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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Principals' Union CSA Votes No Confidence in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza


                                                     NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYC Principals' union declares ‘no confidence’ vote for de Blasio

Fox 5 NY September 27, 2020

The union representing over 6,400 of New York City’s school leaders announced Sunday that they had declared a unanimous vote of “No Confidence” in Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza over their “failure to lead New York City through the safe and successful reopening of schools.”

The Executive Board of the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators made the announcement Sunday, calling on de Blasio to cede mayoral control of the Department of Education for the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic and for de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to see the immediate intervention of the New York State Education Department.

“School leaders want school buildings reopened and have been tirelessly planning to welcome back students since the end of last school year,” said CSA President Mark Cannizzaro. “They must now look staff, parents, and children in the eye and say that they have done all they can to provide a safe and quality educational experience, but given the limited resources provided them, this is becoming increasingly difficult. During this health crisis, school leaders have lost trust and faith in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to support them in their immense efforts and provide them with the guidance and staffing they need. Quite simply, we believe the City and DOE need help from the State Education Department, and we hope that the mayor soon realizes why this is necessary.”

The road to reopening New York City's schools has been a bumpy one so far. On Saturday, Tottenville High School, one of the largest high schools in the city, announced that it will be beginning the 2020-21 school year with all-remote learning.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

New Deal Between the DOE asnd UFT: If You Can Teach Remotely, Stay Home


                            UFT President Michael Mulgrew and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Wow. It's not often we see the NYC Department of Education/Mayor Educational Complex reverse their crazy policies so quickly, if at all, but late friday this happened. Sort of.

Now, teachers who were told to go into their school and teach remotely their students (HUH?") can teach remotely without going in to their school. 

Amazing. Someone might be thinking over there.

In another week or two, we will see 100% total remote. That's the only way to have everyone safe.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

New deal with DOE lets UFT teachers work from home if not needed on-site

Selim Algar, NY POST, September 25, 2020

The Department of Education will now allow many more teachers to work from home this upcoming school year as part of a new deal with their union, officials said late Friday.

Previously, any teacher who was not a given a specific coronavirus exemption was required to be present in school each day — even when teaching remote classes without kids present.

But the United Federation of Teachers pushed back on that in recent weeks and ultimately won the major concession.

“The DOE will be instructing principals that all UFT-represented employees in all job titles who have no on-site duties or responsibilities have the option to work remotely,” the union said in a letter to members Friday.

The DOE had already given roughly 16,000 teachers – or 21 percent of the citywide total – coronavirus medical exemptions that will allow them to work from home this year.

“Supervisors may require UFT employees to remain on-site on an as-needed basis only,” read the UFT missive.

The union said the allowances will “keep us safer and reduce the traffic on overextended Wi-Fi networks” within schools, according to the letter.

Teachers who are primary caregivers and have medically vulnerable family members at home will be given priority for the expanded pool of remote-only slots.

n addition, all parent-teacher conferences — normally held face-to-face on school grounds — will be conducted remotely this year, the union said.

The deal will also bar principals from compelling teachers to live stream their on-site classes to kids learning remotely.

Facing heavy union opposition, Mayor de Blasio has been pushing for a partial reopening of city schools, arguing that kids needed to resume that aspect of their former lives — even if in a limited fashion.

DeBlasio has also asserted that remote learning is inherently inferior to classroom instruction and that prolonged absence from school will deepen learning deficits.

But teacher groups vigorously resisted a return to classrooms, arguing that conditions are still too risky and that DOE preparations have been inadequate.

Some UFT factions have charged the DOE with failing to provide proper protective gear or offering reliable COVID-19 testing procedures.

About 100 DOE employees died from COVID-19 last year, the agency reported.

In parrying union objections, De Blasio has recently highlighted that only 0.3 percent of roughly 17,000 city teachers who have taken coronavirus tests have come up positive.

Roughly 540,000 city kids are expected to begin a hybrid learning model this next week that will have them alternate between home and building instruction.

bout 460,000 have opted for a remote-only format.

Parents who chose the blended model expressed surprise and dismay last week when the DOE revealed that there was no guarantee that their remote classes would even be led, in real-time, by a teacher guiding them online.

With school populations split up to enable social distancing, the number of classes in most schools has multiplied.

That in turn has created staffing shortages across the city that the DOE has been scrambling to fill in recent weeks.

“These common-sense policies will help keep our school communities safe while enabling you to do your work,” UFT chief Michael Mulgrew told members Friday of the new concession.

                                     NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza [photo: Paul Martinka]

Principals blast Carranza’s ‘failed leadership’ in last-minute deal with teachers

Selim Algar and Susan Edelman, NY POST, September 26, 2020

The city principals’ union is blasting Chancellor Richard Carranza’s “failed leadership” for inking a new last-minute agreement to let many more teachers work from home.

But it means that principals will now have to redo their schools’ schedules yet again — days before in-person classes for students in K to 12 are set to begin next week.

“It causes more revisions at the 11th hour,” a Brooklyn principal told The Post. “This is a programming cluster–k.”

Under the last-minute deal, supervisors may require teachers to remain on-site “on an as-needed basis only.”

The DOE has already granted 16,025 teachers — 21% of the citywide total — coronavirus medical exemptions that will allow them to work from home.

Previously, any teacher without an exemption was required to be in school each day — even when teaching remote classes to kids learning from home. The policy has been challenged in court.

But the United Federation of Teachers argued against the rule, and finally won the concession.

The Council of Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals, issued a blistering statement on Saturday, complaining they were left out of the loop.

“The Chancellor and his team have once again demonstrated a complete lack of respect for school leaders as we still wait for the DOE to release information regarding the new memorandum they signed just before close of business yesterday, an agreement the press has already reported on,” the CSA said.

“It astounds us that they seemingly had no plans to notify and debrief principals, who must now somehow find a way to implement their new agreement, before it was distributed widely.”

The statement concludes: “CSA will now be calling for an emergency executive board meeting, and we will share more on our public response to the DOE’s failed leadership as soon as we are able.”

David Bloomfield a Brooklyn College and CUNY grad center education professor, said the CSA statement conveys a crisis:

“Principals are now in open revolt, teachers confused, and parents at wits end over the constant policy shifts that make attention to learning almost impossible,” he told The Post. “Poor planning, a mayor and chancellor disconnected from the field, and flawed messaging make unsubstantiated rumors of Carranza’s resignation and all-remote instruction for grades 6-12 sound more and more plausible — and maybe a relief.”

City Councilman Mark Treyger, education committee chair, tweeted a text he received from a principal: “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not OK. I can’t look my community in the eye and tell them with a straight face that we’re OK. I want to quit.”

Also Saturday, a “heartbroken” Gina Battista, the principal of Tottenville HS on Staten Island sent a letter to families announcing her decision to start the new year all remotely — giving up on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to give in-school instruction to students one to three days a week.

“Tottenville HS would need an excess of additional teachers that is just not presently available,” Battista wrote. However, all students will get live instruction online, she added.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday, September 21, 2020

MORE: "Remote Until Its Safe" Campaign

MORE Daily Bulletin #10 Monday September 21

UFT members are leading protest marches throughout the city today.
  • UFT members at the City College Academy of the Arts (196th and Broadway in upper Manhattan) will be working outside today. They would welcome supporters so if anyone who works near that school can stop by for a few minutes that would be appreciated.
  • Two UFT chapters in lower Manhattan notified their administrations that their members would work from home today because of persistent safety violations in their school buildings.
  • UFT members at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Queens published an opinion column in The Washington Post detailing the myriad problems with the city’s hybrid model.
  • UFT members along with parents participated in this morning’s “wake up call” rally in which they made noise from their windows to protest an unsafe reopening. These rallies will continue throughout the week.
  • UFT members in Queens will gather at IS 230 (73-10 34th Avenue) at 4:00 PM and march east on 34th.
  • District 20 UFT members, students, and parents are meeting in front of 65 Court Street on at 4 pm to protest the DOE’s lack of a safety response despite the fact that the district is in a Covid Hot Zone (above 3% positive tests for those tested). They will meet the march coming from Manhattan at 4:30 in front of borough hall.
  • UFT members at Murry Bergtraum high school are protesting against unsafe working conditions and will rally outside their school at 3:30 and march to Brooklyn
  • MORE members around the city are circulating the MORE petition for a fully remote start to the school year.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

No School Buses For NYC Special Education Students

 It is simply outrageous that Mayor de Blasio and Richard Carranza ignore the needs of NY City's most vulnerable students, those kids with physical and mental challenges.

De Blasio is showing his extreme incompetency as a leader in the area of public education which has been under his control since he was elected. Mayoral control was voted on in 2002 as a way for Michael Bloomberg, NYC Mayor at the time, to gain political control over the education budget - already in the $billions. Now the school budget is $34 billion. 

School busing has been a problem for many years.

When one of my daughters was accepted to NEST+M for 6th grade in 2003, I became involved in the Parent Teacher Association, and very soon found a whopper of a ridiculous problem: kids who were accepted to NEST+M but did not live in District 1, a little spot at the southern end of Manhattan, had no free bus service to get to school. The NYC DOE offered bus service only to D1 families.

I live in District 2, and NEST+M is a city-wide G&T school. This means that kids were accepted from all the boroughs, including Staten Island, but they were not able to get any transportation unless they had a car, paid for car service, or took the subway. The nearest subway is pretty far away from NEST +M, which is located at 111 Columbia Street 1 block from the FDR Drive and Bard Early College.  

NEST+M is k-12. What the NYC DOE explained is that kids who go to NEST+M can get a Metrocard to travel to/from school. The argument I made that kindergarten kids should not have to travel by subway, taking parents from their jobs to accompany them. I heard from the bus company that they had to travel alone, that's all they could do.

So I set up a Transportation Committee and found  (1) parents with their own cars who would be willing to take 1 or 2 neighboring kids with them on a daily basis; (2) a car service that offered a low-cost deal round trip, on the condition that a parent adult was always in the car with the driver. 

Hardly a solution! I went to NYC Council to try to get money from the NYC DOE or City budget, all said no way, sorry. Some were polite and others were not. I called all the bus companies in the NYC area, and entered the world of political corruption and extortion, all about money. Although my dad was in politics, I was aghast. Welcome to political manipulation and control of public funding.

I am no longer a parent at NEST, but it seems that NEST+M is doing their own thing on reopening. Good for them!

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

Deaf, blind, disabled kids left with no school buses despite NYC reopening

by Bernadette Hogan, NY POST, Sept 18, 2020

Hundreds of blind, deaf and disabled children attending independently run special education schools in New York City reopened for in-person classes have been denied bus transportation by the Department of Education, administrators and parents say.

The New York State Education Department’s reopening policy mandates local school districts provide busing to kids outside the public school system, but since early September the city Office for Pupil Transportation (OPT) has been dragging its feet with little explanation, school administrators charge.

The New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx — which serves roughly 250 kids in grades pre-K through 12 — wanted to reopen for in-person instruction on Sept. 9, coinciding with DOE’s former reopening date of Sept. 10.

But once the City pushed back that date, the Institute revised their plan and set a new reopening date — this past Monday, Sept. 14 —  but without bus services.

The OPT has repeatedly told the Institute’s executive director Dr. Bernadette Kappen and inquiring parents that they can’t offer transportation until a later date, with little explanation, according to emails reviewed by The Post.

“We were prepared to have our children who wanted to begin in-person schooling come on the 9th,” Kappen told The Post.

“Then there was discussion there wouldn’t be transportation this coming Monday on the 21st. The Office of Pupil Transportation said now the transportation isn’t going to start until the 29th. We think it’s coinciding with the New York City Department of Education’s pushback,” she said, arguing it violates state standards that say school districts must provide bus service to schools as part of reopening plans.

“Pupil transportation must be provided to students attending religious and independent schools, charter schools or students whose individualized education program (IEP) have placed them out of district,” states a Sept. 9 memo from state Education Department Interim Commissioner Betty Rosa, which Kappen cited.

“We are not supposed to be tied into [DOE’s] schedule. Whatever date we will tell our school district we will be in session, we should be able to transport,” she added.

“The parents are caught in the middle of this and it really causes a lot of distress because they don’t know what is going to happen with their children and many of them have to go to work. We were worried about the lack of any guidelines.”

Dr. Rebecca Renshaw, the executive director at the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx, which serves roughly 130 kids ages 3 to 21, said parents who opted to send their children for in-person instruction this week have had to physically transport kids from as far as Brooklyn all week — and it’s placing a significant burden on an already vulnerable population.

"The transportation piece has been chaos, or silence — or a little bit of both.”

She said she has been called by at least one bus company that said service may resume this coming Monday, but has been unable to receive confirmation with city education officials despite multiple messages sent over the past day and a half.

“Our students need to be back, we’re ready, we’ve been working since the beginning of June. We’re ready — we need transportation to get them here, we worked really hard and to put it together and then the one part we couldn’t control — transportation — has delayed them from full access to their education,” she added.

The city Department of Education did not immediately return a call for comment.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio's Staff Fed Up With His Capricious and Insular Management Style

                                                   NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

How I wish we New Yorkers could be proud of our loyalty to New York City, the city that never sleeps!

Of course, I keep saying that I am a proud New Yorker, but even to me, it sounds hollow and fake.

Our Mayor is Bill de Blasio. Arguably the worst Mayor New York has ever had. Ok- I'm ready for the naysayers! I really would love to hear how someone in NYC's glorious past, another Mayor was worse than Bill in managing the city and his own staff. And wife.

That is the story here - how frustrated insiders who work for Mayor Bill feel the "often capricious and insular management style that sources describe as “emotionally, mentally and physically taxing” — and a major contributor to City Hall’s planning struggles and the exodus of administration staffers."

How long before he leaves office? More than a year?

Oh gosh.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

Bill de Blasio’s City Hall rife with dysfunction, bombshell emails reveal

Nolan Hicks, NY POST, September 17, 2020

New York is beset by a surge in deadly shootings, homeless have taken over city blocks amid the coronavirus lockdown and officials cannot get schools back open, but City Hall is taking one thing seriously — arguing the racial sensitivity of a proclamation to commemorate women’s suffrage.

The nod to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage was supposed to just be a “note” in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily coronavirus briefing, but it ended up triggering a meltdown among his staffers, emails obtained by The Post show.

The imbroglio is symptomatic of de Blasio’s often capricious and insular management style that sources describe as “emotionally, mentally and physically taxing” — and a major contributor to City Hall’s planning struggles and the exodus of administration staffers.

“It is amateur hour. It’s a bunch of people who have no idea how City Hall works running the show because everyone else has left,” said one former staffer. “There are a lot of sharp elbows, it’s very vicious and very personal — and it gets in the way of focusing on the work at hand.”

The talking points prepared for de Blasio’s briefing on Aug. 26 noted that segregation and other laws meant that “not all women could exercise that right” to vote following the formal adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “Women of color excluded – fought for decades for equal access,” it added.

At 9:49 a.m., 11 minutes before the briefing was scheduled to begin, the email chain exploded.

Ashley Ross-Teel, pictured at left, who runs City Hall’s social media accounts, demanded that the talking points explicitly point out that only white women initially gained access to the voting booth. And she criticized the talking points saying women of color were discriminated against, instead of singling out African American women.

“Sorry, but why wasn’t white women added when it was flagged by [women of color],” she wrote. “Also there is growing negativity around incorporating Black women into WOC. Everyone’s struggles are not the same.”

Three minutes later, the author of the bullet points fired back.

“Because as a white woman, I find being negged for something that happened 100 years ago unnecessarily confrontational in this context,” wrote Marjorie Sweeney. “We’re trying to bring people together here, not trying to score points off each other.”

At least two other high-ranking de Blasio aides were pulled into the fight, offering last-minute suggestions that were signed off on by de Blasio’s recently hired $17,000-a-month special adviser, Peter Kauffmann at 10:03 am.

The briefing was already late.

De Blasio specifically referenced white women in his remarks that morning, but kept the initially proposed description of “women of color.”

“Not all women” could vote, he said, referencing the notes, which are kept in a small black binder. “Only white women — women of color excluded and they had to fight for many decades more.”

Afterward, his Chief of Staff Emma Wolfe chastised the staffers.

                                                         Marjorie Sweeney, speechwriter

“This should never have been a debate, not the least of which over email,” Wolfe wrote, demanding the communications staff find a “more professional process” to haggle over their differences.

Three former administration staffers said the blow-up is a symptom of the departure of experienced top aides, which they attributed to de Blasio’s mercurial nature, the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and months of protests — including by his own staff — demanding police and civil rights reforms.

“He will just blow everything up on a whim and it’s a domino effect,” one ex-staffer said. “It leads to avoidable last-minute scrambles on everything” — from key policy decisions to the briefing notes.

In theory, the work that goes into assembling the binder for de Blasio’s briefings should be largely complete by the morning. But Hizzoner often demands last-minute rewrites for little reason right up until he walks into the briefing, another source said. That leaves everyone stressed and under-the-gun, leading to eruptions.

“There are a lot of really smart and dedicated people at City Hall who love New York and he prevents them from doing their jobs effectively,” the person added. “It’s him, it lies at the top, it really does.”

The sources said the problems are particularly severe in the mayor’s press and communications departments, which de Blasio depends on to help vet and roll out policy in addition to the typical duties of drafting speeches and handling reporter inquiries.

The heads of both — former Press Secretary Freddi Goldstein and former Communications Director Wiley Norvell — quit on the same day in July without having lined up new jobs. Only Goldstein has been replaced so far.

“Infighting like this on an email chain, it’s an example of dysfunction and the unhappiness people are feeling,” added yet another person familiar.

De Blasio press secretary Bill Neidhardt responded, “Debating talking points is a basic function of all communications offices. That’s what you’re seeing here. In the end, the Mayor makes the call and he acknowledged our country’s painful history of denying women of color the right to vote.”

Gov. Cuomo blasts de Blasio over ‘waste’ in NYC budget

Chirlane McCray’s COVID-19 trauma program left out EMTs

Chirlane McCray enjoys $2M staff of 14 amid NYC budget crisis
                                                                   Chirlane McCray

NYC Council Education Chair Mark Treyger and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams Criticize NYC Mayor For Schools' Repoening Chaos


                                                                 Mark Treyger



250 Broadway, Suite 1785
New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-7045

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Contact: Maria Henderson | 646-891-8441 |  

NEW YORK, NY - Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams and Council Member 

Mark Treyger, Education Chair, released the following joint statement after the Mayor announced another delay in school re-opening, just four days before the previous revised re-opening date of September 21 and after over 50 schools citywide have reported COVID-19 cases among staff. Council Education Chair Treyger released his school reopening proposal in July 2020. 


"It's obvious that in-person schooling needed to be delayed - it has been, as we have said, for months - and it's just as obvious that the Mayor's so-called strategy of bringing us to the brink over and over is misguided and detrimental. The insistence on reopening as soon as possible, at any cost, is a strategy doomed to keep students and parents, teachers, and administrators on the line only to pull a bait and switch again and again. The city needs time to increase staff, yes- but without also increasing safety measures, we will only see cases rise and time and lives lost. 

"COVID-19 and disastrous state-level budget cuts have put our education system in crisis, and the Mayor's lack of a clear vision and a clear plan are only deepening that crisis. There are ways to address childcare concerns, ways to better serve students most in need, but ignoring these methods in favor of a broad reopening by an ever-shifting date has only created more chaos, including for parents whose own plans rely on a City that doesn't have one. 

"The City needs to utilize this extra time, as they should have all along, to order and review the supply of technology devices available for students and staff. Remote learning will always be part of this school year, and all students should have access to quality technology, regardless of their zip code.

"The Mayor argues that the plan changes only as the reality does, but fails to accept the self-evident reality that the safest, smartest choice has always been to open the school year remotely before phasing in in-person learning as safety standards - not a schedule - warrant."


250 Broadway, Suite 1785
New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-7045

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Contact: Maria Henderson | 646-891-8441 |

IBO Report Confirms Council Education Chair Treyger’s Assertion that NYSED & CDC School Reopening Guidance Adds Millions in New Weekly Costs for NYC Schools

A Report Released by the Independent Budget Office (IBO) Illustrates Staggering Cost Estimates to Meet New Health Guidelines Related to COVID-19

BROOKLYN, NY (September 17, 2020) -- Today, the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) released its findings for the additional weekly cost of operating New York City’s public schools while complying with New York State public health and education guidance prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Council Education Chair Mark Treyger requested the independent report from the IBO in July 2020. The new report projects that the additional costs could increase to $32 million per week across multiple city agencies. The IBO was unable to account for childcare provided by Learning Bridges; increased costs borne by community-based early childhood education providers; or additional capital expenditures, like HVAC upgrades, new technology purchases, and air filtration systems. All of these costs will likely significantly increase the cost of school reopening.

Many of the new expense estimates are directly correlated with implementing and adhering to new NYSED and CDC safety guidance measures for school reopening, as well as the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) school reopening plan that was submitted to the State. Council Education Chair Treyger identified that reopening schools would likely incur additional costs in his school reopening white paper, and the IBO has confirmed that in their recent case study. In order to execute a safe and functional reopening of the largest school system in the nation, it is crucial that the City examines additional funding sources to meet the new costs that schools did not have last year.

Critically, the IBO does not identify a funding stream for these additional expenditures. With the decision by the Trump Administration to limit the City's ability to obtain federal reimbursement for PPE and cleaning, and the financial crisis experienced by the City and the State, the IBO acknowledges the expectation that some of these expenditures will be paid for using existing school budgets, possibly reducing other school-based programming.

Highlights from the IBO report include:

* $20,391,900 is the cost of additional teachers and nurses needed per week, over 60% of the additional costs to operate NYC schools. As many large schools are now pivoting to having students learn virtually within the school building, and teachers being asked to teach remote and in-person students simultaneously, it is clear that these additional staffing costs represent a crisis for a hybrid model.

* IBO expects the cost of PPE across all school-based staff to total $2.8 million each week, with more than 941,000 masks comprising $1.7 million of that cost. This includes masks for all school-based staff, students, school bus employees, school bus riders, custodial staff, and school food employees. Additional costs are for other PPE, including gloves and face shields, for employees who are in close contact with students, such as school nurses and special education paraprofessionals.

* Custodial costs—including spending for PPE, custodial supplies, and labor costs associated with the extra cleaning—will total nearly $6 million a week and account for more than 17 percent of the additional costs. Thus far, DOE has stated that they expect this cleaning to be completed using existing custodial budgets, at the expense of other work, including routine maintenance.

* Transportation costs would be significantly higher if DOE is forced to add buses in order to comply with social distancing requirements or if DOE has to reimburse parents for alternate methods of transportation.

* Total costs could increase based on capital upgrades, such as costs for upgrading HVAC systems, purchasing air filters for classrooms, and purchasing additional tablets and hotspots to meet students’ technology needs.

“I continue to reiterate to my colleagues in government that, in order to safely reopen our city’s schools, we have to identify new funding to address the extraordinary new costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new IBO estimates, in concert with the ever-changing guidance from the DOE as it struggles to operate within existing resources, demonstrate the extent of the need,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education. “With federal aid unlikely to arrive any time soon, the State and City must act. The Governor has paused his disastrous 20% cuts to education aid, but only temporarily. I have been very clear: the City needs long-term borrowing authority, and additional funding from the State to safely reopen schools. We cannot reopen schools before it is safe to do so."

You can access the NYC Independent Budget Office full report on School Reopening Cost Estimates here.

Mayor Bill de Blasio Delays In-Person Learning in a Staggered Schedule For Different Grades


                                  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio


The news changes by the minute. Previously this morning De Blasio delayed re-opening schools in grades 6-12, indefinitely. Then he changed his mind to:

"In-person learning will now start on Sept. 29 for kids in grades kindergarten through eight. Middle schools and high schools will now re-open in-person learning on Oct. 1.

Pre-k and 3-k students will still re-open on Sept. 21, the original in-person start date."

I cannot imagine what parents, educators, or staff are thinking. What plans can anyone make right now for home care needs, medical accommodations, etc? What happens if a parent has a child in pre-k and 4th grade. Who stays home with the 4th grader when the parent takes the pre-k child to/from school. What does a parent tell his/her employer? Bill de Blasio has let parents down with fake promises

All of this chaos costs plenty, and the budget as it stands right now cannot handle the $millions of dollars NYC needs to supply the necessary teachers, staff, and safety equipment.

We need to see a director who can do comprehensive project management as if this was an emergency.

Wait. This is an emergency. We need new eyes to create a new way to fund education in a pandemic. We can and must do this. 

NY Daily News, Sept. 17, 2020

Mayor de Blasio pushed back in-person school re-openings Thursday over concerns raised by union leaders.

In-person learning will now start on Sept. 29 for kids in grades kindergarten through eight. Middle schools and high schools will now re-open in-person learning on Oct. 1.

Pre-k and 3-k students will still re-open on Sept. 21, the original in-person start date.

“There are some blanks that we need to fill in," teachers union leader Michael Mulgrew said Thursday at a press conference with de Blasio. “We must make sure we get this right."

De Blasio said teacher staffing levels are the biggest concern and announced Thursday that the city will bring in another 2,500 teachers, in addition to the 2,000 he previously announced, bringing the total to 4,500 additional teachers.

De Blasio to delay in-person learning for grades 6-12

Julia Marsh and Selim Algar, NY POST, September 17, 2020

Under mounting pressure from unions and elected officials, Mayor de Blasio will delay in-person learning for students in grades 6-12, the Post has learned.

De Blasio is expected to announce Thursday that classroom learning will proceed Monday for elementary school children but will be suspended indefinitely for older kids, sources said.

Critics have howled that the Department of Education was not prepared to revive city school buildings amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Teachers have questioned testing protocols and protective gear provisions while union officials have stressed acute staffing shortages.

A total of 58 percent of city parents had opted for a blended learning model that would have them alternate between classroom and home learning.

MORE-UFT Response to the Mayor’s Announcement of a Delayed Start – Again

by morecaucusnyc

While MORE supports the idea of a responsible, phased-in, equitable reopening plan with a remote start to the year, the Mayor’s latest announcement is not it.  And while UFT leadership takes credit for this short delay, we know that this wouldn’t have happened without MORE and rank-and-file UFT members in the streets this entire past week independent of UFT leadership. We also know that unfortunately, this is yet another superficial, top-down fix that does little to make the Mayor’s plan safer or more equitable. 

As educators, we know that children and families need stability and clear communication from the Department of Education. The announcement today continues to erode trust that educators and families have in the Department of Education to keep our school communities safe. 

This 7-9 day delay will just cause more chaos and stress for working families and school staff without addressing the many underlying problems with the Mayor’s reopening plan. D75 schools have been reporting unsafe working and learning conditions all week, yet they are slated to reopen as planned on the 21st without any additional resources or support for busing, safety, or instruction. Other grade levels are delayed by just 7-9 days, without any indication that the numerous safety concerns raised by parents and staff around COVID testing, ventilation, lunch, or PPE supplies will be addressed in that time, nor that the city will address major issues with remote learning. And although we welcome the idea of hiring more staff, at best, this seems like a temporary solution since the staff being hired are not certified pedagogues and it's not clear that the funding for these staff exists or is permanent.

Unless this short delay is used to ensure mandatory testing for all students and building workers, ensure that all buildings are upgraded with the necessary safety measures and have enough staff, ensure that every building has a social worker, counselor, and nurse, ensure staff teaching remotely can work from home, and ensure that all children have WiFi and working devices, it will be a waste of energy and impose needless stress on families. 

We urge the city and the UFT to end this roller coaster and announce full remote school at least until January.

As part of this, the city must expand REC centers so that every family who needs childcare can have it five days a week(instead of just one or two) and so that our students with disabilities can have in-person services if they choose to. Mayor de Blasio has stated there will only be 30,000 childcare spots in its Learning Bridges Program which will be fully rolled out by December: this is unacceptable in a city with 1.1 million students. This is particularly essential for our housing insecure students who may not have access to WiFi where they are living. As part of remote learning, the city should also provide support for every school to use outdoor space and other spaces to supplement remote learning with opportunities for socialization. The time we gain from a remote start should be used to plan a community-driven phased-in reopening that follows the science and prioritizes the students that need the most support-- including students with IEPs, ELLs, and our youngest learners. It should also be used to expand testing capacity across the city so that we can mandate testing for 100% of students and staff, upgrade all school buildings and get feedback from stakeholders on an ultimate equitable, phased-in plan. 

The Mayor has ignored and gaslit stakeholders for months and now we’re seeing the results: a chaotic unsafe reopening that doesn’t serve the needs of students or families.