PJSTA Resolution in Opposition to Receivership

Yesterday, thePJSTA Executive Board unanimously passed the following resolution…

Resolution in Opposition to Receivership

WHEREAS: New York law establishes Receivership for schools that have been or will be categorized as persistently failing and struggling and that these schools are identified as the schools in the lowest 5% state-wide on NY Common Core assessments will mean there will always be failing schools and schools in Receivership, and;

WHEREAS: Receivership uses developmentally inappropriate and unreliable Common Core aligned test and punish and evaluation regimes to categorize failing schools, and;

WHEREAS: The Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association has taken a strong position against the Common Core Standards, and encourages members to refuse the Common Core Tests used to place schools in Receivership, and;

WHEREAS:  144 public schools serving mostly low income students from Buffalo to Albany, Utica to New York City, Yonkers to Rochester have fallen into Receivership, and;

WHEREAS: Receivership law states that the Receiver “may abolish the positions of all teachers and pedagogical support staff, administrators and pupil personnel service providers”  of any or all Receivership schools and can do so without cause, and require them to reapply if they choose, and;

WHEREAS: Receivership requires a “Staffing Committee” to determine whether senior former staff at Receivership schools are qualified to return to the school and those who are not rehired from their school are denied “bumping/seniority rights” and must be placed on a preferred eligibility list regardless of their teaching experience, and;

WHEREAS: Receivership further undermines collective bargaining by granting a Receiver broad power over budget, curriculum and programs, discipline, testing, class size, teaching conditions, length of the school day and year for each individual Receivership school, and;

WHEREAS:  Receivership erodes local control of schools by allowing a superintendent or independent Receiver to supersede decisions and policies established by an elected Board of Education, and;

WHEREAS: The Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association has previously stated both its opposition to Receivership and its support of local control of Public Schools, and;

WHEREAS: Receivership denies due process and other forms of fair employment practices for educators and administrators by allowing the law and commissioner’s regulations to set up a timeframe and process for different agreements with each Receivership school that ensures these “agreements” give expression to the will of the commissioner without ever having to prove how imposed agreements will improve the quality of education, and;
WHEREAS: Receivership law requires “failing/struggling” schools to improve in two years but provides ZERO/NO additional resources or funding to those schools, and;

WHEREAS: Receivership does not address the great inequality in funding for urban schools, as the Tax Cap and GEA have helped to defund New York State’s Public Schools since 2010, but rather Receivership doubles down on those districts by defunding them year after year, labeling them failures and giving them one or two years to “improve” without additional resources in most cases.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED IN UNITY: That The Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association vigorously oppose Receivership and encourage our regional and statewide NYSUT affiliates to pass similar resolutions demonstrating solidarity against New York Receivership law, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:  that NYSUT exhaust all legal means to change and to challenge in court any attacks on due process, collective bargaining and other fair labor practices that are a consequence of Receivership, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that NYSUT develop a plan/outline to advise members on how they should respond to the demands of Receivership and that NYSUT plan meetings to educate and activate members about said plan – especially those in Receivership schools who develop a SIP plan, sit on a Staffing Committee, or are assigned to CET, SBMT and/or any other member interested in the impacts of Receivership, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that The Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association will submit a Resolution in Opposition to Receivership at the April 2016 NYSUT RA in Rochester NY, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that a copy of this resolution be sent to all NYSUT Members and all local NYSUT Presidents and the entire New York delegation in the State Legislature.

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On the NEA Clinton Endorsement

Over at Mike Antonucci’s EIA blog, he has the break down of the NEA voting regarding the early Clinton endorsement.  Pretty interesting to look at.

Via eiaonline.com

NEA PAC Council Vote by State – Abstentions Critical


The vote on Thursday by the NEA PAC Council to endorse Hillary Clinton required a simple majority, and was reported to be 82% in favor. But now we have the roll call vote by state and caucus, and things aren’t so simple.

Each state’s votes are weighted by the amount they contribute to the PAC, plus each major NEA caucus gets a single vote, as well as the Executive Committee members and two members of the Board of Directors. There are 4,028 votes in total. You may have to zoom in to see the tally, but there are a few curious results.

First, one executive committee member, Kevin Gilbert of Mississippi, abstained. That’s already unusual, since the Executive Committee generally votes in lockstep on important issues.

The caucuses that voted no were the Retired Caucus, the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus and the GLBT Caucus.

The states voting no were Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The big mystery is why five states abstained, including the two largest, California and New Jersey (the others were Delaware, Louisiana and Nevada). New Jersey was especially vocal about not supporting an early Hillary endorsement.

If all the abstentions had been “no” votes, the simple majority would still have been reached, but the margin would have been reduced to 58.17%.

You saw the uproar that occurred on Friday and Saturday. Imagine the pressure on the board of directors – which required a 58% majority to endorse – if NEA’s Sanders supporters felt they were that close to defeating it.

It was close even if you just look at state affiliates plus the Federal Education Association – 34 in favor, 17 against or abstained. That’s still close enough to prompt internal lobbying and at worst reduce Clinton’s margin of victory to the low 60s, which would have greatly diminished the triumphant tones we heard yesterday.

What’s next? NEA conducted its orchestra with skill and got what it wanted: the authorization to spend dues and PAC money promoting Hillary’s candidacy. Whether that will turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory is entirely up to what the dissidents do next. An NBI ain’t gonna cut it.

A few things to note…

  • All of the NYSUT reps (all of whom are Unity Caucus members) votes in favor of the Clinton endorsement.
  • As Antonucci mentioned, the big issue with this endorsement is not so much the endorsement as it is the dues money and PAC money that comes attached to it.  This endorsement was top down unionism at it’s most basic level, with only the NEA PAC council having a say in the endorsement and the direction that our dues money flows.  Just as with the AFT’s endorsement of Clinton, there is no input from rank and file members and there are likely few actual classroom teachers among those who voted.    Yet it is their money that is being spent.  For me, the issue has less to do with who was endorsed (though I am not going to vote for her) and more to do with the top down endorsement process that shuts out the voice of the rank and file teacher and leaves them feeling as though they are not represented.  This, of course, is not solely an NEA problem.  It’s equally bad within the AFT and NYSUT and it is ultimately the largest reason that the Friedrichs case is such a threat to them.
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Some Links to Check Out

Some reading to keep you busy…

With the AFT having already issued an early endorsement of Hillary Clinton and the NEA supposedly set to do the same, Curmudgucation looks at Hillary’s stance of public education.

Samantha Winslow discusses the SEA settlement that came from their strike to start the school year.

Check out the new Students Not Scores blog.

Certainly you have seen this by now, but they are thinking of renaming the Common Core in New York State.  I guess the idea is that if you name a bag of crap something different it will no longer be a bag of crap?

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SEA Strike Suspended

The strike in Seattle appears to be over as their Representative Assembly approved the tentative agreement brought forth by their bargaining team.  The SEA membership will assemble on Sunday for a ratification vote.

Details of the agreement as per the SEA Facebook account…

Congratulations to our sisters and brothers in Seattle on this agreement!

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Seattle Strike Song

I saw this video of striking SEA teachers signing their own version of “Tomorrow” and it reminded me of the CTU’s version of “Call Me Maybe” in 2012.


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