Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catching Up: ATRs, Portelos Story, GEM Film Screens Today in Brooklyn

Dear Taxpayer,
I am very sorry, but apparently I am robbing you. It’s not on purpose though. You pay your taxes and in turn I should educate the students of New York City. I think I was doing a pretty good job for 4.5 years so your money was probably well spent. Today I still get paid with our tax dollars but instead of educating the children in the classroom, I am in the Rubber Room with other educators awaiting charges and an explanation of why we were removed. Most of us sit there for weeks or months without knowing why we are there. So imagine this….we are getting paid, the substitutes covering our classes are getting paid, the investigators investigating our cases are getting paid, the lawyers working against the teacher and for the teacher are getting paid, the arbitrators hearing the cases are getting paid and  all with your tax dollars! Each case may cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars. ----Francesco Portelos, rubber roomed teacher, IS 49 SI
UFT chapter leader Richard Candia, threatened by Portelos' run for chapter leader, sells him and rest of staff out.  --- ed notes, below

These comments finally got me off my duff (An Absence Note) though I'm officially declaring that I am on overload. Too many obligations and too little time. Yes, boys and girls, the older you get the more befuddled you become. I started going through the list of things I have gotten involved in and was frightened. I must be on 12 listserves and have 9000 emails in my inbox from just the past 2 months.

I'm so far behind I don't know what to post first. Still busy with lots of gardening, wife care, other obligations, but here are a few nuggets:

Screening of Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman today in Brooklyn
Date: May 17th
Time: 5-7:30pm
Location: 317 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn NY

I think this is being shown through some DOE network people. Strange. Funny if there are DOE people showing our film while the UFT boycotts.

By the way -- just got a $200 check from the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Association. Check out their web site: And we got $50 from Bank Street. The dough is rolling in as we just manage to balance our costs or producing the dvd and mailing it out. Look for our coming release online on the anniversary of our premiere on May 19.

You can contribute through pay pal if you'd like:
Or send a check to Ed Notes Inc, 518 Beach 134 St, Rockaway Park, NY 11694


Gotham posts link to Francesco Portelos Horror Story - but it gets worse as UFT chapter leader Richard Candia, threatened by Portelos' run for chapter leader, sells him and rest of staff out.

Dear Student, Parent, Taxpayer….I’m sorry but I’m trying.

The Francesco Porteles story hopefully will go viral. Read the above link in full to get the full flavor. Lurking behind all this is the perfidious behavior of IS 49 Chapter leader Richard Candia who, his cozy relationship with principal Linda Hill and the threat posed by Portelos' run for chapter leader, conspired to undermine Portelos and assist Hill in harassing his supporters. I will post Candia's shocking email to principal Hill in a special. Is Candia being protected by his Staten Island UFT buddies? There are reports he is a member of Unity Caucus. This is not the first time a person challenging Unity control has been sent to a rubber room with the cooperation of the Unity Caucus machine to keep a possible voice of opposition out of the school (it happened to an ICE member years ago which led to 6 months in the rubber room and the basic destruction of the teacher's career.)

Here is a short selection from Portelos' post and I'll tell you why below:
"On March 16, 2012 I returned to work after being out for 4 days for jury duty. I found my room a mess. My first period back Mrs. Joanne Aguirre and Ms. Sharon Mahabir of CFN 211 walked in with clipboards. Since I always received Satisfactory ratings (even up until December ’11 before budget talks) and students and parents loved my class, they had to try to get me really off guard. The special education students still learned about engineering principles despite the interruptions made by the observers. The 90 minute observation led to my first ever Unsatisfactory in 5 years of teaching. It was very poorly written and anything positive was strategically omitted by Ms. Aguirre.
The DOE henchpeople and the scum at CFN 211 should be investigated. How disappointed was I to see the name  of one of the persecutors, Sharon Mahabir, who like Portelos, was once a dedicated robotics coach who I knew from 10 years ago. So sad to see good people forced to engage in these actions. Sharon is good people who is doing PD for the network. Even Francesco says good things about her.

By every report, AP Joanne Aguirre is scum and should be investigated for her behavior. One thing is clear. They picked on the wrong guy this time. Despite having an 11 month old baby and another on the way, plus 7 years working as en engineer and the promise he can always have his job back, Portelos is ready to take this case to the extreme. We are developing a support network for him since the UFT does little or nothing or even is a minus. Did you know that Portelos was denied the right to go to the school to pick up his property and was told to "make a list." Instead of demanding he have the right to go to the school -- even after everyone is gone to get his property, the UFT Staten Island officials went right along and told him to make a list. If you were in a school for 5 years and told to make a list of your property sight unseen, could you do it?


Marjorie Stamberg at the UFT Delegate Assembly challenges Mulgrew on ATRs

At last night's delegate assembly, I raised the issue of the union's cyncial "solution" to the UFT's disenfranchisment of ATRs in the union elections. Many ATRs had no place to vote in teh union elections as they trudge from school to school on a weekly basis, where they are treated as non-people until they move on the next week. This week-to-week trek was agreed upon by the union and the DOE last spring, as part of the deal that there be no teacher layoffs. Last fall, I and others put forward motions for the ATRs be accorded their full voting rights with their own chapter. We have been fighting for this for several years, and it has always been brushed off with the excuse that their situation is only "temporary."

Last week, the UFT leadership announced a "solution" -- with chapter elections upon us, they decided, ATRs would vote at the school where they are for the week the elections are held. This is outrageous -- how can ATR teachers effectively advocate for their needs when they are "here today, gone tomorrow," and the chapter representatives are not accountable to them.

Yesterday, when I raised this issue in the question period at the delegate assembly, Mulgrew refused to let me get a sentence out, interrupting me, harassing and yelling, "What's your question," "Make it a question," "That's not a question!" Following his lead, a passel of Unity delegates obediently picked up the jeer. Over the din, I was finally able to get out, "My question is, how do you justify this outrageous cynical disenfranchisement of the ATRs' right to vote?" and saying "the ATRs need their own chapter."

Mulgrew answered with a time-honored evasion: The union is in arbitration, he said, because the DOE has not kept to its commitment to place ATRs in open positions, and long-term vacancies. Until this arbitration is settled, the union is doing the "best it can" to give ATRs voting rights. He was silent on the fact that the weekly trek of ATRs is happening with the consent of the UFT leadership, which agreed to it as part of the deal on layoffs last spring.

Don't worry, I will keep on raising this issue. With more schools closing than ever, there will be a huge swelling of the ATR pool next fall. As we all know, "If you're not ATR, you could be soon." The fight for rights of ATR teachers is everyone's fight.

Article on Philly destruction of public ed --- where is the union?



Anonymous said...

Mulgrew's response is absurd. In other words, the arbitration is an excuse for second class union membership. The Unity Caucus is full of ideologues and cowards. It is time for members to begin changing their cope money to 5 cents.

The ed leftists who believe that hurting the union's "pockets" is cannibalistic or crosses some line of moral purity are wrong. The Unity Caucus needs to be sent a message immediately. By any means necessary.

ed notes online said...

I agree that cutting COPE to a nickel is a good pressure point. The "ed leftists" are opposed to ending dues checkoff which would turn us into a right to work state.

Anonymous said...

No it would not. It would force the UFT to earn their dues.

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