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Mulgrew: Our Strength And Unity Brought Hard-Won Victory

Dear colleagues,

I have some terrific news to share with you. We have blocked the Department of Education’s attempt to circumvent our contract and members’ rights in the 24 “turnaround” schools. The city’s political maneuver was doing untold harm to our students and school communities.

The DOE has tried to “close” these schools and immediately re-open them under new names. We never believed these were new schools and never believed this “closure” process was a viable way to improve these schools. It was clear to us that the mayor was advancing his political interests at the expense of the students, staff and parents of these schools.

The principals’ union, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, was our partner in this fight. After months of difficult litigation, an independent arbitrator ruled today that the DOE violated the UFT and CSA contracts, validating our belief that the “new” schools the DOE claims it was creating were in reality not new schools. The DOE was attempting to remove half the staff in each of these schools. The arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, ruled that all members working in these schools in June have the right to stay or return to their schools in September.

This hard-won victory is a testament to our strength and unity. Parents, students, teachers and supervisors all came together in this battle. We beat back the mayor’s best efforts to rip these schools apart and vilify their teachers. These 24 school communities will now have the opportunity to continue the hard work of helping their students reach their potential.

The arbitrator’s decision is focused on the question of whether or not the city’s actions violated our contracts. The larger issue, though, is that the centerpiece of the DOE’s school improvement strategy — closing struggling schools — does not work.

Parents, students and teachers need the DOE to fix struggling schools, rather than giving up on them. The UFT will continue to support these schools in every way possible.

Thank you again for everything you do for your students — and enjoy your summer.

Sincerely,
Michael Mulgrew

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4 Comments:

  • 1 phyllis c murray
    · Jun 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    George Washington once said: “In executing the duties of my present important station, I can promise nothing but purity of intentions, and, in carrying these into effect, fidelity and diligence. ” And with Michael Mulgrew at the helm of the UFT, we are confident that we will see justice prevail.Congratulations, President Mulgrew! Press on! Phyllis C. Murray,UFT Chapter LeaderDistrict 8

  • 2 Arthur Getzel
    · Jun 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

    A fair arbitrator saw right away that these were fake closings. One can change a name, but it does not create a different school. Schools are made up of kids. Were the kids changing? It does not matter how many teachers you change, one must figure out the best method to teach students who have many difficulties. Solve the issue of poverty in this country and you will solve many education problems. One can change a teacher or principal a thousand times, but if a child does not have security, nourishment, shelter and stability in their personal lives, academic achievement will usually not happen.

  • 3 hedgesd
    · Jul 14, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Thanks Mr. President. How sad that the UFT was ineffective in preventing all those closing and relocations that took place before you got the job.
    As early as “Mr. Klein’s administration has been characterized by an outflow of veterans in favor of young people from the private sector.”
    New York Times, September 6, 2004
    Senior teachers are under siege and the culture of public education is trying to survive. The real issue is that the mayor and chancellor make decisions that effect the lives of everyone, but themselves. They are so insulated from the consequences of the decisions they make, that they are worse than any bureaucracy can be. Visit my blog atr-dmh.blogspot.com for more information.

  • 4 Beverly Segers
    · Jul 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

    THIS WAS ANOTHER ATTEMPT BY MAYOR BLOOMBERG TO CIRCUMVENT THE TEACHERS CONTRACT. THIS WAS ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO PRIVATISE THE SCHOOLS.
    DENNIS WALCOTT IS MAYOR BLOOMBERGS YES MAN.
    I’M GLAD THIS TRICK WAS SEEN FOR WHAT IT WAS.