Monday, February 25, 2019

Forest Hills HS Monday Morn Update: Is UFT Behind Attacks on Principal Ben Sherman as Retaliation on CSA?

Mulgrew at Feb. 11, 2019 Ex Bd: We need to implement new contract. Union that reps principals hates our contract. They went to PERB against Bronx plan. We know schools run better with partnership and collaboration. CSA hates it. Says they don’t mean harm, but they want it stopped. When I hear of principals who don’t give instructional supplies, there is a procedure. He has five days, or it goes to superintendent, and then to me. Union that reps admin doesn’t like our agreement. Too bad. They don’t get to interpret what’s in our contract. ... NYC Educator report
Mulgrew repeated these comments about the CSA at the Del Ass two days later. This may be a stretch, but I am going to try to connect some dots between Mulgrew's aggression towards the CSA and insider reports I am getting that the UFT was behind the recent no confidence vote in principal Ben Sherman at FHHS and the media campaign (here, here and here). Maybe  a warning shot across the bow of the CSA?

Ed Notes readers know how critical I and other bloggers have been about UFT inaction or tepid responses over principals who go too far. Every time I have spoken at the UFT Ex Bd over the past 10 years it has been about principals and why the union doesn't take a more public stance. The response has often been that they work behind the scenes, that they bring it up at the monthly consult meetings with the chancellor and that the CSA is another union and open attacks are not a good idea.

Some ask why not use the NY Teacher to go after principals? It seems the UFT wants to use outside press when possible. From my conversations with insiders it seems there are some people who want to be more aggressive with principals and others in the leadership who feel they have other fish to fry and that the CSA is a useful political ally in bigger battles.

Of course many of we critics think dealing with supervisors is the biggest fish to fry. The funny think is, that after 7 years of being in a leading opposition group like MORE, I have come to the conclusion that they also feel they have bigger fish to fry. You may see it mentioned but MORE won't do any real work around the issue. New Action does spend time talking about bad admins and Solidarity has made that issue a focal point. But the reality has been that no opposition caucus has ever had the ability to do much. Now if the day ever comes that they combine - we'd have 30 really active people instead of 7 in each caucus.

The most effective field of operation seems to have been using the UFT Ex Bd meetings to bring people to raise issues and Arthur and Mike and Jonathan have played a role in bringing people and Arthur's reports on what they say have put UFT leaders on the spot.

At the last meeting Jonathan brought some people. She described an awful situation. Here is Arthur's report:
Yvonne Riesen—reps 10X213—BETA—dress in blue in solidarity for right of basic instructional supplies, no microscope, scales, money allocated not committed, no paper. Must dig through garbage for paper—principal verbally abusive, spreads fear, probationaries in tears, ATRs demoralized, take 4 in row or two C6 per day. Furniture falling apart, fights break out, fires, and we’re told not to use alarms. Teacher passed out and they debated who to call. Tyrannical nature of principal. Oppressive, incompetent admin goes unchecked. We need to move forward, and we can’t under this principal.

Schoor—Send me what you wrote. We will bring it up with DOE. Debbie Poulos will look at your complaint. Basic instructional supply issues have been being resolved quickly. We will send people to your school.
Howie saying they bring it up at the next consultation meeting is not satisfactory. He faulted Farina for not giving much of shit but says Caranza is more responsive. (UFT insiders say he is clueless and gets the runaround by the bureaucrats. These people are suffering. Pick up the phone and call Caranza and don't wait for the monthly meeting.

If I go tonight to the EB - I don't like cold windy days - I may bring some of these points up. Or I may stay out her snug as a bug and let Arthur do all the work.

Taking a birds eye view, are there signs that Janus has pushed the leadership to be more aggressive? More open to other points of view? We had some intense discussions touching in this point at the recent ICEUFT meeting, which I may report on - or not - a key point being that I never ordered rice pudding.

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