Friday, March 8, 2013

Portelos Asks the UFT "Why" (Once Again)

UFT advice to teachers under assault
Over the last few weeks a young teacher was in touch - I don't know him or know why he touched base with me -- but he was asking for advice. Last week he informed me he was quitting the next day and would never teach again. Why? It was not the kids but his principal and administration. "All I wanted to do was teach kids the joy of science," he said.

Unity slugs have been whining over at the MORE blog about it is not their fault there are so many bad principals. I disagree. They bear major responsibility: for not raising hell in every quarter and using they supposedly vaunted political capital to try to kill the Leadership Academy who were producing Nazis. Or exposing these people in every way possible. Or going after the CSA. Or providing a rigorous defense of teachers under assault.

Tomorrow is the FIRST LEGO League tournament at the Javits Convention center. That is where I met Francesco Portelos a year ago when he gave up a Sunday to bring his IS 49 team. His school will not be amongst the 80 teams there. Neither will the kids he taught. A few weeks later he was in the rubber room for bogus reasons. He's still there with no charges. A scandal under any circumstances. But silence from the UFT.

Francisco Portelos is not quitting or going anywhere, except taking as many of these bad apples down as he can. See them in court. And how does the Staten Island UFT treat him? Well they sneak around trying to brand him as an outlier and a nut -- a "nut" elected as Chapter leader while sitting in the rubber room. In MORE he has found a supportive community. And MORE is lucky to have him. What a skill set he brings to the table. The kids' and his school's loss. Both the DOE and UFT don't want people who rock boats. Take your medicine and walk the plank.

Every time my wife and I get the NY Teacher Newspaper, at home, I place $100 on the kitchen table. I bet her that amount that from cover to cover there will be no articles or mentions of real stories of attacks on educators. No stories on the existence of Rubber Rooms. ATRs or abusive administrators. The NY Teacher circulated an article that the number of ATRs dropped to 831 last April. The latest numbers are 1475, yet no story on that increase.

I sit in a Rubber Room, for over 300 days, with no charges. I'm under investigation for over 400 days with no charges. I'm sent 20 miles away from my school and not a word. Where is my union? Where is my union paper? Where is the story? 

I'm not alone though.There are 17 of us in my building and an estimated 400 across the city. Most have no idea why they are there with almost no contact from their union. Most are veteran educators and minorities. Almost all are career changers. Are educators who were in another field first more likely to perform misconduct or are they more likely to speak up and get targeted?
Forget about us though. We still only account for about half of percent. A bigger issue is the thousands of educators attacked while they are still in school. I receive emails from many of them. They feel helpless and can't speak up about issues for fear of retaliation. The students suffer.

I'm just saying these are stories that are real and relevant to many rank and file members. They are not covered.

Where is Callahan? 

-Francesco Portelos
UFT Chapter Leader IS 49
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
*sent from my Galaxy S3. Please pardon any typos


  1. Mr Portelos -

    Every dog has their day. You will be vindicated.

  2. the why is this happening reminds me of Tevye from Fidller on the Roof right after the wedding scene. Tevye's expression is 'why, why"?

  3. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 11:56:00 AM EST

    In every school this stuff is going on...during regents week, this teacher I know stood up for an ISS kid, did so in a way that would protect the administration, yet it is being seen as an act of disloyalty and that teacher is now under attack, I promise you, Mulgrew & Co. will not do a thing, when push comes to shove.

    UNITY must go.

  4. "Unity slugs have been whining over at the MORE blog about it is not their fault there are so many bad principals. I disagree." So the UFT mission should not just be, irrespective of caucus, to protect their members, it should also be to set the rules for hiring management personnel. Name a union that hires management, or sets the rules for hiring management over their membership, especially given the scale of the UFT and CSA? Has a union historically been able to do this? DOE has shown time and time again no matter what they back the principals that do their bidding, unless they do something like ignore a gas leak or steal money. The UFT, indeed any organization, has limited resources, and it has to allocate them to guns or butter. On the opposite end, you have a man, one among many, who can afford to toss away a million to a school board election on the other side of the country the way the rank and file buy something off the dollar menu at Wendy's. You really think this is a realistic goal, to be able to control hiring of the people that rate the membership, in this climate, given the power of the opposition and their control of the media?

  5. It really seems the only way we'll get answers is through my two lawsuits and one PERB complaint. Imagine that... A Federal Lawsuit against DOE and principal, a Supreme Court Defamation of Character against my two turncoat colleagues, a Small Claims lawsuit against the DOe for withholding my personal belongings and a Public Employee Relations Board complaint hearing...all in one year....for what?

    NYCDOENUTS wrote that "Portelos is at the Gates",

    but I'm not... I'm already inside and Goliath is hiding. I have to smoke them out.


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