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June 4 – Mulgrew responds

May 31, 2020 pm31 1:26 pm

I wrote yesterday about the DoE demanding we assign work for June 4 (and for June 9 in elementary schools) while we were supposed to be doing professional development.

The Chancellor did not even bother telling us, and he was assigning us to give busy work. Inconsiderate. Disrespectful.

I also bemoaned the lack of official response from the UFT, over a full day after the news came out.

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Update – Sunday afternoon the UFT sent out a message to members over Mulgrew’s signature. He couldn’t stop the DoE’s stupid plan, but he took a shot at the Chancellor: “Educators may provide enrichment activities to students, but they should not be asked to give students busy work. Educators’ engagement with students is so much more than that, and those immense contributions should not be devalued.”

Members will be frustrated, but will appreciate the line about “busy work” – which is clearly what the Chancellor was asking for.

And me? I’m glad that it took only two days to speak to members. But there’s still room for improvement.

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Me? I will assign a week’s worth of work on Monday, with an intro. Students come to discuss the questions with me during the week, (they choose from my daily office hours) while they are working on it. I also do mini-lessons on some of the trickier content for small groups during office hours. I’ll tell them to keep working Thursday, but that there won’t be office hours that day.

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Here’s the whole of Mulgrew’s note:

Dear Jonathan,

The Department of Education has clarified what is expected of teachers, related service providers and other staff on June 4 and June 9. While students will be engaged in learning on both days, educators will be receiving professional development on June 4 and engaged in clerical duties on June 9. Teachers are not expected to engage students on either day.

June 4 is a professional development day for teachers, related service providers and other staff. June 9 is a clerical day for teachers, related service providers and other staff in elementary, middle and District 75 schools. On those days, students are expected to independently complete work set up in advance. The DOE will provide learning materials teachers may share if they believe they will be helpful.

The DOE clarified the expectations in a letter to parents.

Educators may provide enrichment activities to students, but they should not be asked to give students busy work. Educators’ engagement with students is so much more than that, and those immense contributions should not be devalued.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for our students and their families.

Sincerely,

Michael Mulgrew
UFT President

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