Filed under: Contract
The full text of the Memorandum of Agreement for the proposed contract can be accessed here.
The salary schedules of the proposed contract can be accessed here.
· Nov 11, 2006 at 12:03 am
12. Reduction of Paperwork
“Representatives of the parties at the central level will meet as soon as is practicable after the execution of this agreement in order to develop recommendations to the Chancellor to reduce or eliminate unnecessary, excessive or redundant paperwork or data collection responsibilities of classroom personnel that diminish instructional time. Issues not resolved at the school or pursuant to Article 8I may be referred to this central level committee for recommendations for resolution to the Chancellor.”
What nonsense!!!! It’s a nothing clause and should not even be part of this contract.
Klein looks at the recommendations and plays 3 points with the wastepaper basket.
Does every contract have to have a “stupid” clause that means absolutely nothing like last year’s “possiblility of a 55/25 pension reform”?
If you are not strong enough to negotiate a reduction in paperwork, then don’t create a committee to study the problem.
Talk about theatre of the absurd! That’s when someone wants people to believe they are actually doing something about a problem when in fact they are doing nothing, but it sounds impressive.
And what’s the deal with PIP PLUS. Does the Plus mean that the DoE can deny a teacher participation in the program, or that a teacher can still be observed while in the program, or both? And if that’s the case, shouldn’t it be called
· Nov 11, 2006 at 11:43 am
Speaking of usless contract clauses, I am still waiting for the bi weekly paycheck. That was one of the “benefits” we were supposed to receive in return for the famed zero zero.
· Nov 11, 2006 at 1:10 pm
“paperwork” reductions usually means increases in the use of technology.
As a result of our proddding Empowerment elementary schools this year were given the option to use DOE provided Palm handhelds to administer E-CLAS … a usually burdomsome task … greatly simplied … I’m sure our members can come up with a range of other innovative ideas!
· Nov 11, 2006 at 7:30 pm
Since my other comment was deleted, I will try again.
Why is it that the union simplified the Empowerment schools with E-clas by providing Palms and the rest of the schools were left with that “burdomsome” task?
Do you think knowing that you only helped a handful of schools and let the rest of us suffer makes for a better argument?
You don’t need a committee to come up with innovative ideas. The actual reduction of paperwork should have been a big part of the contract.
· Nov 11, 2006 at 9:14 pm
No one promised you a rose garden, schoolgal. While I agree that committees often are excuses to create more paperwork, that doesn’t mean the issue of papaerwork reduction shouldn’t considered by both sides to see what’s obsolutely necessary or what isn’t. Especially, on the heels of the study by Common Good (http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/general/Getoutoftheway/)
which acknowledges that educators are bogged down with paperwork.
By the way, I believe the bi-weekly paycheck was declared “dead” after it was studied.
Thirdly, consider the fact that the DoE has recently gone full force with electronic communications and the application process and we can recognize that they see a need for a reduction of paperwork themselve. If we look at the open market transfer plan we can see the benefit of allowing people to apply online. As a result more than 2,700 members successfully transferred this year more than 9 times the amount of members who were successful under the seniority transfer plan. So reducing paperwork works for both sides.
What is the most onereous piece of “paperwork” we would want to get rid of first? If we can identify that may be we can make some progress.
· Nov 12, 2006 at 8:22 am
No one promised you a rose garden…
I couldn’t agree more. As a matter of fact, no one promised cost of living either.
I think you’re right, and teachers should be content with more work for less pay. You just keep on studying things until you decide they’re dead, and don’t worry about things like biweekly paychecks, cost of living or 25/55.
It’s not your fault. Nothing whatsoever is your fault, and I’m glad you cleared that up for me.
After all, you never promised us a rose garden.
· Nov 12, 2006 at 8:50 am
Why didn’t the union provide Palms for all schools and only Empowerment schools?
We are still working our E-Clas–for months now-and doing it by hand. That came after hours of downloading the E-clas reports from the computer.
Excessive paperwork has been an issue and in the contract for years, so why wasn’t a committee started years ago? And why does this clause give Klein the last word on the recommendations?
Also, our Professional Periods are really grade conferences. So we miss out on our commom planning time because every grade has to meet with the principal 4 times a month.
Originally we had to change our B-Board every other month. Now it’s once a month with rubrics, standards and post-it notes.
On top of that we have to have writing samples handed in and more work to include in the portfolio. Sometimes with the testing we don’t have a chance to get to the published pieces. All you have to do is read some other blogs (not the ones that deal with the union) and you will hear from hard-working teachers how impossible it is to get to the workshops because of all the other things we have to do. Yet. we still have to show evidence of the conferences. On top of that we have to start each conference with a postive comment that must appear in the notes. It used to be, “How’s it going?” Now all comments have to be different.
No one in the union really teaches a full-time schedule and even though they hear what’s going on, can fully understand what
the stress level is when all you need to accomplish is impossible, but the principals want to see the paperwork on their desk, sometimes with less than a day’s notice. On top of that we had to do report cards.
So when do you forsee the committee finally finding some resolution since this contract doesn’t become effective until next October? Why wasn’t this addressed years and years ago when teachers were complaining to their CCs and the CCs couldn’t grieve it because the principals told them it was coming from higher above. The DRs couldn’t do it because they were told it was coming from higher above? So, why didn’t the top officials of our union step in then?
· Nov 12, 2006 at 11:45 am
Here’s an idea of the paperwork we have, and my own two cents (or ten).
1) Reading and writing conference notes for each student.
2) One-on-one reading and writing (WRAP) assessments of each student, three times a year. (Each assessment takes about 15-20 minutes, plus 5-10 additional minutes for teacher’s notes.)
3) Articulation log (of conversations with parents and other teachers). Collected periodically by AP for review.
4) Incident log (to document any need for disciplinary action).
5) Practice tests, pilot tests, interim tests, some of which we must score ourselves during our prep time.
6) Portfolio preparation, including description of each task; rubrics; checklists; comments.
7) In the case of failing students: documentation of our efforts to assist the student, including phone calls to parents.
8) Bulletin boards, refreshed regularly, with task, rubric, standards, comments.
9) Report cards, attendance records, other routine records and forms.
10) Additional forms for at-risk and special ed students, as needed.
11) Anything else the school decides you need to have filled out as of yesterday.
I imagine many teachers have even more paperwork than what I have listed. What could be eliminated? If we did not have to keep conference notes or administer the WRAP tests, and if we had fewer standardized tests to administer and score, that would be a big improvement.
Bulletin boards take a lot of time, and can create a tug of war between wall and portfolio. Granted, they brighten the halls, especially when the standards and rubrics don’t appear too prominently.
Portfolio development could be greatly simplified. There could be generic task descriptions and rubrics for persuasive essays, narrative accounts, etc.; and the teacher would simply assemble and comment on the work.
Look at the spirit of the paperwork: so much of it is meant to serve as “evidence” that the teacher is doing his or her job, as if the teacher could not be trusted, or as if teaching were not its own evidence. Sadly, the creation of this “evidence” takes time from the teaching and lesson preparation. I’m sure many a great teacher has less “evidence” than some not-so-good teachers, because they have dared place priority on the teaching, at their own risk.
Some of this paperwork can be useful. Articulation logs are a pain, but I find they help me keep track of what I’ve discussed with parents. The portfolio can certainly help a student who is making great efforts but does not take tests well. In general, paperwork should be reduced to that which is truly helpful to the teacher and the student. That means getting rid of most of it.
As far as I’m concerned, this should be a major contract issue. The latest contract included a vague clause on limiting micromanagement; what became of that? We obviously need more specific protection from unreasonable top-down demands. Forming a committee to discuss the issue just doesn’t cut it.
· Nov 12, 2006 at 1:52 pm
Schoolgal: I have heard these complaints at a lot of schools – especially about the impossibility of fulfilling the demands of the writing workshop and at the same time completing necessary paperwork for the DoE spin show. I have heard, frequently, that it is impossible to legitimately do the conferencing, but that given a choice between truly legitimate conferencing and completing the photo op demand of bulletin boards, the principals tend to come down on the side of bulletin board over substantive instruction in the classroom. Not all principals. Some are great. But a lot are more scared of what’s coming from above than they are of the legitimate advocacy of their teachers on behalf of the children. They are caught in the middle, and some mistakenly choose the boss above over the child below. Not all, but some. In the meantime, teachers are all the last best hope of kids.
Have you considered doing a professional conciliation? It is a contractually guarenteed right. Ask your chapter leader about that, or call your borough office. It can work in a lot of cases. The upper DoE claims that these kinds of demands come from principals, not them – that it is Klein being misinterpreted. Take them at their word. File for professional reconciliation and your principal will have to explain herself or himself in front of higher ups, with you there there and the UFT. It can be very effective, even with bully prinicpals.
As you seem to be pointing out, we are the voice of our children. We need to use it.
· Nov 12, 2006 at 4:27 pm
Rather than have my own union stand up for me, you would rather put me in the line of fire. My rep is supposed to handle these situations, but does policy meetings are a joke.
I will not be a pawn for the union. I got burned last year standing up against the so-called end of micro-mangement and my DR left me to fry. So if you think I can trust this process, think again.
My “burning” has caused other teachers to not take up causes and frankly, I can’t blame them.
However, no one has answered my question:
Why were Empowerment schools given a Palm for E-clas and not all of us? I thought this union represented all of us?
A committee that will not go into effect for a year, and will take over a year to resolve anything is a waste of this contracts time.
· Nov 12, 2006 at 9:42 pm
La Preguntadora – What a great list. I’m printing it, and keeping it.
I don’t know that much about contract language, but I think the answer to why we cannot have more specific contract language on paperwork is perhaps found in your own posting. Some paperwork you say you find useful, like the articulation logs. But one teacher’s usefulness is another teacher’s disaster It varies from school to school and teacher to teacher. Portfolios seem onerous to you, but some teachers love the portfolios and wouldn’t want the union tampering. They would even resent it. Contract language that is too specific micromanages in its own way.
However, that’s one great list and some great commentary. It’s an illustration of everything that’s wrong with the DoE.
Schoolgal: I again urge you to use professional conciliation if you have specific identifiable issues. It can work, and work well for cases like this if the member is well prepared with specifics. Conciliation works when issues are not specific contractual violations. Most of the problems you list are probably not contractual violations (grievances) anywhere in the country. For example, I doubt any union has a contractual provision about the frequency of bulletin board changes. It is not needed in most places, and if it is needed here, it’s because of Klein, not the UFT. Same goes for the excessive accountability mandates.
I cannot answer for your own specific experience with our union, as I have only your own vague accusations here and as you do not come forward under your own name. You seem to be angry about your school-based rep, but that person was elected by your own staff . You make vague accusations against the central offices, but those accusations are vague and anonymous, a little like those of the anonymous student who makes dangerous and highly charged accusations about his teachers, does public harm to the reputation of hard working teachers everywhere, and then disappears once again into cyberspace.
Regarding palm pilots, I have no specific information. However, it would make sense that a program like that is first piloted in a few schools, and then offered city wide. The DoE has spent too much time imposing their idea of a good idea citywide. If they had given everyone one of these electronic devices, without piloting the program, we’d probably have had many unhappy members.
Look, Schoolgal, you’ve got the energy to spend here expressing outrage. Me, I love outrage. I thrive on it, in fact. I hope you find a way to use yours for the schools, for the kids, for the members. Hitting the union somehow doesn’t hit the mark.
Go ahead. Punch away. Outwit me all you want.
· Nov 12, 2006 at 11:29 pm
We did not elect our CC. No one else wanted the job.
I will not name my rep or my DR, however it’s interesting that you try to paint me a liar.
I already had words with my DR about this situation and all she could do was apologize for not answering my calls or emails.
Now as for B-boards: Our last contract gave the impression that we had control over them. However it turns out that article was so vague. We were still forced to put up post-it comments because the contract never specified content over style.
Of course some paperwork is necessary, but much is excessive. Yet you wait a year until you address the problem. That’s not rage, it’s total disappointment.
I am glad you helped us give up our summers and our due process. I am happy that senior teachers that are ATRs have it easier than I do.
You are all wonderful people.
· Nov 13, 2006 at 12:57 am
The saddness of it all is that your argument Schoolgalhas beenn deduced to the “paperwork committee”. This isn’t enough of a reason to vote “down” this contract.
· Nov 13, 2006 at 12:59 am
Stop. Since when does the UFT have to provide the basic school supplies and equipment necessary to do the job? What is the responsibility of the employer? Palm Pilots! What a crock!
Let’s see how much of your summer did you say you have to give up? And, what about your due process rights? You have none? And, oh you’re not going to take the heat, because it’s too tough to fight? Is that why you didn’t run for CC?
You should have! You have the right spirit, even though you direct your anger at the union instead of the employer.
Take a deep breath and start all over! Rethink some of your comments.
· Nov 13, 2006 at 9:35 pm
It was Peter who posted that the union helped out the Empowerment schools with
Palms to help with E-clas to reduce excess paperwork.
FYI: I was CC, but I didn’t appreciate the internal politics. However the former DR told me I was the best CC my school ever had.
When I stood up against micro-management I received my ever first letter in my file–and I wasn’t able to grieve it. Yet I was successful in getting letters removed when I represented teachers at Step 1.
So what am I supposed to stop? My comments regarding the excessive paperwork I have to deal with everyday or the fact that I thought we gave up to many of our rights? Or am I just supposed to stop commenting on my point of view and blindly follow yours?
BTW: Are u a full-time teacher? If so what do you teach?
· Nov 14, 2006 at 11:52 pm
What I’m suggesting is that you stop overstating your case! We’re up against a union busting Chancellor and a city administration that would like to see unions go away. I think the fight should be directed towards them. That’s what I’m thinking.
You have an absolute right to voice your discontent but the blog is not the only place you should do it. That’s what I’m thinking.
· Nov 15, 2006 at 7:30 pm
I think I do get the word out.
My letters have been published in NYTeacher.
I have worked the UFT phonebanks.
Unlike you, I voted for McCall and not union-busting Pataki.
I support the Democrats. And endorse them. Why didn’t the UFT endorse a candidate over Bloomberg? By not doing so, it was an endorsement for Bloomberg.
I also comment on award-winning education blogs. Look for the Tea-Cups!
Today when a teacher came to my room and asked how I was going to vote, I told her. And I supported my answer.
On top of that, I teach full time. Do you?
A new teacher who also has a blog reflecting her first year as a special ed teacher recently thanked me when her blog was picked up by a national newspaper. She was recently attacked by a student, and her CC and union did not follow through.
Here is her quote:
I’ve found a community that has helped me through scary, rough times…more guidance and sympathy than I’ve been offered by either school or union. Honestly, I was pretty freaked out by the ordeal, but I never felt alone. You teachers backed me up.
So here’s what I’m thinking:
When a teacher is attacked, and the people who are supposed to support her–especially if she pays her dues–fail to do so: It’s time for a change!
· Nov 16, 2006 at 11:24 am
How do you know who mvplab voted for? Unless mvplab stated who he voted for, you are projecting.
An important question for you:
Do you believe that people can have legitimate disagreements on strategy and still be on the same team?
Let’s make an analogy using strategy in our recent election.
Why didn’t the Democrats endorse Ned Lamont, the democratic nominee, against Joe Lieberman who decided to run as an “Independent”?
What was the likely outcome of a 3 way race, with a nearly 2 decade quasi-Dem incumbent, against a untested-Dem, and a Republican? Putting that part aside, here are the various scenarios to think about.
If the endorsed Lamont:
1) If Lamont won, great. You still get the Senate, but you have a junior senator with a lot less power than Lieberman.
2) If Lamont lost, now you pissed of Lieberman for endorsing Lamont. He could flip, turning the senate back to a Republican majority. As a Democrat, he has a lot of seniority and wields a tremendous amount of influence on a number of very powerful committees.
If you endorsed Lieberman:
1) If he wins, you set a very bad precedent because you crossed party lines against your own candidate.
2) If he lost to Lamont, you don’t lose the Senate, but you have a very Junior Senator in office with very little power whom you did not endorse. Not a very good scenario.
The only choice was to NOT endorse anyone.
You are a smart gal. You can figure out the ramifications, and strategy of the past mayoral election.
Perhaps the UFT believes being pragmatic is a better way to go than being an ideologue.
All choices have consequences. One has to evaluate the possibly consquences with every choice in advance, and make those choices decisively.
You may not agree with some of the choices, but try not to lose sight, that you are attacking people on your own team.
· Nov 18, 2006 at 9:03 am
First of all I was talking about our union endorsement–and he/she speaks for the union.
If what you write is the case, we should have remained neutral in the governor’s election too rather than turn our back on a candidate who time and again proved himself pro-public education.
However this union already sent out signals it wants to endorse Thompson, so was that another reason prehaps Weiner wasn’t supported?
And why isn’t Myplab responded to me herself since she started this dialogue?
I did not start any attack, I just asked questions and in return I was attacked by the team first for wanting to know more than just was reported. Go back and see where the attack really begins. It begins with the vague responses to questions, or attacks from those in power to those who pay dues. If goes back to Randi telling my teachers she will renegotiate LIF once there is a rise in letters, then does not follow through.
I have the right to question policy, yet when I do I am attacked–so I respond in kind.
My question to you?
When you say team, do you mean only Randi’s way?
· Nov 18, 2006 at 9:47 am
The Democrats most certainly endorsed Ned Lamont. The argument, which proceeds on the falsehood they did not, is preposterous.
And as a high school teacher, my “team” precluded my selecting a leader. How about letting us vote for our own VP in a show of good faith?
In a democracy, we don’t ask Texas to help New York choose a governor. There are many words for a “team” that takes away your voice because it happens to dissent from the leadership. Democracy, however, is not among them.
· Nov 18, 2006 at 10:15 am
I was not sure after reading your comment, so I checked:
The Dems did indeed endorse Lamont as they should–regardless of the outcome of the election.
So why are you posting false information?
· Nov 18, 2006 at 12:40 pm
That’s not all. That big 750 buck bonus is smoke and mirrors too—I didn’t notice anyone mentioning these clauses while hyping the contract:
In order to address specific needs, the UFT generated internal funding to provide the following benefits:
· Effective October 13, 2007, the annual contribution to the welfare fund will be increased by $100 per member;
· Effective May 1, 2008, a lump sum payment to the welfare fund in the amount of $166.67 per member
· Nov 18, 2006 at 8:13 pm
And there’s this too:
Effective October 21, 2009, an additional $35 rate increase in the City’s contribution to the welfare fund per member;
I suppose our dues will be going up yet again to support another raise for those at the UFT?
· Nov 18, 2006 at 10:52 pm
Actually it says “the UFT generated internal funding” for these things, so I’m not sure where this money came from. I interpreted it to mean we’d be paying, but now I’m not sure that’s the case.
Anyone out there who can tell us where the “internal funding” comes from?
· Nov 19, 2006 at 8:39 am
The way it was written, it seems the original source came from the mayor’s office, but then offered no corrections to the statement.
SOC ST TEACHER
· Nov 19, 2006 at 10:40 am
What is the sound of a desperate argument?
Check out the comments of Reality Based Educator, Schoolgal and NYCEducator.
First, they take increases that the city will put into the UFT Welfare Fund, and presto, make them into contributions that come out of the members’ pockets.
If they are so dense that they can’t figure out “internally funded” means that it is part of the pattern set by the DC37 contract, and not above it, they could have asked. But, hey, why ask? You could get an answer, and that might put in a little kink into the campaign of disinformation.
Of course, the UFT has been rather explicit about the increases the city would pay into the welfare fund, as it is those increases which allow the Fund to do such things as put a $1000 cap on the co-pays for prescription drugs. Maybe some folks only read what they want to read.
And if that is not enough, we have reality based educator argue against the UFT contract on the basis of something the TWU negotiated in a contract that was never even ratified. This is not a reach: it extends so far that it breaks the argument into a million little pieces.
Without any arguments to make against this contract, they are reduced to making things up out of thin air.
· Nov 19, 2006 at 12:10 pm
I already answered this comment on another post.
But speaking about making things up, you being a Social Studies teacher and all, the Dems did support Lamont even if some members of our union say otherwise.
I had a great SS teacher at New Utrecht and I believe he would tell you that Lamont was endorsed by the Dems. (I believe you may know him)
So why not an apology on that bit of misinformation or just like on other direct questions you argue something else.
· Nov 19, 2006 at 12:27 pm
Thank you SS teacher. I certainly appreciate your typical ad hominem arguments and name-calling. I appreciate also your attempts at mind-reading, which never fail to amuse.
Actually, misinterpretation is not “making things up out of thin air.” Nor does making mistakes suggest that people are “dense.” Frankly, I’d not want anyone with such an attitude teaching my daughter.
I was taught it’s a virtue to admit mistakes, which is why I do so immediately. I posted a correction on my blog as well.
Your assumption there are “no arguments against this contract,” however, is typically baseless.
One objection, which I’ve mentioned repeatedly, which you and the rest of the UFT aristocracy have consistently failed to respond to is that of cost of living, thus far 5.2% in our area this year.
I’m reminded of an episode of “All in the Family” where Archie comes home saying “Whoop-de-doo, I just got a raise.”
Son-in-law Mike must point out that, as it does not meet cost-of-living, it constitutes less money. Although you do not appear to understand that, I will refrain from concluding you are “dense.” However, there are sound reasons I refrain from shouting “Whoop-de-doo” today. And attacking individuals, I regret to inform you, does not constitute argument.
Should you find yourself able to address that objection, I’d be happy to discuss others with you, including the inevitable infusion of CFE money, which this quick fix has precluded from any part of UFT salaries.
The fact that you repeatedly engage in such attacks, however, speaks of desperation not on my part, but on yours. I regret that the UFT aristocracy must take such an approach. However, it goes a long way toward explaining why we’ve gone from the highest-paid teachers in the area to among the lowest, under your stewardship.
HS SHOP TEACHER
· Nov 20, 2006 at 7:01 am
The problem, NYCEducator, is entirely of your own making — and Schoolgal’s and Reality Based Educator’s mistakes. You are telling people things about the contract that are simply not true. There is no crime in not knowing a subjecy well, but then you should not be offering yourself as an expert. Moreover, you should be asking questions before you make declarations that are wrong. Learn from your mistakes, don’t excuse them.
· Nov 20, 2006 at 7:57 pm
Thank you for your willingness to share your expertise and answer questions, as I have many. In fact, I’m rather surprised you chose to respond to none of them, given your newly-acquired openness.
One problem I mentioned is that the proposed contract fails to keep up with inflation. We are therefore receiving less money for doing the same job. Do you feel NYC teachers deserve a raise that keeps up with cost of living, or do you think we should be content making a little less each year?
That seems extremely short-sighted.
In fact, after having given away the store in the last contract, which also failed to keep up with inflation, you’d think the UFT aristocracy, whose name this blog forbids me to speak, might aim to learn from its mistakes, rather than extending them.
I, of course, do not have the benefit of a patronage job, like you and your buddies. Nor have I signed the loyalty oath. I write this on my break at CUNY, where I work two nights a week. Last night I played fiddle in Rockaway Beach, and the night before in New Jersey.
I do these things because I’ve got a family to support. Cost of living would help. I don’t know whether new teachers plan to buy homes, but they’re going to find it very tough if you can’t even keep up with cost of living.
Since you’re so keen on admitting mistakes, when is Randi going to admit that our salaries have not caught up with the suburbs? They haven’t. Why don’t you ask her to admit her mistake and learn from it? I think that would be a good first step.
And when are you going to allow HS teachers to choose their own VPs again?
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