Posts tagged "UFT"
November 21, 2013
Special education teachers say it’s a common feeling: the students are gone for the day, and it’s time for the real work to begin. But if they need to record something on a student’s Individualized Education Program, it’s probably too late.
Early efforts to curb overtime payments have now become policy, as the Department of Education reminds principals to keep staff members out of SESIS—the online system that tracks special education students—after the school day ends unless the principal has committed to pay for that time. The reminders were spurred by arbitration that ultimately cost the city $41 million in belated overtime to teachers and staff whose after-hours work violated union contracts.
For months, some principals have been looking for ways to give teachers more time during the day to work with the notoriously glitchy system (made more frustrating by slow school Internet speeds). But teachers and principals say that serious problems remain, as students’ information is now updated more slowly, data entry takes time away from student interaction, and some teachers continue to work without pay.
“Is that the reality? Of course it’s the reality,” said Carmen Alvarez, the UFT’s vice president for special education, of the continuing issues. “Do I like it? No. Did we tell it to the DOE three years ago in writing? Yes.” (more…)
October 8, 2013
At a panel geared toward current and potential education funders in New York City, city and state officials said they’d like to see some changes that philanthropy can’t produce. City Department of Education Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky and State Education Commissioner John King both said they want to see the city’s next mayor use contract negotiations with the teachers union to give educators time to work together.
“The next union contract needs more professional development time,” Polakow-Suransky said. “One of the biggest mistakes Randi and Klein made in the last contract was removing professional development time.”
He was referring to Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein, who as UFT president and chancellor in 2005 negotiated a contract that traded about two hours a week of teacher training time for more teacher time with struggling students.
The city’s contract with the teacher’s union has expired, as have the contracts of all labor unions in the city, and one of the new mayor’s first tasks will be to negotiate a new one. (more…)
September 18, 2013
The city teachers union formally endorsed Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio this afternoon, putting a finishing touch on a delicate post-primary process that included a secret meeting at the the union’s headquarters over the weekend.
The endorsement comes two days after de Blasio’s closest rival and the union’s original pick, Bill Thompson, conceded in the Democratic primary. Made with little of the fanfare that accompanied the union’s decision to back Thompson in June, the endorsement also shifts the focus of the mayoral race fully onto the race between de Blasio and Republican nominee Joe Lhota.
De Blasio spoke to teachers who make up the union’s Delegate Assembly at UFT headquarters shortly after they voted on a resolution to give him their endorsement. He then appeared with President Michael Mulgrew and about a dozen supporters at a staid press conference in a building next door.
De Blasio credited Mulgrew for brokering the concession agreement with Thompson, which took place at UFT headquarters on Saturday night. Mulgrew said the conversation between the primary rivals was not contentious.
“In the end, the decision was made that what was in the best interest of the city was to unite the Democratic party to make sure that a Democrat becomes the mayor of New York City and not the Republican nominee,” Mulgrew said. (more…)
September 16, 2013
The next phase of the education election kicked off today as the UFT’s pick for mayor conceded the Democratic nomination on the steps of City Hall.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who was among Bill Thompson’s supporters at the event this morning, threw his support behind Bill de Blasio, who finished last week’s primary with a commanding lead. He said he would ask the union’s leadership to endorse de Blasio this week.
Thompson’s loss was a significant blow for the UFT, which had declined to endorse mayoral candidates in the two previous mayoral elections and has not picked a winner since 1989. This year, the union decided to back Thompson, who ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Bloomberg in 2009, after determining in June that the former school board president and city comptroller had the best chance of winning in November. (more…)
August 30, 2013
The teachers union accelerated its political spending this month, pouring nearly $1 million into the campaigns of Bill Thompson and other candidates who received the union’s endorsement.
The political committee set up for the United Federation of Teachers, called United for the Future, has so far spent just over $1.5 million on the 2013 elections, campaign filings show. Most has been spent on Thompson, but nearly $300,000 also went to local city council races and $28,000 toward comptroller.
The union is one of several independent groups that have registered with the city’s Campaign Finance Board under new transparency laws that require outside groups to disclose how they’re spending money during the campaign. The expenditures are permitted as long as they are made without input or communication with campaigns.
So far, 14 such groups have filed spending with the campaign finance board, and the teachers union has been the biggest spender. The next highest spender at $1.3 million is Jobs for New York, Inc., a real estate-backed committee that’s focused on local races. (more…)
August 22, 2013
The conversation between education heavyweights at a forum hosted by City & State this morning was pretty tame, except for one heated exchange between United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and parent activist Campbell Brown.
Brown, a former television anchor for CNN who recently founded a nonprofit to stop sexual abuse in schools, disagrees with Mulgrew over how to handle teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct. The New York Daily News featured Brown’s criticisms of the UFT in a June editorial.
Up until this point, Mulgrew had not had the opportunity to directly respond to Brown.
Watch the video below to see the full exchange.
August 2, 2013
Bill Thompson, the teachers union’s preferred pick for mayor, said today that he owes no favors to the unions that endorsed him and criticized mayoral rival Bill de Blasio for suggesting otherwise.
De Blasio said yesterday that, like Mayor Bloomberg, he has his “own independence” from the city’s labor unions since he has failed to secure their support during the Democratic primary race. De Blasio suggested that as a result, he’d be more equipped to negotiate with those unions, all of which are without contracts and demanding retroactive raises. Full back pay for teachers would cost $3 billion.
“I am unburdened by the support of the municipal labor unions,” de Blasio said.
This afternoon Thompson, whose campaign didn’t immediately respond to the comments, issued a statement.
“I saw Mr. de Blasio’s comments yesterday, and I have to say we have a very different view of what leadership and governing and standing up for working people is all about,” Thompson said. “Apparently he is now finally free to govern independently because he didn’t get the union endorsements he campaigned for with such intensity.” (more…)
July 18, 2013
Charter school advocates are criticizing the UFT after the union filed a lawsuit that aims to curb the Bloomberg administration’s ability to offer space to charter schools.
The 15-page suit, filed today in State Supreme Court, asks for the city to be barred from proposing changes to how school buildings are used that would take effect after the first day of the following school year. The suit comes as the Department of Education considers plans, including charter school co-locations, that would not be implemented until 2015, nearly two years after Mayor Bloomberg leaves office.
If a judge sides with the union, the department could try to set co-locations for the fall of 2014 this fall, but it could not plan further ahead, and plans that were approved last year for 2014 would be undone. (more…)
July 17, 2013
The Bloomberg administration’s efforts to keep school changes moving after it exits office, which have picked up in recent months, are attracting growing resistance from critics who say the city is overstepping.
On Thursday, the teachers union plans to file suit to stop the Department of Education from crafting plans to open, move, or shrink schools after Mayor Bloomberg exits office at the end of the year. Its press advisory says the department is planning to “cement a dozen or more” school space-sharing plans over the next five months, to begin in 2014 or later.
In fact, the Panel for Educational Policy this year has already approved more than that number of co-locations, grade truncations, and new schools to open eight months after Bloomberg’s replacement takes office. Some of the plans that the panel has signed off on include charter school sitings, which tend to elicit the most controversy of any space changes, and a few would not take effect until 2015, nearly two years into the next mayor’s term.
Department of Education spokesman Devon Puglia said the proposals have all been part of the regular planning process. (more…)
June 19, 2013
Thompson spoke to teachers at a union meeting before meeting the press with UFT President Michael Mulgrew this afternoon at the union’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.
“As mayor, I’m not going to demonize teachers. We’ve had enough of that,” Thompson said, alluding to Mayor Bloomberg’s sometimes harsh comments about teachers. “I’m going to help them teach by giving them the resources they need and bringing them back into the decision-making process of how we run our schools.”
The endorsement caps several months of internal discussions within the union. Mulgrew was looking for a candidate who would advance teachers’ interests, inspire UFT members to get out the vote, and, most importantly, have a clear path to City Hall. The UFT has not picked a winning candidate since 1989, and Mulgrew is hoping that this year will break the bad luck.
“We need to make sure that this entire city school system is about helping teachers help children, and we now have the candidate we know will do that,” Mulgrew said. “And we will fight with him and for him — because he is the next mayor of New York City.”