There are endless examples of how the UFT leadership talks out of twelve sides of its mouth at the same time. If you go to them with a complaint they often refer to some law suit (remember the senior teachers, class size, and now the closing schools law suits along with numerous others I can't remember). Here some mid-level functionary used the same tactic in regards to paperwork. The screams of anguish coming from many teachers, in particular, elementary school teachers, needs to reach a crescendo before there will be action.
Here is an illustration of how the UFT operates on so many planes. The frustration grows. ICE and Ed Notes only have the power to expose. We could try to bring up another paperwork reduction reso at the DA - if you can even get into the Mulgrew locked meeting and get the floor during the new motion period. But what would be the point? Can you embarrass them into actually doing something - like a boycott of useless paperwork, something that if every teacher were told to refuse might actually have an impact?
Why not try a boycott, even in one district? But the UFT would have to stand firm for each and every teacher who might come under attack. On second thought.....
Not long ago, I received this email from a Chapter Leader in District 24:
Norm, The staff is totally demoralized here. The principal has decreed that everyone should have detailed lesson plans, strategy lessons, and guided reading lessons for every single lesson(as a suggestion but you can get a U if you don't have it). Who can I go to with this? The [UFT] District Rep is of no help. Changes her story on what is acceptable, what is not. I have nothing to stand on. She was here with the borough rep, who had the audacity to say to an entire grade that she doesn't see fear on their faces, therefore things can't be bad.
The principal said that block plan books with just the teaching point are not acceptable. The Dist rep said contract doesn't allow this one day, next day said "You can't just write the teaching point." When I asked for specifics she fumbled, said to write what the activity is. I said the teaching point is the activity. We cannot teach anymore there's no time left if you're going to do every bit of paperwork that they want. And you had better do it, because that's what they look at: DATA They are DATA crazy. DATA that you "collect" to get the paperwork done. DATA drives instruction, yes, out the door. What to do? Can you get someone to bring it up at the DA?
Here is another email sent to ICE a year ago:
We are DROWNING in paperwork. "Data collection" to be specific.
It's special ed : Ieps, report cards, assessment rubrics, project logs, homework logs, log logs , BFAs and the mother lode of all paperwork sinkholes: Alternative Assessment porfolios. I'd conservatively estimate that the job is, at this point, 10% pedagogy and 90% clerical.
The contract says this: "Committees composed equally of representatives of the Board ( sic) and the Union shall be established at the central, district and division levels to review and reduce unnecessary paperwork required of employees." (P.52)
Here's my question: where are said committees? Do they even exist? Can I participate in one?
UFT phone person says it should be addressed via chapter consultation committee. Is this true?
Bad news for us if it is 'cause we don't have one, far as I know and we don't even have chapter meetings.
ICE members responded with JW doing some research:
From JW's Email #15
The Paperwork Overload campaign. The union built a "paperwork committee" into the 2006 contract, in Art. VIII on Educational Reform:
The story continues with this report back the other day from the person who emailed ICE with the steps taken and the UFT response:
I decided to approach the issue as a "special education complaint" and entered the essential info the space reserved for that purpose on www.uft.org.
Got good instant feedback from the assistant ("liason"?) to the DR who forwarded it to the the then interim DR who also sent good feedback with promises that there WAS a committee that dealt with the city on paperwork reduction issues, that it DID meet regularly and he'd see to it that my 17 pages of sample redundant paperwork were forwarded to the right people.
DR has left, replaced by an (*appointed*, I understand) permanent replacement.
New DR doesn't respond to emails apparently but in a conversation came back with a quickfire account of how bringing it to a committee really wasn't necessary 'cause the UFT had a suit pending in the courts as we spoke that would deal with this problem.
Searched the net. No mention of any suit, that I could find, anyway. Wrote back to DR. Silence. That was about 1 1/2 mos ago.
So basically the union's had me jumping thru hoops for over a year and have nothing to show for it other than MORE PAPERWORK THAN EVER and a long chain of forwarded email correspondence that establishes that I've been dutifully following this up thru appropriate channels for over a year.
So.... I'm back to square one, asking ICE for advice on my next move.