Archives For April 2014

MOREistas (and supporters):

Almost 30 teachers are refusing to give the NYC ELA Performance Assessment to our high school ELL students. This is very big news and we’re excited!!!!! We need as much support as we can get! Please pass this around in your schools and on your networks and send us a solidarity picture or message from your school chapter on our website, http://www.standupoptout.wordpress.com.

In Solidarity!
Emily and Rosie

Support the First High School Teachers to Join
Growing Opt Out Movement in New York City!!!!

On Thursday, May 1, 2014, we, the teachers and school staff, at the International High School at Prospect Heights are refusing to give the NYC English Language Arts Performance Assessment Exam. We are standing in solidarity with the more than 50% of our parents who have opted their students out of taking the test.
Please support the teachers and staff members who have joined together to abstain from administering a test we we believe is harmful to English Language Learners (ELLS). We are not willing to sacrifice the trust of our students, their feelings of self worth, and our professional duty to do what is best for them. In good conscience, as educators dedicated to the learning of our students and the welfare of our school communities, we are not administering this test. We ask that Chancellor Carmen Fariña remove the New York ELA Performance Exam in favor of an assessment created by educators who best know the individual needs of their students and classrooms.

Ways to support the staff at the International High School at Prospect Heights:

● Sign a Pledge of Support atStandupoptout.wordpress.com
● Send a Photograph with a Physical Sign or Message of Support to afeingoldshaw@gmail.com.
● Join our Press Conference on May 1st at 8:00 AM at 883 Classon Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225

Here is a sample pledge below:

We, _________________, stand in solidarity with the 30 teachers and school staff at the International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn who are refusing to administer the New York City ELA Performance Assessment. Teachers at IHSPH are standing up for all teachers and parents who feel that these tests that are traumatic for students, serve no instructional purpose, and do nothing to prepare students for college. It is clear that the feelings here in New York about these tests are felt nationwide. As _______________, we are grateful for your courage and we share your struggle.

Follow events at the blog: http://standupoptout.wordpress.com/

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Press Advisory from this morning:
26 Teachers and Staff of International High School at Prospect Heights Campus in Brooklyn refuse to give NYC ELA Performance Assessment Test


may-day-2014-flier-1

Click to download flyer

MORE will be joining the Public Workers United coalition to march on May Day, Thursday, May 1, to add our voices to those fighting for immigrant rights, worker justice, and good contracts. 

Look for the contingent with banners, signs and stickers for Strong Services, Full Retro Pay, and No Givebacks!

Wear RED and bring copies of this flyer to distribute. 

Noon - Union Square South
4pm - Chambers Street and Broadway

PWUMay1stflyertobuildforMay15.Thumb

Make copies of this flyer to distribute…

Over 1000 public workers have signed a petition saying that the money is there to improve public services and also resolved public worker contracts after at least four years without a raise. Let’s take that to the streets and make sure there will no givebacks and we our full retroactive pay raises.

Get involved with the struggle on May 2nd and beyond:

  • like the coalition at PublicWorkersUnited.net
  • come to the next meeting, discuss how to open up bargaining & create “Public dialogue for public services” – Thursday May 8, 6pm, Atrium – NW corner of 56th and Madison
  • join the over 1000 public workers, activists and elected leaders, who have signed a petition for full retro pay – published in the Chief newspaper –  http://chn.ge/1cFeQTo
  • distribute this flyer to co-workers & at other workplaces / transit hubs (download from site)
  • join the campaign to get City Council to pledge to oppose a budget that doesn’t include full retro pay.

Michael Fiorillo is a teacher, MORE member and former Chapter Leader at Newcomers High School in Queens

The Corporate Reformer’s Game Plan

  • Proclaim austerity for the public schools, while continuing to expand charters
  •  Create incentives for non-educators to be in positions of power, from Assistant Principal on up
  • Maintain a climate of scapegoating and witch hunting for “bad teachers,” who are posited as the cause of poverty and student failure, doing everything possible to keep debate from addressing systemic inequities
  • Neutralize and eventually eliminate teacher unions (the first part largely accomplished in the case of the AFT). As part of that process, eliminate tenure, seniority and defined benefit pensions
  • Create and maintain a climate of constant disruption and destabilization, with cascading mandates that are impossible to keep up or comply with

Continue Reading…

Watch the video for a sneak peek of the rally and march in front of NYC City Hall to defend public education from destructive, profit-driven corporate “reform”. Endorsed by 30+ parent, teacher, and student groups, including MORE. Featuring some great speakers, including a message from Diane Ravitch!

30+ organizations representing parents, teachers, students and community members taking to the streets in defense of public education
Get more information,
then RSVP

april

All are welcome! 

Come get involved with our work around:
-Ending High Stakes Testing
-Improving Teacher Diversity
-Fighting unjust Co-locations
-Retro-Pay, May Day, and Contract Work

Meet with MORE members from your neighborhood!

AND

Help prepare for the Taking Back OUR Schools Rally and March on May 17th!

From 12-3pm
Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue (btw. Hoyt and Bond St)

Facebook link

We can’t wait to see you there!

Join us for post meeting happy hour at the Brooklyn Inn (138 Bergen St at Hoyt St).

Please join us for rally and press conference to demand Not One More Year Lost – Our Children are More than a Test Score!


WHEN:
    Thursday, April 24th @ 4 PM

WHERE:  NYC Department of Education, 52 Chambers Street
WHO:      All families, educators, and supporters of educational justice
HOW:      More info here and please accept and share the Facebook invite
WHY: We will be uniting to demand policies that support our children and our schools.
What do we want?
- We want real learning every day NOT test prep
- We want transparent, developmentally appropriate and valid assessments
- We want child-centered, rich curriculum
- We want standards that truly support child learning

- We want funding for schools not for private testing companies

Make your own signs!!  Some of the themes for the action are:
- We demand REAL accountability from the top, not on the backs of our children
- Listen to the parents
- Release the test
- Our children and our jobs as teachers are NOT FOR SALE
- Keep the money in the classroom

Change the Stakes
www.changethestakes.org

Follow us on Twitter or on our Facebook page

Please sign our petition to demand that NYS give parents the right to opt out http://signon.org/sign/give-new-york-state-parents.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=322644

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Visit us on line: https://www.changethestakes.org
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/changethestakes, https://www.facebook.com/BoycottHighStakesTests

 

 

The NY United Teachers union is comprised of more than 1,200 local unions across NY State. This year the Movement of Rank-and-file Educators (MORE) ran six candidates for the Board of Directors. NYSUT Elections have been uncontested since 1979. The six candidates pooled their speaking time at the NYSUT Representative Assembly convention and were represented by Lauren Cohen and Mike Schirtzer. Behind them were James Eterno, Julie Cavanaugh, Francesco Portelos, Jia Lee from MORE and our union sister from Port Jefferson Teachers Association Beth Dimino.

"Diane Ravitch and Brian Jones Taking Back OUR schools march and Rally"

Keynote speeches from two beacons of public education

http://tiny.cc/NYCmarch

DA Report -4/9/14

April 10, 2014 — 1 Comment

MULGREW ASKS TO HEAR BOTH SIDES AT APRIL DA

By James Eterno

Teacher/Chapter-Leader Jamaica HS

Instead of my usual complaints about how one sided debate was at a UFT Delegate Assembly, I have to admit right from the start that UFT President Michael Mulgrew made a real attempt on Wednesday to play by the rules by focusing on having both sides heard during debate.  It didn’t hurt his majority Unity Caucus, who have the votes to pass just about anything at the DA, but it feels good not to have to report about how he spent the entire meeting only calling on one side.  It wasn’t perfect but it was much better than usual.

President’s Report
National
19 people were stabbed by a student at a school in Western Pennsylvania.  We are watching this terrible situation closely.
Los Angeles: There is a lawsuit fighting teacher tenure by saying it is an infringement upon student civil rights.  We are helping to fight this.  It is the same right wing groups: Student’s First, American Legislative Exchange Council and Democrats for Education Reform (our enemies) that are behind so many of the attacks on teacher unions and public schools.  Make no mistake about it, they want to privatize public education.
Philadelphia: There is a “reform” commission that has gone to court.  They are trying to have teacher seniority and due process rights taken away.  90 out of 290 schools in Philly are now charter schools.  Basically they are trying to end the union contract.  Same groups are behind this case as the LA case.
Chicago: Our same enemies are behind legislation that would lower future pensions of in service people by around 30% and force public employees to pay 2.5% more in pension contributions.
Former Mayor Bloomberg worked with the same people to run well financed campaigns against us here in NYC but we have survived.  It’s all about politics.
NY
We are in a state election cycle and our enemies just spent $ 5 million on a campaign for charter schools in NYC.  New mayor wants to work with teachers and parents. Former news reporter Campbell Brown is starting another astro-turf group to lobby locally against our contract.
New campaign by our enemies against the new promotion policy that deemphasizes standardized testing.  They will also try to change the evaluation system to make it more about standardized test scores.
Under Bloomberg’s promotion policies, where only the test results mattered for students in grades 3-8, fewer children were held back.  Bloomberg replaced social promotion with social graduation which is why so many students need remedial classes in college.
Politicians think about the next election.  We think about the long term. Our enemies have been emboldened by their success with the new charter school law.
Albany
A good lobbying effort produced a mostly successful budget agreement.
-There was a 5.2% increase in school aid from the state to NYC.  This is up from what we originally were looking at.
-There is $300 million in additional funding in the budget for pre-kindergarten.
-There is a moratorium for high stakes Common Core testing for students; we don’t yet know about the tests being used for teacher evaluation as the Legislature is still in session.
-In Bloom (the data collection company) is gone.  Commissioner John King could not guarantee privacy of student information.  We are glad to see Rupert Murdoch will not get student information.
-There will be no standardized testing for grades pre-K -2.
-There will be audits of charter schools in NYS including in NYC for the first time.
-On the down side, the charter school lobby took advantage of a political opportunity to guarantee  colocations and force the city to pay their rents.  We think this provision will end up in court for years.
NYSUT: Karen Magee was elected NYSUT president.  There are three other new officers who have been elected.  Our own Andy Pallotta will continue as Executive Vice President.
NYC
the President repeated his remarks about social promotion and reiterated that more students will probably be held back now that teachers have a say in who will be promoted.
There has not been much immediate relief for our members yet under the new regime but Chancellor Carmen Farina at her meetings with teachers has heard from us about bully principals and excess paperwork.
Artifacts in New Evaluation System
1-Teachers decide on whether or not they want to hand in artifacts and the teacher has the option on which artifacts to hand in.
2-Teachers can turn in artifacts up until Friday, April 11 if we want to but we can also bring artifacts in at the summative conference if we want to because so much of John King’s ruling is contradictory.
3-Artifacts were a good idea that John King and the DOE turned into a bad idea.
4-Artifacts only make up a small percentage of our final rating (3 points) so teachers should ask the principal what he/she is going to give on the artifacts score.
5-People need to chill out on artifacts.
During the question period this came up again, so we will put the answer here.
Question: If principal doesn’t rate us on certain domains, is it an automatic ineffective?
Mulgrew Answer: No, the teacher would get a NA in that area. Some schools will have an artifact party on Friday and submit so many artifacts and demand that they be rated.
OT’s and PT’s-We won the arbitration.  They will be getting paid in May.
Staff Director’s Report
Leroy Barr announced the dates for some events including the April 26 Spring Conference at the NY Hilton.
Question Period
Question: The first question concerned Absent Teacher Reserves being evaluated.
Mulgrew Answer: ATR evaluation is still under the satisfactory or unsatisfactory system.  We’re not sure how it will work for someone who was placed in a school in the middle of the year.  We can’t talk about contract negotiations but hopefully this will be our only year under the current system.
Question: As many ATR’s are reading specialists, how can we see that they are placed in schools?
Mulgrew Answer: We know that there is an untapped talent pool that could be utilized better.  We can’t talk about this right now because it is in contract negotiations.
Question: Shouldn’t we be insisting on certified teachers for the new pre-K programs?
Mulgrew Answer: The state will be reimbursing at a rate of $10,000 if certified teachers are used but only $7,000 if a Community Based Organization uses uncertified teachers.  Those teachers will have a maximum of three years to become certified.  UFT will help them get certified and that should help in organizing.
Question: Some UFT members are going into disciplinary conferences without UFT representation.  What are the ramifications?
Mulgrew Answer: They can be dire and no one should go in without UFT representation.
Question: Principals asking for lesson plans and doctor’s notes unlike in the past.  What can we do?
Mulgrew Answer: The administration could always ask to see a lesson plan but they cannot dictate format or collect them ritualistically. We are not publicizing what we are doing behind the scenes but we are working on reigning in onerous administration.  We are also waiting for a decision on the lesson plan arbitration.
New Motion Period
UFT Secretary Emil Pietromanaco introduced a resolution to support the UPS drivers who were fired for supporting a co-worker who was dismissed.  The resolution was added to the agenda and later passed unanimously.  (The drivers were reinstated  yesterday.)
Special Orders of Business
A motion to fix problems of the New York State Alternate Assessments carried unanimously.
A resolution on the May Day rally produced the most controversy. The rally is to support labor rights, immigrant rights and jobs for all. Unity’s Paul Egan put in an amendment to make it a little stronger and MORE’s Megan Moskop introduced an amendment to make it a more massive rally with specific slogans including a $15 an hour minimum wage,  full retroactive pay for city workers and more.  Mulgrew called on people on both sides of this issue and there was a decent debate.  The MORE amendment failed; the Egan amendment passed as did the resolution.
The final resolution was to support President Barack Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  Mulgrew asked if somebody wanted to speak against this resolution and Joan Heymont did by saying it should be $15 per hour.  The resolution carried.
That’s all for this month. Enjoy Spring Break and may all your artifacts be rated highly effective if you choose to hand them in!