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Getting a conversation going about September

May 25, 2020 pm31 8:59 pm

What will September look like? What needs to happen for us to be safe enough to go into school? If we are remote, based on our experience so far, what would you do the same? What would you change up? Does a hybrid model make sense? Testing? Live lessons?

We had a chapter meeting coming up. And so, in preparation, I sent out a survey. It was explicitly NOT to tabulate, but to stimulate thought processes: “This is a “thought survey” – questions are to think about and to discuss.” This was not a vote. We were not in a position to set even school policy, let alone DoE policy. But it was good to bat around possibilities, concerns, insights.

The chapter meeting discussion, scheduled for half an hour, ran a full hour. And some people submitted their responses. I had not expected that. That was not my plan. Others asked if we could share the results with each other.  So I rewrote the survey to incorporate points people made in the discussion, and redistributed it. (I will tabulate results, but, internally, for my chapter only.)

The survey was a good way to get discussion going. So I’m sharing the original, and the updated versions (if you would like a word document version, let me know):

 

Original Survey

Survey

Mid-May, 2020

This is a “thought survey” – questions are to think about and to discuss.  UFT members in several schools are doing these.

For each question, choose the best answer, or answers, or think of your own.

I would prefer not to return to work in the building until:

  • There is a vaccine
  • Medical experts say it safe
  • One particular person says it is safe – who?   ___________________
  • I get the sense that there are many fewer people getting sick
  • I’m ok going back as soon as it is opened

Necessary safety measures include:

  • Everyone is tested
  • Masks
  • Shields
  • Gloves
  • Temperature testing

I would prefer not to return to work in the building until social distancing (six feet):

  • is possible at all times
  • is possible at most times, including the classroom, but not all times
  • is possible at all times, but less than 6 feet is ok
  • social distancing is not important to me

If we could see our students, in our classrooms, once a week, but remote teach at other times, and maintain social distancing (a hybrid model)

  • I would not want this – too complicated
  • I would not want this – sounds rushed/don’t trust the distancing
  • I would not want this – wait until we could open properly
  • I would want this

While we are remote, which live methods do you use?

  • Live lessons – mandatory
  • Live lessons – recorded for viewing later
  • Live Discussions
  • Live Tutoring/Review sessions/Extra Help
  • Live Office Hours
  • Other
  • None of the Above

While we are remote, which live methods do you like?

  • Live lessons – mandatory
  • Live lessons – recorded for viewing later
  • Live Discussions
  • Live Tutoring/Review sessions/Extra Help
  • Live Office Hours
  • Other
  • None of the Above

If we are teaching remotely September – December – what changes would you want to make?

 

Revised/Expanded Survey

Survey – Revised

Mid-May, 2020

This survey is voluntary. The responses will be shared with HSAS UFT members only.

For each question, choose the best answer, or answers, or think of your own. Feel free to ignore questions that are not relevant or interesting.

I would prefer not to return to work in the building until:

  • There is a vaccine
  • Medical experts say it safe
  • One particular person says it is safe – who?   ___________________
  • I get the sense that there are many fewer people getting sick
  • I’m ok going back as soon as it is opened

Necessary safety measures include:

  • Everyone is tested
  • Masks
  • Shields for adults
  • Shields for kids
  • Gloves
  • Temperature testing

When it comes to cleaning I am most concerned with

  • How thorough the cleaning will be before we return
  • How thorough the regular cleaning will be once we return
  • Specific training for the cleaners

I would prefer not to return to work in the building until social distancing (six feet):

  • is possible at all times
  • is possible at most times, including the classroom, but not all times
  • is possible at all times, but less than 6 feet is ok
  • social distancing is not important to me

If we could see our students, in our classrooms, once a week, but remote teach at other times, and maintain social distancing (a hybrid model)

  • I would not want this – too complicated
  • I would not want this – sounds rushed/don’t trust the distancing
  • I would not want this – wait until we could open properly
  • I would want this

There has been talk about other hybrid models. Which of these might make sense:

  • Separate AM/PM groups of kids
  • Alternating A and B days
  • More face to face time with younger students (9th, maybe 10th)

While we are remote, which live methods do you use?

  • Live lessons – mandatory
  • Live lessons – recorded for viewing later
  • Live Discussions
  • Live Tutoring/Review sessions/Extra Help
  • Live Office Hours
  • None of the Above

Which live methods would you choose for your classes, if we teach remotely next year?

  • Live lessons – mandatory
  • Live lessons – recorded for viewing later
  • Live Discussions
  • Live Tutoring/Review sessions/Extra Help
  • Live Office Hours
  • None of the Above

Uncertainty

  • The DoE should plan as if we are going to go back to school in September
  • The DoE should plan as if we are teaching remotely in September
  • The DoE should make plans for either contingency
  • The DoE should make a decision (presumably remote) now, to take away the uncertainty

Live Teaching approaches

  • It is good if each teacher / class has its own best approach to live teaching
  • It is good if the school has a schoolwide policy on live teaching
  • I am okay with what others do, as long as I can do what is best for my classes
  • I would like time to be set aside for each teacher to use for live teaching, and then let them choose how to use it

Remote scheduling

  • If we are remote, I would like a set daily time for each of my classes
  • If we are remote, I would like a set daily time, but don’t expect kids in regular class groups
  • If we are remote, I would like a set weekly time for each of my classes
  • If we are remote, I would like a set weekly time, but don’t expect kids in regular classes
  • The way we are now is fine.

Where do you fall on the question of remote tests?

  • No multiple choice
  • Has to be essays
  • Not worth doing them
  • They should be timed
  • They should be untimed

How have you modified deadlines?

  • Late the same day is ok
  • Usually give a few more days
  • Give about double the normal time
  • Barely maintain any deadlines

How important is it to get students back into the building? Are there compromises we would make to achieve that?

 

Who knows how to teach remotely?

May 25, 2020 pm31 12:35 pm

For the past nine weeks 70,000 New York City teachers have been teaching remotely. So have, I don’t know, three million more? across the US. But I know more about New York City.

So who doesn’t know how to teach remotely? Pretty much anyone who has not tried it. Mayors and Governors and Presidents, Members of Congress, State Legislators, Senators… None of them really have a clue – which, by the way, our governor has demonstrated quite adequately.

Who else doesn’t know how to teach remotely?  I’d say pretty much every school system administrator, including the vast majority of principals and assistant principals. And also 100% of central administrators, at least here in New York City. They’ve thrown all the planning on us, and then while we are figuring things out throw us curves. Not only do they lack knowledge that would be useful to us in figuring out remote teaching, they lack empathy.

And then there’s us. Teachers. Trying to teach remotely. There are teachers out there who were already doing “flipped classrooms” or lots of video lessons. They had an easier adjustment. But even they could not anticipate the variety of problems students would have with the technology at home – without the “safety net” of in-class discussions. Some teachers were already familiar with Zoom or Google Meet Ups, which was an advantage. But most of us were new.

In the “planning week” (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, after schools shut for students) we came up with something. Actually, a lot of somethings. It seems like there were hundreds of approaches, maybe thousands of variations.

And then reality hit. Most of our plans? Nah, didn’t work. The technology wasn’t up to it. Or the kids couldn’t deal with the mandatory tech issues. Or the DoE did not make tech available as they had promised. Or the DoE changed what software we were to use. Or it was just TOO MUCH. Or we learned later that grading online can be complicated and slow and overwhelming. Or we learned that our interactions with students were very different from what we expected. Or we needed to leave more time to deal with social/emotional interactions.

Teachers have been revising, and revising, and revising again. If we were building a house, what we have today would look better than what we started with late March – but better is relative. Imagine safety pins, paper clips, nailed on boards and tar paper… glue… newspapers… This is like the famous “repair an aircraft while in flight” – except we did not start with something that flies. More like throwing supplies off a cliff, and trying to assemble something that flies before they hit bottom.

That’s why messages from politicians, other teachers, or union leaders that seem to say “we’ve got this” really piss me off. We are getting better. And maybe a few teachers “got this.” But most of us don’t. We are better than two months ago, we have some ideas for going forward, but we are not there, we are not nearly there.

In answer to “Who knows how to teach remotely?” I would answer “No one, yet. Teachers are getting there, some faster than others. The politicians and educrats need to listen to teachers.”

What next?

If we are still teaching remotely in September, we need to do it more thoughtfully.

Hmm. That sounds like we were not being thoughtful in the Spring. Nothing could be further from the truth. We tried as best we could, but Cuomo and de Blasio and Carranza did not give us a chance.

If we are still teaching remotely in September, we need to be assigned time to plan. Not rushed time. Real time.

They could have given us the time in June, but they are awfully late for that now (as a significant number of teachers have already planned their classes through mid- to late June.) Actually, they could have given us time off in June, to make up for surprise-cancelling April break (Cuomo), and then taking away the religious holidays on top of that (Cuomo and/or de Blasio).

By the way, the four days in our Cumulative Absence Reserve do not make up for the seven days, nor for the unnecessary stress. Did I mention lack of empathy?

How about designating a few days in June for contingency planning?  And then, if we are opening remote or hybrid, the first week in September for remote planning?

I’m not sure that’s enough.

What kind of planning? What parameters?

As we experience our first tastes of remote teaching, it is becoming apparent that there are huge shifts in pedagogy, and shifts in content. Many of our in-person activities don’t work. Lessons designed around whole class discussion, where we expect kids to adjust as they hear other ideas – those don’t work the same, or don’t work at all. Entire units need replanning. And the quantity of material taught has to be adjusted downward.

And assessment has to change, for almost every teacher, for almost every class. Some of us will move to no testing. Others will adopt an interesting variety of platforms. More projects. And assessment may move in directions that none of us anticipate today.

This is not just lesson replanning. This is rewriting curricula. It is not a one day task. It’s probably not a one-week task.

On top of that, those of us teaching tested grades or classes that end in a Regents Exam – we need to know how Chancellor Betty Rosa and the Regents will adjust what is being tested.

Which will mean curriculum redesign.

You know what’s worse? Not knowing. Not knowing if we will start remote. How long we will go remote. If we will transition from Remote –> Hybrid –> Live.

As we learn, we really should have time to adjust our plans. We are not looking to avoid work. But we want to be in a place where we can do our best for our students. Andrew Cuomo, bill de blasio, Richard Carranza – does that matter to you? Do you care how well our students are being served? We do.

 

 

TDA: Sustainable (continues Socially Responsive) Fund

May 23, 2020 pm31 12:22 pm

The Socially Responsive Fund started in July 2008 (with a unit value of $10). There were several funds started at the same time. How has it fared?

At first glance, it seems to have slightly but consistently outperformed the Diversified Equity Fund. More interestingly, it set a new high in January 2020, and stands ABOVE that point in May 2020, today. I do not know why. I am not a financial analyst.

New York City teachers who contribute to a TDA have several choices of funds.

Quick note – the Socially Responsive Fund was ended and a Sustainable Fund started last October (2019). I do not know the difference. Funds were automatically moved from the former to the latter.

I previously posted a graph of the Diversified Fund, and compared it to a fixed investment. Since there are no fixed “units” I matched them arbitrarily at January 2010.  This time I will make all three equal at July 2008.

Notice, this is not analysis. I am not a financial analyst. For one thing, no one has the option of buying in at July 2008 – that’s long past. And no one buys in all at once – meaning there is not really a “correct date” to set the funds equal for the sake of comparison.

Anyway, two graphs, one with the actual unit values, the second scaled to make them equal July 2008:

And the raw data (the fixed values are set at $18 in January 2000. This is arbitrary on my part)

Date Diversified Fund Unit Values Fixed Socially Responsive
Jan-00 $74.220 $18.00
Feb-00 $71.086 $18.12
Mar-00 $71.665 $18.24
Apr-00 $76.533 $18.37
May-00 $73.769 $18.50
Jun-00 $71.763 $18.63
Jul-00 $73.669 $18.76
Aug-00 $72.281 $18.89
Sep-00 $76.444 $19.02
Oct-00 $72.885 $19.15
Nov-00 $71.865 $19.28
Dec-00 $66.328 $19.41
Jan-01 $67.534 $19.54
Feb-01 $69.120 $19.67
Mar-01 $63.228 $19.81
Apr-01 $59.113 $19.95
May-01 $63.277 $20.09
Jun-01 $63.336 $20.23
Jul-01 $61.900 $20.37
Aug-01 $60.945 $20.51
Sep-01 $57.696 $20.65
Oct-01 $52.638 $20.79
Nov-01 $53.766 $20.93
Dec-01 $57.135 $21.07
Jan-02 $57.709 $21.21
Feb-02 $56.530 $21.36
Mar-02 $55.518 $21.51
Apr-02 $57.547 $21.66
May-02 $55.073 $21.81
Jun-02 $54.528 $21.96
Jul-02 $50.928 $22.11
Aug-02 $46.829 $22.26
Sep-02 $46.952 $22.41
Oct-02 $42.026 $22.56
Nov-02 $45.038 $22.72
Dec-02 $47.348 $22.88
Jan-03 $44.843 $23.04
Feb-03 $43.846 $23.20
Mar-03 $42.624 $23.36
Apr-03 $42.752 $23.52
May-03 $46.057 $23.68
Jun-03 $48.607 $23.84
Jul-03 $49.115 $24.00
Aug-03 $49.698 $24.17
Sep-03 $50.575 $24.34
Oct-03 $50.311 $24.51
Nov-03 $52.934 $24.68
Dec-03 $53.522 $24.85
Jan-04 $55.993 $25.02
Feb-04 $56.928 $25.19
Mar-04 $57.611 $25.36
Apr-04 $57.003 $25.53
May-04 $55.520 $25.71
Jun-04 $55.947 $25.89
Jul-04 $56.883 $26.07
Aug-04 $54.801 $26.25
Sep-04 $54.914 $26.43
Oct-04 $55.703 $26.61
Nov-04 $56.503 $26.79
Dec-04 $58.976 $26.97
Jan-05 $60.909 $27.16
Feb-05 $59.282 $27.35
Mar-05 $60.546 $27.54
Apr-05 $59.243 $27.73
May-05 $57.824 $27.92
Jun-05 $59.463 $28.11
Jul-05 $59.684 $28.30
Aug-05 $61.706 $28.49
Sep-05 $61.408 $28.69
Oct-05 $62.071 $28.89
Nov-05 $60.611 $29.09
Dec-05 $62.582 $29.29
Jan-06 $63.038 $29.49
Feb-06 $65.061 $29.69
Mar-06 $64.864 $29.89
Apr-06 $65.757 $30.10
May-06 $66.618 $30.31
Jun-06 $64.315 $30.52
Jul-06 $64.128 $30.73
Aug-06 $64.037 $30.94
Sep-06 $65.387 $31.15
Oct-06 $66.430 $31.36
Nov-06 $68.431 $31.58
Dec-06 $69.661 $31.80
Jan-07 $70.413 $32.02
Feb-07 $71.280 $32.24
Mar-07 $70.152 $32.46
Apr-07 $70.788 $32.68
May-07 $73.261 $32.90
Jun-07 $75.354 $33.13
Jul-07 $74.093 $33.36
Aug-07 $71.679 $33.59
Sep-07 $72.005 $33.82
Oct-07 $74.399 $34.05
Nov-07 $75.726 $34.28
Dec-07 $72.353 $34.52
Jan-08 $71.460 $34.76
Feb-08 $66.717 $35.00
Mar-08 $65.133 $35.24
Apr-08 $64.299 $35.48
May-08 $67.195 $35.72
Jun-08 $68.275 $35.97
Jul-08 $62.888 $36.22 $10.000
Aug-08 $61.869 $36.47 $9.892
Sep-08 $61.936 $36.72 $9.963
Oct-08 $55.357 $36.97 $9.177
Nov-08 $45.089 $37.22 $8.041
Dec-08 $41.509 $37.48 $7.529
Jan-09 $42.493 $37.74 $7.479
Feb-09 $39.175 $38.00 $7.167
Mar-09 $35.364 $38.26 $6.844
Apr-09 $37.945 $38.52 $7.113
May-09 $41.505 $38.78 $7.565
Jun-09 $43.979 $39.05 $7.877
Jul-09 $44.033 $39.32 $7.768
Aug-09 $47.180 $39.59 $8.264
Sep-09 $48.744 $39.86 $8.338
Oct-09 $50.532 $40.13 $8.734
Nov-09 $49.387 $40.41 $8.455
Dec-09 $51.621 $40.69 $8.713
Jan-10 $52.629 $40.93 $9.059
Feb-10 $50.713 $41.17 $8.804
Mar-10 $51.840 $41.41 $9.139
Apr-10 $54.716 $41.65 $9.543
May-10 $55.347 $41.89 $9.883
Jun-10 $50.806 $42.13 $9.155
Jul-10 $48.310 $42.38 $8.810
Aug-10 $51.433 $42.63 $9.202
Sep-10 $49.212 $42.88 $8.716
Oct-10 $53.481 $43.13 $9.500
Nov-10 $55.253 $43.38 $9.938
Dec-10 $54.825 $43.63 $9.972
Jan-11 $58.207 $43.88 $10.577
Feb-11 $59.246 $44.14 $10.712
Mar-11 $61.050 $44.40 $11.176
Apr-11 $80.881 $44.66 $11.189
May-11 $62.750 $44.92 $11.505
Jun-11 $61.897 $45.18 $11.368
Jul-11 $60.624 $45.44 $11.076
Aug-11 $59.225 $45.71 $10.689
Sep-11 $55.426 $45.98 $10.075
Oct-11 $51.100 $46.25 $9.208
Nov-11 $56.249 $46.52 $9.979
Dec-11 $55.541 $46.79 $10.085
Jan-12 $55.630 $47.06 $9.998
Feb-12 $58.119 $47.33 $10.263
Mar-12 $60.467 $47.61 $10.700
Apr-12 $61.719 $47.89 $10.939
May-12 $61.156 $48.17 $10.693
Jun-12 $57.035 $48.45 $9.909
Jul-12 $59.120 $48.73 $10.120
Aug-12 $59.543 $49.01 $10.159
Sep-12 $60.744 $49.30 $10.443
Oct-12 $62.048 $49.59 $10.543
Nov-12 $61.110 $49.88 $10.365
Dec-12 $61.532 $50.17 $10.562
Jan-13 $62.174 $50.46 $10.624
Feb-13 $65.154 $50.75 $11.332
Mar-13 $65.582 $51.05 $11.706
Apr-13 $67.617 $51.35 $12.109
May-13 $68.781 $51.65 $12.061
Jun-13 $69.567 $51.95 $12.306
Jul-13 $68.243 $52.25 $12.224
Aug-13 $71.550 $52.55 $12.777
Sep-13 $69.543 $52.86 $12.454
Oct-13 $72.107 $53.17 $12.993
Nov-13 $74.633 $53.48 $13.496
Dec-13 $76.199 $53.79 $13.746
Jan-14 $77.656 $54.10 $14.061
Feb-14 $75.061 $54.42 $13.288
Mar-14 $78.365 $54.74 $14.032
Apr-14 $78.382 $55.06 $14.035
May-14 $78.290 $55.38 $13.949
Jun-14 $79.626 $55.70 $14.184
Jul-14 $81.078 $56.02 $14.469
Aug-14 $79.251 $56.35 $14.099
Sep-14 $81.499 $56.68 $14.533
Oct-14 $79.271 $57.01 $14.359
Nov-14 $80.542 $57.34 $14.566
Dec-14 $82.029 $57.67 $14.932
Jan-15 $81.363 $58.01 $14.926
Feb-15 $79.846 $58.35 $14.538
Mar-15 $83.661 $58.69 $15.184
Apr-15 $82.492 $59.03 $15.046
May-15 $82.918 $59.37 $14.993
Jun-15 $83.538 $59.72 $15.096
Jul-15 $81.738 $60.07 $14.760
Aug-15 $82.668 $60.42 $14.913
Sep-15 $77.419 $60.77 $14.033
Oct-15 $74.680 $61.12 $13.710
Nov-15 $79.632 $61.48 $14.632
Dec-15 $79.588 $61.84 $14.599
Jan-16 $77.773 $62.20 $14.349
Feb-16 $73.218 $62.56 $13.402
Mar-16 $72.947 $62.92 $13.465
Apr-16 $77.546 $63.29 $14.379
May-16 $77.866 $63.66 $14.362
Jun-16 $78.512 $64.03 $14.571
Jul-16 $78.102 $64.40 $14.323
Aug-16 $81.078 $64.78 $14.938
Sep-16 $80.958 $65.16 $14.968
Oct-16 $81.042 $65.54 $14.881
Nov-16 $78.955 $65.92 $14.534
Dec-16 $81.062 $66.30 $15.026
Jan-17 $82.351 $66.69 $15.227
Feb-17 $83.973 $67.08 $15.702
Mar-17 $86.227 $67.47 $16.099
Apr-17 $86.533 $67.86 $16.067
May-17 $87.440 $68.26 $16.055
Jun-17 $88.399 $68.66 $16.415
Jul-17 $88.681 $69.06 $16.308
Aug-17 $90.261 $69.46 $16.531
Sep-17 $90.080 $69.87 $16.285
Oct-17 $91.800 $70.28 $16.596
Nov-17 $93.288 $70.69 $16.714
Dec-17 $95.100 $71.10 $17.125
Jan-18 $95.898 $71.51 $17.322
Feb-18 $100.326 $71.93 $18.216
Mar-18 $96.212 $72.35 $17.606
Apr-18 $94.245 $72.77 $17.260
May-18 $94.459 $73.19 $17.251
Jun-18 $95.640 $73.62 $17.584
Jul-18 $95.605 $74.05 $17.711
Aug-18 $98.198 $74.48 $18.113
Sep-18 $100.006 $74.91 $18.539
Oct-18 $99.877 $75.35 $18.333
Nov-18 $92.192 $75.79 $16.959
Dec-18 $93.484 $76.23 $17.480
Jan-19 $85.504 $76.67 $15.786
Feb-19 $92.173 $77.12 $16.910
Mar-19 $94.744 $77.57 $17.398
Apr-19 $95.432 $78.02 $17.436
May-19 $98.700 $78.48 $17.892
Jun-19 $92.578 $78.94 $16.694
Jul-19 $98.450 $79.40 $17.608
Aug-19 $98.938 $79.86 $17.950
Sep-19 $96.264 $80.33 $17.452
Oct-19 $97.765 $80.80 $17.796
Nov-19 $99.678 $81.27 $17.812
Dec-19 $102.435 $81.74 $18.444
Jan-20 $105.276 $82.22 $18.871
Feb-20 $104.047 $82.70 $19.178
Mar-20 $95.393 $83.18 $18.049
Apr-20 $81.142 $83.67 $16.396
May-20 $90.415 $84.16 $18.926

Yesterday’s Town Hall

May 22, 2020 pm31 2:46 pm

A friend took notes

Here they are

(I know other versions are out there)

UFT TOWN HALL MEETING (via phone) 

May 21, 2020 @ 3:15 pm 

Michael Mulgrew, speaker, then member Q&A

 

MICHAEL MULGREW: 

 

    • Many thanks to everyone; things are constantly changing 
    • We are definitely OFF Memorial Day (1st official day off since Feb. break)

 

  • Spring Break:

 

      •  UFT challenged; it got ugly.  CAR days are in but still seeking full compensation 
      • Still seeking full compensation for those 7 days
      • Was the peak of the virus in terms of loss of life (68 UFT members/ 54 from the retired chapter)
      • Possible future action regarding these deaths
    • Received our raise and should have budgets shortly
    • THE BIG TWO QUESTIONS:  How to we ensure our safety/ How do we protect our livelihoods (economy) 
    • Last Few Days? How do teachers “close up shop” safely?  Guidance pending? 

 

  • Summer school:

 

      • 6 weeks remote learning
      • Postings go live tomorrow (May 22)
      • Will include clear definitions of remote learning nomenclature (Ex: “synchronous” “asynchronous” with protection from labor management
      • Very clear that these terms are only during this emergency situation 
      • Delay in summer school information was the city’s fault 
      • A massive amount of students; WILL STUDENTS COME?
      • How many teachers will we need?

 

  • SEPTEMBER:  3 possibilities

 

      • 1. There is a vaccine/ cure and we return normally (unlikely)
      • 2. Full remote learning (definite possibility as more city children get sick
      • 3.  A hybrid of remote and in-building learning

 

  • HYBRID Thoughts (part time in school/ part time remote) 

 

      • Staggered schedules?
      • Schools in cohorts, like A/ B/ C…  2 cohorts/ building/ day?
      • Have to analyze building space; shared spaces, 
      • Teacher focus groups already planning– inspiring ideas already happening
      • What needs to be done before teachers and students can return to school buildings? 
      • Will follow CDC guidelines, not DOE or Tweed
      • Which teachers will be remote vs. in school? 
      • Schools cannot be programmed by Central. Each school building is too unique.
      • Likely a whole new workflow will emerge; a whole new way of teaching and learning 

 

  • The BUDGET⇒ SAFETY + ECONOMY (LIVELIHOODS)

 

      • BUDGET/ ECONOMY
        • Petitioning city council that education budgets NOT be cut 
        • Huge national fight already; AFT first organization to petition the government to save school budgets
        • Most state budgets are coming out July 1; NY’s came out April 1.  Government is putting out cuts soon.
        • Cuomo seems to want to wait for Senate budget first
        • Huge political game; really disgusting how they talk about how importance education is, then take away funding
      • SAFETY 
        • Do all kids need masks?  What about temperature checks
        • Each school needs/will have a dedicated NURSE
        • CLASS SIZES need to be smaller ⇒ MORE teachers needed not less (yet hiring freeze?)
        • Suggested having wills/ healthcare proxies in place just in case

 

  • THE HEROES ACT
  • Federal aid package that has passed the House and goes to McConnell and Senate soon
  • Petition says it MUST include monies for teachers/ education without loopholes
  • Text ‘LIFELINE’ to 306-44 to “sign” the virtual petition

 

 

 

  • Q&A

 

    • Q: When will we know which method of teaching for September?
    • A: Board of Ed already a month behind/ no one is making decisions; UFT predicts a hybrid method (subject to change, of course); Already planning for it and will be following CDC guidelines; certain staff will be doing full time remote: hopefully BY THE THIRD WEEK IN JUNE

 

    • Q: What about D75 schools?  (bad reception; question skipped) 
    • A: They are being thought about and planned for. 

 

    • Q: When will we get an updated calendar?
    • A: UFT/ DOE agreed about it a month ago; DOE refusing to release it, afraid that “something will change” (of course it will).  Need a calendar ASAP to be able to do SBO votes/ Comp Time positions; CAN vote on Comp Time positions now, but many chapters prefer to do their votes all together. 

 

    • Q:(from a nurse at a Regional Enrichment Center) What’s up with the RECs during the summer?
    • A: Can pull most back;  A need to rotate people out/ seek volunteers to stay in; NO ONE will be forced to work through the summer

 

    • Q: What about teacher evaluations? Observations?  What about the non tenured/ tenure process?
    • A: SED says no teacher evaluations; People CAN still get tenure and less continuances this year.  SED needs an executive order to waive evaluations; Cuomo must pass it; would need a “waiver” but can’t do evaluations without changing the contractual agreements

 

      • Q:  Should we have some sort of “Day of Action” to drum up support for THE HEROES ACT? Social media blast?

 

  • A; Sure, and love the enthusiasm! 

 

 

      • Q: D75: so hard to keep students with very severe needs apart; impossible to not share toys/ supplies

 

  • A: We will hear from these sites to help discover what is realistic; similar issues to early childhood learning 

 

 

    • Q: Remote Learning for September:  Are there checklists?  Guidelines to follow?
    • A: How can there be checklists? Working on those definitions of terms (mentioned previously) to help clarify what can and can’t be asked of us.  Remote learning can’t and doesn’t function like a “traditional school day”. Impossible to insist what everyone must do.  Checklists sound like they would come out of DOE central and not from the UFT, because we need teachers to last through the year and not burn out!

 

    • Q:  How will accommodations be made for members with underlying conditions?
    • A: Criteria will be put into place. Remote/ vs. in-person. Schools will have to do some social distancing, but it is still a gathering of people, which will always carry some risks.  We will get our safety intel from CDC and science, not Tweed.

 

    • Q: Teachers who are parents; how do we handle conflicts between our work/ kid’s school schedules?
    • A:  We will all have to do our best. There WILL be problems to work out.  Daycare systems will be in place for essential workers, as teachers are. 

A new syndrome, renamed

May 20, 2020 pm31 4:00 pm

We are very concerned with the sudden emergence of a set of inflammatory symptoms in children infected with COVID-19.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome has recently been reported in youngsters – from infants through teenagers. It was first reported in New York City, where there are several deaths associated with it. It looks like another disease – Kawasaki.

The name of the syndrome was Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS). Unfortunately New York City is full of bureaucrats who like to pronounce acronyms – and after being met with snickers for saying “PMIS is rising rapidly” (try reading that out loud) they changed what they call it (notice the name of the pdf) to the hard-to-pronounce-like-a-sex-joke Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C.

Buffoon – Bumbler – Brilliant?

May 19, 2020 pm31 3:44 pm

Trump the buffoon, de Blasio the bumbler, but Cuomo’s been brilliant?
Not so fast!

The nightly news version, the press conference version, that fits.

Trump blusters, brags, bullies. He exudes confidence in his intellect and abilities, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

He really wants to be good at this, he wants to sound official, and somber, and caring, but de Blasio’s meandering, whining, pleading, plodding press conferences inspire mostly sighs.

Cuomo stands out. He’s punchy. He’s sharp. He’s confident. He’s cogent. He cares. He’s realistic.

Donald the Buffoon, Bill the Bumbler, and Brilliant Andrew. Case closed?

Not so fast.

When the bar is set at “not completely insane” Cuomo clears it pretty easily. But we should not be using such a low bar.

Cuomo grabbed more emergency powers than were reasonable, and then abused them: to cut aid to localities (schools and health care) and to take revenge on political opponents.

But the crisis, right? Hasn’t he been a shining light in the storm? Well, no. Take an hour, read this Propublica piece. (might take you 20 minutes, took me 40, deserves an hour). Or, here, let me pull out some highlights. The article contrasts the response in NY State and California, with a lot about NYC and San Francisco, as well. Cuomo and de Blasio get blasted. Strangely, de Blasio, even with criticism, comes off better than he does from his press conferences. Another low bar.

Anyway, skim the highlights, and then go read the full piece.

Two Coasts. One Virus. How New York Suffered Nearly 10 Times the Number of Deaths as California.

On March 17, de Blasio suggested a “shelter in place” order as in California. Cuomo blocked it: ““shelter-in-place” sounded like it was a response to a nuclear apocalypse. Moreover, Cuomo said, he alone had the power to order such a measure.” The order came five days later. With exponential growth, and a doubling time of less than five days, that delay may have doubled the total number of New York deaths.

“No later than Feb. 28, federal officials warned the country that a deadly pandemic was inevitable. It is from that point forward, they say, that any individual state’s actions should be judged.” But ““Governors don’t do global pandemics,” Cuomo said.”

“While New York’s formal pandemic response plan underscores the need for seamless communication between state and local officials, the state Health Department broke off routine sharing of information and strategy with its city counterpart in February”

The article is not kind to de Blasio either: “For his part, de Blasio spent critical weeks spurning his own Health Department’s increasingly urgent belief that trying to contain the spread of the virus was a fool’s errand. The clear need, as early as late February, was to move to an all-out effort at not being overrun by the disease, which meant closing things down and restricting people’s movements.”

The disconnect between de Blasio and his own Health Department played out — perhaps decisively — in late February and early March. The events of those days have been reconstructed through notes kept at the time by the city official alarmed by what they were seeing — the diminishment and disregarding of one of the world’s most respected local health departments. The official’s notes show that late February was the first opportunity for de Blasio to have absorbed what his department was warning about. It didn’t go well. “He said all the wrong things,” the official wrote after a Feb. 26 news conference.

All eyes are on the federal government’s lack of stockpile (and rightly so). But the article points out Cuomo’s responsibility: “New York’s pandemic preparedness and response plan, first created in 2006 and running to hundreds of pages, predicted the state’s health care system would be overwhelmed in such a situation, and it highlighted two vital necessities: a robust and up-to-date state stockpile of emergency equipment and protective gear, and a mechanism for quickly expanding the number of hospital beds available. Despite repeated requests, New York state health officials would not say what was in the state’s stockpile at the start of 2020, but it clearly wasn’t adequate.”

But while the state’s plan makes clear its obligation to be adequately prepared, Cuomo over many weeks sought to portray the federal government as the culprit for the crisis in shortages of protective gear and medical equipment such as ventilators.

As for expanding hospital capacity, it was not until March 16 that Cuomo designated a task force to engineer greater numbers of beds, demanding a 50% increase in capacity in 24 hours. “You could make an argument that it should have happened a month before,” said Michael Dowling, the chief executive officer of Northwell Health, the largest hospital organization in the state and one of the health care leaders Cuomo appointed to the task force.

The state’s performance once New York fell under siege from the disease has also been challenged. State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker — one of a half-dozen advisers who made up Cuomo’s brain trust during the crisis — has been pilloried by the local press for his decision to allow nursing home residents who tested positive for the disease to be returned to those homes. The administration reversed its position this week.

Meanwhile, the New York State Nurses Association has sued the state Health Department and its commissioner for failing to adequately equip front-line medical workers with protective wear and allowing hospitals to order nurses sickened by the virus back to work.

…when the March 2 news of community spread surfaced in New Rochelle, Cuomo urged calm. The state, he proudly noted, had successfully confronted a wide variety of health scares over the years. “We are fully coordinated, and we are fully mobilized, and we are fully prepared to deal with the situation as it develops,” Cuomo said. “This isn’t our first rodeo.”

 

 

Retiring Advanced Placement

May 18, 2020 pm31 4:07 pm

The College Board cannot plan a test, give a test, guarantee fairness, catch cheaters, or tell the truth.

This has been a rough week for them, with the AP Fiasco, and a long time coming. Even favorable coverage bends unfavorable.

Let’s run through the list:

  • They get schools to give appropriate space for free, and crumble when forced to come up with something themselves. They made no attempt to guarantee an appropriate environment for test-takers.
  • They get schools to plan administration for free, and when left to their own devices, fail. There were student taking tests at midnight. And at 2AM. And at 4AM.
  • They count on teachers to proctor and prevent cheating. Left to their own devices, they insult everyone with bullying “Don’t Cheat you Cheaters!” threats (which are as ineffective as they are insulting), pretend to be teens and try to entrap students (and are instantly found out), and fail to prevent actual cheating (as a google trends search of “how do you find an integral,” “progressive era,” “angular momentum,” or “active transport” quickly reveals).
  • They fail to develop an app (students know how to use apps), fail to obtain sufficient bandwidth, and then lie through their teeth, blaming teenagers when the teenagers actually followed the directions.
  • And instead of rectifying their mistake, they rescheduled exams for June – including rescheduling some at conflicting times.

What do we need these clowns for?

Curriculum?

There are many “AP Curricula” out there – we can continue using them without these clowns being involved. Schools and districts may also have their own high level courses – or courses that should have been considered “high level” but were not considered so without the AP imprimatur.

Test?

Hell, most teachers in my school know ±1 what their students will score.

Or even better, forget the tests. AP exams are way before the end of the year… replace them with performance-based assessment of projects or original writing, or research or creative work. This could be better than APs. Can you imagine students spending time applying their knowledge, rather than cramming? And we get more time to do the work. No one will want to go back.

Postscripts

We have a moment. Now is the time to move to get the College Board out of our public schools.

We should carefully examine ANY private company that is intruding into public education.

We will look back on this, years from now, and wonder why it took so long.