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Saturday, October 13, 2018

The New Deal: The UFT Contract 2018 and Why Caution is Good

All pals now. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

So now that NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and UFT President Michael Mulgrew are all warm and fluffy with each other, all is right/not right (pick one)....right?

They all agreed on the new UFT contract, or MOA 2018

This new contract (not voted on yet)  is cause for alarm especially since Mike Mulgrew seems to have swung away from the arguments made by any education activists who argue against Mayoral control of the NYC public school system, like us at Parentadvocates and We have, since the start of mayoral control in 2002, fought to fire/let go all the appointed members of the Panel For Educational Policy (NYC School Board) who randomly deny rights to the general public and stakeholders. The members of the PEP are appointed, and owe allegiance to the person/officer who appointed him/her. Stakeholders are not listened to, unless the political officers say so.

The PEP members routinely have violated the rights of parents, students, teachers, vendors and friends of NYC stakeholders by closing schools on the whim of the Chancellor, by ignoring the vote on probable cause under Education Law 3020-a for tenured teachers, and procuring services and products that don't do the job for which they are funded, with public money.

In retaliation for our egregious departure from the so-called "required" political mantras in NYC, we have been vilified by education activists as well as parent groups who think that anyone is fooled by going-along-to-get-along.  We don't play by those rules. We know who plays politics in this town, and we will stay with our opinions intact, thanks very much. We have been reporting on and investigating the NYC school system for 21 years, and we are not giving up. Too many lives are being destroyed.

The coalition pictured at the top is very dangerous for anyone who has a problem with the school system. A sign of danger is, in addition to their support for continuance of mayoral control, ATR mess, etc., (see Chaz' blog too) the glee shown by all three men (the new "three men in a room"?) in light of their support for a "stress test" for new teachers. We agree that this in principle may be a good idea, but the implementation may lead to discrimination, racial profiling, age discrimination, and fraud, all of which we have seen in education grievances, lawsuits and appeals.

Thus we agree with the Opinion of the NYC Daily News Editors that caution is required on this new test. We add vigilance.

Watch this video on how NYC uses evaluations against teachers:
Chris Lee on evaluations in the 2018 Contract

A law, rule, and regulation is only as good as its implementation.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
From The Organizer and former teacher Jim Calantjis on Contract 2018:
Enhanced authority for consultation committees
  • Building on the success of the paperwork reduction process as a way to resolve disputes, the union has secured this same process to address disputes surrounding professional development, curriculum, inadequate space, workload and basic instructional supplies — which now include paper and assessment materials.
  • At the school level, these issues may be raised by the chapter leader to the principal or appropriate supervisor and/or at UFT consultation. If the matter isn’t resolved in five school days, it can be escalated to the UFT district representative, who will bring it to the district committee.
  • If not resolved at the district level, issues surrounding workload, professional development, curriculum, basic instructional supplies and space will be addressed by the central committee.
  • The UFT can take unresolved issues surrounding PD, curriculum and basic instructional supplies to arbitration.
Starting in the 2019-20 school year, the evaluation system for teachers will be revamped to focus on quality rather than quantity and to incorporate meaningful professional development as part of the evaluation process.
Teacher Evaluations
Required minimum observations
·       Rated Highly Effective the previous year: two informal observations
·       Rated Effective or Satisfactory the previous year and Highly Effective, Effective or Satisfactory the year before: two informal observations
·       Rated Effective or Satisfactory the previous year and Developing, Ineffective or Unsatisfactory the year before: three informal observations
·       Rated Developing the previous year: one formal and three informal observations
·       Rated Ineffective the previous year: one formal and four informal observations
·       Probationary teachers not rated Ineffective or Unsatisfactory the previous year: one formal and three informal observations
·       Probationary teachers rated Ineffective or Unsatisfactory the previous year: one formal and four informal observations

Evaluation windows and timelines

·       Half of the minimum-required observations will occur in the fall window and the other half will occur in the spring window. For teachers with three or five minimum observations, the additional observation can occur in either window.
·       The fall window for evaluations begins with the Initial Planning Conference (IPC) and ends on the last day of the fall term. The spring window begins on the first day of spring term and ends on the first Friday in June.
·       A spring-window observation cycle cannot begin until all evaluator forms from the fall-window observations have been provided to the teacher.
·       Feedback following an observation must be given within 10 school days.
·       The evaluator form must be provided to the teacher within 30 school days.
·       Teachers must be informed of their MOSL selection by Nov. 15.

Professional development on evaluation

·       A professional learning team consisting of UFT and DOE representatives will plan and conduct annual training sessions on the implementation of the evaluation system by the last Friday in October. 
·       The professional learning team will also ensure that teacher development tools and resources will be developed and distributed, including resources regarding evaluation of specific school settings such as co-teaching, special education settings, ENL and physical education.
·       The professional learning team will provide support to school-based professional development committees to align PD to the observations conducted throughout the year. 
Expedited process for class size
  • Timely relief from teaching oversized classes was a priority in these negotiations. The UFT has negotiated a new procedure that will address oversized classes in a way that violations that can be resolved will be resolved sooner and those that must go to arbitration will also be addressed faster.
·       During the first 10 school days, chapter leaders and principals work to resolve class size overages.
·       Between days 10 and 20, the UFT district representative and the superintendent will work to resolve any remaining oversized classes in their district. Between days 15 and 20 of the term, the UFT district rep and superintendent will each fill out an electronic form for each school indicating which, if any, classes are still oversized and the cause.
·       No later than the 21st day of school, the central class size labor management committee will work to resolve remaining oversized classes. The central committee will meet at least three days per week until it has reviewed the oversized classes in every school.
·       The central committee will also meet no later than the 10th school day to address schools that are chronically out of compliance.
·       Arbitrators will have the authority to determine the appropriate remedy for any school that goes to arbitration. No more DOE action plans.
Paraprofessional due process
  • Paraprofessionals will no longer be suspended without pay for long periods without due process while their cases are being investigated.
·       Prior to a paraprofessional being suspended without pay in connection with an arrest or an investigation, the Office of Personnel Investigations (OPI) will conduct a review. If OPI finds that the allegations constitute serious or sexual misconduct, the paraprofessional may be suspended without pay for up to two months while the case is under investigation. The two months can be extended to three if an arbitrator finds probable cause.
·       If OPI finds that the allegation is a significant violation of a DOE rule or policy or of the law but does not constitute “serious misconduct” or “sexual misconduct,” the DOE may request a probable cause hearing with a neutral arbitrator. If the arbitrator finds that the violation is significant, the paraprofessional can be suspended without pay for up to two months. But if an arbitrator finds that the DOE does not have probable cause for a suspension, the paraprofessional will be returned to school or reassigned with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
·       If after an investigation, the allegations against the paraprofessional are found to be unsubstantiated, within 30 days the paraprofessional will receive back pay for the amount of time of the suspension without pay.
 ·       The Central Paperwork and Operations Committee will establish system-wide standards for school safety and positive school culture and climate. Once the standards have been established, they will be distributed to all schools and key stakeholders.
·       Borough-based safety committees will be created and meet monthly to resolve issues that could not be resolved at the school level.
·       The chapter leader will be provided with coverage in order to attend meetings of the School Safety Committee.
·       The chapter leader will receive a copy of the enhanced School Safety Plan within 30 days of its endorsement.
·       The chapter leader will receive a copy of the consolidated School Safety Plan.
·       The chapter leader will receive the following OORs information at least 48 hours prior to the School Safety Committee meeting: occurrence snapshot, level 1-5 summary, occurrence summary by code; location summary; and hourly incident analysis.
·       At the principal’s discretion, a dean’s position can be established and filled without an SBO based upon student enrollment (up to 500 students, one dean; more than 500 students, two deans; more than 1,000 students, three deans). Each fall, the DOE will provide training for all deans during the workday.
·       The DOE will provide PD to chapter leaders in the first month of school during the workday on school safety protocols, emergency readiness and school culture and climate.
MA+30 differential
  •  Teachers will now be able to earn their MA+30 differential by taking courses, called A+ courses, that are approved for this differential and are aligned to the work that they do every day.
·       Teachers who already have an MA+30 differential are unaffected by the change.
·       A+ courses are approved by a committee with equal numbers selected by the UFT president and the schools chancellor and are aligned with the educational priorities of the school system.
·       A+ courses can include pre-approved workshops, courses provided by vendors, college/university courses and other courses approved by the committee. Some CTLE workshops will be in the mix.
·       In order for teachers hired on or after Sept. 1, 2019, to achieve this differential, they must obtain a minimum of 18 A+ credits. The remaining credits can be obtained through traditional college credits.
·       Teachers hired after Sept. 1, 2017, but before Sept. 1, 2019, who want to achieve this differential must obtain a minimum of six A+ credits. The remaining credits can be obtained through traditional college credits.
·       National Board for Professional Teacher Standards certification and an approved doctorate will continue to qualify for the second differential.
Bronx Collaborative Schools Model
  • This model is a joint effort to help students achieve their highest potential through a transformation of school culture based on genuine collaboration. Attracting and retaining staff is a priority of this model. Up to 120 schools, mostly in the Bronx, will participate.
  • Eligibility is based on criteria including teacher turnover, staff retention/attrition, academic achievement, persistent vacancies, repeated use of shortage-license-area waivers, student demographics and enrollment, leadership turnover, transportation issues and/or state identification. Both the chapter leader and principal have to agree to be part of the model.
  • A central committee composed of an equal number of representatives appointed by the UFT president and the chancellor will oversee the pilot.
  • Each school will form a school-based committee composed of between six and 12 people; 50 percent of the committee members will be UFT-represented employees selected by the UFT. These committees will receive joint professional development on collaboration, facilitation, shared decision-making, “Speak up Culture,” DOE data dashboard and other topics.
  • School committees will assess the school’s needs, review and analyze data, identify strategies, engage parents and community, select supports/strategies from a menu of options and collaboratively work to transform their schools while being supported by the central committee.
  • This pilot program will sunset in June 2022, unless the UFT and the DOE agree to extend it.
This contract contains several new ways to resolve grievances more quickly:
  • Five grievances regarding salary, religious observance and injury in the line of duty that are not resolved at the chancellor’s level will be arbitrated in one day. This means five times as many of these cases can be heard.
  • In cases where the chancellor failed to issue a timely decision, the UFT may take five cases per day to arbitration. These dates will not count toward the contractual limit on arbitration days. The result is that UFT-represented employees who file grievances will get an arbitration decision more quickly. Paraprofessional grievance procedure and personnel files:
  • The time limits for how long a disciplinary letter can be placed in a teacher’s personnel file will apply to paraprofessionals.
  • The timelines for filing grievances in the teachers’ contract will apply to paras as well.
Functional chapter working conditions
  • The procedures for summer school assignments for one-on-one paraprofessionals change. If the student that the para works with during the regular school year attends summer school, that para will be offered the opportunity to continue working with that student during summer school.
  • Joint DOE-UFT guidance will be issued to principals on what assignments school counselorsmay have during the final two days of the school year. The UFT and the DOE will also form a labor management committee to discover home visit procedures.
  • School secretaries will receive tuition reimbursement for the two-credit School Records and Accounts course. The Department of Education will provide vacancy lists for school secretaries twice a year, on Oct. 1 and March 1. The UFT and the DOE will form a labor management committee to discuss how to align the professional development that school secretaries receive with their job duties.
  • Occupational and physical therapists will have the right to return to their previous workplace when they return from leaves of less than one year. Therapists will also now have the same indemnification protections as speech teachers have. Under the tentative contract, the current obligation to represent and indemnify employees for work performed as part of their usual duties and responsibilities will be extended to ensure therapists are adequately protected for Medicaid-related actions. Therapists will also have the right to take a leave of absence without pay for study not to exceed one year to upgrade their professional knowledge and skills after a minimum of three years of full-time service provided an appropriate replacement is available.
  • The annual cap for per-session activities for school social workers and psychologists will increase from 270 hours to 400 hours. A labor management committee will be created to discuss the creation of a standardized rating sheet for social workers. Another labor management committee will be created to discuss issues related to the Single Shepherd program. The SESIS menu will be updated to include state-required documents. A new psychologist intern position will be created in schools.
  • A new labor management committee for speech teachers will be created to discuss SESIS, the blended model and creating time for parent engagement. The DOE will provide vacancy lists for speech teachers twice a year, on Oct. 1 and March 1. The speech language pathologist title will be added to the collective bargaining agreement.
  • For members of the Nonpublic Schools Chapter, excessing will be limited to the district of superintendency of the employee’s assigned public school.
  • School nurses will be paid for CPR training; going forward, this training will take place as part of the regular workday. Professional development for school nurses will be scheduled on non-attendance days. The head nurse position has been reinstated. A new process has been created to expedite payment for school nurses’ overtime work and escalate issues of delayed payment.
  • 30 days’ notice must be given if teachers assigned are scheduled to work during winter or spring recesses.
  • Attendance teachers will have the same per-session rules as classroom teachers, and the DOE has agreed to meet once a month to discuss ways to standardize professional development for attendance teachers.
  • FDNY certification for lab specialists will take place during the workday and will be reimbursable. The UFT and the DOE will also form a labor management committee to continue to address certification requirements, transfers and staffing issues that are of concern to lab specialists.
  • The UFT and the Department of Education agreed to discuss with the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services the frequency of civil service exams for supervisors of nurses and therapists.
  • Comp time for travel to mandatory weekend conferences will be given to directors of alcohol and substance abuse programs.
  • For Home Instruction Chapter members, consultation committee meetings with supervisors will occur during the work day and chapter meetings will take place at the      beginning or end of supervisory monthly meetings, outside the workday, in DOE-provided space.
Teacher leadership positions
 The contract creates two new teacher leadership positions for exemplary teachers:
  • Teacher Development Facilitator, who will take on additional responsibilities to support the instructional practice of individuals participating in teacher preparation and induction programs. These activities include modeling, observation and feedback, coaching and support. Teacher Development Facilitators will receive $3,000 per term in additional compensation and work an additional four hours per month.
  • Teacher Team Leader, who will work as Teacher Assigned to support the work of other teacher leaders. Teacher Team Leaders will receive $14,000 additional compensation per year and will work five additional days beyond the Teacher Assigned schedule.
  •  PROSE Plus schools are schools with demonstrated success at collaborative innovation that have been in the PROSE program for at least one year.
  • PROSE schools may submit an application to join PROSE Plus to the PROSE panel with approval from the steering committee and school leadership team in their schools.
  • The application must include the challenge the school is seeking to address and the innovation designed to address it.
  • The decision to remain a PROSE Plus school must be ratified each year by staff or the school will return to PROSE status. 
Remote teaching pilot program
  •  In this pilot program, high school students with limited access to AP courses or foreign language courses for an Advanced Regents Diploma will have the opportunity to enroll in remote courses.
  • A joint labor management committee will determine all aspects of this three-year pilot program.
  • Students receiving remote instruction will be supervised by “on-site staff” (teachers, lead teacher assistants or assistant principals).
  • This pilot provides tenured high school teachers with opportunities to participate in several different ways: either teaching remotely with no students physically in front of them or teaching with some students physically in front of them and students in up to two remote locations.
  •  An ATR’s salary will no longer affect the average salary calculation of a school that hires the ATR, eliminating any financial disincentive for a principal to hire ATRs.
  • The DOE can place an ATR into a vacancy in the ATR’s license and borough as of the first day of school.
  • ATRs will be able to apply to a posting for the “4x4 Program,” which is a literacy program in which educators work with small groups of students for the remainder of the school year.
Pre-employment screening
·       The DOE will also institute a pre-employment screening process for new hires.
·       New pedagogical employees will have four days of training prior to their first day of work.
Health benefits
  • All contracts in this bargaining round were contingent on New York City reaching a health savings deal with the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group of nearly 100 municipal labor unions including the UFT. On July 1, the city and the MLC reached an agreement on a plan to save $1.1 billion in employee health care costs while maintaining premium-free health insurance for city employees.
  • As part of the agreement, city employees hired after July 1, 2019, will automatically be enrolled in HIP and, after one year, can select another plan if they choose.
What to make of the city's new deal with the United Federation of Teachers

OCT 13, 2018
The fact that Mayor de Blasio and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew are shoulder-slapping simpatico, and that Chancellor Richard Carranza calls Mulgrew his “brother from another mother,” didn’t deliver 80,000 city teachers a windfall in the just-announced labor deal.

They’ll get average annual raises of about 2.5%, which is roughly the rate of inflation.

Give credit to chief city labor negotiator Bob Linn for showing sufficient respect for pattern bargaining, and for taxpayers who are footing the cost of an ever-larger municipal government, to keep the topline number in check.

And for squeezing modest, though still insufficient, health-care savings out of the city’s single largest public-sector workforce.

Simultaneously, it’s good news that this agreement, for the first time ever, lets schools pay a subset of educators more than their peers. At up to 180 schools that have struggled to retain teachers, educators in hard-to-staff subject areas — math and science tend to be the most common — will be eligible to earn $5,000 to $8,000 more a year.

That’s not performance-based pay, and it’s not happening citywide, but we’ll take the differentials as a significant break from the mindless lockstep pay schedule to which most teacher paychecks conform. On this front, damn-the-torpedoes, tie-teacher-pay-to-test-scores reformer Mike Bloomberg made a smaller dent.

The massive agreement has one big misstep: Rather than giving management more tools to remove from payroll teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve, where tenured educators who can’t find permanent work are parked, it preserves and even strengthens the hand of the educrats at Tweed to force them on schools.

That’s bad for kids, unfair to principals and disrespectful to existing staff.

Then there’s one big question mark: plans for a new screening test to determine whether prospective teachers are good fits for the profession, intended to cut down on early burnout and the headaches that come with high turnover.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to ensure that applicants are poised for long-term success. L.A. vets would-be teachers with a tool that includes college GPAs, sample lessons, and other application materials; research suggests it’s working.

But if poorly executed, the suitability test could wrap an already complex hiring process in ever more red tape — or even exclude talented people who might do great work for a few years, then switch gears to another profession.

Proceed with caution.

Panel of City officials announcing the new contract (photo Reema Amin, Chalkbeat)

United Federation of Teachers, New York City officials agree to a new 2019-2022 contract 

New York City’s educators have a new contract that provides extra pay to teachers who work in hard-to-staff schools, tweaks teacher evaluations, and calls for the creation of a new screening tool to be used in hiring, city and union officials announced Thursday afternoon at City Hall.
The contract was hammered out months ahead of schedule and includes a number of unexpected details. It creates a new “Bronx Plan” that targets the city’s neediest schools, providing up to $8,000 to teachers who fill hard-to-staff positions and calls for educators to play a role in developing school improvement plans.
“It really is about a different way of approaching school improvement,” said schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
An estimated 180 schools will be included in the plan, which calls on the city to identify 120 new “Collaborative Schools” where teachers and community members will have a “substantial voice” in driving school decisions. Those Collaborative Schools will receive $25,000 in additional funding.
Teacher evaluations were also revamped. Starting next school year, the evaluations will be tied to teachers’ experience and effectiveness. Those rated “developing” or “ineffective” will be observed more frequently than those who have already earned an effective or highly effective rating. And tenured teachers will be subject to less oversight than those still on probation.
Also new: a yet-to-be-developed screen to be used in hiring decisions. Officials likened it to the kinds of psychological profiles, workshops, and stress tests that police departments use to filter recruits.
Salaries will get a boost, beginning with a 2 percent raise in February, another 2.5 percent increase in May 2020, and a 3 percent increase in the agreement’s final year.
This contract is high stakes since it’s the first to be negotiated in the wake of Janus, a Supreme Court decision that could dramatically drain union membership. So far, UFT leaders say members are sticking with them, and the new contract could show teachers the advantages of staying in the union.
Even before the new deal was reached, the UFT this summer secured a huge victory for its members: six weeks of paid parental leave for birth, foster, adoptive, and surrogate parents. To cover the cost of the new benefit, the union’s contract was extended into February — an additional two-and-a-half months.
But City Hall and the country’s largest local union were able to come to an agreement well before the deadline. The speedy negotiations are a marked break from the past, when the union clashed with previous Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the financial crisis squeezed city budgets. The de Blasio administration, in contrast, is rarely at odds with the UFT, and a torrent of property taxes is once again flowing into city coffers.
At Thursday’s press conference, Carranza called the UFT president his “brother from another mother.”
“Yes, I feel like I have another brother in my life,” president Michael Mulgrew said. “The UFT truly has a partner at this time.”
It was the first contract to be negotiated under Carranza, who has made teacher training a priority for the education department.
“If we expect our students to achieve excellence, then we must support our teachers and leaders, and all our staff members to that end,” he said in a recent speech to the Association for a Better New York.
The agreement, which still needs to be ratified by UFT members, is scheduled to take effect in February and run through 2022. It would cover the union’s 129,000 members, who include about 79,000 classroom teachers. The city says it will cost $2.1 billion, but expects much of that cost to be offset by health care savings for a net cost of $572 million.
Clarifications: This story has been updated to clarify how many schools will be eligible for additional money as part of the Collaborative Schools plan. It has also been updated to reflect the union’s membership beyond classroom teachers.