Monday, February 18, 2019

UPDATED: 90% of Forest Hills HS Staff Votes No Confidence in Principal Ben Sherman

Hi Norm
Got some news for you concerning Our beloved Principal Sherman.  The faculty voted 195-21 that Ben Sherman is the wrong individual to lead our school.  A No Confidence vote was held Thursday and over 90% of faculty rejected his leadership.
Thanks. Can I publish on the blog? -- Norm
Please do.  The Principal and the Superintendent mendez are avid readers of your blog.  When you Google his name, the blogs are almost all that come up?
Arthur has a great piece up on the story with more info.

Forest Hills High School UFT Votes No Confidence in Principal Ben Sherman 195-21 

I left this comment at NYC Educator: UFT leaders have know about this situation for a year. There needs to be more than bringing these stories up to the chancellor once a month. 90% vote of no confidence should strike a note somewhere. We need to see a public response from the UFT, not backdoor negotiating.

Chaz chimes in: https://chaz11.blogspot.com/search?q=sherman
And ICEUFT: https://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/2019/02/forest-hills-high-school-staff.html


Here are some blogs published by James and me.

Teachers from Forest Hills HS have touched base with James Eterno and Mike Schirtzer, who forwarded this to Ed Notes.
Abusive Principal Ben Sherman: Forest Hills HS Teachers Issue Declaration of Independence

On ICE:

West Virginia Teachers to Strike Over Charter Push

While the bill did include the promised pay raise that resulted from last year's strike, it also included the introduction of charter schools to the state as well as the creation of education savings accounts that parents could tap into for homeschooling or private school tuition.... CNN
Last year's strike was victorious - all schools were closed down by the Superintendents and teachers didn't lose any pay. Since WV doesn't have any charters, there were no alternatives. My immediate thoughts were that there would be retribution to prevent this situation from happening again. And so it has come to pass with a law establishing charters and I heard rumors that teachers may lose pay even if schools are closed down. (Not sure of this one but we will see what happens after the strike - and also how far reaching it will be - it looks like this is led by the state AFT - let's see where grassroots leadership goes.

Ravitch reports:

West Virginia: Teachers Will Walk Out Again Because of Broken Promises

by dianeravitch
A year ago, teachers in every school in all 55 counties in West Virginia closed down the schools when they walked out to protest low pay, high healthcare costs, and the looming threat of school choice.
They were promised a 5% salary increase, a commission to figure out how to low healthcare costs, and a veto by the governor if the legislature tried to pass school choice, which would drain even more money away from the state's ill-funded schools.
The legislators lied. They are in the midst of passing legislation to pull the rug out from under the teachers, the kids, and the public schools. The legislature wants charters and vouchers, even thought the governor promised to veto such a bill.
The teachers are going out again.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Denver Teacher Strike Over Randi Weingarten Supported Merit Pay Ends

May 6, 2010 -- Denver Post... AFT's Randi Weingarten weighs in
Wednesday’s endorsement of Senate Bill 191 by the American Federation of Teachers did not phase many in Colorado but caused quite a stir around the nation.

Nevertheless, AFT President Randi Weingarten said her organization’s support of the bill shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In January, Weingarten made a speech urging her 1.4 million members to accept a form of teacher evaluation that takes student achievement into account.

In that speech Weingarten called for more frequent and more rigorous evaluations and said she wanted standardized test scores and other measures of student performance to be part of the process.... http://blogs.denverpost.com/coloradoclassroom/2010/05/06/afts-randi-weingarten-weighs-in/318/
Back in 2010, Randi Weingarten, apparently to the surprise of the world -- but not to us here in NYC and other cities on her sellout tour (Newark, Detroit) -- endorsed the Colorado teacher evaluation plan.
The strike is over but let's never forget the role Randi Weingarten played in pushing the ideas of merit pay in the first place. Here is my post from April 17, 2017 where I recalled Randi's support, consistent with her role in Newark (with pal Corry Booker), Detroit, Hartford in supporting essentials of ed deform.

https://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2017/04/randis-folly-or-how-we-got-colorados.html

UPDATED -- John Lawhead sent this link:

Randi Weingarten: Sleight of Hand Artist - Part 1
Ken Derstine
April 19, 2015http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2019/02/ken-derstine-on-randi-weingarten.html?m=1

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Incredible Shrinking UFT Election: Unity Wins, Unity Wins

I made my prediction on the outcome of the UFT election. Duhhhhhh!

Here's the leaflet I handed out at the Feb. 13, 2019 Delegate Assembly - which was today. I got some positive feedback and a few scowls. This may be a serial. Look for the next installment at the March DA. If you want to share with others email me for a pdf.

The Incredible Shrinking UFT Election: Unity Wins, Unity Wins
Three Opposition Caucuses compete for anti-Unity votes
By Norm Scott
When UFT members get their election ballots in March, they will have a choice of four slates. And Unity Caucus will win every position. New Action, MORE, and Solidarity will vie with each other for the anti-Unity vote, which in 2016 totaled around 12,000 votes. This will be the first time in my (fading) memory that three distinct slates will be “challenging” Unity, clearly making it impossible to win anything, yet alone the election as a whole. Over the past 40 years, anti-Unity totals have varied between 10-12,000 votes, but these totals may drop due to the confusion of 3 opposition slates. In the recent contract vote, the NO votes also totaled around 12,000, a consistent anti-Unity block, but a snippet given there are almost 200,000 members, including retirees. 70% don’t vote. Why? Because UFT elections are a locked box with Unity in total control due to the number of at-large positions where retiree votes are a major factor. Only divisional Ex Bd positions are winnable - elementary (11), middle (5) and high school (7) Ex Bd seats where retirees do not vote. And to win any of these requires one caucus opposing Unity. And the only chance to win those is to have a united opposition.

With nothing at stake this time vote totals will drop, especially with the recent 85% contract approval. Each caucus is running a limited slate of about 45 candidates. Call this one “the incredible shrinking election.”

The inability to unite is a naked admission that nothing can be won. Yet we see false misleading messages of bravado (we need to change the leadership of the UFT) in opposition literature. Ignore what they say and consider it fake advertising.

There was a lot of hope in 2016 when New Action left its 12 year coalition with Unity Caucus and ran with MORE, attracting well over 300 candidates, considerably extending the outreach of the opposition. Solidarity was a new and unproven caucus of relatively few members and didn’t even gather the required 40 candidates needed to run a slate and did not get on the ballot. (This time it appears they will.) The high school seats were won by the opposition and when adding up the middle school votes, a win in both divisions was possible this time. The only thing that made sense this time was for everyone to run as a united front. Some of us tried valiantly to put this together but failed.

So what happened? MORE refused to run with anyone else and is using the election to push its program. New Action wanted to run with MORE but not with Solidarity. Oy vey! Talk about taking the eye off the prize: mining those 12,000 anti-Unity votes to build a far-reaching opposition as opposed to promoting the brand of your own caucus.

Furthermore, MORE leaders make it clear they have no intention of trying to win any seats (declaring the winning of high school seats in 2016 “a disaster”) and purposely running only candidates for at-large non-winnable positions.

MORE has morphed from its original idea of a “big tent” opposition where various ideologies were welcome in the contention of ideas to a much narrower ideology based on the political positions taken by the old Teachers for a Just Contract (TJC) which merged with ICE/UFT in founding MORE in 2012. That coalition has fallen apart and ICE members were invited to leave MORE and many have. ICE/UFT has divided loyalties in this election, with many, including myself, sitting this one out, skeptical that the 20 year old TJC ideas of strike preparation that had failed to resonate with the rank and file from the late 90s through 2012 will strike gold this time. MORE is counting on the red state and big city teacher strikes in Chicago, Denver, Oakland and Los Angeles to resonate with UFT members. We in ICE/UFT (no longer an electoral caucus) think these ideas require deeper discussion, including the key issues of our pay vs. theirs, Taylor Law penalties, working conditions here and there and the 87% contract approval, a contract which MORE opposed vehemently. The MORE leadership did not want to have these discussions and ICE/UFT is the only place in the UFT where these discussions are taking place.

I and others have pretty much given up the ghost of building a viable opposition and we have become free agents, unattached to any caucus. MORE elected High School reps Mike Schirtzer and Arthur Goldstein, CL of the 300 member Francis Lewis HS, seeing no alternative, have been wooed by Unity and are running as independents for the EB on the Unity line with no strings attached. Mindy Rosier-Rayburn came to MORE after leading a valiant battle against charter school magnate Eva Moskowitz’ attempt to throw her school out of the building. Mindy has become a political force of nature, one of the early leading voices for Bernie Sanders (and a Bernie delegate to the 2016 Democratic Party convention) – a position contrary to the UFT leadership. She has now joined Unity without having to sign the loyalty oath.

How did MORE lose an entire progressive wing of the opposition over the past two years? For that answer see Education Notes at the March Delegate Assembly or get details at the blog, ednotesonline.com.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

School Scope - Where Do Public Advocate Candidates Stand on Education Issues?

Published Feb. 8, 2019 www.rockawave.com

School Scope: Where Do Public Advocate Candidates Stand on Education Issues?
By Norm Scott

I ask the question because from reading The WAVE’s coverage based on interviews with some of the candidates, I don’t see questions or comments related to push-button education issues like over reliance on testing, teachers being evaluated based on tests, support for public education and schools, as opposed to privately managed charters which pull funding from real public schools while also imposing rigid and oppressive controls over children while also suffering a high turnover rate of teachers, the education-industrialist complex which enriches itself on the backs of policy decisions pushed by their lobbyists, the class size debate, and more.

Let’s take our native Republican, Erich Ulrich, whose half page front page photo in the Jan. 25th edition of The WAVE was joined by another half-page of coverage on p. 12.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Memo from the RTC: Andrew Barth Feldman Opens on Broadway in Evan Hansen as Wizard of Oz Hits Final Weekend

Published in The WAVE, Feb. 8, 2019




Memo from the RTC: Andrew Barth Feldman Opens on Broadway in Evan Hansen as Wizard of Oz Hits Final Weekend
By Norm Scott

Exactly two years ago, Andrew Barth Feldman was a 14-year old on the stage of the Rockaway Theatre Company’s Young People’s Workshop production of Singin’ in the Rain playing the role Donald O’Connor made famous as Cosmo Brown in the film version with his amazing dancing. Last week Andrew made his Broadway debut as the lead in Dear Evan Hansen at the age of 16, to a great deal of publicity, apparently the first teen to head a Broadway show. Groups of RTC people were there for his first two nights, when he received standing ovations. While everyone at the RTC knew Andrew’s talent would take him far one day, people are wide-eyed at the speed with which this occurred. Now the entire theater world and a good section of the public, due to the amount of media coverage, know what everyone at the RTC knew over the past 5 years.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Chicago CORE Caucus Holds Internal Election

Slate Z has won the Leadership Slate Run-Off election.... FB post
I think there's something brewing in Chicago but I am not clear exactly what yet. With a general union election coming this May, the ruling CORE caucus is picking a slate. But in what seems very unusual, they had to hold an internal election. That would be like Unity holding an internal election to decide who is running for president in the general union election. There certainly seems to be some divisions in CORE, and from what I've heard, somewhat analogous to what went on here in MORE. Except in MORE they just throw you out if you disagree. Well, some people in CORE did try to purge the late George Schmidt and failed (CORE Attempted Purge of One of Founders George Schmidt Failed in Chicago - Eight Women of Color Speak on George's Behalf).

Mike Schirtzer sent me some links. Here is what info I have: Slate Z won with 63% of the vote over Slate W. Now check the people on the losing side - slate W - which lost almost 2-1. I don't have any info on what the issues were that caused this division - caucuses within a caucus -- actually, when MORE first former I argued that there were factions in the room and maybe that should be recognized. Recently I've been attending Democratic Socialist (DSA) meetings and discovered that they too have internal caucuses.


Sharon Schmidt has been trying to keep Substance updated. Here is her post from Feb. 1 with the W slate.

CORE slate endorsement from CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson

As the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) chooses its slate for the May 2019 union elections in an online vote this week, long-time CORE member and CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson urged CORE voters to support Slate W:


President: Jesse Sharkey
Vice President: Jackie Ward
Recording Secretary: Nancy Serrano
Financial Secretary: Tammie Vinson

For Trustees:
Drew Heisserman
Nancy Serrano
Tammie Vinson
Alison Eichhorn
Lois Ward

Does this mean the people who have been running the CTU for 9 years did not win?

Here are some FB comments with hints of the divisions:
This was a win for principles and CORE values. Never before has the ruling caucus had to win an election. Just like we made history when we forced Rahm into a runoff. Those that value transparency and democracy won when we pushed the machine to a runoff. We have a Machine leadership whose campaign tactics reflect their expertise in being “King makers” and “election strategy” and “campaign tactics”. It’s a shame what they did to Drew and Allison. 
Phew. That's a heavy comment on the leadership. Here is a peace gesture:
 Now it’s time to unite and defend CORE
AND
Unity for the Municipal elections

Hopefully we will that right

Karen: “...if we want justice then we have to change the political landscape.”

(Reference to upcoming municipal elections)
We'll update if more info comes in.

The Daily Howler on AOC

I get a kick out of the commentary and comments which range from left to right on this blog.

Markey defers to Ocasio-Cortez!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2019

In praise of talent—and gumption:
Talent is always in short supply. Also in short supply?

Gumption.

We've been thrilled by the talent, but also by the remarkable gumption, of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yesterday, we were appreciative of the way Senator Markey deferred to her in the public roll-out of the Green New Deal proposal.

Good for Markey, and good for Ocasio-Cortez, whose gumption has been inspiring. It isn't every day that this combination comes along. We'll only wave this one caution flag—celebrity can do vast harm.

We were glad to see Markey behave as he did. Gumption must be served!

(Mateo, on Halloween evening, in Jim Sheridan's 2003 film, In America: "When luck comes knocking at your door, you can't turn it away.")

Gumption definitely. Talent? Ask yourself if you'd say she had talent if she spoke the same content in the same valley girl manner, but weighed 400 lbs and looked like a female Michael Moore. It's OK, this kind of misjudgment happens to all of us.
Yeah - Bernie Sanders. What a piece of ass.

Jeff Kaufman in The WAVE - Far Rockaway High School Programmers Take 1st Place in Queens Regional Hackathon Meet

Over 10 years ago, Jeff Kaufman, a warrior in the battle against Unity and a former ICEUFT member of the UFT Ex Bd along with James Eterno, got out of the business of opposition caucus politics, pointing out there was nothing much to gain in terms of growth.

James Eterno and I didn't take the same path and now with the chaos in the opposition in the UFT we see that Jeff was on the right track. We have discussed taking up golf.

Since then Jeff has come out to Rockaway to coding teach at the former Far Rockaway HS campus - the school was closed and divided in multiple schools. Jeff has urged me to stop by and check things out and maybe even volunteer - I do have a coding background. So maybe this blog will morph into something else -- coding and golf.

Note the theme the kids worked on was social justice oriented. Jeff doesn't get enough credit for the work he has done in that area, especially prison reform.

Good luck Jeff and kids in the next level of the hackathon.



Far Rockaway High School Programmers Take 1st Place in Queens Regional Hackathon Meet

By Jeff Kaufman

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

On NYCDOE Governance - the ICEUFT Plan from the past- Keeping the flame alive

With mayoral control locked in, alternatives are pretty much off the table in the poilitical world. And in the UFT. When mayoral control first came up in 2001-2, the UFT supported it while I as Ed Notes opposed it, one of the lone voices openly standing up. I was in touch with George Schmidt in Chicago, which had had mayoral control since 1994 and knew the consequences. So I tried to be Paul Revere and warn everyone - but to no avail. This was pre-ICE days and none of the other caucuses took up the issue. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela's Coup Leader | The Grayzone

Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization. ....
Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela’s constitution.
But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves. 
While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power.
What a wonderful character being pushed to bring "democracy" to Venezuela - I say with tongue planted deeply in cheek. Democracy means the freedom to privatize and steal Venezuelan oil. Actions of the neocons run true to a 170 years of history of interference in Latin American politics. Even if Maduro was Allende like he would be under attack. He's not.

https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Memo from the RTC: Wizard of Oz Hits Second Weekend

Memo from the RTC: Wizard of Oz Hits Second Weekend
By Norm Scott
Jan. 28, 2019 - Published Feb. 1, 2019 in The WAVE - 

The RTC Young People's Musical Theatre Workshops’ presentation of the Wizard of Oz opened last weekend, with two weekends to go. With an enormous talent pool of a hundred children and teens, the producers created two entire casts which will split the ten performances. I saw the Emerald cast while video taping upstairs from the booth and can’t wait to go back to see the Ruby cast this weekend. Walk the yellow brick road right to your seats.

School Scope: Teachers Go Wild with Strikes in Virginia, Denver, Los Angeles, and a Wildcat in Oakland

Published in The WAVE print edition, Feb. 1, 2019. www.rockawave.com

School Scope: Teachers Go Wild with Strikes in Virginia, Denver, Los Angeles, and a Wildcat in Oakland
By Norm Scott
January 28, 2019

Teacher strike fever has struck the nation. Last year we saw the anti-union Trump red state strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Teachers revolted, not only against the Republican state legislatures and governors, but against their own union leaderships that often urge caution. This week thousands of teachers in Virginia left their classrooms to march in a rally at the capitol. Virginia Educators United, a grassroots campaign formed by educators, parents and members of the community, organized the rally on Monday. The movement has spread to blue states where stronger union leaderships have taken leadership. Denver teachers are going on strike. Teachers are getting the message that going it alone as a union without outside support is a losing proposition. Pay has been a key factor, one reason we won’t see similar actions here in the UFT.

United Teachers, Los Angeles (UTLA) strike Ends - Charter Schools Curbs on the Agenda
In Los Angeles, the pay issue seemed to take second place – both sides agreed on a roughly 6% raise. Contrary to what has happened here in NYC where the opposition to Unity Caucus’ domination of the UFT has been in disarray, in 2014, a group of teachers in LA came together under the banner of “Union Power” an amalgam of various groups and independents and won the election under the leadership of Alex Caputo-Pearl. I first met Alex about 10 years ago when he was a high school teacher and also an elected member of the UTLA Executive Board and it was clear he had a strong vision that went far beyond narrow trade unionism. (See NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/us/charter-schools-los-angeles.html).

Caputo-Pearl and his team began preparing the membership for a strike from the day he took office, with 99% of the teachers supporting a strike. They built alliances with parent and community groups by not only emphasizing raises but also calling for drastic class size reductions and more support personnel like librarians, school nurses and guidance counselors. And through these tactics, they seem to have won a great victory.

The elected school board in LA has been under the control of the pro-charter billionaire boys club led by Eli Broad and they have installed hedge fund managers instead of educators to run the schools, with a pro-charter bent. Broad tried to push through an initiative to turn half the schools into charters. Broad wasn’t successful in trying to undermine public education, but hasn’t given up. Charters get support as a way break teacher unions, as has been done in New Orleans which no longer has any public schools. The UTLA’s call for a moratorium on charters got some results, at the very least putting a discussion in the public sphere.

[Speaking of charter moratoriums, here in NYC some district community education councils are taking stands against charter expansion in their district. Tonight [Tuesday Jan. 29] I’m going to the District 15 CEC meeting (Park Slope and Sunset Park) where such a resolution is on the table.]

The media, other than the right wing Fox types, has been mostly friendly to teachers over their recent struggles. What is interesting is that LA is a the first big city strike since Chicago in 2012 started the strike fever and California is a blue state totally controlled by Democrats, many of whom have also been charter friendly. My litmus test for any candidate running for president is whether they showed up on the UTLA picket lines or offered support, threatening contributions from pro-charter hedge hogs.

Let’s see how many candidates in the upcoming Public Advocate campaign take a pro-union, anti-charter stand. The WAVE is taking this election seriously and doing some great work. I will be perusing the interviews with the candidates for where they stand on the big education issues of the day.

Norm is one of the few people in NYC not running for public advocate but check his blog, ednotesonline.com, in case he changes his mind.

The fight continues ✊️: NYC DOE OTs & PTs ratify contract after first contested agreement since 1995




Statement on behalf of OTs & PTs for A Fair Contract

NYC DOE OTs & PTs ratify contract after first contested agreement since 1995

Press kit 


The results are in: a new contract was ratified by United Federation of Teachers-represented occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs) who work for the NYC DOE by fewer than 100 votes in a department that is 2,700 strong. The OTs and PTs For A Fair Contract campaign was opposed to ratification because it makes little improvement to our working conditions, which are our student’s learning conditions.

Therapists were blindsided by this deal. We were given one day to process it, one day to try to rearrange childcare and second-job commitments to travel to a union borough office to vote, one day to shift gears after having rejected the initial contract put forth in October 2018 and protesting relentlessly for parity, resources and respect ever since. The night before the vote, around 50 OTs and PTs spent hours at the monthly Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) meeting awaiting their last chance to educate Chancellor Carranza and the mayor’s educational policy advisors about why they are so dismayed by the city’s offer. The PEP members’ responses revealed a woeful lack of understanding of the our working conditions. Geneal Chacon, member representing the Bronx, had this to say:

“I do not have a child that receives any of the services, but, I am that parent volunteer who is very visible in the schools and I notice the work. The hard work…. So, I get it. I’m totally with you. That is something that I do support. That you guys are coming out and you are asking for equity and equality. Because I think you do deserve it. I don’t know the specifics, this is the first I’m hearing of it, so thank you for the very detailed information.”

Our demands for parity were not met because we will still earn significantly less than our colleagues in the special education department including speech therapists, counselors and social workers. Our educational differential, or the income earned for receiving a Masters or Doctorate degree, is $5,000 short of what teachers and speech therapists are granted. Therapists hired after September, 2019 will be placed on a track to senior status that will be 4 years longer than at present. That’s 4 more years with a salary that can hardly keep up with the cost of living in New York City and the costly price of post-graduate level college debt. While we serve students with disabilities, we are still not given, in legally binding terms, the right to receive benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act to care for a loved own should a disabling condition impact them. To the city’s credit, a clause in our contract will attempt to correct this inequity through establishing a committee to encourage and ensure leaves.

Our demands for resources were not met because we were not provided, in legally binding terms, access to an appropriate work space. The Blue Book formula which articulates required space utilization in schools does not ensure an appropriate setting for occupational and physical therapy. Children with disabilities should not be receiving therapy, or any other kind of academic instruction for that matter, in hallways or rooms that are otherwise used by multiple groups of people, with multiple activities co-occurring, as a standard operating procedure. When schools are co-located, as often times they are, therapy rooms are the first to disappear and be converted into offices for more administrators. That common practice leaves children, their teachers and related service providers in a substandard setting (i.e. basement, boiler room) or sometimes none at all (i.e. hallway, lobby or vestibule). Not having a consistent, appropriate space in which to provide services and teach is a travesty of justice that is nothing short of institutionalized discrimination against students with disabilities.

Evelyn Choudhury is the parent of a child with an IEP who attends PS 111, a school facing the loss of its therapy room as the result of a co-location. She has this to say: “As a parent whose school experienced a co-location and is going through another one, it seems imperative for parents to advocate for the integrity of therapeutic services. Many times PT/OT rooms are left out of the co-location planning which  directly affects the children and therapist.”
Our demands for respect were not met. We are dedicated, direct service providers for children with disabilities and yet, we are not worthy of enforceable access to the benefits afforded under the FMLA. We were given contractual clauses that pledge to form committees to address resource and benefit shortfalls that our campaign has raised. But without legally binding terms, this set of toothless, unenforceable clauses is insufficient. We ask ourselves what kind of contract the families we serve would want. Would our contract be satisfactory to families of children with disabilities?

We will continue to advocate for our professions, our children and our right to equal pay for equal work. We are mostly women; we have children of our own; we have disabled children of our own. We know this fight is bigger than us and that it is vital to continue.

Despite our criticisms, we are public school proud and union proud. We  believe our efforts can raise the standards within the institutions we hold dear when it comes to respecting the needs of children with disabilities and those who work to see them flourish. The key to bringing about the changes we envision is an activated membership and a union with transparent procedures that encourages membership involvement and initiative. 


Friday, February 1, 2019

Breaking - Contract Passes - OT/PT Voting Report - They Get 90 Minutes Off - Big Whoopie!

UPDATE from UFT: Final DOE-UFT contract ratified: Occupational and physical therapists, school nurses and supervisors of nurses and therapists voted on Jan. 31 to ratify their new contract. Nearly 60 percent of the 2,176 UFT members who cast ballots voted “yes.” The contract passed by a majority of each of the three UFT chapters in the bargaining unit. Thank you for helping to spread the word to school nurses and therapists in your building about the importance of voting.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "OT/PT contract vote with less than 48 hours notice...":

We were informed of the contract the night before (!) and given permission to leave 90 minutes early the next day to vote.
The message from the UFT stressed that we would need our UFT membership cards to enter the UFT building, which is not and never has been true (you just need picture ID). The guard on the first floor stalled people asking if they had received their UFT cards, when they said no, he insisted they must have gotten them, when I showed him that I had downloaded the UFT app, but not added my personal information, he wanted me to fill that out then and there---I finally just asked if I could please do it later and he reluctantly let me and the others go up. Why would they pick this one day to enforce that? I can only think they must have been hoping people wouldn't vote. Besides it being a polar vortex, so it was literally dangerous to be outside, but they said the rush was so we could get our 2% raise by Valentine's Day. So sentimental!!!
Unity Caucus apologists jumped down my back over my not reporting that OT/PTs got 90 minutes off to go vote. Jeez! Happy now that I reported on your largess?