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Two Course Adjustments for the UFT

August 13, 2020 pm31 3:29 pm

I disagree with the union leadership, on any number of things. I’m pro-union. And I believe that the leadership can sometimes adjust course. So I am asking today about two course adjustments, confident that the vast majority of UFT members would like to see them happen.

Can we say “We do not think blended learning will work”?

I thought from June that blended learning was a mistake. I don’t think it will work in many schools. It was absolutely not designed for high schools. When I met with some teachers and union officials, including Mulgrew, I said this. They did not agree with me. Mulgrew thought we should leave some grades at home, or some classes at home (not ok, as it turns out, with Carranza), but they would not say “Blended won’t work.”

In fact, lo and behold, Mulgrew sent out an email to members on July 8:

We believe a blended learning model, with students in class on some days and remote on others, balances our safety concerns with the need to bring students back.

So we disagreed. But now, with five more weeks of evidence of DoE inflexibility and incompetence and refusal to collaborate, can we say that blended learning will not work for reopening this fall?

It is possible to say that we wanted blended to work, but that it was just not possible in this timeframe, with this administration. See, not so hard.

Can we say “Schools should not open for in-person instruction in September?

Yesterday a group of principals in District 15 came out against a September 8 opening. They were looking for a transition. Then the CSA issued a statement, calling for schools not to open.

A more realistic, phased-in approach would instead welcome students for in-person learning toward the end of September, following a fully remote start to the year.

Mulgrew appeared to support the principals. But take a look at his statement:

The UFT has said repeatedly that we cannot re-open schools unless they are safe for students and staff. The principals union — whose members will be responsible for enforcing coronavirus safety protocols in the schools — now believes that school buildings will not be ready to open in September. We need both safety and sanity in this crisis. Will any parents be willing to put their children in a school whose principal believes the building is not ready to open because it is not safe?

Notice what he does not say? He doesn’t say “We should not open schools September 10.”  If it is an omission, that will be easy to correct. If it is a tactical maneuver, it’s time to adjust that course.

It is possible to say that we wanted schools to open, but that it is not possible in this timeframe, with this administration. See, not so hard.




5 Comments leave one →
  1. Samuel Noel permalink
    August 13, 2020 pm31 5:08 pm 5:08 pm

    It’s time to move away from this passive stance and begin to apply pressure on the mayor similar to what our Chicago brethren did. Mayor Lightfoot changed her mind when she saw teachers weren’t going for the reopening of school buildings. There is no way that schools are going to effectively handle ventilation, programming, logistics, testing/tracing, entrance/egress, staffing, deep cleaning, PPE, etc. The UFT should conduct a membership survey and begin the political fight to keep school buildings closed.

    • August 14, 2020 am31 12:28 am 12:28 am

      I agree, but that will take a change of course – and I did not hear motion in that direction from Mulgrew this afternoon.

  2. August 20, 2020 am31 9:34 am 9:34 am

    Would be curious to get your thoughts about this article (as it applies to UFT):

    • August 21, 2020 am31 12:36 am 12:36 am

      I agree. My union endorses like it was a PAC, not a labor organiza

      • August 21, 2020 pm31 5:55 pm 5:55 pm

        Ok :). The author of the piece will hopefully be a member of your union in a year or two (currently working on his M.Ed.).

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