday at 7 will be Democratic debate watch party. Will be special political guests.

Resolution to support Dorian victims
—Karen Alford—Stories like Tom’s are who we are. We want to help victims. Were 100 foot waves. Death toll rising. Tens of thousands in need of aid. Asks that you support this resolution.

Resolution carries.

Barr—trying to figure how to help people in Bahamas and what exactly they need. Working with AFT.

Resolution to raise awareness about 202 census—Sterling Roberson—Census every ten years. Important because in NY we are under-represented, undercounted, below national average. Impacts funding for public services. Important we improve count. Public schools, housing depend on this. UFT will bring full court press to NY communities. Will work with partners and organizations. Big but important job. Will require our due diligence. Asks for support.

Resolution carries

We are adjourned—6:53
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