Tuesday, September 20, 2016

UFT Exec Bd Report: Leroy Barr Tables, Howie Schoor Reveals Reason for Union Reluctance to go after principals

"Principals have a union, the CSA. The have rights. There's a yin-yang in how we respond." ... Howie Schoor, UFT Secretary closing statement at UFT Ex Bd meeting
Is the UFT a subsidiary of the CSA?
We've known that the alliance between the UFT and CSA was a key issue in the lack of response on the part of our union since the late UFT president Sandy Feldman told me as much back in 1997 when I made a reso at the DA calling for supervisors to not have tenure. So it was nice to hear Howie Schoor, who I've known for 35 years, pretty much say that openly. A principal union can in no way be compared to a union of their employees, especially since they've been given unfettered power and control over UFT members with barely a peep out of the UFT.

My response would be to call out the CSA to get their rabid dogs in line or lose any future alliance with the UFT.

Yesterday I reported on the upcoming UFT Ex Bd meeting - MORE Members Elected to UFT Exec Board attend first meeting

Arthur Goldstein has a blow by blow account: NYC Educator: UFT Executive Board September 19th


The theme of the evening were calls on the UFT to do something about abusive principals. MORE used the 10-minute speaking time before the meeting for non Exec Bd members to put up speakers who raised the issue as a warm-up. Originally I called in on my own but when Dermot Myrie and Rema Margi stopped by the MORE/NA pre-meeting we urged them to call in for time to tell their stories of principal abuse. Then when we got upstairs we ran into old pal Sam Lazarus, retired CL of Bryant HS and Georgia Allignu who was running for CL because the old CL was forced to transfer due to attacks by Horror Principal Dwarka (which takes guts to put your head in the noose). Georgia was there to speak to ask for nominations to be re-opened so she could run - which was done.

Arthur- NYC Educator -  has good summaries of all our statements.

Mulgrew, unlike Randi, drops in to make his report at some point - really, why should he have to listen to questions or regular members who get up to speak during the 10 minutes? He said it will soon be June. Oh these meetings are such a chore.

Mike Schirtzer presented the MORE/NA resolution on abusive principals (see below) and Leroy Barr urged tabling so they could take a closer look at it. MORE's Marcus McArthur followed up with his own story of principal abuse. I'm copying and pasting here:
Mike Schirtzer MORE—Speakers told stories of abuse. Abusive administrators are big problem. Bloomberg years remain as 2-year teachers became principals. They really do have blueprints on how to make people miserable, run them out of schools. In fact, schools have budget issues. Ours does because of veteran staff. This causes bad admin to run people out.
We must do something as a union. Teachers, counselors, social workers ought not to feel threatened and harassed. We are a union of 200K and we must take action using any means available to us. Admin with two unfavorable ratings from staff should be removed. If this happens to teachers, why shouldn’t it happen to them?

We need a check and balance, and we need to be the check and balance.

Leroy Barr
—Rises to table. We have been engaged with trying to get APs either checked or removed. We had a program principals in need of improvement. Some items here are the same as we’ve pushed. We know they are there, we are engaged in those fights every day, we have no problem bringing entire weight of union against them.

Can’t be scatter gun. Depends on nuances of individual schools. Agree with essence. We want to make sure we are creating a great environment and ensure it for our kids. Want’s to raise title of District Rep tonight. You will never know all the work they do to save the jobs of our members. They do the work every day and you don’t know what they do. Some are behind closed doors. Some members want to leave. There is a variety of answers. We need to talk about how we solve and create good environment for both teachers and students. Asks we table this tonight.

Secretary—Invites voice of support

Marcus McArthur
MORE—I walked into a building 6 years ago, my first job, and CLs classroom had been defiled, garbage everywhere. Principal was responsible. Still in power, in that school. Was a lot of fighting and conflict. Was traumatic.

While union has tried, it has been a catastrophe for those who had to work under these conditions. For me, as new teacher, I was completely at mercy of that principal. Didn’t get a classroom, placed with another teacher to retaliate against that teacher. Was a big threat to me remaining as African American male, as special ed. teacher. Without support of staff, I’d have left system like half of special ed. teachers.

Asks reconsideration of resolution. We must take all action in our power. Cannot tolerate such abuse.

Before we get to the reso itself I want raise a point from Jeff Kaufman on the ICE blog who thinks it was correct for Leroy to table this because surveys are a weak tool.
Jeff Kaufman said...
While it is rare that I actually agree with Unity, tabling this motion was the right thing to do. In fact it should never have been raised. Allowing a survey to determine placement of a principal or supervisor is as misguided for principals as it would be for teachers (which would become a reality in the next contract). Our Union should be forced to take seriously members concerns about abusive principals and take affirmative steps to reassign them by showing they are abusive. The survey tactic is proposed out of weakness. Let's argue for a contract provision which shows how a principal is being abusive and allows our Union to submit to arbitration. While both provisions are probably violative of the Taylor Law let's not support a tactic which not only could be used against us but is not supported by evidence.
Blogger James Eterno said...
We have that already Jeff in Chancellor's Regulation C-33 which can be used in arbitration via Article 20. Point is a strong union would make reigning in abusive supervisors a priority. I think a vote of no confidence should trigger the process.

My comment:

ed notes online said...

Jeff has a point on the surveys which are often tainted by principal involvement who tells the staff bad results will lead to punishing the school. I think turnover rates are a clue but also chapters should be given a hearing at the UFT to lodge their complaints and trigger a UFT investigation. I think the reso must go further. There must be a significant portion of a staff willing to take action even if behind the scenes to protect themselves. The very act of a UFT investigation would cause principals to get nervous esp if publicized.

I think MORE and New Action need to think take Jeff's comments into account - and mine too. Let's not give Unity a convenient out on this issue. Leroy's argument that they do a lot must be attacked with example after example. In reports from the districts we heard nothing about what they do to protect UFT members but a hell of a lot about the charity work - good they do that but that is not their main job. I was struck by the Dist 4 DR report on her charity work but no update on the battle at Central Park East 1 where within a few months the principal had 10 teachers under investigation.

Here is the MORE Post:

UFT Leadership Tables Resolution Against Abusive Adminsitrators

Voted  to table by Executive Board. All Unity members voted to table. All MORE/NA voted against tabling resolution.
Notes (minutes) from meeting to follow tomorrow.
Resolution to Use School Survey to Identify and Remove Abusive Administrators
Whereas, UFT members in many chapters are working in fear because of abusive administrators; and

Whereas, too many UFT members are being given unfair adverse ratings by autocratic supervisors; and

Whereas, many administrators have very little experience in the classroom and are provided with a blue-print by superintendents and Department of Education lawyers to remove veteran and new teachers; and

Whereas, our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions so when a UFT member is being unfairly treated it has a direct negative impact on students’ learning environment; and

Whereas teachers have a limited opportunity to anonymously express their concerns about principals through the New York City School Survey Report, including whether “I feel respected by the principal at this school” and “I trust the principal/school leader at his/her word” and “The principal at this school is an effective manager”;

Resolved, that the UFT will publish the name of any school administrator in email updates, social media, the print and online versions of the New York Teacher and a press release the names of any administrator who receive less than a 50% favorable rating on the NYC School Survey Report from UFT members or when there is a chapter vote of no confidence in that administrator; and be it further

Resolved, that the UFT will use any means available to pressure the Department of Education to remove from a school any administrator who receives two years of unfavorable ratings from their staff.

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