Wednesday, February 10, 2021

UFT Delegate Assembly February 10, 2021--Debate Upon Debate

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--We're more than halfway through this wonderful school year. Hope everyone is safe. Asks for a moment of silence for former CTU President Karen Lewis. 

Middle schools--They needed testing capacity. They do not need an agreement with UFT. State approved city plan with 20% testing per building per week. We did not take their word for it. District has money from second stimulus act. We demanded time to get teams up to speed. Over last few weeks they've hired 55 additional testing teams. There are 60K additional tests, but they are now in compliance with state plan. 

We are frustrated with vaccines, and scrambling for more, as are hospitals and medical providers. We will get out more info, but city has agreed to specific number of slots every day at city centers for in person DOE employees--elementary, MS, and D75 working in schools. We also have more vaccine for our own program and will do the same.

We want middle schools to have time to get ready. That's why we have two weeks. Staff will have one day to come in and check. We will make sure PPE is in place. If you're going back, protocols, PPE, cleaning and ventilation are important. Testing gives us early warning so we can take proper procedures and shut rooms and schools as needed. Make sure everything is in place. Covid building response teams have done great work.

Around country people are surprised we have teams to do this. Other cities don't have testing capacity and haven't been doing anything for months. Disappointing to see teachers around country fighting for what we already have. Not enough to just say schools are important. 

Contact us with any issues. We will push and monitor. That's watching each other's backs. 

Federal--CDC was supposed to put out new guidelines, but pushed until Friday. You're going to see what we always talk about. Will sound a lot like NYC, but they don't have testing ability. You have to train people.

Next stimulus--Biden says he's making a priority of opening schools safely, and says politics cannot get in the way of what American people need. He will reach across aisle, but we need to move and do something dramatic. Next bill has over 170 billion for K-12. There is much that has to get done. We are happy about recognition that funding must be in place.

Chicago is opening. Our safety people are working with Chicago. Would like them to have what we do but we will help and see. Buffalo is now open. Union tried to stop it, was rejected in court. You will see national push to open, and we will try to keep us in good place. State positivity rate is going down. 

Because you're seeing more testing of children, you are seeing that younger children are definitely getting Covid. We will follow medical advice. 

State--Wrote op-ed explaining supplant v. supplement. State promised LOTTO would go into education, and it did, but was a wash as state supplanted fund. Governor now planning to supplant half, but that doesn't work. We have many challenges, and new normal will bring even more.

We will focus on learning loss and academic regression. These are coming at us. We're seeing it in remote and live settings. We can't do instruction while fighting for funding. We will need mulitiple levels of support.

APPR--Not finalized with city. Can only be waived by governor, who doesn't want to do it. Only waived last year because pandemic hit in March. We won't have different sets of rules for different people. It's about interaction between teachers and students. Who has cameras on won't be relevant. If you're teaching in a class with six children, I don't want to hear about no group work. Everything must be in context. How many students are in your class is not relevant. This is a unique situation, and no one is working under conditions for which they were hired. CLs and principals will be trained together. Hopefully will cut down on creative stupidity. We will have a new appeal process.

No such thing as retroactive observations. When we finalize it and move forward. Digital Danielson will be tossed out. How many kids were on, how long they stayed, tell us so we can fix it.

Waiver for standardized tests this year requested by SED.

City--First mayoral forum went well. Few people paying attention now. Really important but no current buzz. We have endorsement resos today. We have 11 city council seats, three city with no endorsement. Thanks all volunteers. Never had this many involved. People in city council committees are from the districts. We look at policies and viability.  

Vaccines--If I'm out there, I put my name on all sites. 16% increase this week, then 20 and 20 following weeks. Supply chain is growing. Only way through is herd immunity, and that will come through vaccines. Don't want this for 2-3 years. Last Monday 400 at Jefferson HS. We will have a floating site. We will move it where there is a need. We now have members who've had second shot. We advocated for therapists to get first shot and spoke to some with second. They were projecting b group late February to early March, so that's good.

Members in schools must inform about test results untimely and lack of randomness. We had 250 schools untimely results, now down to 50. 60 schools with same cohort now down to 3. Can't be that way. Keep pressure on and that's how we keep each other safe. 

Lastly, don't forget to do a little bit extra. We feed NYC was supposed to start this week, but we started it over the holidays. We are in homeless crisis for decade, and there's talk but no action. We want to raise 250K to relieve food scarcity in every single borough. There are food lines all over city. Never thought I would see this in my lifetime. People who've dedicated lives to helping children--if there's a need, we help.

Seemed like long time to halfway point in school year, but now we are past it. You performed like heroes, despite crazy changing situations. There was a lack of real support. Many things are simply not fair. But we fight our way through it, stay true to ourselves, and take care of children who look up to us. Don't let crazy politics bother you. We might change our plans, but not our principles. Wish all a wonderful break. Take some time, be careful. Seems like it will take five years to end of school year, but we'll get there.

LeRoy Barr--We are up to third Black History film tomorrow 4 PM on civil rights marches 1960s. Safety march 16 4 PM. We feed NY Saturday, encourage you to participate. Mayoral town hall 2/23, 3/9. Next Black History film Stay woke 2?25 4 PM, part 2 3/4. Happy Lunar New Year, and Valentine's Day.


Q--APPR--Students not logging in will get NX. What about passing percentages? Principals and supervisors can torture teachers.

A--This was big part of consult with chancellor. They said NX cannot simply be converted into passing grades. First time they had to emphatically state that. Anything like that, we have to be told. We never had ventilation standard until pandemic. If you have anything to tell us, tell us. We will go after it.

Q--Packages--retirement--Are people in exodus?

A--We've made a big first push for early retirement incentive. We have a bill up. It's very political and other unions are involved around state. We are starting to work with people about language to get this through. Very difficult, but this is the year we may get it done. We don't have it yet. It is the responsible thing to do now.

Q--Many buildings open at end of month. What about HS?

A--No discussions on this. Three more HS have become vaccination sites. Even at fed level only up to grade 8. No testing capacity now. That would be my answer. I'm sure mayor wishes he didn't have to test, but it's important. B group now is 8.2 million statewide, then grew to 16.4, now close to 30 million people. Last week NYC got 140K doses. As doses become available, they will move to bigger sites. Will take many more, and one big building in every community is a school. Think strategy will be to use high schools. The C group is simply everyone else. Will schools fully open this year? I doubt it. 70% of parents aren't willing. We would like to open in September, but we can't say it'll be ready. No one knew last admin was lying about available vaccine. 

Q--Observations--All of our admin is on remote accommodations and we have a sub AP in building. What has happened is there have been informal walkthroughs and talking on phone. Can we expect that? Many classes in gyms and cafes.

A--That will be taken into account. You can't measure this with rubrics, and you have to take setting into account, including broadband issues. We don't want teachers or children harmed by this. Big part of my consults with them. We will have superintendents and DRs trained together on what should and should not happen. Teacher eval has taken a large part of my time. We had one system for decades, then five different systems in last 11 years. We will make sure it's done right. There will be issues, but we will have appeals direct to central committee. Let your DR know. Strange to have someone on phone.

Q--Students coming from remote to in person. Window was opened before holiday. Principal currently admitting students.

A--No, no change in policy. You have to let us know. They are not allowed to create opt in period.

Q--Situation room--Is principal told when student is positive?

A--Yes, but they don't give name. They give classroom. They will talk to principal about student for contact tracing so schedule can be pulled.  Massive job which is why closing schools get late notice. We want to help if info is bad. 

Q--D75--lots of paperwork, not enough time. What can we do? I'm up to 2 AM doing five lessons a day, IEPs, progress reports, testing, and teaching. We need different specifications and more info.

A--I will put that on my list. That's a valid issue. I will put that to DOE and see what paperwork we can pull back. This has to be taken into consideration.

Q--MS reopening--Paras one to one, but students remote. Should they be in person?

A--Will have to be worked out, Para is one to one, but also supports classroom. May have to come to building. 

Q--Changing linked v. unlinked cases and what constitutes closure--

A--Sometimes you have to say no, Approved plans on non-linked cases are what we follow. I've said no when mayor asked. He'll argue it's PPE and ventilation, but reason we haven't had a building where virus spreads is because we know from testing who needs to be quarantined. If unlinked, we close school in abundance of caution. Mayor and other elected officials are not doctors. If they try to make it easier, my position is we will have to fight. It's our plan, not mayor's that keeps people safe. 

Q--Received email saying anyone without accommodation has to proctor SAT. Is this negotiated by UFT?

A--No. If there's specialty test it will go forward. We will need to know how many students. All rules still apply. If entire June class shows, you could have 1500 kids. How many rooms, proctors, PPE for social distancing. We will engage DOE in this process. 


Quinn Zenoni--Next month agenda. NY evaluation system waived last year. Was too late in March last year. Price of implementing this will benefit only people with tech agendas. We have only six more school days in February. Danielson looks like shiny new tech, but we don't know what's effective. No research. No sample to develop practices. Any practices recommended based on nothing. Propose to reject any eval with remote component. 

Mary Vaccaro--Rises in opposition. APPR subject of state law. DOE must negotiate with UFT. This presents obstacle. Best interests to have shared framework. First time in remote, and agree on that. But this calls for no eval on remote. We cannot divide our colleagues by having different systems. Asks for opposition to resolution. 

Motion fails--40% for 59% against

Alex Gelome--This month--Tax the rich, invest in NY. Raise taxes by 4% on richest in state. Other unions, DC37 endorse. Will raise 50 billion dollars for school and community. 

Motion passes--70% for 30 against

Daniel Alicia--move item 6 to item one. Mayoral control--top down system must be addressed immediately. Will affect next raise. Need to address before town halls. 

Motion fails--59% for, 41 against


Endorsements for City Council--Elizabeth Perez--Rises in support of resolution and asks body to vote in favor. 15 new endorsements. Committee is mix of teachers and other titles. All were trained. We have protocol followed. All are treated fairly, and we have discussions. After this process we make decision. Focus on what's best for union, profession, and livelihood. Ask you respect and honor committee work and vote in favor.

James Cole-- D14 Sanchez--supports opponent.

?--Amanda Farias D18

Robert Roche--D18 

Marie Baker--D18

Mulgrew--no ability to pull out individuals, according to rules. We will do regular debate for current resolution unless someone wants to do something else. I should've realized up front. Unless someone puts up something else, resolution voted on as a whole.

Mary Atkinson--Candidates seeking endorsement contact us, get questionnaire, are interviewed. Committee decides and recommends candidates with best chance to get elected and support UFT priorities. 

Joyce Magnus--Rises to support endorsement. 

Motion to suspend rules--Someone has to request it. Resolution cannot be amended under current rules. Any individual may ask to suspend rules. 

George Kuzar--Asks rules be suspended. 

Requires 2/3 vote.

66% yes--rules are suspended. Amendment can be made.

Jonathan Halabi--Moves to amend resolution for no endorsement in D18 due to endorsing against DR Eliu Lara. 

Mulgrew--floor open for debate.

Josue Perez--Seconds motion. Our candidate is from our union. We have to back people from our union. Candidate is one of our own and has a high chance of winning. We need to make our candidate win. 

Marcus Harrison--Speaks against change. Need to respect our process. Trusts members in that district even if we have a brother or sister running. We should go with that committee. 

Matthew Febrino--Rises against amendment. Was on Bronx committee. Interviewed candidates. Treated all equally. It was fair and equitable process. Stands by recommendations. 

Move to call question on amendment--

69% for calling question.

Amendment itself--

45% yes, 55 no, fails.

Mulgrew--To do resolution, need motion to extend

James Duncan--Motion to extend to vote on resolution number one.

60% for, passes.

Open for debate resolution number one.

Robert Belliski--Asks resolution be restated.

Liz Perez restates districts included. 

Patricia Selacek--Calls question. 

86% yes--passes.

Resolution vote--

80% yes--passes. 

Mulgrew thanks us, urges us to take time, remember rules of travel and be tested before return.  

We are adjourned 6:16.

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