NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new standoff over safety at New York City public schools.
On Sunday, the union representing principals called for a state takeover of city schools, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
In-person learning begins on Tuesday and Thursday. The Council of Schools Supervisors & Administrators (CSA) said its members and teachers plan on being in the schools to welcome students, but added it has lost all faith in Mayor Bill de Blasio to lead city schools through the coronavirus crisis and it wants the state to take over.
The principals’ union president, Mark Cannizzaro, said his membership is fed up with the last-minute changes in school start dates and teaching policies. Twice in-person learning has been delayed for teacher shortages.
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On Friday, the Department of Education changed its policy, now allowing teachers to teach remotely from home. It was a change made without notifying the principals’ union.
On Sunday morning, the union had a unanimous vote of no-confidence, demanding the mayor cede control of city schools to the state Department of Education.
Many teachers said they, too, have lost confidence in the mayor and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
“We just felt that we had to make a public statement at this point, because this past week too many repeat errors occurred. And we need to be able to do better by our folks, so that they can do better by children,” Cannizzaro said. “I just think that it would be helpful to have some fresh eyes in here to take a look and possibly help out as far as the overall planning is concerned.”
“I think it’s about time. I wish that my union had the wherewithal to do the same, the UFT,” teacher Marissa Garcia said.
Garcia teaches English at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The faculty has raised concerns about poor ventilation, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), a shortage of teachers, and no required COVID-19 testing of staff or students.
“If you have 100 people who haven’t been tested because mandatory testing was dropped by both the UFT and the DOE as part of going back, 10 kids, 100 kids on mass transit, there’s your second wave,” Garcia said.
“I’m really pretty angry at this point that none of our concerns have really landed with the mayor,” teacher Nate Floro added. “The last thing we need is less Democratic support. I have absolutely no confidence in the mayor, of course, but I think what we need to do right now is empower schools and teachers to be able to do what we know how to do.”
The mayor’s office didn’t respond to CBS2’s request for comment. A city DOE spokesperson would only say the department would continue working with labor leaders on a safe and healthy schools reopening this week.
Teachers told Sanchez they don’t have enough staffing for the upcoming week and would prefer to go fully remote.
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