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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.