Thursday, January 11, 2018

UFT Paying for Ad Campaign for Paid Parental Leave

Today, many teachers received an email from UFT President Michael Mulgrew asking members to email the mayor for paid maternity leave for teachers. There was a fancy button and an easy way to email Bill de Blasio.

What the union did not mention was that they are also paying for an ad campaign to help sway public opinion in favor of this policy. Last night, while reading this (depressing) article about the Penn Station and the state of our infrastructure,  I came across an ad for paid parental leave. 

That's Emily James in the picture. The link takes you to a recent NY1 interview between Ms. James, Councilman Tryeger from Brooklyn and Michael Mulgrew around parental leave.

The click was worth it. I was proud to see my union president act and speak on this issue. Ms. James described a colleague who had to wait six years before having a second child because of the lack of paid maternity leave.  Tryeger summed it all up perfectly: 'We either care about families or we don't" and "it's shameful this isn't policy already". 

I agree. It's Totally Shameful. Mulgrew's letter is below.  The link to the letter writing campaign to the mayor is here. And if you haven't signed the (now 83,000 strong) petition, feel free to do that here. 

Dear John, 
Mayor Bill de Blasio made headlines in 2015 when he promised paid parental leave for city employees. Two years later, his administration and the Department of Education have failed to extend that benefit to public school educators — the very people who have devoted their lives to caring for the city's children.
That’s not progressive — that’s just wrong.
Please send an email NOW to Mayor Bill de Blasio telling him to support paid parental leave for UFT members. And ask your local Council member to support the UFT push for paid parental leave.
It’s time for the de Blasio administration to deal fairly with public school educators. We need the help of our Council reps to get that message across to him.
Thank you for taking action.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Vermillion Parish: Arresting a Teacher For Speaking is Nuts!

Lots of people ask me what I have been up to since giving up writing here several times a week. The answer is not much --and that's just the way I like it! I spend a lot of my free time playing video games on an XBox I bought once The Teacher Wars ended a few years ago. I watch a lot of TV. I read. I shop. I bought a cool SUV that I take off road now and again. You know, regular person stuff.

Lately, I have been watching videos with my kid on YouTube. My daughter and I sit a few times a week and go over the top ten trending videos together. They change from day to day. They're usually a fun way to spend some free time and are typically worth a laugh or two. Last week we watched a fairly pointless music video with a dancing robot. This week, we watched a lot of Oprah, oh and a BBC Reporter get mobbed by a group of Lemars. Just super funny, super purposeless, good times with my kid. Such is my life in world since the end of the Ed Wars.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with a teacher from Vermillion Parish who was arrested for speaking against a raise for the superintendent while teachers in her district have received none?

A teacher in Louisiana who attended a school board meeting to question her superintendent's hefty raise was handcuffed and arrested on Monday in an incident recorded by a fellow attendee.
The Vermilion Parish School Board was voting Monday night on Superintendent Jermone Puyau's new contract, which included a $30,000 raise. Deyshia Hargrave, a middle school language arts teacher, stood up and said she had a "serious issue" with Puyau "or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise. I feel like it's a slap in the face for the teachers, the cafeteria workers, or any other support staff we have." She was interrupted by a board member who said her comment wasn't part of the night's agenda.

Well, lots, actually. You see, the video depicting the scene made it to the YouTube trending list (currently at the #6). As I write this, it has 2.1 million views. That's has more eyes on it than this strange Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep interview and the newTV Ad for Marvel's Black Panther movie.

That's nuts.

And the roughly fifteen thousand comments are virtually all in support of the teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, who spoke eloquently about how the improvements in her district have been made by the teachers in the classroom.

No that's not nuts. I'm just saying, 15,000 commenters seem to agree.

Way to go, Deyishia! Look us all up next time you're in New York. A bunch of NYC teachers would love to thank you.