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Why We Need to Call for “All-Remote” Now

August 20, 2020 pm31 10:07 pm

Mulgrew sounded militant Wednesday. Talked about a strike. Made demands about safety. But the message was wrong. By continuing to fight to open schools safely (which might seem reasonable) the UFT leadership is diverting us. We should be leaning, as hard as we can, on de Blasio to open remotely. Everyone, including de Blasio, notices that the UFT has not called for “All-Remote.”

1a. Parents need to know what their schedules will be, where their children will be, and when. A million parents being forced to make personal decisions (remote vs hybrid) is unfair. The City should be creating solutions for New York City’s parents.

1b. Parents need this now, not three weeks from now. The City needs time to create arrangements and options, and time to meet the needs of families.

2a. Teachers need to create plans for their classes. While some schools have managed to create a hybrid plan that makes sense, they are in a tiny minority. Most teachers in the city either do not have a set-up for their class schedule, or have one that does not make sense.

2b. Teachers need to know this now, to allow us three weeks to at least mentally prepare for fully remote planning.

3. In particular, “blended learning” in high schools is a mess; it is an idea conceived (poorly) for elementary schools. It was never going to work in high schools. We don’t need three more weeks to figure that out. We knew it in June. If I teach part of my class Monday, another part Tuesday, another on Wednesday, and the last group on Thursday, what are the kids who are not in class doing while I am teaching? What, am I saying “read section 3.4 and do all the odd numbered questions, we will talk about them in a week? It’s not teaching.

4a. The logistics planning is missing (Morning entry, etc). We are being asked to trust that principals are taking care of it.

4b. Logistics are not included in schools’ plans. If you click on the DoE’s school finder and find a school, you will see their reopening plan. But know what’s missing from those plans? Specifics. And logistics.

5a. Safety. The UFT checklist is good. The call for testing, tracing, seem reasonable. But the UFT is fixated on trying to make schools safe.

5b. By spending the next three weeks fighting to make schools safe, they will either i) cut corners or ii) delay the move to remote, disadvantaging families and teachers.

5bi) The UFT demands do not include doing away with “instructional lunch” – given what we suspect about aerosols, this is a real issue. It is not clear if UFT Safety teams going into buildings are primarily identifying unsafe conditions, or primarily finding ways to say that ventilation can be made ok. This is an issue.

5bii) While the UFT is stuck on trying to make schools safe, teachers wait. Unworkable hybrid plans get rolled out. Families scramble for every other or every third day childcare.

One district after another delays opening, or moves to all-remote. Yesterday Yonkers added itself to that list. NYC has become the outlier. This needs to change, as quickly as possible.

“We want to open, blended, but safe”

and

“We wnt to open remotely”

– are not the same message. We need to dump the first and switch to the right one, today.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike permalink
    August 21, 2020 am31 7:57 am 7:57 am

    I could not agree with you more.

    Remote learning has its pitfalls, but the option of ‘learning’ is there. If the doe thinks we will be able to do in person and remote lessons, they are dreaming.

    Instructional lunches also are not fair to the custodial staff as it will lead to a mess in classrooms.

    The cop out I have heard is ‘kids do not know how to use online platforms or have access to them.’ Nonsense.

    You are so right. Let us go remote and start planning.

    • August 26, 2020 pm31 5:47 pm 5:47 pm

      And another almost week has passed….

  2. Samuel Noel permalink
    August 21, 2020 am31 9:00 am 9:00 am

    Excellent ponts, as usual. Also, Carranza’s Town Meeting left most of us with more questions than answers. We’re going to begin a new school year improvising yet again. Last March, we were adapting our curricula for remote learning. Now, we don’t even know what we’re going to teach. At my school, the only communication we’ve heard is a requirement to attend two online MOSL professional development sessions on our own time before September 8th.

    The UFT needs to also push for instructional guidelines. If MOSLs are the focus, then we’re obviously going back to Danielson teacher ratings while we’re teaching blindly and learning how to keep ourselves from contracting a lethal pathogen.

    • Mike permalink
      August 21, 2020 am31 9:42 am 9:42 am

      To my understanding, on carranza’s town hall, he did not mention the potential of 9,000 layoffs. However, he stated a possible layoff scenario on a meeting with parents and families for hoping to procure money from the state.

      In my mind, carranza and the mayor are playing a dangerous game with the lives of people in our system and that is not in ‘good faith.’

      This is why if mulgrew puts a strike vote on the table, then I will vote to strike. To play these games after last spring is just not okay.

      • August 21, 2020 pm31 4:50 pm 4:50 pm

        Yeah, it was at the PEP meeting Wednesday night. He said if Cuomo cuts 20% of school budgets, schools will open remotely and lay off 9000 teachers.

        It’s terrifying. And it’s irresponsible how much money they’ve wasted on this doomed hybrid plan at a time when they can least afford it.

        • August 26, 2020 pm31 5:47 pm 5:47 pm

          I don’t think enough people have been talking about the enormous waste that the DoE is producing…. including the consultants for these “plans”

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