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Friday, July 24, 2020

UFT President Says If Schools Don't Open, 100% of Teachers Will Be Teaching From Home

UFT President Michael Mulgrew
A few days ago Mike held a townhall where all teachers were remotely available. We had several UFT members on the line. 

As usual, Mike talks alot and says nothing. He said that all 3020-a hearings will start in September "as usual". Shades of Thackery Earwicket!!

We think he is smoking something. What do we do about subpoenas for NYC DOE employees, especially if they are hostile witnesses who need to be examined even though they are on the side of the DOE, and may not want to talk on zoom or anywhere else? Will the NYC DOE give home email addresses or mobile phone numbers? Will arbitrators order the DOE to bring in these witnesses? How do exhibits get to DOE witnesses? How can we, as representatives for the charged educator, make sure that no "extra" notes are in front of the witness while they are talking?

So many questions.

My own opinion is that the NYC DOE and the UFT will try to make the rubber rooms, 3020-a charging process and "teacher trials" as unfair and distressing as possible in order for educators to decide to resign or retire in despair.

This has been the goal of the two groups (NYC and UFT) for the 17 years I have been doing education arbitrations. Now it is going to be worse, to save money (as tenured teachers most often have high salaries, $100,000+). 

We are fighting going into hearings anytime soon and as always, contact me if you want to know more about what is next steps. I'd be glad to chat.

Betsy Combier


UFT’s ‘lessen’ plan

Vows a fight if reopening is unsafe

NY POST, July 23, 2020, By GABRIELLE FONROUGE and SELIM ALGAR Additional reporting by Julia Marsh

Union officials are prepared to fight back if they think the reopening of Big Apple schools is being done unsafely, union boss Michael Mulgrew said.

“All I am going to say on this call is that I am preparing for what to do if they do that,” the United Federation of Teachers chief said Tuesday during a telephone town hall, according to a Department of Education source who heard the remarks.

Teachers are prepared to take court action, protest and other organizing actions but aren’t currently discussing a strike, union sources told The Post Wednesday.

Already 4 percent of teachers, 3,000 in all, have filed for medical accommodations so they don’t have to return to class, but that number is expected to surge.

“It will be many more,” Mulgrew told union members, adding no requests have been denied.

One thing’s for sure: Remote learning is here to stay and will account for at least 60 percent of instruction even if kids return to school, Mulgrew said.

“If we do not open, we are 100 percent remote. All instruction will be done remotely. If we do open, a minimum of 60 percent will be done remotely,” the union chief said.

“The remote instruction really needs to be built out because that is the majority of instruction that will be done next year no matter what,” he went on, adding that schools are “very behind on the instruction side.”

Mulgrew said if he were asked about whether schools would reopen, his answer would be “no,” but if the DOE provides sufficient money for safety equipment and puts adequate reopening plans into place, he could see kids returning to class.

Meanwhile, city parents won’t know if schools will reopen in September until just before the start of the academic year, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday.

While he previously vowed to throw open the doors on schedule, de Blasio was more circumspect during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday.

Hizzoner said the city’s current coronavirus trends should allow for a partial reopening of the nation’s largest school system, but cautioned that circumstances could shift, given the nature of the pandemic.

“We’re going to make that judgment when we get right up on the beginning of school in September,” he said. “It’s got to be about safety first. So from my point of view, you do everything possible to make the school environment safe: social distancing in the schools, face coverings, constant cleanings, and a lot of kids will stay home.”

De Blasio also indicated that full-time in-class lessons won’t resume until the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

“The day we get to the vaccine is the day we’ll really go to full, fivedays-a-week normal instruction in our schools,” he said.

Gov. Cuomo has previously stated that his office will assess the state of the coronavirus crisis in the first week of August before deciding the fate of schools.