Wednesday, November 17, 2021

United Slate Announced, Predictions for (Nov. 17) UFT Delegate Assembly -Class Size Issue - Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement


The joint slate will be announced at the UFT's Delegate Assembly at 52 Broadway on November 17th at 4:30 PM. Coalition activists at the delegate hall will speak about the new coalition.


The above just came out and I will comment tomorrow. At the risk of burying the lede:

Reduce class size by 30% and all teachers except the very incompetent (and they love to use the relatively few examples to affect all teachers) would rise in effectiveness by whatever way you judge. I prefer ability to impact on the most children in a positive way.... Norm at Ed Notes, Oct. 24 2010

This bill would require each classroom in a school of the city school district of the city of New York provide 35 square feet of net floor area per child by September 2024, with no less than one-third of schools complying with such targets by September 2022, and no less than two-thirds of schools complying with such targets by September 2023... City Council

Do I think the United Slate for the UFT elections and the Unity push for class size are connected? HELL YES!
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, 8 AM
With the sudden interest by UFT leadership in a non-enforceable version of class size reduction, we see the spring UFT election season in full operation as a way to take away a major item the opposition groups running in the election might raise. 
As I pointed out over the years, unless it is in the contract, it has no real teeth. 
If not for the 50 year old contract class size restrictions, it would be Katie bar the door when principals want to use school money to furnish their office or hire more APs by raising class size. And the 2018 contract did make class size issues more enforceable.

There seemed to be lots of back-stage maneuvering going on over this issue but untangling that Gordian Knot is a job for Houdini. Even though I don't think contacting politicians generally has a big effect, I am not against doing it as a chapter leader sent out this but framing this as a health issue has an impact.
I spent the morning making this doc to facilitate outreach to electeds in support of City Council bill 2374. Please share widely, and encourage your members to call their reps.

First, check out the bill in question (if you'd like).
Then, find out who represents you.
But we need real teeth, which I don't see. 
I don't have the patience to go through the leadership sponsored reso on class size for today's DA but I know it will not contain a call for negotiations in the contract. And all sorts of actions for the members to take in pushing for the bill. Hey, if class size is a health issue, make it a priority for contract negotiations. Mulgrew maintains the fiction that the DA can't dictate to the Negotiating committee, which will grow to the thoudands
What will be their reaction if class size doesn't get reduced? It's a gamble of sorts. If they actually get some reductions - remember, the pandemic has changed the equation on class size -- it was always a health issue in some ways but now it's a major health issue. Do you remember Mulgrew going along with the 3 foot distance? He flips like a fish on a dock.

Yesterday, I reported (Class Size and Healthcare Inside/Outside Action at by coalition of UFT activists) on the upcoming action inside and outside the UFT Delegate Assembly. I'm taking a 3:15 ferry hoping to get there by 4:30. What would a DA be without me handing out something or other? We expect to stay around until 6PM to support delegates on the way out.
  • Mulgrew talks/filibusters for almost an hour.
  • Question period with Unity plants being favored for pre-planned questions.Ten Minute New Motion period:  A guaranteed Unity plant motion to kill time and limit time for oppo voices. One guess?

Or else put at top of agenda for Regular Motion period as a way to shunt a mayoral control reso that has been in the agenda for 5 months aside. Ooops -- 6 o'clock - out of time.

Key motion for Mulgrew: Unity sponsored Class size at the city council but never in contract motion. Let's be clear - we support a city council attempt to reduce class size but that is never enough as we found out when the early 90s reduction for grades 1-3 was taken away by Bloomberg, who didn't think class size was important, ten years later. By the way -- the next Mayor also doesn't think class size is important: Eric Adams and class size
Adams said at a Citizens Budget Commission forum in February. “You could have one great teacher that’s in one of our specialized high schools to teach three to 400 students who are struggling in math, with the skillful way that they’re able to teach.”
I hear things for the UFT on this reso is not resonating in the Adams camp. Mulgrew used three napkins wiping egg off his face.
Attempt to amend with contract will be avoided at all costs. Unity wants to rail against putting class size in contract but doesn't want an actual vote against. Though for my money why not vote it up and then just dump class size in actual negotiations? What we are calling for is for a serious attempt to separate a special money category devoted to class size. I don't think it realistic to ask for 14 in a class but at least drop the numbers by two or three in each category.
There was a Mulgrew zoom Monday:
CLASS SIZE FORUM LIVE BLOGGING - I logged on when Michael Mulgrew was talking about class size. Emily James is also on from UFT. The third person is Mark Treyger, the Education Chair, City Council

Class size the UFT route with weak enforcement vs contract protection

For the past 50 years many of us have pushed the UFT to reduce class size in the contract but they have refused to do so, claiming the money would come out of our salaries. But so does toilet paper money. We can wipe with dollar bills.

Imagine of we didn't even have the current 50 year old protections even with the loopholes. When budget issues come up they would pump 45 in your classes. Only the contract keeps them to the limits, as they must budget for those numbers. A sucky grievance procedure gave them a lot of leeway to violate the rules, but the 2019 at least tightened up enforcement - but enforcement of the high numbers to start with.

On the Zoom, here is the crux of how the UFT leadership undermines the case for class size as a contract demand:

Delegate from Beacon High School is excited about this campaign. Asks if the union has thought about bringing this up through our contract campaign. We are in a position of strength. We mobilized for a strike last year, and got more. Could we mobilize through contract campaign?

Mulgrew says it comes down to negotiating committee. We want to expand negotiating committee. 400 people representing 123,000 members. We want smaller class sizes, but is this the issue we want to lead on. Do we want to do it like this but in a smarter way. Every negotiating committee has discussed this. We have to think about the consequences of a strike because of the Taylor law.

 And you can see the same from Arthur's report on last night's Ex Bd meeting: NYC EducatorUFT Executive Board October 15, 2021--Class Size Resolution Passes -

Barr--Resolution to support this bill is placed on screen. Gives history of UFT work on class size. Was first point in pandemic five-point plan. Asks for motion.

George Altomari--This issue older than UFT. Teacher's Guild looked at this. We had no contract, did best we could. Class size was 55, 60. People sat on things. We had no collective bargaining or numbers. Charlie Cogen did everything possible. He analyzed laws on books, found you needed so much space for fire hazard, wasn't successful, but we had a terrific run. Won through collective bargaining. 

Anthony Harmon--Time is right, this is our opportunity, thanks union.  

Barr had to tell the fake history story on UFT action - or inaction on class size.

Ed Notes over the past 24 years has exposed the real history of the UFT and class size, but I will leave that review, including my October 2001 reso passed unanimously at the DA for all class size violations to be published in the NY Teacher, which the union only did for two years. Now it would be easy to have all current class size violations up to date on the web.


  1. Both you and Eterno said a slate would be announced. I didn't it. Who's the Prez to be?

    1. We ain’t talkin. And also not decided yet. Throw your name in the ring. They might pick out if a hat. Abm. Anyone but mulgrew

  2. Here's some info for you:
    First is a memorandum of agreement between DOE and UFT

    Here we have the new construction classroom space guidelines as per NYSED.

    Current NYC building codes. Scroll to page 166 to see school room square footages. Note pre-k and K require 35 sqft.

    And this. An interesting read showing how low even 35 sqft for pre-k and K is when compared to many other states.

    I would imagine if actual research were done very few K classrooms meet the 35 sqft criteria. The ones in my school sure don't.


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