Sunday, October 14, 2018

In new UFT contract, parents cut out of in "School based Collaborative Committees" in struggling schools

The UFT posted a version of the new contract Memorandum of Agreement that is non-searchable which make it very difficult to analyze.  I had to download the document and resave it  in a more advanced  version of Adobe to do a search for words.  This searchable doc is now posted on Google Drive here. This is some of what I discovered:
The word “parent” is mentioned only a handful of times.  For the new supposedly innovative “Collaborative School model” which will be used in struggling schools, no parents will necessarily be included on either the “Central Committee” to oversee the initiative nor any of the “School Based Collaborative Committees” to develop improvement plans in each school, that is, unless the Principal chooses to appoint parents for his or her 50% share of these committees: 
“The “("Central Committee") composed of an equal number of representatives appointed by the UFT President and the Chancellor…

Each school in the Collaborative School Model shall establish a School Based Collaborative Committee ("School Committee"). Fifty percent of the Committee shall be comprised of UFT represented employees, selected by the Union. The remaining fifty percent shall include the principal and other stakeholders selected by the principal, exclusive of UFT-represented employees. The Committee will include no less than 6 and no more than 12 members.”
The MOA does include this statement in regards the School Leadership Teams, made up of half parents which are supposed to be in charge of developing school improvement plans, according to state law:
The School Committee shall consult with the SLT to ensure that the plan is aligned and not in conflict with the goals· of the school's CEP. Nothing herein is meant to change or diminish the rights and responsibilities of the SLT or its members, including all processes as defined by Education law and the Chancellor's Regulations.”
But this is a flimsy attempt at a fig leaf and it is evident  that the School-based Collaborative Committees will supplant the SLTs and really be in charge of making improvement plans for the school, while the Central Committee will take the place of the District Leadership Teams that also include parents.
To add insult to injury, these School-based Collaborative Committees will be allowed to meet during “Parent Engagement time”:
The School Committee shall meet twice monthly at a mutually agreeable time, including but not limited to during the workday, OPW and Parent Engagement time, throughout the school year and additionally as needed. Trained facilitators selected and assigned by the Central Committee will assist and meet with the School Committees.
So the extra eighty minutes per week  that under Joel Klein was devoted to to small group instruction for struggling students, and then re-directed in the last teacher contract by Carmen Farina towards more PD and supposed “parent engagement,” is now going to be given up in these schools to School-based Collaborative Committee meetings, a collaboration which does not have to include parents.
In all this seems to not only conflict with state law on SLTs but also the enhanced parent participation that is supposed to be required by ESSA in schools identified for comprehensive or targeted support
So what else will happen in these schools? 
“Schools in the Bronx Collaborative Schools Model will have priority consideration for centrally funded initiatives such as Equity and Excellence initiatives, air conditioning, physical education and others that align to the schools' goals. "
But apparently not class size reduction, which actually might help them improve.
Speaking of priorities other than class size reduction, the MOA also includes a long list of out-of-classroom teacher positions that will receive "Additional Compensation" in exchange for spending time in ways other than teaching kids:

I can’t find how much more “Peer collaborative Teachers, Teacher Ambassadors, Master Teachers, or “Model Teachers” will be paid, or how many there will be; the only compensation figures I can find are for Teacher Development Facilitators and Teacher Team leaders: 
“The Teacher Development Facilitator shall receive additional compensation in the amount of $3,000 per school term for the term of this Agreement above the applicable teacher salary in accordance with this Agreement… The possible expansion of this role to include the support of new, in-service teachers will be determined by Joint Committee on Teacher Leadership Initiatives.

“The Teacher Team Leader shall receive additional compensation of $14,000 a year for the term of this agreement above the applicable teacher salary in accordance with this Agreement.”
If you discover anything more of interest in the MOA, please leave your comments below.

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