Monday, May 8, 2017

MORE Action on Abusive Principals at Tonight's UFT Exec Board Meeting

From the first Ex Bd meeting this school year, the newly elected MORE/New Action members (Jonathan Halabi is the lone returnee), there has been an emphasis on raising the issue of abusive principals, superintendents and DOE officials, including Chancellor Carmen Farina and the general lack of response on the part of the union. The idea is to keep the issue front and center and hold the leadership accountable. Bringing people to these meetings to speak during the 10 minute opening period before the meeting and having the EB members raise questions has been part of the process.

I've been covering the Central Park East 1 situation, which is unique due to the massive parent involvement in defending their teachers. Note that while Mulgrew at the last EB meeting said a law suit would be filed (just keep waiting) and an order of protection (keep waiting), they have not yet called for Garg to be removed. As for an article in the NY Teacher, we don't want to interfere with the all is sweetness and light mantra.

Behind the scenes, de facto High School president James Eterno, who got the most high school votes for UFT HS President but can't serve because the Unity leadership has rigged the election to have non high school members vote for VPs, has been working with people, especially in Queens, to defend their rights. Some have even asked James instead of the UFT reps, handle their cases in grievances.

Tonight, teachers from one of the schools James has been working with are coming to the meeting to press their case. Their principal had been the AP at one of the key MORE schools, so our people know this guy real well.

The CSA is getting nervous about the pressure as we call on the UFT to abandon its consideration of the CSA as another they cannot attack. We say bullshit to supporting our enemies.

Yesterday James wrote (CSA DRAWS SYMBOLIC LINE IN THE SAND WHILE UFT WILL NOT CONDEMN ADMINISTRATORS WHO ABUSE OUR MEMBERS) about our post (CSA Calls Abusive Principal Garg "an outstanding educator" While Revealing Farina Role in Hit Job at CPE1 For High Opt Outs) on the CSA defense of CPE1 principal Monika Garg and they included Dewey principal Elvin, Towsend Harris' Jahoda and Clinton's Taveras Santiago -- as principals worth defending. Ugh! What a farce. They should be policing their own incompetent principals instead of defending them.

Garg apparently threw Farina under the bus by telling the CSA that Farina herself asked Garg to do a wipe out at CPE1, which the CSA letter emphasized in calling for her to defend Garg at any cost.

Today, James talked about tonight's EB meeting and posted the following at the ICE blog:

UFT MEMBERS READY TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST PRINCIPAL ABUSE SEEK UFT LEADERSHIP BACKING

There were family functions that took up most of the time this weekend but almost every spare minute (except for some baseball) was spent fielding questions to help UFT members who want to step up to assert their rights. One of the sources of reluctance is they have little faith that UFT President Michael Mulgrew and the rest of the UFT leadership will give more than token support for their efforts to stand up for their rights.
One school will take their case against an abusive principal to the UFT Executive Board tonight. Another is planning on appealing to a prominent politician in addition to the UFT. Others are organizing as well. The common theme is they want UFT leadership to help them but aren't sure they will receive strong support. 
Ground-up organizing is the way to go. The MORE-NEW ACTION high school representatives will continue to publicly support the rank and file. All of us can then continue and expand the pressure on Mulgrew/Unity Caucus to publicly endorse the movement against abusive administrators and not just negotiate behind the scenes.
My guess is there are many principals from hell out there in NYC but members are not confident that they can succeed in fighting back. Many won't come forward because they are fearful that UFT leaders will leave them hung out to dry. It's time to organize anyway. 
Supervisors are concerned that the sleeping giant just might be waking up.The UFT will be compelled to climb on board and pick up the fight if there is a loud roar from the schools instead of just a buzz. 

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