Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Why UFT Leaders Won't Hold Abusive Principals Publicly Accountable?

Norm Scott to UFT Ex Bd at open mic: Let’s see everyone who works for the UFT be held as accountable as teachers are.
Howie Schoor responds: we are accountable every three years when UFT members vote in elections.
Norm (responding from seat): Janus will change your accountability equation.
Let me put aside the issue of accountability for people who work for the UFT who tell people under assault they are lucky to have a job for another time. Leroy Barr will be sure to get up at an Ex Bd meeting and defend anyone who works for the UFT even if they attack UFT members who demand they stand up for their rights.

Some people don't get why the UFT leadership won't hold abusive principals publicly accountable - echoing our president, even if they kill someone in 5th Avenue.

You see, in the UFT leadership bubble they won't do anything unless teachers in the school act first -- the classic Catch 22. They don't get why it is hard to stand up when you face daily observations in retaliation. Hmmmm- maybe I can come in and observe district reps and write them up.

I pointed out numerous times that last year's big successes at CPE1 and Townsend Harris was about parents and students acting and then the UFT seeing which way the wind was blowing caught on to the wave.

We've heard our union leaders openly say teachers need to be accountable. And teachers are held up to public scrutiny all the time while only Sue Edelman in the NY Post tries to hold principals accountable. The UFT leadership people are pretty silent about holding principals to the same accountability in a public forum.

The UFT/Unity lame excuse that principals are in another union - the CSA - does not hold water. Like give them free reign to abuse UFT members but we will honor some feudal pledge of union solidarity and protect them by not publicizing their transgressions?

I spoke at the open mic on this issue preceding the Nov. 6 UFT Ex Bd meeting, as reported by Arthur - see below -
and touched on many of these points.

Arthur's report is fairly accurate, considering I said a lot of stuff in the 5-7 minutes I spoke. I raised the CSA excuse as being lame and pointed out that 20 years ago I made a reso at the DA to remove tenure from principals because why help strengthen the very people who are often major obstacles on so many levels - the very reason we need tenure is to protect us from them? I pointed out then how few truly competent principals there when it came to being an educational leader with many being ego-driven and seeing any teachers attempting some autonomy or independent thought as a threat. I got a big laugh when I said - these were the competent ones. Of course Unity voted down my reso overwhelmingly.

Sandy Feldman was in her final months as UFT president (she was also president of the AFT since Shanker died the year before) and as the meeting ended she came up the aisle laughing and shook my hand. "I agreed with everything you said but we can't do anything because the CSA is another union." It was the first time in my 25 years in the union she spoke to me -- and I thought her feelings came through about boss and worker -- though how the boss can be considered an equivalent union member is beyond me.

Now, there was a brief period where there were some principal from hell pieces in the NY Teacher but I bet the CSA lobbied the UFT to end that practice.

But what has changed in 20 years? It's worse than ever since Bloomberg turned the Jack Welch leadership academy dogs loose on UFT members while our leaders have sat on their hands. 

What I urge the UFT to do is read the CSA - which went beyond the call in defending the awful Monika Garg,

Rosemarie Jahoda and Kathleen Elvin -- the riot act.

Here is Arthur's Nov. 7 report of my speech at the EB meeting:

Speaker—Norm Scott—

Says he was first speaker here 15 years ago, spoke of abusive principals. Asked to defend chapter leaders, they opposed it in 1999. Every week we come here, and there are still abusive principals.

Spoke against principal tenure, was voted down. Sandy Feldman loved it, but said politically it was untenable. At that time they were willing to put something in paper, and had regular features about them. Last week Tottenville High School was here. Principal sounded like the Mooch.

Last year we got rid of two principals, CPE1 and Harris, where parents and students rose up. That’s what got those people out. Union had nothing to do with 50 people who came up, when CL was pulled, and when delegate was pulled.

What about teachers who don’t have 50 parents coming? We could rouse the 50 parents if we wanted to. State of fear exists in many schools because you won’t go public. Maybe there’s an arrangement with CSA. Union won’t step on too many toes.

And now we hear, from union, that teachers have to be held accountable. We need same for principals. We have almost zero say, despite committee, on how administrators are chosen. We need to hold them really accountable to parents and teachers at schools. They used to have fear of union.

When are you, leadership, going to be accountable? You say the DR is wonderful, when teachers say otherwise. You don’t hold principals or yourselves accountable, yet you say teachers should be observed 4 times a year instead of two.

Let’s see everyone accountable.

Schoor responds they are accountable every three years.
In Arthur's take-away a few days later he commented:
Norm Scott's improvised speech, largely suggesting that nothing has changed in 15 years vis a vis abusive administrators. I'd agree with that. It's problematic that week after week teachers come to explain how they're being reassigned and harassed. The only time that the Unity faithful acknowledge these things is when they show up.
They say we've visited this or that school a hundred times. The problem is that the teachers are still standing there telling the same old tales. When we try to pass resolutions to at least publicize these things, we're told they're too extreme. After all, CSA is a union, so we're all union. This notwithstanding, it's hard to rationalize staying silent while our people are being abused.
I posted on the same issue on Oct. 31 (UFT Leadership: Abusive Principals, Observations and Accountability for You, None for Us) where I said: --- let's have UFT members observe the work of every special and district rep 4 times a year and write them up for public consumption.

Unity to we earthlings: Don't hold us accountable for our failure to reign in abusive principals running rampant -- we are working behind the scenes. But it's crucial that teachers be held accountable by these same slugs. So data proves the more observations the better off you are. The UFT leadership are like those baseball Sabermetrics people -- ignore the people and go with the stats.

A debate broke out at the Ex Bd meeting last night over teacher evaluations. And abusive principals. Let's try to tie that knot together because there is a connection, no matter how much the leadership wants to run away from it.

The debate was over the reso presented by MORE/NA calling for two observations like the rest of the state. It was a rich debate with Unity taking the same line as expected -- that MORE observations are better. When it was pointed out that so many principals are biased or abusive and threatening, the response was a so what --- this is bigger than that.

No it isn't --- if you guys can't make sure we have decent principals the house of cards falls. And when we call on your guys to be transparent in what you are doing to control these principals we got the equivalent of "we don't have to share that info." And when we name names of union people who do dumb things or screw people over the Unity leadership locks hands and defends even the worst of them.

One union leader told me -- we don't believe teachers should be left alone -- they need to be observed and counseled and supported. But there are so many principals who are clueless educators -- no matter.

I get it --- the UFT position is that teachers MUST be monitored and held accountable but union officials who shove bad policy or tell ATRs they are lucky to have a job do not have to be held accountable.

I have an idea -- let's have UFT members observe the work of every special and district rep 4 times a year and write them up for public consumption.


  1. Would I cross a CSA picket line (yes, you’ll see Martians with pickets first)? No.

    Would I demand due process for a member of CSA? Of course.

    Do I want the CSA to negotiate fair contracts? Yes.

    Do I accept the concept of union solidarity? Hell to the yes.

    Should we demand that the CSA treat the members of this ‘other union’—the UFT—with respect and professional courtesy? Uh-huh.

    Should we uniilaterally disarm because CSA is a union? No.

    Should the UFT and CSA negotiate a mutual non-aggression pact? If we don’t we might as well close our doors before Janus does that for us.

  2. lets not forget the plagiarist principal at tottenville

  3. I'd like to know why the UFT dropped the age discrimination suit against the DOE on behalf of ATRs.

  4. OUTSTANDING BLOG TODAY! This was the best thing I read all day. The simple fact is that the UFT is not accountable but soon will be after Janus comes through in June. Are UFT reps being rated by Danielson? NO. Are UFT reps being harassed by principals? NO. Are UFT reps stuck in schools with oversized classes? NO. Once Janus happens they will no longer be able to hide in their ivory tower at 52 Broadway. Teachers are going to vote with their hearts and wallets and either demand the UFT gets us what we deserve or we will simply walk away.

  5. Dwarka got rid of older teachers, and the UFT Queens office collaborated with her.

    1. Henry did the same in Gateway. Queens UFT Vasquez and Frasier protected Henry while she was attacking teachers. Queens UFT rigged CL election to elect Henry's cronie Akomodi ( demeaned AP) to control teachers. This guy is a real scum and incompetent. But he is Unity and rising to the APhood on the backs of the teachers. So same o.....

  6. Teachers should write letters or emails of complaint directly to the abusive supervisors detailing the improper and unprofessional actions being complained about. Copies of the letters or emails should be sent to, at least, the Mayor, City Council, Chancellor, Panel for Educational Policy, Community or High School Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, DOE's General Counsel, Public Advocate, Corporation Counsel, Comptroller, Assembly Education Committee, Senate Education Committee, Commissioner of Education, Commissioner of Investigation, Special Commissioner of Investigation, Office of Special Investigations, UFT leadership, NYSUT leadership, and CSA leadership.

    Having a good distribution list for well-founded complaints is important. CSA members need to be made aware that if they treat UFT members badly, then the UFT members will be publicizing the specifics of what took place, even if the UFT chooses to remain silent.

    If copies are also sent to local education bloggers or reporters, then the names of any parents, guardians, students, or other staff members mentioned in the emails should be deleted first, along with any other personal identifying details. However, the names of the abusive supervisors and the teacher authors should remain intact.

    1. You can not be seriously so naive 7:52AM believing that complaining to all these institution will get you any help or even attention to your matter. What will get you for sure is 3020 in the hurry. All this institutions are involved actively in protecting bad principals. The order of protection comes from the top. UFT leadership? Wall of silence. By the way there is no leadership there. UFT went to bed with DOE long time ago to screw teachers.
      I have been there and done it all.It cost me my health, career and a lot of money. I defended my dignity and good name though. The only element which kept me employed was lawsuit backup by good collection of evidence of abuse and harassment. That does it mean it is over for me. It is never over if you weak, blow the whistle or cost DOE legal money.

  7. Extremism is exactly what's needed when CSA members target and harrass UFT members. The UFT estimates we will lose 30-40% of members post Janus. If only 78% of the membership can be bothered to vote in UFT elections, what makes anyone think those same people will willingly fill out a form to have dues deducted from their check? Roseanne McCosh


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