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The Courage of Their Convictions?

The opponents of the contract have produced a list of thirty ways to berate UFTers who speak in support of ratification of the contract, in the form of a list of questions.

In the pedagogical spirit of inquiry, let us propose a question or two about the questions.

Take Question 23. It reads:
Given the choice of evils, wouldn’t it have been better to do what the police did and cut pay for future hires to get annual 5% increases without major givebacks for incumbent officers rather than agree to these draconian givebacks that the UFT is accepting? 5% is greater than 3.4% isn’t it?

Are we to understand from this question that the member of the Executive Board who authored it, and the caucus he represents, is advocating that the UFT negotiate to cut the salaries of new teachers in order to finance a salary increase for senior teachers?

One asks this question because in the volumes of literature they have produced calling for a ‘no’ vote on the contract, there is not one affirmative argument made for that position.

And it is certainly an issue on which Randi and the UFT negotiations committee have been unequivocal, insisting that the UFT must not violate the principle of union solidarity and abrogate our stewardship of the teaching profession by selling the birthright of the next generation of teachers. Just imagine the future of solidarity in a union where a new generation of members believes that the older generation advanced itself at their direct expense. And just think of what would happen to the recruitment and retention of new teachers, and thus to the quality of New York City public schools, if we agreed to lowering the salary of new teachers.

So if there is a principled point of difference on this question, why is there no attempt to mount even the most rudimentary facsimile of an argument? Don’t the members of the UFT deserve to hear the arguments on behalf of lowering the salary of new teachers by those who advocate it, as well as the arguments of the UFT leadership on why it is wrong?

Or take Question 19. It reads:
Why didn’t the UFT wait until the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case was settled before giving away our rights in exchange for pennies since greater funding could be forced on the state and the city for NYC schools?

Are we to understand from this question that the member of the Executive Board who authored it, and the caucus he represents, is advocating that the UFT wait until the Campaign for Fiscal Equity money flows into New York City public schools to negotiate a contract?

We ask this question, like the one before it, because nowhere in the extensive literature advocating a ‘NO’ vote on the contract does one find an actual argument for such a delay, much less an estimate of exactly how long it might take for CFE funds to make it into New York City schools, given a Governor and a State Senate leadership who have indicated their absolute determination to fight the delivery of funds every step of the way, and a Mayor who still refuses to provide even a dime of the city’s fair share. [NY Times $] Nowhere in that literature does one find any sense of the struggle that will have to be fought with Bloomberg and Klein to have those funds spent on such essentials as lower class size and competitive teacher salaries, after the funds are finally provided. [NY Times $] And nowhere in that literature does one find any recognition of the fact that Klein has used the CFE case to pursue his campaign against the collective bargaining agreement and the UFT. [NY Times $]

So exactly how long is the UFT supposed to wait to negotiate a contract agreement? Until we have a new governor, new mayor and a new State Senate leadership? Until the 2009 election or later?

And take Question 10. It reads:
Suspension without pay for up to and over three months based on an Office of Special Investigations report which is based often on a mere allegation of sexual misconduct will become the norm under the new agreement. How does weakening our tenure protections by allowing suspension without pay, possibly illegally, help us?

Are we to understand from this question that the member of the Executive Board who authored it, and the caucus he represents, is opposed to a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ toward teachers who engage in sexual misconduct with students or other children?

We ask this question because – yes, you guessed it – nowhere in the endless stream of leaflets they have circulated does one find an actual criticism of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

And Randi and the UFT leadership have stated rather clearly that anyone who sexually preys upon students and children do not belong in our profession and in our schools, which is why we agreed to a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. Moreover, Randi and the negotiations committee negotiated specific language in this memorandum of agreement to ensure that any teacher who was the victim of false accusations was made whole, with their position, their seniority and their lost salary restored.

So if the opponents of the contract truly believe that the UFT should not adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on sexual misconduct with students and children, don’t they owe it to the members to lay out the reasons for their objections? Why dress it up as a denial of tenure, when they know full well that Chancellor Klein sought to end tenure in this contract, and was completely turned down on that count by the fact finders?

And while we are in the spirit of inquiry, let us add a few more questions which have been on our minds.

If opponents of the contract believe in democracy, as they tell us, why do they show contempt for the democratic process in the Delegate Assembly of the UFT by constantly interrupting and shouting down UFT leaders, chapter leaders and delegates who have a different point of view? If they want more time in meetings to express their point of view, why do they consume so much time of those meetings with disruptions that prevent actual discussion and debate? Do they conduct their own classes the same way they behave at the Delegate Assembly?

And if opponents of the contract are the most loyal of teacher unionists, anxious to protect New York City public school teacher from the attacks of Bloomberg and Klein, as they tell us, why do they seek support from the most implacable, far right foes of teacher unionism and public education, such as Michael Antonucci of Intercepts?

Is there any conviction in which they can invest enough courage to make a forthright argument? Enquiring minds need to know.



  • 1 Teacher31231
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    This website is a farce. This website is a union piece of propaganda. Not ONE article is against the contract. You make me sick. The person who does this website makes me sick.

    Why wont you be honest at least and say, “We(website) will only push the contract. We will not give you both sides; People who post responses can, but they wont get billboard status with a real story.”

    You really do make me very ill. How dare you! 15-stories and counting. 15-0. Not one of 15 is against the contract! This should make even the people for the contract angry! Our union…this site, put us in the dark and tell us what to do! I hate being a member right now. I love the members…even those against the contract. I hate the leadership!

  • 2 NYC Educator
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 6:55 pm

    I don’t know who Michael Antonucci is, but you’ve been boasting about the support of the NY Post and the Daily News.

    I’m not a member of the DA, but from what I read, it’s an absurd form of democracy in which votes are not counted, ballots are not secret, and both sides claim percentages based on what they’d like to see.

    As for the Governor, you, in your infinite wisdom, endorsed him to help procure the first time for money swap, the one that paved the way for this monstrosity.

    I’m frankly sick and tired of paying for propaganda from folks like Leo Casey, who will never teach the sixth class he maintains is not actually a class, who will never patrol a lunchroom, who will never need to worry about those letters in his file, who will never need a UFT transfer, who will never be excessed and sent all over NYC as a sub, who will never have to deal with a single ramification of this contract.

    You sang the same gloom and doom song in 95 when you proposed a 25 year maximum. You said elsewhere that lowering the maximum from 25 to 22 years was not a significant gain. You were wrong then, you’re wrong now, this contract is wrong for New York City’s teachers, and you, and your entire gang should be ashamed of yourself for trying to frighten people into it with talk of a strike.

    Strike talk is supposed to frighten the employers, not the employees. The extra money is simply not worth the givebacks. We lost lunch duty in two steps–first they reduced it to once every six years, and then they eliminated it completely. We took zeroes or near zeroes to get that, and you’re giving away that, and a whole grab bag of goodies for an increase that doesn’t even keep up with inflation.

    That’s disgraceful. How dare you call it monumental. And you know how bad it is. That’s why you’ve dispatched your propagandists to the schools. You’ve never been this desperate before.

    We trusted you. We depended on you.

    You should not have sold us out.

  • 3 NYC Educator
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 6:58 pm

    As for Klein using the CFE case to pursue his nefarious agend, the one you help promote with this contract, I believe the judge shot him down.

    It would certainly have been wiser to use CFE, or afree to use future funds for a real raise. Then you might have been able to sell this thing.

  • 4 exasperated
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    Mr. Casey,

    I appreciate that you responded to questions 23 and 19 of Mr. Eterno’s list. I would appreciate it more if you would respond to the questions about seniority rights, LIF/grieving LIFs, and why ballots aren’t being mailed to member’s homes. In other words I would like to hear your arguments regarding questions 4, 11, 13, 14 and 26

  • 5 redhog
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 7:43 pm

    Can any reader of this site please identify any other public or private union or large organization that has a web log similar to Edwize in terms of tolerance and even solicitation of contrasting views? It is preposterous to allege that this outlet is micromanaged as are our classrooms.
    Please do not attack the administrator of this site, who clearly bends over backwards in his dedication to free speech and equitable access to our audience.

  • 6 NYC Educator
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 7:46 pm

    “Free speech and equitable access” would open the front page of this site, for which we all pay. to opposing views.

  • 7 DJHarkavy
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 7:55 pm

    Teacher 31231:

    This is a union website. Did you expect that their main posts would be anti-union?

    But you are allowed to make your comments, and AFAIK, none appear to have been censored.

  • 8 Schoolgal
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 8:15 pm

    Dear Leo,

    First of all I am in support of new teachers, especially those excessed.

    However, I need clarification.

    Today our rep announced that the 37.5 minutes is OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS, NOT JUST REMEDIAL STUDENTS. My principal feels most parents will accept the extension, so she will turn it into an extra teaching period since we will most likely have most of our class.

    If all parents want the extended time, how will it be possible to service only 10 students?

  • 9 NYC Educator
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 8:15 pm

    I take it back. I now remember who Michael A. is.

    I’d say his influence and endorsement pales in comparison to the Post and the News, though.

    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:05 pm

    I see that the same ten people are still posting 50 times a day. Don’t know what NYC Educator, Teacher31231, RSkibins, etc. will do to entertain themselves after the contract is ratified. Do you think they might get a life? Nah. No chance. Not when they are as pathological as this group.

  • 11 NYC Educator
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    Pass or fail, I’m fairly certain we won’t be spending our time indulging in juvenile, idiotic name-calling.

    You have a nice day, now.

  • 12 Leo Casey
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:17 pm


    Take a look at the language in the memorandum of agreement. http://www.uft.org/member/rights/contracts/tentative/contract_agree_05.pdf It is quite unequivocal about [1] the 10 to 1 ratio, and [2] lays out the expedited arbitration procedure, with monetary damages, when it is violated. It doesn’t really matter what your principal says, because if s/he thinks they are going to play games, they will learn otherwise very quickly.

    Remember also that there is explicit language about the fact that these sessions take place after dismissal. Without going into all the details, I think it fair to say that it will be very hard to get anything close to 10 students to stay after in middle and high schools, and that in elementary schools, only those students whose parents can make other arrangements than the regular bus or pick-up will be able to have their children participate.

    The DOE under Klein refuses to work with teachers and the UFT to make the extra time for both students and teachers, so we insisted upon language to protect teachers against abuse. They will probably fall flat on their face once again in making the sessions work for students, but they will no one to blame but themselves.

  • 13 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:18 pm

    HOw much you insult us with our supposed lack of knowledge. I was never given the right to a Tier I pension because I joined too late. I have a decent but permanently inferior pension to Tier 1. That has not stopped me from offering sedulous service to students! The wage adjustments for new hires while disagreeable are temporary in nature. And hey if the City is stupid enough to say they care about security and safety 9/11 and all that jazz and then turn around and cut the pay of rookie cups to l985 levels, it shows the whole 9/11 as the farce it is. If the education mayor wants to cut the salaries of numerous neophyte teachers as digusting as that is it is preferable to tell a 25 year veteran to go hat in hand and look for a principal who will take them just like in the real world so we can defer to someone who hasn’t been on board for 25 months.

    None of the givebacks in the other contract, the firemen’s is in now too include such draconian adjustments for the most senior people.

    Intelligent response welcome but my points are airtight.

  • 14 Leo Casey
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:22 pm

    This blog has thoroughly addressed the question of the letter in file, including a lengthy piece I wrote myself which analyzed the letter in the file arbitrations. It simply is not a good faith question to ask about it as if it was never addressed.

    The procedure that the UFT is using for the ratification of this contract is the exact same procedure the UFT has used for the ratification of every contract, including the 1995 contract which was not ratified. It involves a secret ballot vote, and counting by the American Arbitration Association. It is dishonest — there is no other word for it — to suggest that there is any reason to think that this vote will be anything but honest and democratic. I guess the alibi making machine is already working at full speed.

  • 15 Chaz
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:34 pm


    You are a real piece of work! I have questioned the “sexual misconduct” issue in the proposed contract and you have never answered it except to say teachers should not sexually prey on students. We all agree with that statement. However, according to the DOE/OSI people sexual misconduct is not limited to your definition. According to DOE/OSI sexual misconduct could be defined as any physical contact between a teacher and student that they, the Office of Special Investigations, may find as sexual in nature or any verbal abuse they determine to be sexual.

    In other words a teacher could face a 90 day unpaid suspension mearly on a student allegation. Guilty until proven innocent! That is not due process.

    Leo, I noticed you didn’t mention what happens to a student who files false charges?? Will the DOE suspend the student? Will the UFT file a lawsuit against the student and parents?? Of course not. The only thing that will happen to the student would be his/her removal from the teacher’s class! Where are the consequences to the student’s action Leo?

    Oh I forgot, Leo you haven’t seen a classroom in a long time and why do you care since it won’t affect you.

    Shame on you Leo for taking James Eterno’s statement and making it sound like he supports perverts in the school when you well know that the UFT put classroom teachers in extreme danger with the DOE/OSI definition of sexual misconduct” and having them determine probable cause.

    Leo, I don’t want to get personal but you are clueless when it comes to protecting the rights of the classroom teacher.

  • 16 realitybasededucator
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:37 pm

    HS Shop Teacher,

    When I stopped logging into Edwize last week, you were busy insulting opponents of the contract for “having no life.”

    Now I come back to check out Edwize this week and, lo and behold, here you are again insulting opponents of the contract for “having no life.”

    I bet if I go away for a week and come back next Thursday, here you will still be, insulting opponents of the contract for “having no life.”

    HS Shop Teacher, do you see any irony in ths pattern?

    See you next week, big fellow!

  • 17 Frank48
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:42 pm

    Shop Teacher :

    You’re correct that few teachers post on this site. It’s this overall lack of interest in the union’s dealings which have enabled these thugs to maintain power for so long. I agree – this IS pathetic.

    Or perhaps those that are aware of the situation are too busy working second jobs, or newbies who are too busy attending and paying for their grad degrees . OR , they may be spending most of their spare time commuting long distances since they have long ago given up on being able to afford living in the city where they work.

    Or maybe, after awhile, people who are used to being treated like garbage just give up and settle for whatever is thrown their way. After all- they’re lucky to have any job at all.

  • 18 Leo Casey
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:23 pm


    It’s not very easy to keep up with this blog, on top of all my other work and family responsibilities, but I do the best I can. When someone asks good faith questions, I do my best to answer.

    After a few exchanges with you here it became clear to me that you have no interest in asking good faith questions, and getting real answers. There is enough to do answering folks who deserve an answer, thank you, and I will spend my time doing that.

    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    Damn, I knew I inadvertently forgot to list someone who posts here 40 times a day attacking the contract. My apologies, reality based educator.

  • 20 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:32 pm

    In talking about tactics I was just told by a few people that some people claimg to represent the UFT were actually ICE people (retirees I imagine because it was in the middle of the day while the rest of us were still working) trying to get into schools but couldn’t so instead began handing out literature and telling people to vote down the contract. How does this contract effect them? How DARE they have the nerve to claim to represent me by using the union name and tell me what to do with MY CONTRACT!

  • 21 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:35 pm

    The only reason I believe they were ICE people is because they were handing out ICE literature. Some of the literature was actually personally attacking District Reps. I am glad this not politcal postruring for the next UFT president. Very nice tactict for Elction 2007 with our contract in 2005. Karl Rove would be proud.

  • 22 R. Skibins
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:48 pm

    Mr. Casey:
    You stated:
    And it is certainly an issue on which Randi and the UFT negotiations committee have been unequivocal, insisting that the UFT must not violate the principle of union solidarity and abrogate our stewardship of the teaching profession by selling the birthright of the next generation of teachers.

    But isn’t that what happened? The birthright of ALL teachers has been sold out.

    And a four year deal? How convenient that it won’t run out before Bloomberg seeks the governorship next year! Politics as usual!

  • 23 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:49 pm

    Unity has been spending a fortune the last 2 weeks sending out flyers scaring the membership that the only thing that will happen if the contract is not ratified is that we will go on strike. Mr. Casey, you claim it is dishonest to say that the votes will not be counted honestly. With all the spin going on from Unity, I can only conclude that the people who negotiated this garbage are afraid that the membership will vote it down. This is my fourth or fifth contract. I have never seen District Reps at my school before to implore that people vote in a contract. They have been hitting every D75 school in the city. Today I can only wonder why my ballot is not being mailed independently? I do not trust the Unity party anymore. I will not vote for Unity ever again.

  • 24 Chaz
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:51 pm

    Mr. Casey,

    Maybe if you gave an honest answer like many of your pro-contract UFT members (Kombiz, Redhog), I would not be on your case.

    However, your dishonest responses, insults, and outright deceptions in responding to my good-faith questions convinces me that you are untrustworthy to represent classroom teachers.

  • 25 hypatiaNYC
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 11:07 pm

    HS Teacher-

    The same thing happened at my school today. Some guy was handing out literature in front of the school attacking not only the proposed contract, but the UFT Leadership. When I asked him where he taught, he replied that he was retired. I couldn’t believe it. He can’t even vote against the contract he’s trashing. The material he gave me asserted that we would all be better off turning down this contract offer and waiting another 4 years to make a deal. Well, I don’t know about those Tier 1 retirees with their automatic COLA’s, but I can’t wait 7 or 8 years for a raise with the price of gasoline, electricity and everything else rising. I think the UFT Leadership has done an admirable job in working on the fact finding report to give us the best deal possible under this awful Bloomberg Administration. Randi et al went to great lengths to make sure that there was a micromanagement provision and to guarantee that the after school tutoring session would be limited to 10 students or less. I think these seditious retirees, who have nothing else to do but rant and complain about our union, should step away and let the in-service teachers, who want a contract, decide.

  • 26 frogmugsy
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 11:21 pm

    “The material he gave me asserted that we would all be better off turning down this contract offer and waiting another 4 years to make a deal.”
    That’s not true. I’m pretty sure OUR OWN UFT is saying we have to wait 4 years for a contract or strike. The leaflets are saying we should negotiate now and not give up our rights. And it’s silly to think that some guy outside would have any influence on our decision as to whether we should ratify this contract. We all know this contract is insulting to teachers and a piece of crap. There are a lot of angry and fed up teachers in my school and they don’t need ICE or anybody else to get them riled up.

  • 27 hypatiaNYC
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 11:59 pm


    Are you claiming to know what is written on the flyer I’m holding in my hand better than I do? If so, no wonder you don’t understand the Memorandum of Agreement – maybe you’re reading it from too far away.

    And, if “some guy outside” didn’t think he could influence the election with his negative, self-serving spin, he wouldn’t be standing outside during the school day trying to foist his anti-UFT literature on the working members of our profession.

  • 28 PartTimerNYCDOE
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 12:43 am

    I do not feel that “this contract is insulting to teachers and a piece of crap.” Quite to the contrary! This contract still leaves us quite pampered. Here’s why:

    The time:
    We will still only average 6 hours and 50 minutes average daily time in school, 45 minutes of which are for a duty-free lunch. So we actually have 6 hours and 5 minutes, or 365 minutes, of daily mandated work time. That’s nearly 2 hours a day less than “normal” folks have to put in. Yes, yes, I realize that most good teachers put in additional time, but so do most other good white-collar salaried employees (and that added to an 8 hour day!!).
    Teachers in other parts of this great nation are not nearly as coddled as we are. A friend of mine who works in Texas in a middle school must report to work every day at 7:45 and cannot leave until 4:10 (or later if the buses are late). Her duty-free lunch is 30 minutes long. She also receives 2 preps of 20 minutes each. The rest of the time – 435 minutes! – is spent teaching or in home room. Faculty and department conferences are held after school at the behest of the administration with no limits on either frequency or length.
    The UFT has done a fantastic job for us – please look around the country at how non-union teachers are doing.

    The money:
    For the mandated time we must spend, $93,000 is a dream salary. I have been teaching 23 years and even now, before the raise and with two children in college, I have the maximum TDF amount deducted from my salary and I still have money to spare – and I recently bought a house in Brooklyn. I do some per-session for fun, and I have to remember to deposit the checks in the bank before they expire.
    The point is, we are paid very well already, and I am delighted that Randi got us 15% more. So the contract requires a bit more time from us. Dedicated teachers were putting in this time already. It has now simply been codified in order to provide Bloomberg a face-saving way of caving in to the UFT when he had only wanted to give DC37’s 4.17%.

    By the way, my friend in Texas has a masters plus 90 and 10 years. She earns less that $42,000. From that she pays $400/month for health insurance with a $40 copay for doctor office visits.

    Letters in the File:
    The best strategy for a teacher is to be beyond reproach, thus making this a non-issue. For the case of abusive supervisors, good writing skills are warranted. We all have masters degrees so we should be able to attach a well-written response to an unwarranted letter.

    Seniority transfers:
    In short – good riddance. It is disgusting, in my view, that any senior teacher – and I include myself here too – could “bump” another teacher out of a position. I am firmly in agreement with the philosophy that a principal should have the last say about the people s/he hires at a school. An intelligent principal will consult with the necessary department experts before reaching a final decision.
    Why should I not, as a senior teacher with 23 years experience, need to present myself through a normal screening process if I want a job at another school. If I cannot convince the principal of my qualifications and experience, then I do not deserve the position.

    The UFT is truly the envy of most teachers across this land. We have free health insurance with no copay if we choose HIP (which I find adequate), unbelievably cheap prescriptions through the welfare fund, and generous salaries with short working hours. Randi and the UFT have shown consummate skill and cunning in working out a contract that leaves this all intact.

    This contract provides us the framework to do what we all shpuld love most: teach. I couldn’t care less if they enact the 25/55 retirement. No amount of money will pull me out of my classroom at age 55.

  • 29 cornell
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 12:44 am

    Hey HypatiaNYC:
    There are a lot of retirees working very hard for ICE–just look at Norm Scott. What’s in it for him? I don’t get it?

    I’m killing myself everyday and these retirees are trying to tell me not to accept a 15 % increase. They want me to get forced into a job action so I have to pay 2 for 1 while they collect their bountiful pensions, that the UFT made sure remained secure. I don’t get it?

    Who are these guys/gals who are trying to tell us working stiffs how we should vote?

    I’ve made up my mind! Show me the money and I’ll get even with Kleinberg when I can get close enough to kick him the balls!

    Stupid Ice Retirees! Just leave me alone; it’s my life not yours that I’m voting for!

  • 30 mvplab
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 12:54 am

    Wow, finally someone is targetting the right enemy! He’s the one that all this invective should be directed at!

  • 31 divina
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:39 am


    I have seen this comment numerous times.

    How is 15 posts and counting equal to 100’s of opposition comments in counting?

    Every blog has a point of view, a position, if you will.

    They don’t have to let you post your hundreds of comments in opposition. That’s where democracy is on full display.

  • 32 divina
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:42 am

    NYC Educator: ““Free speech and equitable access” would open the front page of this site, for which we all pay. to opposing views. ”

    Of such a tiny minority? This isn’t the main stream media where they present both sides of an issue as if they have equal weight when clearly, the opposition is a small minority.

  • 33 mvplab
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 9:03 am

    Divina is right! You have an opportunity to post on your own blog, so do it! Let me know what other union leadership has allowed so much crap to be expressed without censorship? I’m curious what do you expect? The keys to the castle?

    And, even though there are things in this contract that people like youself find objectionable, opportunities to express those opinions have not been restricted by this leadership.

    Good luck to us all on the vote next week.

  • 34 Peter Lang
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 11:47 am

    “Good faith questions.” Who do you think you are kidding, “Chaz”? That is as much of a fraud as the name you post under.

  • 35 CitySue
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 12:24 pm

    Schoolgal: Amid all the noise, your questions stand out as honest and sincere. Your principal is not wrong. It is possible that some schools/regions could decide to offer the extra instruction to all children, especially in those communities where there is not a great need for remediation. In that case, since there cannot be more than 10 children in a group, they could divide the week so that different grades came on different days. But the 10-student limit is non-negotiable at this point.

  • 36 CitySue
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 12:31 pm

    And to NYC Educator:
    Your statement that excessed teachers will become subs sent all over the city is untrue. An ATR is an appointed teacher who is paid full salary (not per diem). More important, the teacher is to be assigned as an ATR in the school from which s/he was excessed or another school in the same district/superintendency. An ATR assigned to a school cannot be sent to another school if a teacher there is absent; s/he serves only in the school to which s/he is assigned. Can I say it more clearly?
    BTW, watch out for all that venom. It can poison your whole life.

  • 37 Abbey Lane
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 1:29 pm

    PartTimer (or anyone else who knows)

    My understanding is that we will no longer have the ability to attach a response to an unfair letter. I have a supervisor who is borderline nuts and I know she can’t wait to see if this passes so she can start honing her fiction-writing skills. Then what?

    Someone else questioned whether or not teachers read this blog- I think a lot of us do, and I think many, like me, feel sort of helpless. I just don’t see Bloomy coming back to re-negotiate with us. This contract screws us in so many ways, but what are the alternatives? I wish going on strike was not going to ruin me financially, I really do.

  • 38 outraged
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    cutting the salaries of future teachers is better. the biggest drop out rate is that of the new teachers. furthermore, let the DOE deal with the problem of staffing in the future. it would be no problem for them, since there are no shortages.

    if you would have spent more money on real ads to embarrace bloomberg he may have put up some money so that the CFE would have been agreed to by the Gov and silver and bruno. the uft did’t pressure bloomberg and that was the problem.

    when you speak about waiting, the uft waited to long and wasted oppurtunities. it not always true that good things come to those who wait.

  • 39 outraged
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    its funny how mr casey makes statments, and nowhere in the above thirty some odd comments has there been any rebuttal by mr casey to anything.

  • 40 mvplab
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 2:31 pm

    Hi AbbeyLane:

    If you read the MOA it is explcitly stated that even though we won’t be grieving letters in file in the same manner that we were accustomed to, that we will continue to have the right to append a response to anything placed in our file.(Remember, that a supervisor can not respond to your response, so you get the last word.) In addition, we will continue to have the right to meet with the principal to discuss the matter.

    Furthermore, if any letter in a file is used in anyway against you in a disciplinary hearing–U-Rating, 3020-a proceeding–the letter can be argued at that time.

  • 41 mvplab
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 2:35 pm

    I agree with Outraged, “it not always true that good things come to those who wait.” But that’s what all the opposition literature says. Wait it out for the next five years! We’ll do better then. Maybe we should elect Seth Blum for mayor! Go Seth!

  • 42 NYC Educator
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 3:15 pm

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. I am UFT just as much as anyone else on this board, I pay dues like everyone else. and I have every right to form a point of view. You may call it a “small minority” if you like, but the UFT is not sending their spin guys to schools as a result of their overwhelming confidence.

    A majority of teachers in my building fund these givebacks unacceptable, which is why our executive board voted “no confidence” in the leadership’s ability to negotiate a fair contract.

    “An ATR assigned to a school cannot be sent to another school if a teacher there is absent; s/he serves only in the school to which s/he is assigned. Can I say it more clearly?”

    I certainly hope so. Is there a no layoff clause in this contract? Perhaps I missed that. Since there are so many givebacks, surely you’ve at least managed that.

    What is going to happen to the three or four teachers in my department who are likely to lose their jobs in June as a result of so many students, due to unrealistically low standards, testing out of ESL?

  • 43 NYC Educator
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 3:25 pm

    “Furthermore, if any letter in a file is used in anyway against you in a disciplinary hearing–U-Rating, 3020-a proceeding–the letter can be argued at that time.”

    Wouldn’t it be better to get the thing out of the way before it came to that? I’ve never actually had a letter in my file, but I have to think that crazy principals with no tenure, under pressure from Tweed, will feel obliged to use that.

    Klein insisted on this. Frankly, I find it difficult to believe a person like Klein would do this without an ulterior motive.

  • 44 Frank48
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 3:52 pm


    What will happen is that many teachers will be unfairly terminated, or will be pushed to resign – you can count on this.

    Recent graduates of “The Principals Academy” are just beginning to harass teachers . War stories are beginning to mount.

    The thing is we WILL get a contract if we hold out for awhile. Kleinberg needs to resolve this issue .

    An egomaniac like Klein will look pretty dumb a few months from now when he trumpets his brilliance over some improved test scores , and his teachers are without a contract. This will be very poor public relations indeed.

  • 45 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    I spoke with my Rep today and she is appalled at the LIF issue. She said in the years she has been the REP, she has had MANY letters pulled out of the files. This with a “decent” administration. Just imagine the other ones.

    Don’t let anyone fool you. This is an IMPORTANT issue for all of us.

  • 46 Educat
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 6:16 pm

    i have a question: if this is such a good deal, why are union officials running around the city trying to sell it to membership??

  • 47 southbxda
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 6:30 pm

    People come into schools at every contract, to answer questions about the contract. It’s standard practice ever since I’ve been teaching and was happening before I became a delegate.

  • 48 Chaz
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 6:34 pm

    Mr. Lang’

    Where do you work UFT headquaters?? Certainly, not the classroom!!!

  • 49 NYC Educator
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    “It involves a secret ballot vote, and counting by the American Arbitration Association. It is dishonest — there is no other word for it — to suggest that there is any reason to think that this vote will be anything but honest and democratic.”

    I’m aware of that. However, I specifically referred to the Delegate Assembly, (which I called the “DA”) which practices neither a secret ballot, nor a vote count.

    Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

  • 50 Schoolgal
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks CitySue for your comment. But I still have to wonder the following:

    If I was made an ATR after serving as a dedicated new teacher, how would that affect my morale? I still remember how depressed I was when I was laid off and my school let me sub. How I longed for my own classroom. However when I was excessed, the process was simple and I was placed in a new setting right away. Yes I did bump someone out, but I impressed both the teachers and administration of my new school. The person I bumped always had right of return if a position opened up the next year, and usually positions did.

    I will always be appreciative of the right to excess.

    As for ICE, I really never heard of them until recently. I was aware of New Action but always voted UNITY. While they may seem radical, aren’t both ICE and New Action part of the UFT umbrella? Many of these postings talk about them like they are outsiders.

  • 51 letter in the file
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:24 pm

    DOE Has Been Training RS’s and LIS’s to Issue LIF’s to Principals!!!

    Leo, one of the significant defects in the existing contract, as well as in the Memorandum of Agreement, is the fact that there are no passages specifically informing teachers of what performance standards are required of them in order to render “satisfactory” service, and to avoid receiving letters in the file.

    Since DOE has been training Regional Superintendents, Deputy Regional Superintendents, and Local Instructional Superintendents to issue letters in the file to principals, why should teachers, UFT staff, and UFT officials be surprised when principals and assistant principals, in turn, vent their frustrations by issuing letters in the file to teachers?

    Wasn’t it ever so thoughtful, though, of DOE to post Principal Performance Review online?

    Check out the 53-page rating manual, Principal Performance Review, which includes several thrilling sample letters from superintendents to principals:


    Here is an excerpt from Page 36: Appendix 6a — Termination Interim-Acting Sample Letter:

    “When I visited your school on _______, you were unable to provide me with copies of the observation reports you had completed to date. At our conference, you presented me with six (6) typed observation reports and indicated that you were awaiting the assignment of a new secretary to type the other observations you had done. Your failure to provide staff with written observations is not only a demonstration of poor management but a disservice to your staff and students.”

    Here is an excerpt from Page 37: Appendix 6b — Letter-Parent Complaint-Investigation Sample:

    “Today I met with you and your representative (if required) to discuss and investigate the complaint/concern of _______________, PTA President. I shared Ms./Mr./Mrs. _______________’s complaint that you refuse to involve school parents in the development of school policies and programs. She was particularly distressed that you refused to meet with the Parent Committee to discuss their concerns about your monitoring of new teacher performance. At our meeting, you indicated that the PTA believes that it can dictate those programs to be established at the school and dictate how you will supervise teachers. You were unable to respond to my concern that these complaints were almost identical to those raised last year. These were the same issues you had indicated would be addressed in your goals and objectives.”

    Here is an excerpt from Page 38: Appendix 6c — Mid-Year Review Sample:

    “When asked to assess the reasons for this lack of progress, you stated ‘___________________________________’. Prior to this meeting, on my two visits to your school and in several telephone conversations, you never raised this concern. I have asked the Deputy Superintendent to meet with you to review this matter. A written plan to address the lack of progress must be submitted to me within five (5) school days.”

    Here is an excerpt from Page 39: Appendix 6d — SURR Report Sample:

    “Although you disagreed with the findings, you offered no specifics to address the findings. Please submit a written plan by _______ that addresses the issues raised. As discussed, I am most distressed by items ____________, ____________, ____________ and ____________. After reviewing your plan, I shall meet with you again to discuss this report and your proposals.”

    Here is an excerpt from Page 40: Appendix 6e — SITE VISIT Sample:

    “When the Deputy Superintendent, you and I walked through the building, I was disturbed to find many students roaming the halls without passes. You indicated that you would review this matter with your staff. In a conversation with the UFT Chapter Leader, s/he indicated that s/he had raised the concerns of staff regarding student behavior with you. You advised me that you would not allow the union to run your school. This attitude negatively impacts upon staff morale, student achievement and the smooth functioning of your school. I am directing you to meet with the Deputy Superintendent to develop a plan of staff involvement and to develop a plan to improve staff morale.”

    Be sure to visit

    to view the full letters from which the above material has been excerpted, as well as other interesting information concerning the rating of principals by superintendents!

  • 52 mshalo18
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:59 pm

    Can someone explain to me why the ballots are not being mailed to our homes?

  • 53 frogmugsy
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:04 pm

    I guess what bothers me about this whole contract debate is if I ever accepted a student’s excuse that “it was the best I can do” than I’ve hit a brick wall. A dead end. Don’t we as educators always push students to go above and beyond of what we believe they can accomplish? Even if we deem it a monumental task? We give them hope and ourselves hope?

    I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories as well as experienced the heartbreak of children who come from broken homes and find only solace and joy in a classroom. We give them hope.

    This is the best contract we can get? We’ve hit a dead end? Have we no hope? Vote yes or strike? Teachers leave the meetings with our rep with no hope. I even heard one say “I told you it was the best we can do!”

    Maybe we don’t have the right people negotiating for us, for it seems they won’t go above and beyond. If they were teachers at one time, maybe it was so far away and so past forgotten that “it’s the best we can get” truly seems like a victory. I can’t settle for this. I won’t ever settle for it.

  • 54 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:10 pm

    Here, here, Frogmugsy!

  • 55 Chaz
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:26 pm


    Do you really expect Mr. Casey to answer questions that might show how the UFT screwed the classroom teacher?

    Mr. Casey is only good at evading the question and getting his lap dogs to attack you when you insist on getting him to answer you.

    I have read James Eterno’s 30 responses and I find most of them quite accurate. I may not agree with all the responses but I agree with enough of them that this is a bad contract.

    P.S. Lang, should I change my posting to what you should be posting under? “Leo’s lapdog?”

  • 56 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:45 pm

    How will we ever know it’s the best we can do if we don’t vote it down?

    The DR for District 75 was at my school today spouting the UFT line about how all the work rule changes really benefit us. He could not answer my questions about why they exist in the current expired contract, or the ones before, if they are really so bad for us the way they are.

    He told us emphatically that the only viable option will be to strike if the contract is not ratified. He said that at least 4 times in one lunch period meeting.When I asked him why all of a sudden is it that the UFT can not utter one sentence to the membership without the work “strike” in it, we were told that it is illegal to say that while in the process of negotiating. I thought that the minute before the proposal came out, there were no negotiations! I told him he should be ashamed of himself for using a scare tactic against people who have participated in every ridiculous job action for the last year and a half.

    I expressed my concern about this precedent of time for money, now 2 contracts in a row, and the answer was, we still have the shortest work day of any school system in the state. Does anyone know where I can check on that one? ( gives us a big hint there that there is room in the NEXT contract after this ever gets settled to add yet more time, huh??) To his credit, he did admit that he didn’t like the 2 days before Labor Day, but that is the proposal and he doesn’t know why they were necessary.

    I expressed that my biggest concern with this contract is what will happen in the 2007 contract, since we ( UFT ) seems so freely willing to give up our rights. He said that the Union is not looking to 2007 till this contract passes. I am afraid.

    Nothing he said today has changed my mind. I reiterate, how will we know it’s the best we can do if we don’t vote ” No?”

  • 57 Peter Lang
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:52 pm


    Only one question remain: who eactly from ICE you are — Jeff Kaufman, Norm Scott, James Eterno?

    Unfortunately, for you, I don’t work at the UFT HQ. Look it up.

  • 58 Chaz
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 9:06 pm

    Mr. Lang:

    I do not belong to ICE and never have been. I just wanted my questions answered and Leo Casey has failed in that regard.

    On the other hand, I do not work at the UFT for a second salary and pension. How about you???

  • 59 233288193
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 9:10 pm

    Same old Unity line-anyone who is critical of the UFT is anti-union. This is the same crap that equates being critical of governmement policy with being anti-American. Randi and gang, it’s been a very effective tool all these years but maybe, just maybe the crowd ain’t buying what you’re selling this go-around!

  • 60 NYC Educator
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 10:51 pm

    “This is the same crap that equates being critical of governmement policy with being anti-American.”


  • 61 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 11:14 pm

    It is amazing to see how opponents of the contract on this blog refuse to comment on the fact that ICE has sent retirees into schools to influence the vote on OUR (active members)CONTRACT! The hypocrisy of ICE members/supporters who rant about “retirees at the DA” and repeatedly say how they shouldn’t even be in the debate because this contract doesn’t affect them. Jeff Kaufman and James Eterno have made this argument both at the DA and the Executive Board (they have even said it on their website).

    Today several schools had gotten a letter “permitting” “PAUL BAIZERMAN, a retired teacher” and a member of ICE as “authorized” to place materials in UFT mailboxes. Who the hell gave him this permission? It was signed by JEFF KAUFMAN on ICE letterhead!!!

    How dare they claim to have authority representing OUR UNION! How dare they try to influence my colleagues on OUR Contract! How dare they try to disturb schools by making it seem as if someone in MY school is placing this political propaganda in my mailbox! Tell me again that this isn’t about an election NYC Educator, Chaz, Schoolgirl, Frank48, Bklynteacher, fed up speechteacher and others. If you cite them and/ or support them and are silent about their hypocrisy and disgusting tactics, then you are just as bad as they are. The District Reps that come into the schools work directly with the Chapter Leaders, delegates and members fighting for them everyday. Not creeping out when it may seem politically advantageous for themselves! They ARE representatives of the UFT. They are delegates and they ARE discussing and promoting OFFICIAL UNION POLICY voted on by the DA and the Executive Board. The “PAUL BAIZERMAN”s and members of any particular caucus DON”T speak for me. (Before you start the attacks I’m a Chapter Leader and have been teaching in the classroom for over 5 years).

    It is these despicable acts of desperate men and women that are so pathetic that they will use whatever guerilla tactics in order to make it seem like they are bigger then they are. Lying, stealing, personal attacks, nothing is sacred to them. Any response would be greatly appreciated.

    Imitation is the greatest flattery . . . Dick Cheney and Karl Rove appreciate it.

  • 62 mc
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:17 am

    The uft is getting as corrupt and slimy as the teamsters. Randi uses the retirees to vote for her. Other municpal unions only let the current employees vote for the leadership. Without the retirees vote randi would be gone. I am not a member of ice because that would only bring us back to the 50’s when it was several competing unions that led to divide and rule. I would like a complete overhaul of the uft membership and a thorough investigation of the current balloting system. I don’t understand why we are suddenly voting at school. I believe the potential for tampering with these votes is now rampant. Is there anything we can do before the uft goes the way of the teamsters? Who could we contact to launch an investigation. I believe the uft has become thoroughly corrupt in recent years. I don’t see ICE as a solution. I believe if we uft members stand together and demand an investigation of this union we will have a fighting chance. I refuse to vote yes under any circumstances but that won’t do any good if the ballots are being tampered with. Does anybody know where how we could get an investigation launched and bring this to the attention of the public?

  • 63 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:28 am

    Now some response to comments for those opponents to the proposed contract:

    “Frank48” claims that we should wait for the dumb look on Klein’s face if we vote no. I can just see Kleinberg claiming “I already negotiated an agreement. It is the big bad union that refuses”. All of the other unions have already agreed upon their tradeoffs. He has no incentive or legal obligation to renegotiate again. Even if he did what do you think he would ask for then? The press and public already believe this is a good deal. How dumb will we look if we vote no for this deal?

    “ NYC Educator”’s story about colleagues that will “lose their jobs . . . as a result of so many students . . . testing out of ESL” is a good point for low standards, but has little connection to this contract proposal except that there will be no layoffs and no forced transfers (Article 17D of the Teacher’s contract, you will notice is unchanged in this agreement).

    As for the DA, it is normally called for a vote by sight, If there are over 1,000 members in the body it is seems impractical to count each time a vote is held (sometimes maybe a dozen times a meeting). If someone motions for a count each vote it can be done (Jeff Kaufman has used that showmanship, I mean tactic, last year and it was counted -the results were the same – ask him).

    As for not knowing if we can’t do better unless we vote no and try, “fed up speechteacher”, that is a hell of a gamble to make for seven years without a raise if no deal is worked out or no strike is taken (I am not suggesting we go on strike). Try to get retro pay for that many years, and as someone tried to point out to me about raising inflation – if it is true – how are we going to keep u?. If I remember correctly the principals union last time waited longer than the members could bear and then they voted in their loss of tenure. Look how long it feels already, how desperate do you think our members will be in 2009 without a raise since2002 and inflation under Bush’s economy (which doesn’t end until 2008)? I am not willing to take that chance for so long with Kleinberg in office.

  • 64 southbxda
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:34 am

    tampered with? Some of you are truly trolls. Do you know nothing about the UFT? The ballots are sent to the American Arbatration Association where they are counted in the open and anyone can observe. It is a complete open system. Some people are in here for no other reason than to spread mis-information, and make wild accusation, and slander the union leadership. The right to workers must be beamin right now.

  • 65 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:46 am

    As far as I know, this is how contracts were always voted in or out (see 1995).

    But I would be careful about throwing around the word “ballot tampering”. Voting in contracts, having a DA, having a president that is answerable to his/her members is something that many people do not understand about the UFT. Kleinberg is used to appointments and principals are. (In fact many things in our society are not decided by a “democratic” process). Our union is as democratic as many of them get. And this blog is very good example.

    Can things be done even more “democratically”? I suppose every “democracy” can. Look at the U.S., England, France, Ancient Greece and Rome (heck, even this mayoral election against a Billionaire): all could be more “democratic”. But before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, we should have specific examples and allegations of wrong doing. That is the danger of simply labeling people or things by baseless accusations except we mere suspicions; none of us are all one thing or another – pedophiles, incompetent teachers, lazy educators, selfish unionists or whatever negative “stereotype”/label you may want to use. Perhaps some maybe but certainly not all. Have the evidence first before you accuse.

  • 66 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 1:23 am

    Part Time DOE employee:

    Your comments on the DOE teaching job seem to be more Jonathan Swift satire than anything anyone could truly believe.
    “Teachers envy us” you state and then you have to nearly cross the continent to find someone with worse conditions in Texas- Bush country-what do you expect. Why don’t you get some friends who teach in places like Mamaroneck, Great Neck, Sayville, East Hampton, Cold Spring Harbor, Hastings, Syosset, Commack. Locust Valley, etc.? Every one of those districts has negotiated salary schedules that go well over 100K. School ends at least a week before we do in all those places. I vacation in the Hamnptons and Fire Island regularly and am always ashamed when I hear teachers on Long Island who make so much more than I/we. I’ve lost tens of thousands compared to them in my teaching career with the Boe/Doe

    The fact that you would use HIP when you are clearly somewhere between forty and death tells me you are either very penurious and or/have very poor judgement. After you get yourself friends who teach in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, get yourself some doctor friends; see if any among them would use HIP.

    You are able to do maximun TDA and send two children to college concomittantly? Where do they go? Kingsborough Community? Even that would be difficult. I am single on max and have no such largesse.

    Being beyond approach as a way to avoid letters in the file is again something that sounds satirical more than even slightly serious. Teaching is inherently subjective. Only a jackass doesn’t realize that. I personally went to very structured, strict parochial schools. I can remember many of my teachers vividly and specific lessons, nearly a half century latter. I had good reading and math levels always. Still my teachers engaged in tactics for which they’d all be fired in today’s DOE.
    Furthermore, our students often have emotional problems themselves, it exceeds risible to think one can always be beyond reproach when working with a disturbed and often highly stressed population.

    What makes good education anyway? has it ever been definitely decided? Personally, I’d kill or at least maim to send my kid to St. David’s or St. Hilda and St. Hughes. I pass the Marymount School on Fifth Avenue every day, I’d mortgage my house to send my daughter there and not deal with the DOE which I’d never want touching any child of mine. Yet,others couldn’t be paid enough to have their children attend such private schools and would consider them elitists snobbish wastes or worse. Often it isn’t until years later before ooe can appreciate the value of their education anyway. Even excellence and high quality is often in the eyes of the beholder. Ingrid Bergman, certainly a modest woman for her accomplishments never understood why “Casablanca” was so acclaimed.

    Attacking our own seniority? Even in the current climate in NYC no other union here has made givebacks which tend to undermine seniority the way ours has. Essentially every union uses seniority in some way. Nothing is perfect, but it is objective and fair and is is something which everyone can achieve someday. After all, as Woody Allen said 90 per cent of life is showing up!!!

    Were you to fly tomorrow night to London first class who would be serving you in the front of the aircraft? Neophytes the airline hired last week? Or some of the airline’s most seasoned, if not wizened workers who bid for those routes on the basis of SENIORTIY? Can anyone imagine Sloan Kettering- not exacly a place for HIP physicians- pushing aside a 25 year veteran attending physician for the newest oncology fellow? Or better yet, Cravath, Swaine and Moore, if you even know what that is, pushing aside their senior partners for last week’s tyro??
    No one does that. Why would do that for our new teachers? It is senseless. Our new teacher rarely have the knowledge base of our experienced teachers? I recently asked some of our novices how they thought Times Square got its name. They hadn’t the foggiest!! Try finding one who knows what RKO stands for? See if they can clearly explain a gerundial phrase or easily give you the dates of the American Civil War. Be afraid to ask them six elements of the Dickensian canon. Be very afraid. Recently, trying to encourage one of our newcomers, I offered a new teacher a flower and said gently “Rosebud” The gal gave me the blankest most incomprehensible stare. I may as well have been talking Greek.

    And for these nitwits who if truth be to tell often dont know theirr a sses from their elbows, our most senior and long serving members should be pushed aside?

    Again your comments are so bizarre they almost seem like a set=up to me. You can’t be serious. I wonder if you are a real teacher or your posting isn’t some sort of a sick joke. I’m prohably stupid for having responded In any event, I hope you are genuinely not dumb enough to actually go to a HIP doctor in the event you become seriously ill. Then it won’t be a joke anymore. Then you could very well end up dead.

  • 67 BronxTeacher
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 3:45 am

    To the Idiotic Shop Teacher:
    The reason why there are so few posts is because so many of us agree with the comments already posted that it seems like overkill to post ourselves.

    The truth of the matter is this: the contract itself sucks. The money is a welcome arrival; we all need it rather desperately (at least I do and every teacher I speak to at my school).

    Vote for the contract. Get the money. Then when dumb, weak, ineffectual Randi is up for re-election for the umpteenth time, vote her and her ridiculous platform O U T. Get some people in there who know what teaching IS.

  • 68 redhog
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 7:00 am

    To Bronx Teacher, whose post appears directly above this one: I see your post was sent in the dead of night. I don’t think the wee hours work for you. Get some sleep and then get a life!

  • 69 Schoolgal
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 9:23 am


    Yes someone from ICE stood outside our school and handed out leaflets. Someone from the UFT came within our school and met with our teachers and answered questions about our concerns.

    However, do not put me in a catagory that makes me anti-union. I have worked the phones for the UFT Phonebank. I have rallied. I still have memories of Al speaking to us at Madison Square Garden. This site is supposed to be about sharing concerns and points of view. I want this union to remain strong and committed to the past gains. Randi, in my opinion, should have at least not signed away the collaboration between staff and principal on teacher hiring.

    We are not like the outside world.
    Education is not a business. If Seniority Transfers are a thing form the past, then teachers should be part of the selection process. Teachers are concerned about the quality of teaching in their building. The teachers hired from outside our school have been wonderful-hardworking individuals. Teachers’ input should count for something. Across the nation teachers are working collaboratively and their schools are improving. Those of us on the front lines know the needs of our students, but too many mandates keep us from doing our job. Do you really think I like test-prep?

    HS Teacher never talks about going to work the last week of August to set up his class. He doesn’t talk about staying in school til 6pm to redo bulletin boards or update reading charts. I am also in early meeting with parents because the “Report Card” should not be the first time a parent finds out their child is struggling. HS Teacher in fact never talks about his quality of teaching. This leads me to believe he likes the money and only the money being offered in this contract.

    YES and I do think Randi did well here! Also I retire with a better package. So if the contract is approved, I gain.



    Guess What?
    Many admins will find something else to bust chops about. Teachers are blaming Lucy when the truth is they work for idiots who do not understand the program. Do I always like the program? No. But a good and creative teacher can find the good parts and incorporate it into their lessons. It’s not always about the arrangement of the room. It should be about letting US use the methods that will meet our students needs. Sorry, but Chalk and Talk doesn’t!




    AND OF COURSE, THE $$$$$$$$$


    And as long as we live in a democracy, and the person with the leaflets is paying union dues, they have the right to hand out literature PRO OR CON this contract outside my school.

    If retired teachers are willing to give up free time to do it, then God Bless Them. Truthfully, I don’t think I would give up sitting in the sun or playing a game of tennis for this. When I retire, baby I’m taking a full-time recess because I earned it!

  • 70 firebrand
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:03 am

    well said Schoolgal.

    I am with you and I might add; I am insulted by the Union flak who get up and babble about what the police, corrections officers and sanitation men accepted. My father retired as Assistant Deputy warden of Rikers twenty odd years ago…great guy only had a high school diploma. My uncle retired from NYPD as Deputy Chief fifteen plus years ago. Great guy has a high school diploma. I have nine cousins who are police officers (not one with so much as one college credit), seven cousins who are correction officers and two cousins who work for the Sanitation department (one with a GED, the other with a high school diploma…one due to be the driver of the one man truck and not happy)

    we were required to get a bachelor’s degree before we even applied for our city jobs. We were required to get Masters degrees to secure them. We are req

  • 71 firebrand
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:08 am

    well said Schoolgal.

    I am with you and I might add; I am insulted by the Union flak who get up and babble about what the police, corrections officers and sanitation men accepted. My father retired as Assistant Deputy warden of Rikers twenty odd years ago…great guy only had a high school diploma. My uncle retired from NYPD as Deputy Chief fifteen plus years ago. Great guy has a high school diploma. I have nine cousins who are police officers (not one with so much as one college credit), seven cousins who are correction officers and two cousins who work for the Sanitation department (one with a GED, the other with a high school diploma…one due to be the driver of the one man truck and not happy)

    we were required to get a bachelor’s degree before we even applied for our city jobs. We were required to get Masters degrees to secure them. We are required to get even more education if we want to get raises.

    We are the people who TEACH the doctors, lawyers and other professionals who have levels of education comparable to ours.

    We are not supposed to be paid like people who slipped out of school with GEDs, equivalencies and local diplomas.

    The city wants to treat us that way. We should send Randi back to the bargaining table and if the angry dwarf and his Cadaverous Chancellor won’t negotiate we should sit and wait four years. Our self respect is much more valuable than any raise.

    We know we won’t strike. I’d rather sit at this salary and wait and demand that the mayor and the public see me for what I am…and that is a professional with NINE YEARS of college education under my belt, than be paid as if I have a GED.

  • 72 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:11 am

    This winter I enter my 30th year. Financially, this deal is not the worst, although at the very least we should have the 17 per cent sanitation received. That is not 2 per cent more that is a raise 15 per cent greater than ours! Still I can not vote yes, because I actually don’t want the people behind me to get so completely screwed by the change in working conditions!!

  • 73 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:28 am


    That is such a good point about our investment in degrees!!! Rarely is this so forcefully said. No one does anything TOTALLY atruistically. When one invests in degrees it is among other factors to get yourself in a better positon for the world of work (Sure learning is nice for its own sake and you want to help others) You get degrees so you won’t be compelled to “tote that barge, lift that bale” in the workplace. Indeed the degrees are a type of investment. Like any investment, be it a CD or a share of Disney stock you expect a return on investment.

    Sure the other unions are important. But they have not made that investment in their education. For many reasons Randi has been too diffident about spelling that out loudly and clearly. Yes, she doesn’t want to offend other unions that might be allies, etc. I do not mean to attack her personlly. But ultimately the teachers get shafted on this one. Indeed, they get shafted big time.

  • 74 firebrand
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:33 am

    Yes Meds. I agree, I would never want to insult anyone in the other unions. Some of their memebers created, fed, clothed and nured me as well as helped me get those degrees. But we are not the same.

    I am not Randi. I do not have a suggestion for how to go about negotiating while bringing that up as delicately and respectfully to their memebers as possible. But I do know that current method has worked wonders for putting us down. I’m even loathe to say “put down” as I don’t think I am better than any of them…just more educated.

  • 75 firebrand
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:36 am

    ahhh and then I prove how well “edjumacated” I am with a post riddled with spelling errors!

    nurtured, members…I swear that’s what I meant to type friends!

  • 76 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:49 am

    Don’t worry about it, Firebrand.

    We’ve all made a bunch of “typos” on one post or another.

    I knew exactly what you meant and I’m sure so did every one else.

  • 77 NYC Educator
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:08 pm

    HS Teacher,

    Thanks for telling us about ICE representatives visiting schools. Since I’ve only been visited by Unity folks, I’m happy to see the other side is getting the word out. I’m sure, however, that Unity has far more representatives in far more places peddling this awful contract.

    I appreciate your statement that there would be no layoffs, and I certainly hope you’re correct. I will check on that.

    I’m still confused about the sub thing, though. City Sue says that some teachers will be subs, but will remain in their own schools if teachers are absent. So what happens in a school with 10 subs, and 5 absent teachers? Will the DOE keep those folks on as subs, at full salary indefinitely? That seems unlikely to me.

    It seems to me that those teachers were better off when they’d have seniority rights entitling them to jobs in other schools. I think folks in my building with up to 15 years service are going to be affected by this. If the DOE can dump senior teachers in favor of newbies, they’ll clean up financially, which, it appears to me, is the sole thing that matters to them.

  • 78 Peter Lang
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:08 pm

    This is very revealing.

    All of the ICE trolls in this comments section manage to avoid every question put in the original post — whether or not they actually advocate cutting starting teachers’ salaries, whether or not they actually think that the UFT should have waited for the CFE funds to be sent to the city, whether or not they actually are opposed to a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sexual misconduct, and just launch an endless series of personal attacks. It’s just like the Delegate Assembly — they can’t win on the merits, so they disrupt, shout down, call people names. What a pathetic bunch.

    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:13 pm

    Boy did you ever hit the nail on the head, Peter Lang. Personal attack upon personal attack — that’s the stock in trade of NYC Educator, Chaz, the whole bunch who here every day, issuing ad hominem after ad hominem. All to cover the lack of a real argument.

  • 80 NYC Educator
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    Actually, SS teacher, I do not make ad hominem attacks, and I do not much care for name-calling. That’s why I do not call people names. It’s ironic that someone like your correspondent Mr. Lang, who just called people “trolls” and “pathetic,” would make such a complaint.

    And, as for the name-calling Mr. Lang–personally, I do not advocate cutting starting teacher salaries. I think it is an egregious error to earmark CFE funds to merit pay positions without an agreement that the funds will be used to supplement salaries of all teachers.

    Should we have waited for the suit to be settled? If the only alternative is this contract propsal, then absolutely.

    I am a a parent, and I absolutely believe in zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. I have no qualms with that, actually, and I think it’s long overdue.

    As for a contract replete with givebacks that fails even to beat the inflation rate–I don’t much care for that.

  • 81 jameseterno
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 1:33 pm

    Leo Casey-

    Your answers to a few of my thirty questins are not very convincing to say the least.

    On the selling out the unborn issue, you give the old argument that we have to be one union and we won’t divide ourselves as everyone is treated equally badly with the givebacks. This sounds real noble but is so disingenuous. First of all, future teachers will not have as big an increase as veterans in the proposed agreement so there goes your equality argument. More importantly, you sold out rights that all of us have, (new hire or veteran), for a few bucks.

    The PBA arbitrator was offered the choice between work rule changes for everyone or lower pay for future officers and the police chose the latter as the lesser of the two evils. The new officers will make up the pay within a few years. All UFT members, present and future, may never get back the rights the UFT leadership is giving away.

    On the timing of the Agreement issue, next year is an election year for governor. The city is subordinate to the state. CFE is sitll out there and might be settled, meaning more money for city schools. While working the politicians is usually risky, I think some political leverage will be returning to us in the very near future. With Ferrer so far behind in the Mayor’s race, we couldn’t have picked a worse time to settle a contract than now. Bloomberg becomes a lame duck after Election Day and lame duck politicians traditionally have less power, not more. It is advantageous to wait and keep our rights.

    If I read your other response correctly, it looks as though you are implying that we support pedophiles. Nothing could be further from the truth. We support full due process and an innocent until proven guilty procedure for all UFT members accused of any misconduct. Tenure is our right under state law and everyone knows full well that Klein can’t take away our rights under the law, but our union is negotiating them away.

    Your comments about the Delegate Assembly are laughable. The membership obligations for Unity Caucus (Randi Weingarten’s faction of the UFT)state that Unity members are obligated to “Support the decisions of the caucus and the Union leadership elected from the caucus in public or Union forums.” This is not exactly a fair open body when we have people who are on the union payroll voting and obviously they are not going to vote against the leader who signs their checks and also their caucus obligations obliges them to follow the leadership.

    When we ask that Roberts’ Rules be followed so Randi will stop illegally filibustering and allow for real debate, what’s wrong with that? People shout out in frustration because the impartial chair of the DA, Randi, spends an hour speaking in favor of a resolution. That is improper; she’s supposed to be neutral on issues that come before the body.

    The givebacks in this contract are horrific. My 30 questions for union representatives were designed so that there would be real discussions when the faithful from the Union come into schools to sell the contract. People need to know the bias of full time union employees who speak to members.

    The faithful like you Leo are very well paid, and you will more than likely vote yourselves a 15% increase, if the contract goes through, to sit around the UFT for ten more minutes a day. You won’t have to do cafeteria duty, teach an extra small group class or get a letter for your file that you can’t grieve.

    As for the retiree issue, Michael Mendell says the opposition does not have the right to go into schools to distribute our literature opposing the contract in mailboxes. We have to work in our own schools all day so how can we reach members in other schools? We can’t and that’s what the Union leadership wants; only let the pro contract spin out. If some retired people want to help out, what’s wrong with that? They receive nothing in return. They are exercising rights to disseminate information; they’re not voting on the contract.

    The “Democratic” union gives us no place to respond to their spin besides allowing us to make comments in this blog and reporting a few lines of what we say in the NY Teacher. The only reasons these forums are available is so that the leadership can say how fair they are if they’re sued.

    To Everyone-

    Read the entire Memorandum of Agreement and vote NO based on the fact that the givebacks are horrific and not worth a 3.4% annual increase.

  • 82 Chaz
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 1:38 pm

    A bad contract is a bad contract. The fact that the UFT bigwigs must defend this sellout of the classroom teacher by insults and attacks proves how terrible this contract is.

    I have no problem with zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. I have a problem with the UFT’s tolerance of false accusations that can result in a 90 day unpaid suspension. “Zero Tolerance” should work both ways with students and administrators being punished for false accusations. How can the UFT agree to a one-sided “zero tolerance policy?

    How come Randi did not bring up Joel Klein on sexual misconduct charges for unwanted hugging and kissing??

    P.S. To Mr. Lang I am who I am and thanks to the arrogance of Leo Casey and yourself I am quite proud to vote No!

  • 83 NYC Educator
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 2:03 pm

    “I have a problem with the UFT’s tolerance of false accusations that can result in a 90 day unpaid suspension.”

    I have problems with that too, now that you mention it.

  • 84 madmatt151
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 2:06 pm

    I have posted this before and am glad someone else wrote it. I have the utmost respect for other unions in our city including Cops, sanitation, COs etc, but we should NOT be compared to them. Even if they need to get credits etc to go up in salary, their day ends when they PUNCH out. They do not bring work home, they are not REQUIRED to have a certain amount of education to even get hired and even more to keep their jobs.

    We all know this and I suspect there are many people who read these blogs, such as I, and do not post because it seems redundant. Problem is only the people who post alot are being read and then it seems they are trying to sway the votes etc. I think that people who read these blogs they should post, even if it seems like you are just agreeing with another post. This is a forum to express opinions and I think that many people agree with voting NO, but aren’t writing it. I have read ICE’s website and do agree with alot of their points. I am NOT a member of ICE but do have a mind of my own and can read all the data available. I do also agree that the union is a bit out of touch with us. I mean would they agree to these givebacks in their own jobs? They make twice as much as the average teacher and attempt to tell us to take what we can get. I do not envy them or hate them for their salaries, they are being paid for the amount of work they do, unlike US! My opposition for this contract though, is not the money. It is the givebacks and the trend we are starting.

    I am always attempting to get the newer teachers to come here and read these blogs. They are not informed and I think the powers that be like it that way. If they came here and heard all the points of view I think we as a union would be better represented. I am a HS teacher goin on my 8th year and fall right in the middle of this contract debate. The money is ok for me, but I plan on being around long enough that these givebacks will affect me much longer than I have worked as a teacher.

    I am sick of seeing all this spin put on every post. Usually the post is created by a REP from the union to praise themselves and then it is attacked by an apparent opposing force. People like myself in the middle are rarely heard from, our own faults, and I don’t think a real discussion ends up culminating. I do love reading these blogs and applaud the union for creating them to give us a place to vent and share our views.

  • 85 BronxTeacher
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 2:45 pm

    Redhog, Come live a day in my shoes and we’ll see who has a life. How asinine your comment is. You never heard of people waking up in the middle of the night? Jeez.

    To the regular posters here against the contract, angry, and disgusted with the corruption of the UFT: you are completely correct, and many of you are so eloquent that you state everything teachers have been thinking. That has been the buzz I’ve heard since the contract expired. We’ve just got to finish out this contract and vote Ms. Weingarten et al. OUT, OUT, OUT.

  • 86 NYC Educator
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 3:39 pm

    After reading James Eterno’s post, I have to say that if it were a choice between cutting beginning salaries and accepting this load of atrocious givebacks, I’d opt for the former as the lesser of two evils. While rookie cops are not well-paid, they still get a whole lot more than student teachers. It would have been nice if a UFT negotiator had brought that up before agreeing to this bilge barge of a contract.

    As is, this contract degrades the profession for all teachers. I think the grab bag of goodies we’re giving Klein is unacceptable under any circumstance.

  • 87 mc
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 8:23 pm

    If you wonder why so many teachers don’t like to post here just look at the responses. People who don’t agree with the contract are called ice members, trolls and now sexual predator enablers. I guess when people don’t have the intelligence to make their point, those are the tactics they use. There is nothing intelligent that can be said for justifying this contract and there is also no valid reason for worshipping and admiring the uft’s current leadership who think of nothing but themselves, have a contempt for those of us still in the classroom who will have to live with this new contract everyday and not just get a big raise with no consequences and no major sacrifices of hard won rights as the retirees and about to be retirees and union rep schmoozers do.

  • 88 R. Skibins
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 10:59 pm

    Well said, mc!

  • 89 frogmugsy
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:20 pm

    Yea, and let me just add that my feelings were recently hurt on this board too!

  • 90 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 12:55 am

    I’m glad to see that James Eterno finally has stood up to the truth about ICE retirees advocating a position for this contract proposal. Unfortunately, he has failed to answer where his leader, Jeff Kaufman, gets the authority to allow retirees to enter schools on “our” behalf? Nor does he address the hypocrisy of them standing up at both DAs and Executive Board meetings and ranting about retirees not even be allowed to comment on the contract as they put it “because it doesn’t affect them”. So I guess now it is okay? By the way James Eterno, Executive Board member and Delegate, if people going in to schools are actually promoting the contract it is because the OFFICIAL UFT POLICY IS TO “RECOMMEND RATIFICATION’. You were there. This was voted by both elected bodies in which you sit on which sets UFT poicy and passed by very large numbers. Unfortunately for you and your political cause for 2007 you didn’t win.

  • 91 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 1:28 am

    “NYC Educator”, you seem to be very thoughtful in what you write, although on your blog you seem to be on tirade much more – but that is your right, yet you still haven’t addressed any problem with the hypocrisy of James Eterno, Jeff Kaufman, and ICE. And although you have said you are not with ICE, your blog is prominently displayed on their website – which again is your right.

    By the way, senior teachers or less senior teachers should make no difference financially for the DOE in the sense of having a position in the school or being an ATR because if they are not laid off, they are still on payroll and therefore not being “dumped” as you said. As for CFE, you can put your money (figuratively and literally) on politicians at City Hall, Albany, or even DC as an alternative to this contract but I’d rather have it with the union.

    So “Schoolgal”, the ICE retiree was outside your school and that is great for you but what about ICE’s hypocrisy? Is that great for you too? Of course their freedom of speech is undenied outside of school but the hypocrisy of ICE and the arrogance of these people to try to ENTER my school claiming to be a representative of my union is where I have the problem. And by the way, the contract would get rid of the “bulletin board and room setup” issue you talked about. But I’m glad you are voting “no” for that too.

    “firebrand” : As for “almost nine years” of higher education we need is a lot to do and takes a long time almost as long we would be without a raise if this is voted down and we don’t go on strike (7 years without a raise and again imagine trying to get all of that retro if inflation is as high as some people claim it to be). No one has yet made a good argument outlining Kleinberg’s desperation or new found kindness and generosity after the election.

    “BronxTeacher”, you are still avoiding the retiree hypocrisy point, but I’m glad you are focused on political moves for a 2007election by using our contract vote now in 2005.

    Hey “Mc” & “R. Skibins”, why don’t you read my point about retirees and the ICE hypocrisy before you start high-fiving each other. And as for “Chaz”, “Frank48”, “fed up speechteacher”, I’m still waiting for a comment about the retirees.

  • 92 NYC Educator
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 8:40 am

    HS Teacher,

    We clearly disagree about the contract.
    My blog reflects that, certainly.

    I strongly, vehemently defended the union before they agreed to this, but ever since I read about it I feel stabbed in the back. Previous to this, I felt we were united against this awful DOE. Now, I can’t help but feel Klein got the better of this deal, and will be utilizing his Jack Welch trained principal core against us in ways UFT negotiators had not anticipated.

    As for ICE, I never gave them much thought before this. Now, I completely share their point of view regarding this contract, and I’m afraid I do not perceive the “hypocricy” to which you refer. Even if I did, I doubt it would change my feelings about the contract.

    For myself, I prefer to let Tweed keep their stinking money and just let me do my job. As someone who loves to teach kids, I think defeating this contract is essential, and I feel it behooves me to do everything in my power to do so.

    Disregarding everything else, I absolutely see the “small group instruction” as a sixth class, a precursor to an inevtable ten more minutes, and a full sixth class in the next contract. I think we NYC high school teachers work hard enough, under highly adverse conditions already.

    I respect your point of view, I really do. I’m afraid for the life of me, though, I cannot understand why you favor this contract.

  • 93 NYC Educator
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 8:41 am

    Oops–“core” should be “corps.”

  • 94 Schoolgal
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 9:34 am

    hs teacher:
    i am not ice,
    on the contrary, i’m hot!
    i had to find out about the ice retiree from another teacher because, as i stated, i work late. i never even saw the leaflet so i went to their blog.
    80% of my school is voting no and this is after a visit from randi herself! some are afraid to vote no because they were led to believe, from randi,that we will strike–a great scare tactic–and some are voting yes because of the money. but even they admit it’s a bad deal. randi did tell us that the extra 10 minutes was for ais, but that “spin” was later corrected by our union rep the next week.
    i highly respect the yes votes for admitting it’s the money, and they have no quarrels with those of us voting no.
    now, when are you going to be honest and say it’s the money.
    as for ice, i looked at their blog and had to laugh. what they need are insightful writers instead of angry people who sound so radical. they, like you, are a real turn-off!
    it’s so obvious that you are not from the “hard workers” since you abandon any mention of what you actually do.
    but the more i think about it, why would anyone go crazy when others on his staff are presented with both sides of an issue?–unless he was actually…!
    you should really chill. this contract will pass and you will get your money. and i also gain. but as long as i can continue to voice my concerns for the future of teaching in nyc and the power of the uft, i will do so. so rant all you want,you and others can call me names (how mature!) you can’t stop me from posting.

  • 95 Lucy2024
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:00 am

    After everything I have heard and read, I still have no idea how anyone could vote in favor of this contract.

    I don’t understand how anyone can completely disregard what the teachers before us have achieved. The disrespect is shameful.

    I do not understand how the proponents of this contract could not care less about future contracts and future teachers. Once again, shameful.

    I do not understand how the proponents of the contract do not understand that saying yes to this contract opens the door for a future of givebacks and exchanges; never again to receive a cost of living raise.

    I do not understand why proponents of the contract are so willing to sell their time and make everyone else do so, too.

    I do not understand how the proponents of this contract do not see the corruption in the DOE and the UFT.

    I do not understand why some people believe that teaching 10 children for 37.5 minutes is not a class.

    I do not understand why some people think that administrators will actually stop nit-picking.

    I do not understand why some people do not see that the DOE concocts stupid mandates so that a few years later they can use the mandates as bargaining chips. The stupid mandates should never have never been allowed in the first place!

    I just don’t understand how anyone could believe that this contract is a move in the right direction.

    As you can see, I don’t understand a lot of things. Can I stay in a profession where people are so easily willing to sell each other out? What has happened in the few short years that I have been teaching? We are teachers not businessmen. We are supposed to care about people and that includes fellow teachers. How has the Jack Welch tonic come down the pike so quickly?

    As you can see I am quite philophical this Sunday morning.

  • 96 Chaz
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:20 am

    HS Teacher’

    If you had correctly read my comments I said that I found hypocrisy with both the ICE and Unity positions. However, the ICE position is more supportive to the classroom teacher and to my philosiphy about this terrible contract.

    As for the ICE retiree issue? What is the difference between an ICE retiree and a Unity retiree giving out handouts? It is my understanding that ICE people are part of the UFT, are they not?I fail to see a problem here? Is this not a democratic country?

    HS Teacher, my concerns are based upon the classroom teacher and how this contract will affect them (and me). I do not get political, I have followed the Unity line until this proposed contract was exposed as a dangerous attack on teacher due process. As for my speech making, this all started when Leo Casey failed to responed to my questions and then started with the insults. I am a pit bull and people like Leo Casey, who I might add, does not teach in a classroom, insults my intelligence I have every right to respond in kind.

    HS Teacher, how many articles has Leo Casey wrote in Edwiz??? I have none! So who is the speechmaker????

  • 97 Kombiz
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve over the last few weeks had to delete four comments that were what I believed over the line personal attacks on other members of this board. Two came from pro-contract people, and two came from anti-contract people. If we can all tone down the harsh tone in the comments that would help other teachers who come into the comments who are merely following the back and forth and don’t comment. I’m positive most of the venom will be gone as Edwize starts to post on issues dealing with education, and labor.

    Secondly, the mention of a troll above I believe referred to a specifically “blog” orientated troll, rather than a straight insult. Here’s wikipedia’s refence to troll, which they define as:

    “In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory messages on the internet, such as on online discussion forums, to disrupt the discussion or to upset its participants. The word, or its derivative, “trolling”, is also used to describe such messages or the act of posting them.”

    As far as trolling goes, I’ve seen plenty of comments that I think are trollish, but this discussion is so specialized, and my instructions have been to allow debate liberally, that I’ve done little about them, except for somethimes coming into the comment section. Whatever you think of me, or edwize, or the leadership, the fact that we have a blog up and running, and that we’re discussing the tentative agreement, is revolutionary for the idea of union democracy.

    Finally, sometimes in the dead of night we make mistakes in our comments, and then post a comment correcting spelling errors in those posts. Where I see someone has posted a second comment correcting a spelling error in the first comment, I’m going to delete the second comment and make the spelling changes in the first comment. That way the thread will be less disruptive for people coming in to read.

  • 98 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 12:49 pm

    One more point with respect to excessed or displaced senior teachers becoming subs…

    Some have written that they can get a job elsewhere. Are you so sure?

    Principals are in charge of their budgets now. How many will hire a seasoned senior teacher making $80K-90K, over a newbie making half that, who they can “mold” (or sometimes bully) into shape.

    Let’s be real. If this contract passes, teachers will be losing a great deal of job security, something we could always pride ourselves in.

    How did it come to this?

  • 99 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 2:03 pm


    Believe me I’d love the money for the holidays, but these issues are too important to overlook.

  • 100 Jackie Bennett
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 3:26 pm

    Brooklyn Teacher – Individual teacher salaries do not figure into a school’s budget – rather an average teacher’s salary is used. As I understand it, principals have no reason to factor salary into a hiring decision.

  • 101 Leo Casey
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    It is good that James Eterno has chosen to make an argument for the three positions on which ICE had relied on question and innuendo, because that can actually advance a debate that the members deserve to hear. It is unfortunate that he has to mix personal attack and ad hominem references into what he says, because there is far too much of it in the comments section already, and it adds nothing positive to the debate. I will not respond to the personal attacks, either in kind or in defense of myself. My professional life of 15 years as a full time Social Studies teacher, 10 years as a chapter leader and 6 years of working for the UFT speaks for itself.

    On the issue of cutting the salary of new teachers…James simply misrepresents what the MOA did. All the active members received a 15% raise. Future members will receive a 9% raise for the first year of their service, and thereafter will be on the same schedule as all active members. First year teachers received a 22% raise in the last contract, while the other teachers received a 16% raise, because there was a very critical recruitment problem which needed to be addressed at that point. The UFT has, on occasion, put more money into one part of the schedule than another, in order to address a critical need, but has always attempted to even things out over time, in order to maintain union solidarity. Over the last two contracts, therefore, every part of the schedule will have received a 31% increase.

    There is a critical difference between what the UFT agreed to, which was a lower raise for one year, and what the police, corrections and sanitation workers agreed to, which was an actual cut from what is currently earned, of $4000 to $5000 in the salaries of new hires. The former is part of a long-standing pattern of the UFT, explained above; the latter is clearly destructive to the long-term solidarity of the unions involved, and it would be clearly destructive to teaching and public education in NYC. I believe that the UFT was absolutely right to refuse to do what the uniformed service unions did. And I am willing to bet that if we had gone down that road, we would now be castigated by the very same people who are criticizing us for failing to do so. But in that case, they would have been right.

    Nor is it true that these unions did not agree to ‘productivity’ swaps and concessions. All one has to do is read the stories in the Chief and in the NY Times this past week or two to know this was not the case. Police unions gave up holidays and overtime which was a very important component of take home pay. The sanitation union agreed to longer routes, longer shifts and one person trucks. I don’t have any more experience with sanitation work than anyone who has commented here, but I have to say that a one person truck sounds to me like agreeing to double our class size.

    On the argument for delaying the contract… We have already been 2 1/2 years without a contract and 3 years without a raise. We are also at the point of maximum leverage with respect to Mayor Bloomberg, who is now in a re-election campaign and was anxious to avoid a strike authorization vote and a possible strike, given his claim that he has improved schools. The notion that we would have more leverage over Bloomberg after he was elected, by what now appears to be a landslide, especially given that he is term limited and thus does not have to worry about ever running for office again, defies every calculus of politics I understand – and I was trained as a political scientist.

    With respect to the CFE funds, it has been a combination of the Governor and the State Senate, who see it as extraordinarily political disadvantageous to them to provide the CFE funds, especially given their base of support, who have prevented a settlement on the Albany end of things. And Bloomberg’s refusal to provide even a dime of NYC money for CFE on the city end of things has completely reinforced their position. We now have four more years of Bloomberg to look forward to.

    Although we will probably have a different governor after next year’s election, we have absolutely no idea who he or she will be, and if they will have enough political courage to challenge the political economy that has benefited suburban school districts at the expense of urban and poor rural school districts. The Republican majority in the State Senate seems secure at this point, and they have been the main public obstacle to a CFE settlement. Add this all up, a strategy of waiting for CFE funds to settle the contract is a strategy of waiting for Godot.

    There was a very good reason why Randi pushed hard to get a voluntary CFE settlement among the different parties in Albany and City Hall before the special master delivered his report a year ago, because she understood that there was a limited window of opportunity at that point, and once it had passed, we were in for a long and difficult legal struggle.

    On the issue of the ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual misconduct policy… I find it remarkable that James should say that I am “implying we [ICE] support pedophiles,” because I asked whether or not his question meant that he and ICE opposed the ‘zero tolerance’ policy for sexual misconduct which was negotiated. One would have to forgive a reader who came upon the exchange at this point, and concluded that I was – and not he in his thirty questions – who had raised the issue. He seems to think that he should have the right to ask questions on the subject, but that no one should have the right to ask questions in return, much less the right to defend the ‘zero tolerance’ policy. And after expressing outrage that I asked whether or not his question meant that he and ICE were opposed to the ‘zero tolerance’ policy, he goes on to attack it. Oh, well.

    A healthy dose of reality is required on this subject, I am afraid. Over the course of the last year or two, there have been a number of high profile cases of teachers who had engaged in sexual misconduct, not just one but a number of times, and had their cases mishandled or perhaps even improperly decided. And these cases received banner headlines in the NYC tabloids, with Klein and his agents in the Post and Daily News blaming the contract and the UFT for this state of affairs. Legislation had been introduced which would have criminalized any sexual contact between teacher and student, regardless of age, and would have required dismissal for any sexual misconduct.

    Given this contact, Randi did what was both the right thing and the smart thing to do – she got in front of the issue, saying that the UFT was prepared to negotiate a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for sexual misconduct, provided that there was also a way to make teachers who were the subject of ‘false accusations’ whole, returning them to their position, with seniority and lost salary restored. That is what was negotiated in this contract.

    It is worthwhile looking at the actual language in the memorandum agreement, under section 11 b. It reads: A tenured pedagogue who has been charged under the criminal law or under §3020-a of the New York State Education Law with an act or acts constituting sexual misconduct (defined below) shall be suspended without pay upon a finding by a hearing officer of probable cause that sexual misconduct was committed.

    Note that far from the “flimsy allegation” James talks about in his thirty questions, or the similar descriptions bandied about in the comments sections here, a tenured teacher can only be suspended without pay if he or she [1] has been charged in a court of law with a crime involving sexual misconduct, or [2] he or she has had 3020a hearings for dismissal initiated against him or her, based on charges of sexual misconduct and following a hearing of probable cause. In other words, suspension without pay can only take place when the DOE already has a case sufficient enough to begin proceedings to dismiss a person. Note also that this provision puts a three month cap on suspension without pay, which means that the DOE would have to adjudicate such cases in a timely way [something it most definitely does not do now], or face the public embarrassment of putting the individual back on payroll. Since ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ that three month window is important.

    The MOA also defines “sexual misconduct.” It reads: For purposes of this section, sexual misconduct shall include the following conduct involving a student or a minor who is not a student: sexual touching, serious or repeated verbal abuse (as defined in Chancellor’s Regulations) of a sexual nature, action that could reasonably be interpreted as soliciting a sexual relationship, possession or use of illegal child pornography, and/or actions that would constitute criminal conduct under Article 130 of the Penal Law against a student or minor who is not a student.

    There has been some suggestion that the ‘verbal abuse’ of this provision means that it will be abused. Such a suggestion ignores the fact that it is “verbal abuse of a sexual nature,” not a word someone might say in a moment of anger, and that there are clearly cases where such abuse occurs and should result in a dismissal. Sexual harassment is most often of a verbal nature. One of the high profile cases of a teacher who was dismissed discussed above was a high school teacher who, among other things, publicly demanded in class of his female students whether or not they were lesbians, and then demanded that the students he decided were lesbians be removed from his class; he also sexually harassed students and colleague teachers he decided were heterosexual. Hell will freeze over several times before you find me defending his right to continue teaching high school students. The UFT’s obligation in such cases is to ensure that the charges are established by evidence, and nothing more. There is no defense for the actions.

    Any definition of misconduct can be misused. That is in the nature of the beast. It is not hard to imagine how an innocent hug of distraught child could be misrepresented as ‘sexual touching.’ But the fact remains that there is such a thing as ‘sexual touching,’ and that it must be clearly prohibited. Possible misuse of a policy does not eliminate the need for the policy – it just requires vigilance on the part of the union and other institutions which oversee disciplinary processes. The overwhelming preponderance of teachers come into teaching out of a desire to nurture and care for young people, not exploit them. We should make no apologies for saying that there is no place in our profession for individuals who would exploit sexually young people, and that the appropriate policy regarding sexual misconduct among teachers is ‘zero tolerance.’

    Finally, it has been suggested that because the MOA speaks only excluding from class a student who falsely accuses a teacher of sexual misconduct, that means that the exclusion from the class is the only punishment the student will face. Such a suggestion misunderstands the role and purpose of a collective bargaining agreement; it does not exist to set out a code of conduct, with penalties for misbehavior, for students. The reason why exclusion from the class is mentioned, where the other penalties are not, is because this penalty directly involves and impacts upon the teacher. Other penalties do not, and the appropriate place for their delineation is a student code of conduct.

    On the issue of disruptions at the Delegate Assembly… There is no excuse for delegates to stand at the back of the Delegate Assembly, never taking a seat, and from the very moment the proceedings begin, yelling out personal attacks [‘liar,’ ‘sell out,’ ‘lying bitch’] and shouting down people who disagree with them. That is not only entirely unbecoming of anyone who could call himself a teacher, but completely contrary to the most elementary norms of democratic bodies. Watching that display, and the way in which the participants would laugh at each other antics, reminded me of a bunch of rude adolescent male teenagers very much in need of some basic socialization skills.

  • 102 Spock
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    ICE came to my school and without the permission of my principal put their crap in the mailboxes. Shouldn’t they know better? Of course they know how to do everything, organize, conduct negotiations, strike. Oh I forgot, name call and insult, because they have NO ANSWERS!

    It’s easy to say anything when you are not the one doing the thing. If you aren’t involved in the process, you cannot know what the process involves!


    If that means I am a loyal UFT member, so be it.

  • 103 NYC Educator
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    Mr. Casey apparently is of the opinion that New York City high school teachers do not work hard enough, and therefore need to teach a sixth class in order to earn an increase that fails to keep up with the inflation rate.

    Historically, considering the 30 year teacher shortage, and the 50% of new teachers who flee within 5 years, that is not the case. Fortunately for Mr. Casey, he will not be teaching those classes.

    Mr. Casey, in fact, from his UFT office, has the luxury of claiming that 37 minutes in a room with ten students does not constitute a class. I teach college classes with ten students, and I can assure him otherwise.

    I was very disappointed to read that UFT members could now be suspended without pay for up to and over 3 months based on false charges. While Mr. Casey is comfortable enough to defend this practice, I worry about teachers who may, in fact, lose their homes, cars, and who knows what else under such draconian, short-sighted regulations. Fortunately for Mr. Casey, he will not be subject to them.

    Personally, I find little solace in the fact that Klein’s DOE will have pressed charges, criminal or otherwise. The standard in the US, is “innocent until proven guilty,” and there have been prominent cases of teachers’ lives being ruined by individuals far less zealous than Joel Klein or Jack Welch. That there should be a lower standard for teachers is, frankly, unacceptable.

    I’m also very concerned about the pattern set forth in this and the previous contract that teachers, apparently, are not entitled to a cost of living raise. There is just so much time you can give up. This puts pressure on those of us, like myself, who’ve spent twenty years working two and three jobs to get by. Fortunately for Mr. Casey, he does not need to worry about this.

    All Mr. Casey need do is continue pressing working teachers to accept this awful contract.

    That, apparently, is his job.

  • 104 jameseterno
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    To HS_Teacher-

    I never said that retirees should not be able to state an opinion or even go into schools to argue a position. It is supposed to be UFT policy that retirees don’t vote on contract issues at the DA or in the schools. Asking for that policy to be carried out does not make me a hypocrite.

    When Unity retirees help new chapter leaders in schools, is that ok for you? Asking for the equal access to schools and letter boxes for both the vote yes and vote no side is what we need to have in a fair election.

    Do people know that members who are non school based get their ballots at home accompanied with a letter saying the DA recommends ratifying the contract? That’s fair? I don’t think so.

    I just received my Board of Elections guide for the November election. No spin sheet or facts and myths on the Budget Reform proposal. No scare techniques saying the world will end if this proposal fails. It gives four reasons to vote yes and four to vote no. That seems reasonable to me.

    Would you prefer now that the DA has approved the contract, that we as opponents of the contract just lie down and die and say that the DA says this is good so vote for it? Sorry, we come to meetings and do our jobs with more than rubber stamps.

    We are now working hard to do what we believe in, to protect our rights in the schools instead of trading them in for a few pennies. We have a right to fight in opposition to the contract. All we are asking for is equal access to the membership so that there can be a fair and open debate on the proposal. We can’t do that during the day because we teach. Representatives of the union are going to schools and selling the contract. Retirees can go into the schools and represent the opposition. Why are you afraid of both sides having equal time in this debate?

  • 105 NYC Educator
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 5:22 pm

    Mr. Casey, openly laments “personal attacks,” and refers to them as “unfortunate” because “it adds nothing positive to the debate.” I couldn’t agree more.

    It’s curious, though, that he refers to those with whom he disagrees as a “bunch of rude adolescent male teenagers very much in need of some basic socialization skills.”

  • 106 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 6:07 pm


    Your post that you ate a loyal UFT member is a bitt offensive to me.
    It implies that because I am voting NO I am NOT a loyal UFT member.

    Well, Sir, I have been a loyal UFT member for 28+ years. I have paid my ever increasing annual dues every year (even these last two years I have had no pay increase). I have voluntarily contributed to COPE for all of those years as well. I have protested when asked to protest and supported the UNITY slate.

    But I can no longer support what I see is the turning back of the clock.
    So, my mind is made up. Though only a small symbolic gesture, if this contract passes, I will immediately revoke my COPE contribution. I hope others will follow suit.

  • 107 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 6:10 pm


    I had to chuckle when I read the first line of my post to you.

    No, you did not eat a loyal UFT member :-)….

  • 108 R. Skibins
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 6:27 pm

    The only hypocrisy is that of Randi Weingarten and Unity. All along, Randi has blasted Bloomberg and Klein for their eight-page proposal on the grounds that all negotiations must use the current contract as a basis for negotiations. What this hipocrite has done is not use the current contract, but instead the factfinders’ report! This contract on teachers must be rejected for that reason, amongst a dozen others!

  • 109 Chaz
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 6:31 pm

    I read Leo Casey’s interpretation of the “sexual misconduct” provision. Had he addressed this when I first asked him, maybe I wouldn’t be on his case. I do hope he is right that unless you are arrested or charged with a 3020a action that you will not receive a 90 day unpaid suspension.

    However, in my school I have seen a female teacher removed for touching a female student on her shoulder, yes shoulder, and she is under a 3020a action. Therefore, I highly suspect that your intepretation of probable cause is not DOE’s interpretation, based upon their present actions.

    Therefore, I believe any student allegation will be defined as probable cause by DOE/OSI which will result in a 3020a charge, even if DOE decide not to go through with the 3020a action.

    The bottom line is that DOE’s disrespect of the teacher as stated by Michael Best who was quoted saying “that all teachers charged with an offense should be fired and only reinstated if found not guilty” will most surely result in many innocent teachers being unfairly accused and suffering through a 90 day unpaid suspension.

  • 110 NYC Educator
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    Well, on the positive side, if you happen to be sitting in jail when your mortgage company auctions your home, at least you’ve got a place to stay.

    Maybe Unity can put that in their next leaflet.

  • 111 jd2718
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 8:02 pm


    down here please.

    On sexual misconduct. You note that

    A. “suspension without pay can only take place when the DOE already has a case sufficient enough to begin proceedings to dismiss a person.”

    You understand that it is OSI deciding that there is a case? Should we trust them?

    Once the Special Commissioner of Investigations finds probable cause, should we believe that the teacher is probably guilty. Have I misunderstood? Aren’t we concerned about false charges?

    B. You’ve written about a three month cap. Here’s what I found in the MoA (11b, Paragraph 6):

    “The 3020-a hearing should be completed within two months, but the suspension without pay shall be extended one additional month if the hearing has not been completed… The suspension without pay shall also be extended until a criminal action is resolved and any 3020-a proceeding is also completed.”

    That “also extended,” doesn’t that make for indefinite suspensions?

    C. You write about making teachers who are falsely accused “whole.”

    Consider, please, for a moment, what someone falsely accused goes through.

    What happens in his (it is usually a him, isn’t it?) family? Will his colleagues ever view him the same way again? Even cleared, maybe he is too uncomfortable in his school and needs to find new placement, and maybe the rumors follow him?

    Object, please, if any of this is wildly off base, if I am conjuring up rare, obscure images. Doesn’t the DoE sometimes go after innocent teachers?

    Now think of the poor schlump. Do you think back pay makes him “whole”?

  • 112 firebrand
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:31 pm

    I am loyal to the UFT too bad it’s not loyal to me.

    I am involved in the process and I am voting NO.

    Hope to God more than 50% of our members are too.

  • 113 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:32 pm

    The minute you walked in the joint,
    I could see you were a man of distinction, good looking, so refined, say wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind…..
    so let me get right to the point
    I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see!!!
    Hey big spender, spend a little time with me.
    How’s about it palsy, Hey mister you got a cigarette, you wanna dance, let me show you a little, I could give you some!! Are you ready for some???

    Hey Big Spender

    We have now entered an era where even verbal comments could be grounds for dismissal(once upon a time we actually thought that wss free speech idiots that we were).Since innocent or more likely mildly risque comments can now be transmogrified beyond recognition under the rubric of sexual harrassment, a concept which frankly didn’t even exist when most of us including Leo Casey entered the profession, who is to guarantee that a music or English teacher preparing a class for a trip to the “Sweet Charity” revival on Broadway could’t be charged with sexual harrassment? What of the teacher literate enough to actually know and teach the lyrics of Cole Porter (not that we have too many of them left) :

    I’m a maid who would marry and take double quick any Tom, Dick or Harry and Harry Tom or Dick, a Dick Dick, Dick,Dick Dick,

    or consider

    I want to sup it up with my baby tonight and break every rule with my baby tonight but it’s too darn hot, it’s too darn hot,
    According to the Kinsey report the average man loves his favorite sport when the temperatures drop but its too darn hot. It’s too darn hot. I want to hug and coo with my baby tonight but it’s too darn hot.

    Consider Cole Porter’s “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”! where

    “if she tells you she wants ,more pleasure than show her your measure for measure!!

    Will Mr. Casey be willing to take the second mortgage on his house when an innocent music or English teacher is so charged? Where is the guarantee that the charges of verbal sexual abuse couldn’t come out of actual class lessons? There is endless poetry, biblical passages, passages in novels, musical lyrics,etc. with very sexually implicit if not sexually explicit material. Perhaps when this contract is voted down and renegotiated, it can be spelled out loud and clear that the verbal abuse can not be determined to have derived in whole or part, from any actual curriculum

    Folks, jump in here and help me out!! I’d love feedback on this one.

  • 114 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:39 pm

    Wow even Cole Porter’s lyrics get edited on this blog!! See what I mean, anyone actually considering voting for the contract.

    Anyway again from the Broadway musical “Kiss Me Kate’ based on William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

    The lyrics are

    I am a maid who would marry and take double quick any Tom DXck or Harry anyHarry Tom or Dxck, a Dxck, Dxck, Dxck,a Dxck, Dxck, Dxck, Dxck,(I figure you can get the censored word here if not above.)

    As you can see, you could easily be in trouble teaching the lyrics of one of the greater writers to ever grace the Broadway stage.

  • 115 233288193
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:40 pm

    Spock-your contract must be in Klingon-one doesn’t need the principal’s permission to distribute union literature in mailboxes and oh, yes, literature critical of the current “leadership” can be distributed by ANY caucus

  • 116 Leo Casey
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:45 pm


    I can’t imagine anything more painful for a conscientious, caring teacher than to be falsely accused of sexual abuse of a student. I don’t pretend that there is a way to restore the broken sense of trust the teacher had with his or her students, or even to make the teacher feel that his or her good name is restored. But there are things that can be done, in terms of [1] restoration to his or her position, with seniority and any lost salary restored, [2] expunging of official documents, with a record of the finding that she or he had not engaged in sexual anuse and [3] never having to deal with the student again. This agreement requires all of those things to be done.

    I also can’t imagine anything more painful for a student than to be the object of sexual misconduct by a teacher she or he trusted. I don’t pretend that there is a way to fix it, or to restore the sense of trust the student had with her teachers, or to undo the damage to the student’s sense of sexual identity and worth. But we can ensure that a teacher who violates that trust is never in a position to harm another student in a similar way, and that is why we need a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse by teachers.

    I think that it is entirely possible, indeed, entirely necessary, to hold to both of these propositions. To ignore one in the name of validating the other is, from where I sit, a failure of the moral clarity and courage we all need to exercise on these issues. It is all too easy — and all too wrong — to dismiss either reality, to make a case in complete isolation that because of false accusations we don’t need to address the issue of teacher sexual misconduct, and that because of teacher sexual misconduct, we don’t need to address the problem of false accusations. Over the course of my professional life, I have seen more than one case of teacher sexual misconduct of students, and more than one case of false accusations by a student. I even saw a case where a father made accusations against a teacher, only to have the daughter’s boyfriend and then the daughter herself come forward to tell that it was the father who was engaging in the abuse. My experience is that both sexual abuse by teachers and false accusations are real, serious problems, and that we need to deal with both.

    No, the suspension without pay is not indefinite. So long as the criminal proceedings have begun, or the 3020a charges been preferred, the vital step in resolving the case, one way or the other, has been made. In my position, I have spoken to more teachers than I can remember who have been removed from a classroom for a variety of reasons and placed in an indefinite limbo. Sometimes they are not even informed of what they are being investigated for, and sometimes they are held out of the classroom even after an investigation has cleared them. The three month time limit is very important, because it will compel the DOE to move on the case, and either prefer charges if they have a case or restore the teacher if they do not.

  • 117 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 12:19 am


    YOu don’t answer my question, what assurance does the teacher have that the charges, particularly the ones based on verbal- you know the ones that didn’t exist when you started- couldn’t be culled from one’s actual teaching itself.

    If you are discussing the ingenue in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, the one who will take any Dick, per Mr.Porter’s lyrics what protection do you have if a parent or whoever says that is sexual harrassment? Based on the piece of crap that was negotiated I don’t see that you have any!!!!

  • 118 jd2718
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 12:37 am

    Leo, this kind of thinking might be ok for a hearing officer:

    “I think that it is entirely possible, indeed, entirely necessary, to hold to both of these propositions [about the pain of being falsely accused, and also about the pain of being abused – jh] . To ignore one in the name of validating the other is, from where I sit, a failure of the moral clarity and courage we all need to exercise on these issues.”

    but not for an employee of our union.

    Let them prosecute their 3020a’s, and let them prosecute them swiftly. But it is our responsibility to defend our members, not to allow them to be considered guilty unless cleared.

    At least it was.

    Any suspension should be paid. If there is a swift 3020a, the teacher will be separated from the system quickly enough.

    But why should the teacher who is charged then cleared have to do without a single check?

    Who will pay our innocent member’s bills when his union says it is ok not to pay him?

    Do we have a letter ready, complete with apology for invonvenience, and some vague phrases about the greater good?

    What does freezing member’s pay have to do with zero tolerance?

    It is almost besides the point to pick on details, but

    You say the suspension is not indefinite. MoA: “…The suspension without pay whall be extended … unitl the 3020a proceeding is also completed”

    I think you are wrong.

    You took issue with the idea that flimsy allegations could lead to suspension without pay. But the charges only need be substantiated by a finding of “probable cause” by OSI. When did we start trusting OSI?

    I am disappointed.


  • 119 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 12:41 am


    Indefinite limbo isn’t nice, no but it has always been with pay so once you calm down the last laugh has been on the DOE, especially when you knew you were innocent or in no way guilty as charged.

    Now it is without pay. Who can not be so stupid as not to realiee the huge difference? if the vote is as negative as the comments on this blog, you guys have your work cut out for you. Meanwhile, three months without pay is more than enough to destroy anyone’s credit report.

  • 120 NYC Educator
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 7:08 am

    Leo Casey is comfortable with UFT members going 3 months without pay, apparently, because he himself will not be subject to it.

    With rampant inflation, (something the UFT failed to consider when negotiating)a vindictive, awful bankruptcy bill, and a large percentage of New Yorkers “house poor,” this could certainly cause UFT members to lose their homes.

    Thanks, Leo. Thanks, Unity.

    Vote NO!

  • 121 Leo Casey
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 8:58 am

    I am passing on the following story, which was e-mailed to me. It is, I think, self-explanatory.


    And the Sexual Misconduct harrassment thing, I will convey a story, that you may use, if you want (without my name)

    This was about 20 years ago or so since I graduated from a NYC HS… (wow it’s been a long time since HS, time flies)

    We had a half day. Since I was in a talented gifted program, we generally did not have half-days. I was in one program, while my best friend was in another. We planned to go up to her parents house in CT for the weekend, so when I was let out early, I had to wait around for her. It was in the midst of a frigid winter.

    Anyway, there was a teacher I knew from the hallways. He was this radical, hippy-dippy type guy, always very friendly with the students. He offered that I sit in his empty classroom and read while waiting for my friend, so, I didn’t have to wait outside in the cold.

    While I was sitting in about the middle of the classroom, I heard some strange noises. I looked up at his desk and saw him giving himself, ahem, a hand-job right in front of me.

    I was completely freaked out, and humiliated. I left the classroom. I did not report it. Not only could I not prove that it happened, but because it was a half-day, technically, when my classes were over, I was supposed to exit the building. So being a 16 year old, I didn’t have the where-with-all to realize that this is something I should have reported. I was more concerned about getting in trouble for not leaving the building then what he did.

    So while I think there may be some kids who report sexual misconduct erroneously, I also believe for every legitimate report, there must be 10’s of incidents not reported.

    I am currently building a relationship with my neighbor and babysitter who is a 15 year old girl. The poor girl is not even comfortable in her own skin. She has already illuded to things that have happened to her (not in school). Based on things I see with her, I can easily see and understand why a kid would not report things.

  • 122 NYC Educator
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 3:51 pm

    I suppose the implication here is that those who wish to protect our rights are somehow not sensitive to those of victims. If not, I suppose it has no point whatsoever.

    Mr. Casey may decide to champion victims’ rights, and that’s laudable. Why he feels he needs to do so by abridging the rights of 80,000 working UFT teachers is a mystery.

    On the other hand, sice Mr. Casey himself will not be subject to such draconian regulations, why should he care? In fact, if Mr. Casey and the Unity party for whom he writes propaganda cared anything about working teachers, why would they have negotiated such a poor contract?

    Mr. Casey maintains, with a straight face for all I know, that the sixth “small class instruction” is not a class. And why not, since neither he nor his Unity cronies, whose salaries we pay, will have to teach it.

    Mr. Casey maintains that losing transfer rights is somehow an improvement, despite the fact that he and his party proudly trumpeted the transfer plan they now revile as a great thing, on one of the many occasions in which he and his people failed to get us any riase whatsoever.

    Mr. Casey can tell us that going back into the cafeteria is no big deal, after boasting incessantly first at reducing lunchroom duty to once every six years, then at eliminating it entirely. And certainly, neither he nor his Unity cronies, whose salaries we pay, will need to set foot in a lunchroom, bathroom, or perform hall patrol. And of course, they got us out by, you guessed it, getting us no money yet again.

    Now Mr. Casey and his Unity cronies will have you believe that the only alternative to voting down this miserable contract is a strike, unconscionably frightening union members rather than management. They’ll have you believe that we can’t possibly do better if we vote this contract down. Only once have we voted a contract down, and that reduced maximum for every NYC teacher from 25 to 22 years. Mr. Casey does not consider that a worthwhile benefit.

    Nonetheless, when you are about to reach maximum, you’ll be glad we said no to the entrenched, cynical Unity machine, who told us all the same stories back then.

    “We can’t possibly do better.”

    That’s their theme song. Let them keep on singing. Vote NO to this contract. Then, vote in someone who CAN do better.

  • 123 Leo Casey
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 3:59 pm


    You have a narrower conception of what a teachers’ union should do and be than I do. I believe that we must be more than an industrial union, which limits itself to betering the wages, working conditions and due process of our members. Without question, those are important objectives which we must continue to pursue. But we have also larger responsibilities, as advocates for the teaching profession and for public schools. As professional unionists, we argue that teaching will be best served when teachers take responsibility for our own professional knowledge and growth, and for policing our own ranks. That is what the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is all about; it is what peer review is all about; it is what mentoring is all about; it is what lead teachers are all about.

    If we are serious about being professional teacher unionists, if we demand a role in the governance and the educational design and operation of schools, and if we believe that the future of public education depends, in significant measure, upon having teachers function as educational professionals, then we must think deeply about and address all of the problems of public schools. We must be concerned about the curriculum in our schools, as well as concerned about the length of the school day and year. We must be concerned with the achievement gaps among students, as well as concerned with the salary gap among urban and suburban teachers. And we must be concerned with the problem of sexual misconduct that targets students, as well as concerned about false accusations which target teachers.

    Teachers who engage in sexual misconduct with students and children sully the entire profession. They harm students, and they do damage to the other work we are doing. They are every bit as much our problem and concern as false accusations are our problem and concern. I simply do not agree with your general proposition that a teachers union, and its employees like me, can only be concerned with false accusations against members. We are better than a “we take care of ourselves, and screw everyone else” approach to the world.

    I have noted an interesting gender gap on this question, with women teachers before almost unanimous in taking the position the UFT should endorse a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sexual misconduct; I wonder how much of the difference is a function of different experiences, and the fact that female students are much more victimized by male teacher sexual misconduct, than male students are victimized.

    The MOA is quite clear that only a pedagogue who has been charged with a crime involving sexual misconduct or who has 3020a charges levied against him or her can be suspended without pay. That is not a ‘flimsy allegation.’ It means that an investigation of allegations has been conducted, and that the investigators found sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to either lay criminal charges or to seek a teachers’ dismissal. That is a rather different standard. It is one thing to say that it does’t satisfy you; it is another thing to pretend that it means a teacher could be suspended without pay based on whim and caprice.

  • 124 NYC Educator
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    Frankly, Mr. Casey, I prefer the standard of “innocent until proven guilty.” I am frankly flabbergasted that even you would be satisfied to rely on the good graces of Joel Klein’s DOE. Of course, you will not, since you are not a teacher. Perhaps you are unaware of the highly publicized cases in which innocent teachers had their lives ruined on hearsay evidence, later proved false.

    What are you going to say to innocent UFT members whose lives your contract ruined? I’m sorry, but we needed to show our professionalism?

    Thanks, Mr. Casey.

    I’m glad you don’t feel a union should “limit itself to bettering the wages” because under the stewardship of your entrenched political party, we’ve gone from being the highest paid teachers in the area to the lowest. Pat yourselves on the back for that.

    And I must point out again that those of us who oppose depriving UFT members of due process, and putting them at risk of losing their homes is not tantamount to approving sexual misconduct. I have no sympathy whatsoever for such teachers.

    Perhaps if the UFT had been at all effective in ensuring higher standards for teachers, such miscreants would not slip through so easily. Perhaps if the UFT had procured competitive salaries for its members, we’d have hundreds of applicants for each position, as do schools in Nassau, and NYC’s kids would have better teachers. Unfortunately, the entrenched Unity party failed to do that.

    Perhaps if you weren’t preposterously boasting about losing the rights we paid for with zeroes, there wouldn’t be so much anger against the impotent policies of Unity.

    Yes, Mr. Casey. We thank you for enhancing the professionalism of the teaching corps by sending us back into the lunchroom.

    We thank you for giving us an extra class without even a cost of living increase.

    We thank you for losing the right to grieve letters in the file, and then boasting about it as though you’d scored a victory.

    Thanks for moving us backward. Thanks for losing what little we’d won. We appreciate all the hard work you put in rationalizing your losses, getting us less than inflation, then putting up a blog with our money that tells us all what a great job you do.

    Because you couldn’t have done any better. Right?

    Perhaps it’s time, Mr. Casey, for you and your tired, cynical, entrenched party to move out of the way for someone who CAN do better.

    With a contract loaded with givebacks that fails even to keep up with inflation, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could do worse.

  • 125 jd2718
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 4:51 pm


    if someone is found to have committed sexual abuse, terminate them immediately. No one is arguing that point.

    If someone is charged, suspend them. Again, no one is arguing. Based on the possibility (not presumption) that the charge is false, separating the teacher from the classroom immediately makes absolute sense.

    But to freeze their checks before a finding of wrongdoing? Why?

    You write:

    …only a pedagogue who has been charged with…sexual misconduct or who [faces] 3020a charges … can be suspended without pay. That is not a ‘flimsy allegation.’ It means that an investigation of allegations has been conducted, and that the investigators found sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to either lay criminal charges or to seek a teachers’ dismissal… a teacher [cannot] be suspended without pay based on whim and caprice. ”

    But, with probable cause existing when OSI says it does, it means that innocent teachers will have their checks frozen. You are not saying that when the 3020a begins, the teacher is as good as guilty?

    The presumption of innocence in court does not end with an indictment. Here we have a lower standard. OSI decides?

    You have the stats; I do not. How many times has OSI gone after a teacher for sexual misconduct, and the teacher was later cleared?

    Why is it not good enough to terminate when the hearing is complete?

    Aren’t they committing to a speedy process?

    much of what you say is important. But it is not acceptable to sacrifice due process for our members along the way.

    You have written about zero tolerance over and over. But to sanction a member before any finding, save OSI’s probable cause, what in the world does that have to do with zero tolerance?

    Maybe we need to police ourselves better. You may have a point. But if by policing ourselves you mean handing greater power to the SCI, then we have no point of agreement.


  • 126 NYC Educator
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    Why not suspend them with pay, then have them forfeit it, along with their licenses, and years and years of their freedom, if and when they are proven guilty?

    I humbly suggest we move toward such a standard by voting no on the proposed contract.

  • 127 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 5:18 pm

    In keeping with the topic of this thread: “The Courage of Their Convictions” –

    I voted “No” today and it felt great!

    For those of you who haven’t voted yet, stand up to those who would take away your rights and try to demean you with this pittance of a raise:
    Vote NO!
    You’ll feel good afterwards.

  • 128 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 7:01 pm


    you asked awhile back for my comment on the ICE retiree’s, and in all honesty, I am weary from all this debate, and I don’t remember what your original question was specifically. I have skimmed through these posts, and there are just too many of them, I’m at a loss to answer your question.

    I do know that the Unity party has sent reps all over the city to come into the schools and scare people into voting “YES” on a bad contract. If the ICE party has to send out retirees, I don’t have any problem with that, as it is a way for the opposing voice to be heard.
    District 75 has a staffing ratio of 5 or 6 para’s to every teacher ( at least). The District Reps coming to the schools sit with the parprofessionals and all they talk about is if the contract is not ratified, having to go on strike. This is a scare tactic. And believe me, it goes a long way towards scaring the para’s.

    I myself have only began looking at the ICE literature as a result of this contract proposal, which I think is a disgrace. We have had 3 years of crap with negotiations, non negotiations, ridiculous job actions ( example: wearing black on Monday’s) and now the proposal. Now I am asked to give up my rights and work more, or no more money. I’m working my butt off right now. I am at my school every day by 7:30 because I can’t take work home with me. I’m tired. I have a second job. Give me a raise that lets me quit my second job, and maybe giving up my rights will be less important to me. Keep my rights intact, and give me a real raise, and I will gladly vote “yes” on a contract.

    I work for a D 75 program in D26, Queens. I have not heard from any of my colleagues in northeastern Queens that they have encountered any ICE people. Honestly, most of them don’t know what I mean when I reference the ICE party to them. I am greatful to ICE for their blog and their commentary, which I have openly distributed to my colleagues at my school. I feel very let down by Randi and the Unity party.

    As a speech therapist, my ballot comes mailed to my home, and indeed, it came with a letter signed by Michael Mendel(UFT director of staff) urging a “yes” vote on the contract. I think that is disgusting. I have openly voiced my opposition to any one who would listen to me at my school, I voted “NO.” I’ve purged my anger here and over at the ICE blog, and all I can do know is wait with the rest of us.

    I don’t know who to credit with this quote, but I think that “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” Pass this contract, and we will all be crying come the next one.

  • 129 NYC Educator
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 7:56 pm

    Great quote, fedupspeechteacher. I’ll remember that.

  • 130 Spock
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 8:01 pm


    That’s the title of a song. Not sure if it is a country and western or a techno version of a song.

    There was nothing n my statement about being a loyal UFT member that inferred that others who opposed the contract are not.

    I feel just fine, thank you. I voted yes and I know I stand up with many people also voted yes. We may feel this contract may not the best thing since sliced bread (why is that a good thing anyway?) but understand it is the best of what we could expect from the Kleinberg duo. It has more pluses than minuses. It is worth voting yes for.

    Bklynteacher: Thanks for the smile. We are, although on different sides in this discussion, brothers and sisters in the union.

    To quote Clarence Darrow: “With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.” I would add women to that quote. I feel this quote fits the UFT rather well.

  • 131 paulrubin
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    One can have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and not destroy all wrongly accused teachers in the process. Speed up the process from accusation to final result and nobody can rightlfully complain. With 100,000 people, there will always be some child molesters in the mix, and murderers, and rapists, and thieves, etc. That’s just the way it is. It’s that way among business owners, cops, politicians, lawyers, doctors and cab drivers. And it always will be. The proper way to handle it is to get the guilty parties out and the innocent parties made whole as quickly as possible.

  • 132 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 9:28 pm

    I put in 10 years in Williamsburgh before being able to take advantage of Seniority transfer to get a job in District 26. I had no connections. I’d really be screwed if the new rules were in effect.

  • 133 Chaz
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 9:33 pm

    Mr. Casey,

    I can’t believe you would stoop so low as bring in a story about a girl seeing a teacher ****off to justify the Union’s sellout of the classroom teacher. According to you teenagers would never lie about sexual abuse. I guess you have been away from the classroom a long time. Teenagers lie about everything!

    Further, you muddy the waters with your statement that female teachers don’t seem to find this an issue. In my school many of the female teachers are bothered by this issue, especially after a female teacher was removed from the school for touching a female student on the shoulder.

    Speaking of touch Mr. Casey, you are out of touch with the classroom teacher.

  • 134 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 12:35 am

    Frankly a story with no names, no school attached, etc. only rings so true. I understand people want to be private here and for good reason but the J.O. story Leo relates is of limited value, except for perhaps a collection of stories focused around the odd places people have engaged in such activity.
    Basically though Leo is just desperate to sell this contract.

  • 135 Frank48
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 12:50 am

    Well…all of these imminenet 3020A hearings will create a constant conveyor belt of cases for the state arbitrators (lawyers ) , at VERY high rates of pay per case. Many more arbitrators will be needed now.

    Once again , the lawyers are the ones who will be making good money on this deal. I wonder if this was any consideration of the PERB people ? Well, maybe I’m being too cynical.

    What most teachers don’t know is that in the event of a 3020 hearing on charges made against them – they have to prove their innocence rather than be proven guilty. Also, giving OSI even more power is terrible for teachers.

    The fact that Mr. Casey states that pay will be suspended “only if 3020 hearings ” are needed is a complete whitewash of the situation.

    A principal or AP can now make an outlandish accusation ( a lie ) on a teacher which can easily result in that teacher being yanked out of work and into 3020 hearings. It doesn’t take much for 3020 hearings. All it takes are unscrupulous administrators – and believe me, they are out there !

    This contract is a travesty, and Casey is minimizing its venom.

    VOTE NO !!!
    VOTE NO. This contract will go down as the worst in NYC history.

  • 136 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 1:12 am

    Once upon a time when I came into the system,(aka the l970’s) people didn’t even know what 3020a charges were because they were so rare. If anyone was brought up on charges, you assumed that there was veritable moral turpitude or at least genuinely looked that way, or someone was so imcompetent they couldn’t keep their class in the building, not so much the classroom but the building. Anyway I didn’t know anyone brought up on charges for years.

    But that is no longer the case. I was brought up on charges. I had been asked to leave an assignment where I was the most senior person. Politics pure and simple. I refused.

    Within six months the most bizarre charges were brought against me. They were not sexual and the allegedly grieved student, who checked into mental hospitals every two weeks, had no interest in testifying, but that doesn’t stop the DOE when they are out to get someone.

    The case proceeded. Not trusting the union for obvious reasons, I engaged a private attorney, the bill was very quickly $10,000. At the last minute the DOE checked my attendance and cited me for any time I had been even a minute late in the prior three years. Several years earlier I had been absent quite a bit after being injured at work. Anyway those were the charges. No I wasn’t terminated, the hearing officer knew something was amiss, the City’s attorney was even apologetic, to a point, after my highly paid attorney made her look like a jackass. But they were still charges and I did have to accept another assignment to settle them.

    Lawyers are metastacizing like cancer cells themselves these days and this is indeed food for lawyers who aren’t competent enough to work in the more competitve areas of law. Frank is so right. 3020a charges don’t mean too much of anything these days. Any unscrupulous, unethical administrator can concoct them. It is a standard of nothing of consequence. But don’t believe me. Don’t believe anyone here. Check with private attorneys who are familiar with what is known as Administrative Law. They will tell you how bad the deal is and what they think of Randi and Leo. I better not say anymore.

  • 137 Frank48
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    Yeah – the PERB people were from the Albany area. Does anyone here doubt that a stable of lawyers wouldn’t be drooling over the chance to do some nice 3020A arbitration work for $1,000 a day ?

    In fact, due to this proposed contract , a steady flow of cases must be quickly decided.

    Am I too pessimistic to entertain the possibility that this is one reason which made it a little easier for PERB to recommend we lose the LIFS rights we have now ? Could it be possible that they realized this would possibly result in a LOT MORE 34020A hearings ?

  • 138 frogmugsy
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 5:21 pm

    I voted “No”. This contract, for I firmly believe is not a matter of opinion, is downright evil. I feel betrayed by my UFT rep who simply withheld a great deal of information from us. And of course, she voted “Yes” with a clear conscience. What’s that saying… penny wise…..pound foolish? I appreciate the sagacious remarks of those who posted and helped me look at the issues and situations that went beyond the 15 or whatever percent. Such experience is invaluable.

  • 139 firebrand
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 5:57 pm

    excellent frogmugsy I am voting No tomorrow and hope that most of my school does the same.

    It is downright evil.

  • 140 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    This is very interesting!! Indubitably, everyone agrees veritable physical sexual abuse of minors should not be tolerated. Yet, what is that abuse? We think we know of course, but do we? I mean when the pat on the shoulder is transmogrified into sexual misconduct as you can be sure with the OSI it will be, we will not be in agreement on the implications at all.

    Now what about the verbal? I posted a number of lyrics on this site from Cole Porter’s “kiss Me Kate” and Dorothy Fields’ “Sweet Charity”. They are quite risque and yet considered classics. I have asked is there any assurance in writing that the accusation of verbal sexual abuse could not be derived from an acutal lesson? If someone is doing “The Bible as Literature” and reads from the very erotic Book of Psalms. The metaphysical poem “The Flea” where the young man tries to cajole the young lady to his bed. What of the English teacher discussing the exploits of Fielding’s “Tom JOnes” or the personal life of Charles Dickens? In an era where teachers can be attacked for teaching evolution where is our protection here? I’d love to hear Randi and Leo explain this aspect of the contract to a group of defense attorneys versed in administrative law.
    I mean who would be safe? Has anyone ever truly listened to Sister Wendy Beckett go on and on about the sexuality of medieval paintings perhaps talking how attractively a particular artist depicts pubic hair for example? In our contract could Sister Wendy be brought up on charges of sexual harrassment? Where is the written guarantee that this could not happen, solidly encoded to the liking of a good defense attorney?

    Leo, speak up here! I’d love to here your response. What is the protection??

  • 141 R. Skibins
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 10:59 pm

    For newbies:

    Times Square was called Longacre Square.

    RKO Pictures was founded in 1929 from the merger of the Keith Orpheum theater circuit, Joseph P. Kennedy’s Film Booking Office, and Radio Corporation of America.

  • 142 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 11:19 pm


    and Longacre Square was very known for its collection of prostitutes! but could you teach that under the new contract? Or could discussing that in one’s classroom possibly lead to sexual harrassment charges? Who knows? There is no written guarantee-and that’s the only kind that counts- that verbal sexual abuse couldn’t be derived from one’s actual lessons.

    So the new teachers are probably better off that 90 plus per cent of them don’t know this anyway. Ignorance is indeed bliss very often and there is no reason at all to think the DOE is looking for any intellects.

  • 143 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 12:53 am

    Everyone take note, if you haven’t voted yet, Leo doesn’t respond when prodded on the possibility that your very lessons couldn’t be transmogrified into verbal/sexual abuse accusations by the OSI. And indeed he can’t because if it is not in writing that it can’t be done, it will be used on some poor soul sooner or later.

  • 144 Leo Casey
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 10:33 am

    Shouldhavegonetomeds is entitled to his vivid imagination. He must be one of those English teachers who always wanted to be a playwright or a poet, and I do not begrudge him the exercise of his talents here. But the reason why I don’t respond to his stream of consciousness riffs on how his literature lessons are going to have him brought up on sexual misconduct charges is that there is nothing to respond to. The fact that he spins a fantastic fable does not mean that the rest of us have to surrender our critical thinking skills and pretend that it is real.

  • 145 divina
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 11:51 am


    Many of those songs were censored with alternative words or not played at all. I know this because music is what I studied all of my life.

    As far as your comment about the story the Leo posted about the girl.

    I was that girl. It was in the late 80’s in a HS in Manhattan. If I give more information, then my identity becomes at risk of exposure.

    I don’t know what the teacher taught, don’t even remember his name. Only that he dressed himself in clothing (and jewelry) that was not in step with the times. I’m sure by now, he is retired.

    Students often don’t know when a teacher commits an offense that should be reported.

    I can go on, and tell you the story about the elementary school teacher who made me pee in my pants because the bathroom pass quota was reached for that hour, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. (I never told my parents about it either btw, until I was about 33 years old because at the time, I didn’t understand that what the teacher did on my behalf was wrong.)

    I can tell you in the workplace where men have sexually harassed me and when said something about it, the boss said he was “just joking”. (He definitely was NOT joking.)

    Sometimes the line of what is appropriate and what is not is often blurred and I would imagine that a person with less experience would have even more problem knowing the difference. (Such as a teenager).

    So for every false charge, how many of them were knowingly false? How many were misunderstandings?

    More importantly, the point of my story emailed to Leo, how many things go unreported because the kid just doesn’t understand that it should be reported? I believe as many as 50%.

    Therefore, the best policy is to conduct oneself beyond reproach, where there will never be a misunderstanding. That is what I have been forced to do in the workplace, even if in my personal life, I enjoy double entendre. There is too much at stake to cross into the gray area of hear-say and misunderstanding. So it is better to avoid all possibility of misunderstanding.

    I know if there was even a question about inappropriate conduct toward my child (sexual or not), ripping heads off would come first. You wouldn’t have the chance to tell your side of the story.

  • 146 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 6:22 pm


    Don’t believe me. Don’t believe Leo. Check with experienced defense attorneys regarding the merits of our new contract. Talk to those verse in what is known too as administrative law. You owe it to yourself to do that on something that could affect your whole life. When you get your information see who was projecting a more accurate depiction myself or Leo. Anything can be a charge under 3020a. Don’t let anyone fool you. ASK AN ATTORNEY VERSED IN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW.

  • 147 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 6:37 pm


    I find your comments confusing. Where were the lyrics censored or not played at all? Not in their Broadway productions or on the cast album which teachers are likely to use.

    You do seem like a woman that has experienced quite a collection of abuse if I say so myself.

    Furthermore, in all the reportings in the world, the only one that ultimately benefits are the attorneys. That’s a hard concept for people to understand but it is true. Teachers will lose what little they have to avaricious lawyers.

    You are talking about often emotionally disturbed teenagers going through some of the most difficult times of their lives under harsh conditions. No one disputes the seriousness of veritable abuse, but pursing every vague innuendo will make teaching a worthless job which no bright person will want any part of and be a field day for attorneys. The whole idea that you can be above reproach one hundred per cent of the time when you are dealing with what can be emotionally disturbed children from a multiplicity of cultures is risible, almost Marx Brothers comedic.

    Meanwhile, if your temper is so volative vis a vis your own child, I strongly suggest you get hold of it before someone sues you and you find that you and your own ass ets becomes fodder for attorneys.

  • 148 R. Skibins
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    First of all, I am a health teacher. Will I be brought up on sexual misconduct charges if someone is offended by the subject matter that I teach?

    Secondly, to all of the newbies:
    Enjoy teaching while you can because by voting yes to this contract without a no-layoff pledge, your career is in jeopardy. That is unless Adolph Klein decides to “restructure” your schools and gets rid of the veterans, a wonderful gift which you voted for! And with Weingarten and Unity’s history of sellout contracts, you’ll be working from 8-5, have lunch and dinner duty, work for half of the summer, and pay through the nose for medication.

  • 149 mshalo18
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 9:33 pm

    There’s one GOOD reason you should all vote no- it seems that administrators are just LOVING the absolute autonomy they will receive if this abomination passes. That fact alone should tell you have bad this contract is.

    It is becoming quite clear to me that the new teachers who voted yes either 1) have no clue how they are playing a role in the destruction of teachers’ rights as we currently know them, or 2) have no intention of staying in the system.

    And to all of you who work on Saturdays: it’s just a matter of time until a half day’s work on Saturday (or perhaps even Sunday for those who observe Sabbath on Saturday) will be part of our contractual school year. Just remember: YOU voted yes for THIS contract and set a precedent.

  • 150 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 10:24 pm


    Yes, I agree with you!!! I have made posts along thoselines, it sounds like I am just being funny, but it is really very serious as anyone with a modicum of common sense here would realize. Again, when you talk to some of these newer teachers they often know so very little which is Ok but then actually think they know a lot.

  • 151 divina
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 6:50 am


    You seem out of touch.

    Wasn’t it you that went on a tirade about NYC History in a game of trivial pursuit. Well as an expert of trivial pursuit, you should know that many of those Cole Porter tunes WERE censored, in their day.

    Second, my experiences are not particularly unusual (or numerous) as a reasonably attractive females (actually, they just have to have a heart that beats). I’m going to guess that you are a man, and you can’t relate. I’ve heard this attitude from men.

    I’m also going to chalk up your comments as someone who is in a glass bubble of your own little world. Only your own point of view, and your own experiences are valid, and everyone else is just paranoid or off-the-deep end. Maybe you should address THAT self-involved world view.

    Have a nice day.

  • 152 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 9:56 pm


    I do understand quite well that Cole Porter’s lyrics were censored as was Paul Robeson’s singing and Gwen Verdon’s dancing for that matter (not that the teachers we hire today would be apt to know Gwen Verdon from the Battle of Vurdon) What I am saying is that the Broadway productions, record and cast albums are not and that is apt to be what a teacher would use for class reference! However, Leo is here assuring us that one can not get in trouble with those lyrics in a class situation. Believe that and I have some dessert land to sell you in the middle of the ocean. Of course, if the tenure was at all meaningful you should not get in trouble for something that is totally congrous with community standards. (Certainly, many schools did field trips to the recent “Kiss Me Kate” revival and the lyrics were not censored!!!)

    From your second paragraph why don’t you practice Mr.Porter’s delicious “I Hate Men”!! a number that itself would be outside the ken of ninety per cent of the DOE’s current staff.

    Furthermore, how my awareness that once every petty innuendo, risque comment, knowing glance, etc. is transmogrified into a Federal case only the lawyers will benefit ultimately puts me in my own little out of touch world eludes me. On the contrary I am a very worldly, sophisticated person who knows trouble when I see it coming even miles away. Where this could head is not pretty.

    I am sorry you don’t have yourself under Mr. James Levine’s knowing baton every evening, as you’d apparently prefer to teaching. (Not that Mr. Levine is especially interested in attractive women under his…….I best stop right there. Indubitably under the new contract, my comments could be construed as XXXXXXXXXX)

    I infer you are a single parent.

  • 153 Tom Bennett
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 10:59 pm

    Are we to believe that concern for our fellow man is a “zero sum game.” In other words, can we either fight for what is right here in New York, OR fight for what’s right in New Orleans, but not both? It is hard to fathom the thinking process behind the mean-spirited comments accompanying this rather innocuous post. Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that our problems here in New York are part of a larger political problem that stretches from one part of our nation to the other, and beyond. How can we expect to negotiate contracts that are advantageous to workers when the entire country is lousy with Republicans, and the Democratic party is basically moribund? I am amazed at the optimism of those who think that Bloomberg will rush back to the table to shower us with goodies if we reject the contract. Why on earth will he do that when he is running against the invisible man in the mayoral race? Why should we expect to be granted a wonderful contract when labor-hating Republicans dominate virtually every government entity from the Presidency right on down to local dog-catcher? Did you really think we could elect one enemy of labor after another and not have to pay any price for it? Labor is under attack across the country, and no amount of arm waving, hollering, (or striking under the Taylor law) is going to change that. So, if we want to see a future where politicians are willing to negotiate with labor in good faith, then we have to begin the process of moving this country back in the right direction. And it is very possible that the same ill wind that destroyed New Orleans may intensify into a howling storm that blows these pirates out of office. And we have support that storm wherever it starts.

  • 154 Frank48
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 11:05 am

    Mr Bennet:

    If you represent Unity, then
    you are a detached idealogue – and YES, Unity should focus on their nuts and bolts duty of protecting their worker’s contract before they post grandiose communiques about their global influence on worker’s rights.

    The reason this “hostility” exists is that Unity has folded in this area – protecting the everyday classroom teacher’s contract . I guess this task is mundane compared to being saviors and martyrs to the worldwide labor movement.

    We needed to call Bloomberg’s offer – bluff his bluff. That PERB agreement which was used as a template for the offer should have been explained and its properties and ramifications fully exhibited to the membership. Instead, it was railroaded through in a hurry.

    I wonder why ? It stinks more than the Fulton Fish Market used to on a 100 degree in July.

    The firefighters are true heroes – and can’t possibly be paid their true worth. However, look at their retro check they are getting – announced today at $15,000.00. They deserve it – and they were also in the Dickensian Bloomberg’s face for months – heckling him , etc. I don’t think he found that pleasant, yet he’s giving some of them a $15,000 retro check.

    The man is used to negotiating, and would have settled a better contract with us if we had the balls to call his bluff.

    It’s not in Bloomberg’s interest to have this contract dangling, as he trupmets the improvements in his school system over the next 6 months.

    But alas, greatly to do Unity neglect , teachers may be have turned into a toothless flock of sheep, chewing their cud greatfully…

  • 155 nonpartisan
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 12:47 pm

    I agree with Tom Bennett. His post harkens back to what “Institutional Memory” said on an earlier thread :

    “Years ago, most union members realized that they were struggling to move up in the world. Organized labor was all-too-cognizant that resentment of their improved condition was rampant, and that they would have to overcome public sentiment to keep their lives changing for the better.

    Nowadays, many union members… reflect a sense of entitlement, and think that the rest of the world sees things their way. They truly believe that the gravy train is on the express track. They are sadly mistaken.”

    Institutional Memory makes a good point. The only thing on an express track is the train coming at us from the other direction. To ignore it would be unfortunate since riding on that train are most of the country’s political leaders, the press corps, a good deal of the public, and (as we sometimes discover when we go to parties) even the members of our own extended families.

    Or, to put it another way, when the union sits down at the negotiating table, almost the entire country (politically, culturally) is sitting on the other side.

    But considering all the splenetic fervor here, someone is sure to quip that the UFT is on that express train too, mowing down the members.

    Nonsense. Blaming the UFT for the contract is a lot like blaming the teachers for the failure of the kids. As Walt Gardner pointed out in an NYTimes letter yesterday, the targeting of teachers “is based on the false assumption that teachers are miracle workers who can overcome the large deficits some students bring to class through no fault of their own.”

    The same goes double for the UFT

    PS — Frank 48 — why must you asusme that anyone who disagrees with you is working for Unity. -Can you really imagine that Unity holds the monopoly in believing the UFT is doing a good job? Talk about being a detached ideologue!

  • 156 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 8:47 pm

    I see good points here. But the only reason the Republicans are in such powere is that across the country teachers, school workers,a administrators, nurses, doctors, police, fireman, etc. voted them in (hey, the firemen with Cassidy endorsed Bush in the last election, they may be the bravest but let’s not accuse them of being the brightest.

    Let’s be honest, how do our Staten Island teachers particularly white Catholic males vote? They buy a house (in a white neighborhood and think the Republican party has their warm interest at heart. People attack Unity I, but they have to deal with and represent those members too!!!!

    Now that being said, I voted the contract down, any first offer is a gambit and Mr. Bloomberg is many things but he is not unsophisticated. That dwarf with his meeskite Chancellor and the chancellor really is a meeskite, will not want to go years with no contract. They will want to say they made their mark on education and did something. Furthermore, our pay scale vis a vis the cost of living here makes it quite impossible for anyone to live here who hasn’t had their housing for generations. Hence as they deal with a turnover of tens of thousands annually, you need a pay scale that is something of a recruiting tool.

  • 157 divina
    · Oct 31, 2005 at 11:51 am


    Your inferences are so off the mark. (eg, my spouse would laugh at you at your assumptions.)

    Go on and continue to be in your glass bubble of illusion.

    You obviously look at the world from a self-centered point of view. (Like Bush)

    Bush and company, fault others for experiences that are not their own, rather than looking at data and reexamining their point of view and allowing it to be changed based on the new information.

    In other words, they are RIGID.

    The Bushies naturally assume that if they didn’t experience things themselves, then it must not truly exist, or it must be someone else’s fault. They are not liberal enough in their thinking to entertain that their world view might be mistaken. They are part of the problem.

    You shouldn’t fault the Bush administration for their foibles when your own thinking is as rigid and unbendable as theirs. You are also part of the problem.

    And why I’ve added fuel to a ridiculous postulation to begin with, is my own mistake.

    A teacher would never be suspended without pay unless there was a reasonable case to begin with. So your argument about petty claims (without merit) was and still is a straw man meant to inflame and has no basis in reality.

    Have a nice day.

  • 158 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Nov 1, 2005 at 1:27 am


    I do respect you may have some background in classical music. After all a reasonable proportion of teachers the Department of Education hires today would not know the difference between Nat King Cole and Cole Porter. Indeed I would not mind having a share of Microsoft for every teacher the DOE hires these days who have heard of neither. Certainly only a rarified few would know like yourself that Cole Porter’s lyrics were once censored. Indeed I remember a year or two ago when “The NY Times” real estate section one Sunday had a headline “Another Closing, Another Cost” thinking to myself that MOST new teachers would indeed believe that the headline simply meant: another closing, another cost!!! unsophisticated semi-literate creatures that they be.

    I appreciate your abhorence of the Bushes. If all teachers truly felt that way the fact of the matter is Bush could never be elected.

    My agreement with what you say ends there. Indeed your knowledge of the law is as risible as our many new teachers who wouldn’t know “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” from “Night and Day”. Do you at all realize that hundreds, that is hundreds of prisoners have been released from death row in the country often after languishing there for decades essentially completely innocent?! It is acknowledged by death penalty experts, even proponents of the death penalty that innocent people have been executed in the US,

    Your assertion that a teacher will only be suspended without pay for a reasonable case is risible to anyone at all versed in the many travesties of justices that occur constantly. Were you ever to tell your beliefs to a group of experienced criminal defense attorneys and/or a group of attorneys versed in administrative law (if you even understand administrative law and how that affects you as a teacher) that would chuckle at your naivete if not just guffaw in your face.

    Since you seem much more versed in theater, than any understanding whatsoever in the many ways exculpatory evidence is overlooked and inculpatory evidence can be fabricated and is all the time in criminal and dicsiplinary proceedings, surely you are familiar with the musical “Chicago”. The whole purpose of the show, much clearer in the original production of 1975 than the present revival was a cynical look at our nation’s ideas of justice. Good lawyer you get off, guilty or not! The one innocent girl in the musical gets hanged if you can recall the plot.

    Gwen Verdon, a woman in many ways better remembered as a women of exceptional character and virtue than as the phenomenal dancer and impeccable entertainer that she also was wanted to use the show as a point of social justice:innocent people are railroaded all the time!!!!! You are more than rigid you are just downright foolish if you can’t accept that reality. If you voted for those few pennies in that contract, not realizing how much you were forfeiting all I can is I am very sorry.

    Incidentally, I found another post of yours responding to me on the blog that was also quite simply untrue in 2005. I had noted pay scales in Southern Dutchess county citing Wappinger Falls having a 20 per cent increase in the same time when we are slated for a mere 15 per cent.

    You responded that Southern Dutchss County was not commuting distance to the city. Alas that was true, about 30 years ago! The fact is that with each passing year an ever increasing number of women and men make exteme commutes to New York. If you were well informed you would realize that Metro North runs commuter trains where the first stop is Beacon, New York where the train station has been greatly expanded to accomodate the ever mounting hordes of commuters. If you kept more current with trends in travel and demographics throughout the Metropolitan area in which you live you would be congnizant that Metro North is now close to a 24 hour operation to the mid-Hudson Valley, This would have been untrue a few short years ago. Indeed if you read educational columns in the “NY Times” more often you might have seen “NY Times” reporter David Herzenhorn in an article on our contract quote an extremely intelligent, highly insightful very thoughtful New York City teacher who thought even the extra ten minutes was a bit much considering the many teachers who have extreme commutes to the Upstate counties among other places of great distance. Indeed a number of years back a physics teacher from Bronx Science was killed on the Taconic while commuting to Poughkeepsie, of all places.

    Hence rigid or not it is you who seems a bit less informed if not just abysmally ignorant aboutindisputale facts and trends when making your sundry statements, assertions and opinions. Perhaps you should blog less and read more. Definitely talk to a couple of good attorneys, so you can learn just how lacking the new contract is. Don’t take my word for it.

  • 159 divina
    · Nov 1, 2005 at 10:21 am

    Simply said:

    Your opinion is not fact. Neither is mine. Don’t assume your word is gold. PS: Just because people make that commute, doesn’t make it comparable, just as I wouldn’t compare the Poconos. The distance is not reasonable for any sane person.

    DO NOT RESPOND TO ME ANYMORE. I have zero respect for your analytical skills and, you are overly verbose.

  • 160 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Nov 1, 2005 at 10:34 pm


    As I said DON’T take my opinion!!!! DO talk to experienced attorneys in criminal defense and/ or administrative law. Tell them your belief that only guilty teachers will be brought up on charges. For that matter contact some of the surviving members of the Friedman family, as in “Capturing the Friedmans.” Try telling them only the guilty will be accused. No, don’t it would be too painful for them to hear.

    Unfortunately, for many people in the Metropolitan area their quality of life is undermined by longer and longer commuting time. Were you to pick up a real estate section and read it, you would see Southern Dutchess County is marketed now as an “easy commute”. I think such advertising is unconscionable, but it is common. That is a point of fact not my opinion. My family and I have owned land in Dutchess County for over forty years. It was indisputably rural decades ago, and still appears rural perhaps to our latest refugees from The Bronx, but it is now what sociologists call exurbia, part of the trend to extreme commutes around major cities. I agree with you that it is terrible but on the other hand it is happening. On some level the Metropolitan area is just expanding with an amazing rapidity. But that is why those pay scales could have bearing on ours as well which was my original point. I also note that a Physics teacher from Bronx Science but living in Poughkeepsie was killed on the Taconic with that commute. I don’t advocate it at all. But as a well read, informed person aware of the Metropolitan area in which I live as opposed to just my small neighborhood I am cognizant of these realities. I make it a point of knowing and knowing well a full hundred miles radius around my home. I am not one of our neophyte teachers that doesn’t know the Lymes of Conecticut from the Oranges of New Jersey.

    Still what I have noted here about checking wiht an experienced attorney on our proposed contract,(No one should sign or vote on a contract without checking with an attorney) and the reality of increased commutes in the New York Metropolitan area are matters of fact rather tha my opinion.

    I am sorry if you’re so tight or yourfinancial situation is so tight you felt compelled to vote for a raise that will givebacks is no where near the rate of inflation.

    You can not comment on a public blog and not expect response. I am sorry if my vocabulary is too much for you. Talk to our neophyte teachers, in many cases they won’t have half my vocabulary. And they will do just fine the DOE.