Thursday, March 05, 2009

Email 18: Rally, etc.

Here is a regular email contact one teacher provides to her fellow teachers and contact list. Loaded with info and opinions, something like this is a great educating and organizing tool.

March 4, 2009

RALLY tomorrow — Thursday, March 5th, City Hall (4, 5, 6 train, reach it by the north side of the park), starts at 4 p.m.

Bring noisemakers, instruments and a bullhorn. The UFT is supplying some signs and some hats, but people are encouraged to make their own. Recent suggestions:

1. End Mayoral Control ; Parent, Teacher & Student Control Now.
2. Mayoral Control, NO! Democratic Control, YES!
3. Money for Schools, Not for Wall St!
4. Money for Schools, Not for War!
5. Smaller Class Size Now!
6. Out with Bloomberg, Out with Klein.
7. Public Education, Yes! Privatization, NO!
8. Defend our ATR Teachers, NOW.
9. Hey, Hey, Ho Ho — High Stakes Testing Has Got To Go!
10. Teachers, Parents, Students United Will Never Be Defeated.
11. Tax the Rich, Not the Poor!
12. Tax the Corporations, Not the Workers!
13. Corporations: Out of Schools, NOW!
14. Stop School Closings, Now.
15. Stop the ATR Teacher Abuse, Now
16. Stop High Stakes, Testing Now.
17. Bail Out Schools, Not Wall Street

All the caucuses and educator activists (NYCoRE, ICE, Time Out from Testing, etc.) seem to be supporting this rally, but they are not all thrilled with the union's positioning up to this point. TJC (Teachers for a Just Contract) writes:

"The UFT leadership has done a bad job of building this important rally. We believe they should have taken a firm condition against all cuts and all givebacks. This has to be an overwhelming show of union strength to lay the foundation for a fightback strong enough to protect our schools and win a good contract. Instead of explaining this, the union has resorted to scare tactics, implying people will be laid off, although layoffs have been virtually ruled out by the provisions of the Stimulus bill Congress passed in February. TJC strongly urges you to participate on March 5, not from fear, but from strength."

Actually there's another RALLY in the works, which needs member participation just as badly, or even more so.

Chapter leaders were told this afternoon that the principal of Fordham High School for the Arts, Iris Blige, has been putting her staff through the wringer for years. Specifically, she has sent CLs and other staff to the rubber room on invented charges or no charges. There they languish for two years, and their cases are dismissed. Blige remains unscathed, protected, it seems, by a chancellor who condones administrator misconduct bordering on or exceeding legal limits. Recently she arranged for 11 cops to arrest a teacher at school; lacking evidence, they wouldn't charge her. At today's meeting, a colleague of the teacher's reported that the arrest was the result of a set-up, a faked letter that had included threats. The teacher had never written such a letter, and the Bronx UFT (if not the rest of the boroughs) is furious. They are asking that other chapters join in the protest to support the teacher and make a strong statement against Blige's continued abuse of authority. The rally will take place on Fri., March 13th, from 4 to 5 outside Roosevelt HS on Fordham Road. The press has been invited. Please show solidarity at this one and attend.

We are up against a level of indecency at Tweed that the public has to know about it. Actually, it would be good if more teachers knew about it also.

In fact there are many protests these days, in particular against school closings, which are based on fabricated data and done without the knowledge or consent of parents and school communities. In fact, some of the closings seem to be related to real estate and corporate schemes. As Ednotes writes:

"Just in the last few weeks, we have heard of the announced closings of large high schools Brandeis (upper West Side — protest and picket Feb. 10th) and Bayard Rustin (Chelsea). Guess in whose hands these massive buildings built and maintained with public funding, all in Toney neighborhoods, will end up?"

There was a rally against the closing of PS/IS 72, written up by John Lawhead thus: "Speakers condemned the destruction of the well-functioning school and declared that Chancellor Klein was "unqualified" to be their judge. Parent leaders are outraged by the erratic series of evaluations that have run from a "school in good standing" in 2007 to a grade D in 2008." MS 399X due to be closed (protest and picket Feb. 12th). Last spring, teachers protested the "strangling" of Jamaica HS at one of Klein's Panel meetings.

From Ednotes again: "Abandoning seniority rules, accepting school closings as a fait accompli, joining in on the influx of charter schools, accepting the CEO model, tacit acceptance of non-educators as chancellors, supporting the Gates and other private interest onslaught on public schools, signing on to the testing mania by supporting merit pay and individual teacher report cards based on these tests – I won’t give you any more of the laundry list – has led to the worst working conditions for teachers in decades and a deterioration in learning conditions for many children, no matter what the fudged numbers might show."

While I'm on that subject, chapter leaders were reminded today that if you're arrested — don't laugh, I'll tell you why in a second — you are required by law (Chancellor's Reg. C-105) to "immediately notify the OPI and [your] building or office supervisor in writing and provide a copy of the criminal court complaint."
Please note the "in writing," because failure to to that might lead to further discliplinary action against you. OPI = (Office of Personnel Investigation, 718-935-2665; send documents by certified mail.
You may think that certain arrests have nothing to do with school and therefore don't need to be reported. Apparently not. This reg means all and any arrests, and the examples we were given include: a fight you may have had with someone, drunk driving, and even being caught up in a sweep for drugs (let's say, in the hallway of an apartment building) that did not involve you, but you happened to be there at the time. Apparently, educators are being held to a higher code of conduct because of the nature of our job.
In light of all the protesting and how far each of us wants to carry civil disobedience, I asked if that kind of arrest was included, and the answer was yes. Any arrest whatsoever.

District rep handed out a sheet that starts off "Members can access their salary info and enroll in various DoE programs online."
Full instructions on how to use this system can be found on the UFT website here.
In addition to salary info, you can get to use Employee Self Service for enrolling in the College Savings, EFT/Direct Deposit, Metro Card, Savings Bond and Transit Savings Account programs.

The DoE's Salary Unit, now called the Office of Salary Services (OSS), set up a way to apply for salary differentials. Applications and eligibility requirements here, or through the Payroll Portal. You must have a DoE email address to access this online.

That's it for now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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