SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: If I Were Chapter Leader I Would Choose Freewill

Friday, May 4, 2012

If I Were Chapter Leader I Would Choose Freewill

With the chapter leader elections coming up next month I have been pondering what I would stand for and do if I were chapter leader. It's been going back and forth through my head for quite a while and I think I have some pretty solid idea on how I would lead my chapter and what I would like my chapter to be. So in no particular order I present what has been going on through the dark recesses of my mind as I ponder life as a chapter leader.

Oh, and please check out the upper right hand corner of Chaz's blog for what a a union should be. 

1. True independence

Yep, no affiliation with Unity Caucus, The Bronx UFT, the district rep, nor the big boys at 52 Broadway. What is best for the school and the staff will be priority #1 and if it aligns with the wishes of UFT so be it. If it doesn't, then too bad. Again in no particular order, the priorities are the school, the teachers and the students is first and foremost. 

Also, I will never check with the district rep whether or not I can do something such as file a grievance, or  stick up for a teacher. This would be true independence on my part.

2. Stand By The Teacher

I will stand behind that teacher in any disciplinary meeting with a supervisor. There will be no silence. I would see myself as a defense attorney is  in a trial or a hearing. Questions should be asked of the supervisor. The supervisor should clarify what the charges are, what they entail and to show some modicum of evidence in the accusations. The onus should be on the supervisor.

3. Negotiate

Why can't a chapter leader meet with the supervisor after a disciplinary meeting and discuss the possibilities of whether or not a letter to file or a counseling memo is warranted? Why can't the chapter leader work with the supervisor in a cooperative manner in the wording of the disciplinary letter and/or counseling memo? Would not something like this be beneficial to both sides? Think of how much money the DOE could have saved in monies invested into investigations, hearings, etc... if only both sides came together and sat down and talked things out? Of course if I were chapter leader I would do my utmost to not only protect the staff member but to do all I can to protect the dignity of the staff member.

4. True Collaboration

There must be true collaboration between the chapter leader and the principal. Only in such a setting can all sides win, including the students and the community. Once true collaboration is the rule of the school this will bring morale up and teacher effectiveness will rise.

5. Respect

If I were chapter leader I will not settle for anything less than complete respect to the staff. At no time should staff members be belittled, harassed, embarrassed, humiliated by a supervisor. This also goes for students who do the same and students that will bring injury upon the staff member.

I would insist on a meeting with the supervisor and all involved if a staff member is treated this way and I would insist that a student who does the same to staff members and physical attacks a staff member be properly and quickly disciplined. 

6. Fight For The School

I would do whatever I can, contact whomever I can, meet with whomever I can to get the monies the school deserves into the schools wallet. I will allow no stone to remain unturned. I know I have the contacts to help my school facilitate and advocate locating monies. Silence can be a death knell for a school.

7. Keep The Staff Informed

Not only will there be monthly chapter meetings but a newsletter will go out at least once a week touching on what is happening in the school and, just as importantly, what is happening in the world of education and the deformy movement. It is time teachers be educated in what is going on around us.

Also, there never would be any secrets if I were chapter leader. When I hear or know of something, the entire staff will know. Even if it is a rumor. The staff has a right to know all. 

8. Camaraderie

We are all in this together. There should be more get togethers outside of the school setting. There should be a sense that we are all in this together and that we all must seek out those who need our assistance and be there for that staff member. The backbiting, the gossip only goes to hurt the staff in the long run. Problems between staff members should settled with the chapter leader, not administration.

9. The UFT Contract

Not only does it benefit the staff if the contract is adhered to, but the students and the school community as well. The contract is an agreement, not something to be ignored. Also, instead of passing out the little UFT memo book at the beginning of the year, each teacher will receive a copy of the contract to keep at home.

10. One Last Thing

If I were chapter leader and if the time ever comes that we get on Uncle Mike's spite list, I will do whatever I can to keep the school from either getting a co-location or closed.  It will not happen on my watch. The community deserves this.

So there it is, what I would do if I were chapter leader.


Anonymous said...

If only you were at our school.

I would definitely vote for you!

Anonymous said...

I wish you were at my school too.

Arbeiter said...

I wish you had been my chapter chair. My former chair, in spite of being bright and accomplished, sold out to Unity and assumed a very Bloomberg-like attitude when it came to those they disagreed with. Unfortunately, this rep had the capacity to be as vindictive as the mayor, taking professional disagreements far too personally.

Anonymous said...

I am a current CL and I went in with the desire to implement all of your points, unfortunately the staff is too scared of administration to the point they(majority) wrote a loyalty oath under my watch. After that, i asked what was the point. I was viewed as preventing progress. We are a small school and the principal violates every article she can. She lies at staff meetings. I grieve on behalf of chapter when appropriate, and I send documentation in black and white to refute lies, but i am seen as a troubkemaker. I would love to forward you the divisive loyalty oath, because it is unbelievable.

As you can imagine I will not run again especially since UFT Unity is not spportive. The DRs response to every principal's violation is they can do anything.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone when the election for chapter chairperson takes place?