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Author Topic: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm  (Read 3649 times)

Offline mangopaco

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The Panel for Education Policy (PEP) is meeting tonight to vote on a $4.9 million contract to help recruit new teachers at the same time that Bloomberg and Paterson are cutting budgets and laying off 6,000+ teachers.
 
We're fighting for jobs and the future of NYC's children.  We've got to fight the possibility of bigger class sizes, lower attendance rates, cutting of programming, etc.
 
This contract they're voting on tonight is absurd!

Be there to fight this ridiculous spending!
 
The PEP meeting that starts at 6 p.m. at Long Island City HS.  It's at 14-30 BROADWAY - you take the N/W to Broadway and walk towards 30th Street.  It's on the corner of Broadway and 21st Street. 

Offline Sweeper

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 07:00:50 PM »
Not for nothing, but you already self identified yourself as a "unionist". You forgive me if I feel that you are not really interested in "the children of NYC". I can't think of any organization that has been more against the interests of children.
That's not to say that I have anything but the greatest respect for individual teachers, but spare me the sanctimonious crap that the UFT shovels on a daily basis.

Offline mangopaco

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 09:44:31 PM »
Not for nothing, but you already self identified yourself as a "unionist". You forgive me if I feel that you are not really interested in "the children of NYC".

Forgive me if I took this a little personally.  I am a K-2 Science teacher in a public school and have been teaching for eight years.  I love teaching and anyone who knows me personally knows how much I enjoy it.  I am more than interested in the well-being and future of "the children of NYC."  As a parent-to-be I will fight hard to improve our public schools.  I'm glad you have great respect for individual teachers, but don't you dare tell me that I am not interested in what's best for our children.

I am an educator and active in the union.  I am happy to represent my colleagues when they need me.  You can say whatever you want about our organization but please do not question my commitment to my children.

Offline mcdirk

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 09:59:03 PM »
I am a big fan of UFT myself.  They work hard to keep quality teachers and make our educational system better.  The teachers I know are some of the most dedicated public servants around - fighting to make a difference in the lives of children in the city every day.

Offline Sweeper

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 11:02:33 PM »
[quoteForgive me if I took this a little personally.][/quote]
I am glad that you take this personally. When I differentiated teachers from the union I did it with purpose. You can tell the world how much you care about "the children", but the organization you belong to use children as a human shield for a bargaining chip. Why do you care if the city spends Xmillion dollars on recruitment? Is the UFT now the forefront of fiscal conservatism?
I'm guessing it's because you don't want to compete for your job.
But if the city of New York can find a better K-2 Science teacher for less money than they should hire him/her. That's what every else does. Why are government employees different?

[quoteI am a big fan of UFT myself.  They work hard to keep quality teachers and make our educational system better.][/quote]

No they don't. They have the same job as any union. Protect the members and increase the rolls.

Offline casicua

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 11:28:41 PM »
I don't understand why a teacher caring about his job and caring about his children have to be mutually exclusive.
Do you think it's possible that someone could want to keep his/her job with fair treatment and decent wages while also caring about the children that said job affects?
I respect teachers and what they do- I don't recall (in my experience) ever seeing a teacher just kicking his/her feet up riding on union laziness and putting out as little work as possible for the kids. Most teachers I've seen make crap pay for a hard and very respectable job.

But if the city of New York can find a better K-2 Science teacher for less money than they should hire him/her. That's what every else does. Why are government employees different?
<snip...snip...>
They have the same job as any union. Protect the members and increase the rolls.
That would be the ideal scenario, wouldn't it? The problem is when there are severe budget cuts, do you think that the hiring personnel will be more concerned about who will do the job for the least amount of money or about who will put out the best quality of work?

I know unions of all kinds have their problems, but they exist for a reason. They are not machines to ensure that people put out the least amount of work for the most money- they exist so that employees across the board don't get screwed over by the higher-ups.

Offline kempsternyc

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 06:56:49 AM »
If you had to balance the budget.....who would you cut first? The teacher making 90,000 or the teacher making 45,000? CompUSA took the 90,000 route and lost all it's experienced employees and no longer exists.
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Offline mangopaco

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2010, 08:37:20 AM »
Right.  Hiring the cheaper teacher would give little incentive for anyone to become a teacher.  If with time you're going to be replaced with a younger, cheaper version or if you're going to have to agree to a lower salary to keep your job, why would you take on a hard job?

Plus, we're not putting out a "product" where it might make sense to hire the cheaper worker.  This isn't a business.  We are teaching children! 

Offline 28Grand

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2010, 08:53:52 AM »
But if the city of New York can find a better K-2 Science teacher for less money than they should hire him/her. That's what every else does. Why are government employees different?

I have mixed feelings about unions in general but recognize the benefit of having them in theory in some circumstances. I'll leave the debate about whose interest the UFT represents to others though I do think they should do a better job of working with the City to remove incompetent teachers from the classroom.

But if you feel the UFT isn't interested in children, can't the argument be made that neither does the City. What if they just want to hire someone cheaper, not better?

No for-profit company ever hires someone cheaper because they are better or more qualified. I'm sorry, it just doesn't happen.

Offline TRX

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Re: against ridiculous spending - - 5-18-10
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 09:46:45 AM »
bigger class sizes, lower attendance rates, cutting of programming, etc.
 
The PEP meeting
at Long Island City HS.  It's at 14-30 BROADWAY   



I am curious what are the class sizes that you see?
What do you mean by attendance rates, is this for elementary, higher grade levels, or both?

I agree with 28G. It seems to me that a number of unions have been looking for reasonable compromises. In all this, I look for folks who accept accountability.
What is the union for school parents?


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« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 09:57:21 AM by TRX »
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Offline Debbie

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 10:22:29 AM »
On a personal note - the reason that I am successful today is not because of high school or college - it is because of my Elementary School teachers and the services that schools provided when I was growing up in the 60's in Washington Heights.

We learned how to read and write, how to calculate, how to dance, how to play, how to make things, how to perform, how to draw.  What I learned was endless.  Also, my parents could not afford to send us to camp in the summer and the schools were open for any child who needed a place to be while their parents worked.  During the summer, it was all about arts, crafts and the performing arts.  I had the luxury of a well balanced education funded by the city. 

Our teachers were motivated, dedicated individuals who were given the tools they needed to teach.

This was before the cuts came and schools went downhill.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 11:03:32 AM »
No they don't. They have the same job as any union. Protect the members and increase the rolls.

And the cynic in me wonders if this is why the union wants to either get its hands on the growing number of charter schools, or throw their weight behind preventing the cap from being lifted.

Offline mangopaco

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Re: against ridiculous spending - - 5-18-10
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 11:07:38 AM »
I am curious what are the class sizes that you see?

What do you mean by attendance rates, is this for elementary, higher grade levels, or both?

What is the union for school parents?

Well, I'll tell you from experience.  When I first started teaching 2nd Graders in 2002, I walked into a classroom with 28 students.  As a first year teacher that was a little overwhelming.  You simply can't get around to every student with so many students and no one else in the room to help you.

The following year there was enough money to hire more teachers and the class size dropped to 21.  I had a much better experience and had plenty more time to give the proper attention to each student.

Fast forward to 2008.  We started our kindergarten classes with 21 students.  Which, for kindergarten, I consider the upper limit.  Most kindergarteners are four years old and it takes time to get them used to the longer school day and all the routines and procedures.  

This year, 2009, we started our kindergartens with 23 students.  And, next year, because there will be fewer teachers in the district (if budget cuts and layoffs go through) our principal has warned us of kindergarten classes going to 25 students.  

I can't give specifics HS experience but I know that in some places there are students sitting on windowsills because they're so crowded.

Attendance rates in HS tend to drop when classes are more crowded because it's harder for the schools to follow-up with home on who is out and why.  Graduation rates drop, etc.

There are some things that Bloomberg did well, and one of those things was increasing the budget for schools and teachers.  With more teachers in the classroom and smaller class sizes, graduation rates went up as well as his coveted test scores.  As budget cuts go into effect, watch those numbers drop.

I don't think there's a specific parent group.  Parents organize into different groups, usually on a school by school basis.  Some PTAs in the Upper East Side are incredibly powerful, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in order to hire extra help in the classroom, while some PTAs in the Bronx can barely raise a couple of hundred dollars in a year.  There are some non-profit groups that do well representing parents and some newer groups like GEM that advocate on behalf of parents and educators.




Offline TRX

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Re: against ridiculous spending - - 5-18-10
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2010, 11:42:47 AM »

Attendance rates in HS tend to drop when classes are more crowded because it's harder for the schools to follow-up with home on who is out and why.  Graduation rates drop, etc.

There are some things that Bloomberg did well, and one of those things was increasing the budget for schools and teachers.  With more teachers in the classroom and smaller class sizes, graduation rates went up as well as his coveted test scores.  As budget cuts go into effect, watch those numbers drop.

I don't think there's a specific parent group.  Parents organize into different groups, usually on a school by school basis.  Some PTAs in the Upper East Side are incredibly powerful, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in order to hire extra help in the classroom, while some PTAs in the Bronx can barely raise a couple of hundred dollars in a year.  There are some non-profit groups that do well representing parents and some newer groups like GEM that advocate on behalf of parents and educators.



Thank you. I appreciate the first hand report.

A few stories, good or bad.
In high school, I wanted to take a class. The teacher said they had run out of desk space. It was important to me, so I said I did not need a desk.
It all worked out and was a life changing experience.

I heard from a NY HS teacher that unfortunately the majority of their students were not ready to learn at grade level. To make matters worse, there was pressure from the principal to promote the students regardless.

My understanding is that class size is often times cost prohibitive and rarely directly affects learning. HS attendance and graduation rates are quite an issue. Class size most likely does have an effect on learning in lower elementary grades with a goal of 1 teacher for 20 students, but methodology and quality of teacher is most important.

It is interesting that yesterday many voters supported modest increases in school budgets. On Debbie's points, I wonder how much has been lost with cuts in arts/music/health education.
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Offline megc

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2010, 12:24:33 PM »
the growing number of charter schools

I've heard the recent radio ads from UFT regarding charter schools, and the impression I get is that they fear them. Why fear them?  I've never been given the impression that charter schools are a scourge upon the earth.  Are they generally corrupt or something?  Can someone please enlighten me, because obviously I don't understand the full scope of the problem the union has with charter schools.  Thanks in advance.

Offline lanseaux

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2010, 12:25:25 PM »
throw their weight behind preventing the cap from being lifted.

By cap, do you mean cap on the number of students per class?

Assuming for the moment that you do -- that cap is absolutely necessary.  Right now, it's 34 students per class in high schools.  My husband teaches science at one of the specialized science high schools, and he has, without fail, 34 students in every single one of his classes.  He's been teaching for nearly 20 years (most of the time at that school), and while in the past he occasionally had smaller classes, for quite a few years now they are always maxed out -- and it's too high.  Basically, he has found that over 30 students starts to diminish the effectiveness of teaching to the individual student, particularly in a science setup where a good chunk of the learning is supposed to be hands-on.  Maybe it doesn't matter for all of the students, but he feels every year that he loses a few because of the sheer volume of students.

Sure, you could cram 50 students into a class.  But to what advantage?  In this scenario, saving money doesn't equate to better-educated students.  This isn't the production of widgets.

Offline megc

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2010, 12:31:00 PM »
I heard from a NY HS teacher that unfortunately the majority of their students were not ready to learn at grade level. To make matters worse, there was pressure from the principal to promote the students regardless.

I would like to know if this is true because the idea of it disturbs me.  Promoting a student when they are not ready is, in the end, harming the student.  A principal that pressures a teacher to do that should be fired.  Practices like this seem unethical to me.

Offline megc

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2010, 12:32:50 PM »
By cap, do you mean cap on the number of students per class?

I thought he meant the cap on the number of charter schools being built?  I'd also like to know what Bill meant.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2010, 01:20:36 PM »
I've heard the recent radio ads from UFT regarding charter schools, and the impression I get is that they fear them. Why fear them?  I've never been given the impression that charter schools are a scourge upon the earth.  Are they generally corrupt or something?  Can someone please enlighten me, because obviously I don't understand the full scope of the problem the union has with charter schools.  Thanks in advance.

Well, in the interest of fairness, I am not the one to give you the "full scope."  If you'd like the union side of the argument, you'd have to speak with someone in the union.  But I can give you my understanding as someone who is not in the union and is openly in favor of charter schools.

The short and cynical version as to why the UFT is against charters is that the teachers in charters are generally not affiliated with the union.  Policy scholars who are in favor of charters argue that being free of the union is the whole point of the exercise.  Charters should be free to have new and innovative rules and administrative procedures and should not be bound by union work rules, argue proponents of the charters.  You will see this idea expressed in the work of scholars like Checker Finn and Marcus Winters (http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/winters.htm)

The union waged a fierce battle to unionize certain charters (I believe one of the KIPP Academy schools) so now there ARE several charters run under the UFT rules.  But again, many in support of charters argues this defeats the purpose.  The union, for their part, claims that there are certain things that are unfair about the way charters are run.  For example, they say that charters only get better educational outcomes from their students because they don't have to deal with as wide of a special needs population, or as many students learning english.  They advocate that charters should have to accept such students:  http://gothamschools.org/2010/01/04/uft-recommendations-add-fuel-to-the-charter-school-debate-fire/

Of course, the cynic in me believes that this is a gambit by the union to lower the outcomes of charters (which are now, essentially, their competitors) or to agitate for unionization.  Mulgrew, the head of the union claimed just yesterday that he is not holding back an increase in the number of charters: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/05/ufts-mulgrew-were-not-blocking.html  He alleges mismanagement by the charter schools, but was unable to produce few, if any examples.  He also went back to the old chestnut that the charter schools can be for profit entities, and collect per pupil management fees, whereas he believes that money should go "into the classroom" as opposed to a for profit entity.  My question to him is, if a for profit entity can do a better job why does it matter where their money goes?  Unless you have a vested interest in preserving the union, that is.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2010, 01:22:23 PM »
By cap, do you mean cap on the number of students per class?

Assuming for the moment that you do -- that cap is absolutely necessary.  Right now, it's 34 students per class in high schools.  My husband teaches science at one of the specialized science high schools, and he has, without fail, 34 students in every single one of his classes.  He's been teaching for nearly 20 years (most of the time at that school), and while in the past he occasionally had smaller classes, for quite a few years now they are always maxed out -- and it's too high.  Basically, he has found that over 30 students starts to diminish the effectiveness of teaching to the individual student, particularly in a science setup where a good chunk of the learning is supposed to be hands-on.  Maybe it doesn't matter for all of the students, but he feels every year that he loses a few because of the sheer volume of students.

Sure, you could cram 50 students into a class.  But to what advantage?  In this scenario, saving money doesn't equate to better-educated students.  This isn't the production of widgets.

There is a legal cap on the number of number of charter schools allowed to operate in New York State.  The UFT is using their clout to advocate that this cap not be lifted.

Offline lanseaux

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2010, 02:22:27 PM »
There is a legal cap on the number of number of charter schools allowed to operate in New York State.  The UFT is using their clout to advocate that this cap not be lifted.

Sorry I misunderstood your reference.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2010, 04:22:26 PM »
Sorry I misunderstood your reference.

No worries.  I'm in favor of small class sizes.  Or at least giving students the maximum possible amount of attention.

Offline ddanny999

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2010, 04:52:18 PM »
I am a big fan of UFT myself.  They work hard to keep quality teachers and make our educational system better.  The teachers I know are some of the most dedicated public servants around - fighting to make a difference in the lives of children in the city every day.

This kind of blatant shilling may have gotten you elected at that political club, but this is a load of crap.

Offline Sweeper

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2010, 06:18:09 PM »
I'm glad that this conversation expanded, because it is important.

Quote
But if you feel the UFT isn't interested in children, can't the argument be made that neither does the City. What if they just want to hire someone cheaper, not better?

Certainly that argument can be made, and that's an excellent point. But who hires people to run the city? I would say that it is you and me. So who is the UFT negotiating with ultimately? Again, it is our responsibility to ensure that the most competent officials are running this great city. (I'll let the judgement on this stand)
Personally I'm not interested in any public employee having a bad work environment. I know very well the value that positive management support can have. That being said, it is also important that labor issues are dealt with without emotion. More than once it has been said that education is not producing a product. I disagree. The product is the knowledge imparted to the next generation. Do it well and you should enjoy raises and job security. Suck at it and be fired. Every where we look this is the status quo and it works. But for some reason we look at public sector employees and feel that the laws of economics don't apply. This goes for police and firefighters too, by the way. Medical cost in the private sector go up, so companies make employees start to share the burden. In the public sector, the taxpayers pick up the burden. And the worst part about this: political hacks brag about union endorsements. Holy crap! They are actually telling you that they are going to suck when it comes to spending money that you have earned.

Offline Sweeper

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2010, 06:21:40 PM »
Quote
Do you think it's possible that someone could want to keep his/her job with fair treatment and decent wages while also caring about the children that said job affects?
More than possible, it is probably the norm. But please define "fair treatment and decent wages". Because ultimately, that is all this is about.

Offline casicua

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2010, 11:42:30 PM »
More than possible, it is probably the norm. But please define "fair treatment and decent wages". Because ultimately, that is all this is about.
That was really my reaction to this response to the OP:
...I feel that you are not really interested in "the children of NYC". I can't think of any organization that has been more against the interests of children.
I read that as (correct me if I'm wrong) you writing off the motives of the UFT and the OP as completely disinterested in the interests of the children. My contention is simply that the fighting for self-interest, in the case of the teachers, does not necessarily equate to being against the interests of the children they teach.
To be honest, I don't know every detail of what the UFT stance on every issue is. I do, however, know quite a few NYC teachers who are members of the union and from what I can gather, take a primary interest in the kids that they teach above their own. Frankly, I know that if they wanted a career where they got overpaid for the work they do- teaching certainly wasn't the choice profession for it. I believe that their vested interest with the UFT is a fair one.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 11:51:49 PM by casicua »


 

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