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Sunday, September 13, 2020

UFT President Mike Mulgrew is Angry, and Confirms Why Members Are Right To Fight The Department of Education

UFT President Michael Mulgrew
Youtube link:

 I congratulate UFT President Mike Mulgrew on a great youtube rant on Friday afternoon, September 11, 2020.

He points to the fact that the NYC Department of Education has not been honest with the protections promised for teachers in NYC schools.

He cites a lack of transparency by Department heads, who should not be hiding very important COVID-19 illnesses and job vacancies. And more

My only comment would be that he asks everyone to rely on their chapter leaders. I wish that I could agree. However, although most chapter leaders do a spectacular job, all are not given job protection by the UFT when a principal doesn't like being exposed for doing something wrong.

It's so easy to argue that someone is guilty of "incompetence" or "misconduct" when what the Principal really is doing is trying to remove a great teacher from the school payroll after he/she blows the whistle for something that the principal did that was wrong, or in an unlawful manner. Throughout the past 20+ years of doing advocacy work for teachers, educators, staff, parents, and students I have seen cunning moves by DOE administrators that are expertly designed to disguise prejudice, discrimination, aggravated harassment, etc. These ugly moves make the challenge of defending the victim all that more difficult. But not impossible.

Please, Mike, make Chapter Leaders immune to prosecution and/or retaliation while they act in line with their CL duties? 

Thank you,

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

This is what you could use to back up a legal action to teach remotely and/or sue the Department of Education:

Michael Mulgrew - Message to UFT Members - September 11th, 2020

Teachers union, medical experts, elected officials, and parent and community groups: Individual schools deemed unsafe must remain closed

Principals Blast the NYC DOE For Handing Out Safety Equipment That is "Cheap Black-Market Crap" PPE

The DOE’s plan fails NYC students and teachers – a Teacher’s Letter to Anyone Listening

Officials renew calls to close ‘unsafe’ NYC school with air flow 

by Susan Edelman, NYPOST, September 12, 2020

While trying to bolster confidence in the 
planned school reopening, the city Department of Education won’t reveal a full list of schools where teachers who returned to work last week have tested positive for COVID-19.

The DOE also would not say whether parents or guardians at the affected schools would be notified.

As the number of teachers who test positive grew — at least 24 as of Friday — some co-workers say they were not notified or contacted by city disease detectives when staffers reported the infections.

Lynn Shon, a teacher at MS 88 in Brooklyn, tweeted Saturday that she and fellow staffers heard for the first time that morning from the city’s Test & Trace program — four days after being exposed to a colleague who tested positive for COVID.

“It’s unacceptable the lag between when we were exposed and when we were directly contacted by the city,” Shon told The Post.

A Bronx teacher told The Post she learned only by asking around that a teacher at a school in her building, PS 168, had tested positive. She saw staffers at that school leaving early on Thursday, but the school was open Friday.

“No notice went out. They are trying to hide it, going about business as usual,’ the teacher said.

Nequan McLean, a dad and president of Community Education Council 16 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, said he learned Thursday that a teacher at MS 267 had tested positive.

“There has been no official notification given out at the school. Everyone is back today,” he said Friday.

The parent advisory group voted 8-0 during an emergency meeting Thursday night to “take legal action” to stop the DOE from opening District 16 schools because officials did not turn over reports on ventilation and other building conditions. The group has retained a lawyer.

“We don’t feel like our schools are safe.” McLean said after the meeting. “The gloves are off. They’re telling too many lies.”

The DOE  said Friday it has confirmed 19 teachers at 18 schools have tested positive for COVID. One school, P.S. 811X, was closed on Friday for at least 24 hours, because it had two confirmed COVID cases in different classrooms.

The COVID-infected teachers started reporting to schools citywide last Tuesday before getting their test results, which were supposed to be “expedited.” About 15,000 teachers had themselves tested voluntarily, the DOE said.

The DOE refused to disclose how many school staffers exposed to the infected teachers have now been sent home to quarantine for 14 days.

“The mayor is saying nobody needs to know about these cases, which is pretty crazy,” said teacher Liat Olenick. “If I were a parent, I would definitely want to know.

Olenick is active in MORE-UFT, an activist faction of the teachers’ union, which tweeted a list of 22 schools where teachers reported confirmed cases. The list did not include PS 267 in Brooklyn, which McLean had identified as having a teacher testing positive.

Schools are set to open for students on Sept. 21. Beginning Oct. 1, under an agreement between the city and labor unions, all schools will have mandatory random testing of 10 percent of staff and students.

The plan already has some parents worried about the nasal swabbing — a procedure that can be uncomfortable — being done on their children without them being present. Kids whose parents don’t give permission will have to learn remotely, officials say.

Also in October, the DOE will launch the city’s “Situation Room,” described as a “rapid response team” with members of the city Health Department and the Test & Trace Corps aimed at detecting and curbing spread of COVID.

The Health Department failed to conduct such testing and tracing in March, when numerous teachers were likely infected before Mayor de Blasio finally agreed to close the schools. Nearly 100 school staffers have since died from the virus.

Florida Court Rules School Reopening Utterly F*cking Insane

By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer, US NEWS

The state reported more than 10,500 new coronavirus cases and 90 deaths on Monday.

FLORIDA'S LARGEST teachers union filed a lawsuit on Monday against Gov. Ron DeSantis over his order to reopen schools even as cases of the coronavirus rise.

The Florida Education Association is suing the governor, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education, Florida State Board of Education, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez "to safeguard the health and welfare of public school students, educators and the community at large," the association said in a press release.

"The lawsuit intends to stop the reckless and unsafe reopening of public school campuses as coronavirus infections surge statewide," the release continued.

Corcoran signed an executive order earlier this month ordering all brick and mortar schools, including private and charter institutions, to reopen in August at least five days per week for all students, though the order states that parents can continue remote learning with their child if they choose.

Come August, schools "must provide the full array of services," including in-person lessons and specialized instruction and services for students with individualized education programs.

However, school reopenings are subject to the advice and orders of state and local health departments, and the day-to-day decision to open or close a school will rest locally and with the school board.

"Gov. De Santis needs a reality check, and we are attempting to provide one," FEA President Fedrick Ingram said in the press release. "The governor needs to accept the reality of the situation here in Florida, where the virus is surging out of control."

On Monday, Florida Health reported 10,508 new cases in-state residents and 90 deaths since Sunday. The state has the third most cases in the country, with more than 360,390, and it has recorded 5,072 deaths.

"Everyone wants schools to reopen, but we don't want to begin in-person teaching, face an explosion of cases and sickness, then be forced to return to distance learning," Ingram continued.

In a press conference Monday, Ingram said the lawsuit is seeking to put control and education back "where it belongs, to locally elected school board members and superintendents."

Ingram said it will be safe to return to schools once the infection rate of COVID-19 is under control and falling and the necessary resources are available.

President Donald Trump has threatened to pull funding from schools that do not reopen for the upcoming school year.

"Right now, all we have is a slogan: We must reopen schools," he said. "We need more than a slogan, we need a comprehensive plan."