Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Monday, May 21, 2012

UFT President Mike Mulgrew Sends An Email Notice To Members: I'll Squash Joy Hochstadt

Mike Mulgrew is going to try to squash Attorney Joy Hochstadt for filing her lawsuit
against him. See the email notice below sent to members, and here is my article with the complaint filed in Federal court in it :

Dear fellow UFT members,
The UFT has been sued in federal court in a lawsuit that charges, among other things, that the New York State Legislature, Mayor Bloomberg, the schools chancellor and the union have been engaged in a multi-year secret pact to reduce the rights of teachers. The lawsuit names myself and former UFT President Randi Weingarten, and features false and absurd claims of a wide-ranging conspiracy and personal misconduct, without stating any actual proof of either.
The suit has been filed by an attorney who has previously been sanctioned and fined for bringing frivolous legal actions. It is unworthy of serious consideration, and our attorneys will be making that point to the court.
When an organization like ours strongly defends the public schools, their students and its members, our opponents will seize on any opportunity to make teachers and their union a target.
Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew


PERB Says The DOE Must Negotiate With The UFT On Teacher Evaluations at 33 Schools

PERB backs UFT in mediation effort on proposed school closures

The state Public Employment Relations Board on May 15 rejected an appeal by the city’s Department of Education of PERB’s earlier decision to appoint a mediator to help resolve the issue of teacher evaluations in 33 schools.
In the ruling, PERB said that the attempts by the Department of Education to change the improvement model it planned to use for the schools “does not nullify its obligations” to negotiate with the teachers’ union.


In 2011, the Department of Education had agreed in writing that it would negotiate with the UFT over the teacher evaluation system in the 33 schools that it planned to try to improve using federal “transformation” and “restart” models. When no agreement was reached, Mayor Bloomberg announced that instead the DOE would use a “turnaround” model that would involve replacement of up to half the teachers in a school but that did not require negotiation with the union, and the DOE walked away from the bargaining table.
The UFT asked PERB to intervene, and on March 19, 2012, the state labor board said it would appoint a mediator in the case. In his March 19 decision, PERB official Richard Curreri said the city was still bound by its 2011 agreement to negotiate new teacher evaluations at the 33 schools.
The DOE appealed that decision; today’s ruling turned down the DOE appeal and affirmed the March 19 decision that an impasse exists and that mediation is appropriate.
Meanwhile, in a parallel action, the UFT has sued the Department of Education in State Supreme Court over the method it is attempting to use in the “turnaround” of 24 of the original 33 schools. Oral argument in this case, in which the UFT has asked the court to delay any personnel decisions in the schools until an arbitrator has ruled on whether the DOE’s plans are a violation of the UFT contract, are set for Wednesday.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “As we plan to tell the court at this week’s hearing, today’s PERB decision is an affirmation that the Department of Education needs to work with the teachers to find a way to improve these schools.”

DOE Social Media Guidelines From The UFT

As you read the guidelines below, think about how the DOE is connected, through Joel Klein, to Wireless Generation and online apps for education which can, and will, replace humans in the near future. The UFT believes in technology and online learning..

 DOE Social Media Guidelines


The New York City Department of Education released new social media guidelines that detail “recommended practices” for the use of social media both professionally and personally. The guidelines cover Facebook, Twitter and other forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities; they do not cover texting and cell phone use.
The UFT believes that appropriate use of technology in the classroom fosters more engaged learning and inspires students to participate in their education in new and exciting ways. While the DOE has spent considerable time, effort and resources to integrate technology in the classroom, it is clear that its new social media guidelines do more to discourage the use of this technology than to encourage its appropriate use. The UFT agrees that the Internet should be a safe place for our members and students to do the work of teaching, learning and communicating, but we don’t want to curtail appropriate uses of new technology that engage students and help them learn. We hope that our members who use social media sites productively and appropriately still have the desire to do so despite these restrictive guidelines.
That said, you need to be careful. Below is an overview of the new guidelines. This overview should not in any way be interpreted to replace or substitute the official guidelines, which were created by the DOE and can be found here.

Your privacy settings on social media

The DOE puts the onus on you to monitor your own social media presence and maintain an awareness of current and future privacy settings. The UFT encourages you to review your existing social media site accounts to make sure they comply with these guidelines and to make the appropriate changes if they don’t.

Professional vs. personal social media

The DOE guidelines make the following distinction between professional and personal media (the following definitions are taken directly from the DOE guidelines):
Professional social media is a work-related social media activity that is either school-based (e.g., a DOE principal establishing a Facebook page for his/her school or a DOE teacher establishing a blog for his/her class), or non-school-based (e.g., a DOE office establishing a Facebook page to facilitate the office’s administration of a Chancellor’s Regulation).
Personal social media use is a non-work-related social media activity (e.g., a DOE central administrative employee establishing a Facebook page or a Twitter account for his/her own personal use).

Guidance for using professional social media

  • Use the email address that the DOE has assigned you for work-related correspondence.
  • Have separate email accounts for personal life and work.
  • If you regularly use your personal email for professional use, the DOE will consider it your professional email and hold you to that standard. If you have linked your professional social media site to a personal email address, you should immediately transition the site to a professional email address.
  • You are required to get supervisor approval before creating (or get now if you already have created) a professional social media presence. Supervisors or their designees should be given administrative rights or access, including passwords, to these sites.
  • Treat professional social media sites like the classroom or workplace
  • Use privacy settings to control access to the site and “ensure” that communications ONLY reach the intended audience. The DOE recommends that professional social media sites generally should be private networks.
  • Do not post personally identifiable student information of any kind without a signed parent release form.
  • If a student posts a picture of another student on your social media site, take it down. You may want to advise students who participate on your site that they are prohibited by the DOE from posting such photographs on professional social media sites.
  • There is no expectation of privacy for professional social media use.
  • UFT members should neither volunteer nor be assigned to monitor school-wide social media sites. Notify your chapter leader if your administration has told you to monitor these sites. The DOE will regularly monitor professional social media sites.
  • • The DOE recommends that default settings for comments on professional media sites be turned off. Remember, if the default setting for comments is turned on, you must monitor the comments on that site on a daily basis.

Guidance for using personal social media

  • Do not communicate personally with currently enrolled DOE students on personal social media sites. Banned communication includes, but is not limited to:
    • Friending
    • Following
    • Commenting
    • Posting
  • Use common sense, professional judgment and caution.
  • Do not “tag” photos or videos of DOE employees, volunteers, contractors or vendors without their permission.
  • • Do not post personally identifiable student information or tag photos or videos of students on personal social media sites.
  • These rules apply 24/7 every day of the year.
  • Do not use the DOE logo or link to the DOE website or DOE materials.
  • The UFT recommends that you not specify the DOE as an employer to avoid appearing in targeted web searches (i.e. use “literacy teacher” instead of “7th-grade literacy teacher at PS 123K”).
  • Refuse or ignore requests from any New York City public school students to join social media networks.
  • Do not give students your personal contact information.
  • • If you use social media for personal purposes, you should take immediate steps to remove current DOE students from those sites.


  • Mandated reporting will be enforced for all social media use.
  • Chancellor’s Regulations and other applicable laws will be enforced for all social media use. (See Section F, page 5 of the guidelines for information and links to other applicable state, federal and local laws.)
  • The DOE will use these Guidelines for employee discipline.
  • The DOE’s Social Media Guidelines apply only to DOE employees. Students are covered by the Student Discipline Code.
  • Be aware that the DOE has a right to monitor your professional social media sites and has access to all of your public online behavior. If you have any concerns about a post, you should consult with the UFT before you post, not after.

Klein, Wireless Generation Questioned Again in NYC Media

As News Corp., Rupert Murdoch's global multimedia conglomerate, continued this week to build its education branch of its division by hiring Charlotte-Mecklenburg district Superintendent Peter Gorman, Joel Klein and Wireless Generation, early entrants into the News Corp. fold, are again drawing criticism in New York City.
The New York Daily News Thursday reported that Wireless Generation, which News Corp. purchased 90 percent of for $360 million last fall, will be awarded a $27-million, no-bid contract by the New York state department of education to develop software to track assessment results and other student data. Because Klein was formerly New York City schools chancellor and now oversees Wireless Generation, some claim the deal reeks of a good-old-boy network, according to the Daily News report.
[UPDATE 6/16/11]: Wireless Generation officials, however, said any claims that Klein's connections influenced the contract were false, and that the company and state had been negotiating since 2009.
While New York City rules forbid former workers from contacting the city agency that employed them for one year after they leave, that doesn't formally prevent Klein from contact with the state department of education.
A similar data system provided to the city school system by Wireless Generation was used to justify a no-bid contract in state documents, despite criticism of the system within the city, theDaily News indicates.
Larry Berger, chief executive officer and founder of Wireless Generation, is also on the board of trustees at Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit corporation that publishes Education Week.
Klein and Wireless Generation already drew some heat when GothamSchools reported that the city would renew a $4.5 million, 3-year contract with Wireless Generation for "published and copyrighted assessment and testing materials," according to a document describing the contract.
With News Corp. perceived as conservative in its political leanings—with its ownership of such outlets as the Fox News Channel—there will likely be extra attention given to every major move it makes within the ed-tech realm, as well as the broader world of education. We'll be sure to keep you up to date with the latest.