October 11, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Alright – let's get that door closed please? We have some absolutely good news here today. It's a challenging world we're living in but sometimes things come together in a very positive way and this is one of those examples. We've set ourselves on a path in this city to ensure that we will be the fairest big city in America. One of the most essential components of that is making sure that every child gets a good education regardless of zip code and the way to do that is a partnership between our school system and our educators for the good of all.
That's been elusive for many years. I want to just spend a second on the history, when we all came in here five years ago it was a very troubled dynamic in our school system. There was overt disrespect for our educators emanating from City Hall and from the Tweed Building. That was getting us absolutely nowhere. That was holding us back. The possibility of partnership, collaboration, was undermined almost on a daily basis. Our educators were not under contract, innovation couldn't happen because there wasn't partnership.
When we came into office, and I want to give credit to the team that started out at the DOE, Chancellor Farina and all her team, one of the number one things they had to do was heal those wounds and start to bring people together again, get people on the same page, focus on the kids and our common mission, and they did that. Focusing on how we uplift our educators and strengthen them. In the first contract that we announced here in this room back in 2014 focused on developing our educators so they could be better and stronger, providing the professional development they have yearned for, for a long time, giving them more opportunity to grow, giving them more advancement opportunities, promotional opportunities, master teachers, model teachers, hiring from within rather than hiring folks who had never been involved in public education at all.
Over the last four years we've seen that cooperation, that positive attitude blossom, and it's part of why we have the highest graduation rate we've ever had, the lowest dropout rate we've ever had, the highest level of college readiness we've ever had, the most kids going onto higher education that we've ever had, it's part of why we achieved Pre-K for All and are on the pathway to achieving 3-K for All. These things happen through cooperation and a shared vision. And I talk to teachers all the time, in schools and walking the streets of the city of subways, you name it, and they come up to me and say they feel appreciated finally, they feel supported. And that's been immensely helpful but we knew we needed to do more, and that's what brings us to today, because the whole vision, becoming the fairest big city in America focused on addressing the inequalities head on.
The Equity and Excellence vision was meant to do that on a citywide basis. To focus on the kinds of things that create change for everyone, clearly that's early childhood, clearly that's things like college access for all, computer science for all, AP courses for all, these were all meant to go at historic inequities. But we had to do more. We had to focus on where we had some of the most persistent problems and try new solutions.
We're going to be talking to you about the specific reality of The Bronx and how we know there is so much more that can be done for the children of The Bronx and of the schools of The Bronx. If we can get the teachers we need to stay in those schools, and to come to those schools, and offer their skills, and one the great breakthroughs in this contract is a new and innovative approach to focusing on where the need is greatest. There is also a focus in this contract on collaboration, partnership, shared mission at the school level. Taking ideas that have existed and worked in the public sector and the private sector around the world and applying them to the biggest school system in the United States of America. The notion that where people work, their workplace, their school is where cooperation should be the greatest, and that labor and management can come together to solve problems in common cause. That's something that a few years back would have been impossible to believe in this city, but today it's possible, today it's doable, today it must be done, and it's going to be done and it's going to be done because of the leadership of this chancellor, it's going to be done because of the leadership of this President of the UFT, and all the folks, school by school, who want to see this vision achieved.
So we're celebrating a lot here today. I'm going to talk to you about the contract itself but I want to make sure everyone understands that what's happening is a lot bigger than simply signing a contract and having our teachers paid properly, compensated properly. There is a lot more going on here, there is some groundbreaking stuff going on here, and it's taken months and months of intensive negotiations to get us to this point, but we couldn't be happier with the outcome. At the outset, I want say a deep thanks to everyone up here, you're going to hear from a few of them in a moment, but everyone at this table worked very hard to achieve this outcome. Some as I said you'll hear from, but I want to also acknowledge our First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and our OMB Director Melanie Hartzog for their extraordinary efforts to ensure we got to this day. And a thank you to someone who provides leadership in our school system every day, and makes sure that the decisions of our school system reflect the needs of our kids and our parents, Vanessa Leung the Chair of the PEP, thank you very, very much for your leadership.
What we are doing with this agreement is lifting up 1.1 million students and 130,000 educators. And it follows that since the very beginning of this administration one of the most important acts we took was to bring our educators under contract as the beginning of bringing all of our workforce under contract. We now in the second round of bargaining in the second term of this administration, are creating the moment to achieve that again. First we had the DC 37 agreement, now with the UFT. This will now upon ratification have well over 50 percent of our workforce under contract and what's important to understand and this was absolutely a current through every single conversation. This is not just about a fair agreement for hardworking people, it was about making the schools better. And I really want to give credit to Michael and his colleagues, every conversation was about how to make schools better.
I am distressed when I hear stereotypes in general but specifically stereotypes that misunderstand the level of commitment that our educators have to our schools and particularly our teacher unions have to our school. I can tell you having observed this process, firsthand how much of a focus there was on breaking through historic problems and taking us to a new and better place for our kids. We do not believe, and this is essential to Equity and Excellence, we don't believe there should ever be a quote on quote, bad school in New York City, that's been the norm for years. Every parent will tell you which schools they think are quote on quote good, which schools they think are quote on quote bad. I've never accepted that notion. I know the Chancellor doesn't accept that notion. This is how we break through that once and for all.
The Bronx plan will focus our efforts on some of the schools that need change the most and change going beyond all the other elements we put into play previously. These will be some of the schools who have been lowest performing but will greatly benefit from a systematic effort to make sure they have the teachers available to them in the subject matters they need the most. They will also be eligible for innovative programing grants for additional coaches and experts to help them develop a plan that will move their school forward. This will be a three year initiative. It will go through out this administration. It will reach 120 schools. First in foremost in the Bronx, but schools outside the Bronx will be touched as well. Some of the already existent initiatives under Equity and Excellence will be front loaded for these schools. And then there will be an additional 60 schools beyond that 120 that will receive additional funding to hire and retain the teaching talent they need. We've said literally from the time we sat here back in 2014, the key to great schools is great teachers and it's not just enough to recruit a great teacher, you have to continue to develop a great teacher. You have to keep that great teacher. You have to make sure they are where the need is greatest. This is what allows us to do it.
There is an urgency we all feel and I'll finish on this – there's an urgency, we've got three years and three months to take this school system forward. Very pleased with the progress we have seen so far but I can say this about the Chancellor from the first conversation I had with him. I have never met a more intense public servant. I have never met a public servant who is yearning for action as quickly as this Chancellor. So he is going to take those three years and three months and get everything possible out of them. This agreement is going to be crucial to our ability to make the changes we need to, bring this school system forward and to guarantee that we are well on the way to being the fairest big city in America. Just a few words in Spanish.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that I want to turn to the Chancellor, I want to thank him. He put a tremendous amount of work into this and one of the things that he annunciated in this process was how much he had seen as a teacher, as a principle, as a superintendent, now as Chancellor, in school systems across America – that the missing ingredient was partnership at the school level and he wanted to be one of the people who brought that to New York City in a profound way and this agreement will allow him to achieve that goal. Our Chancellor, Richard Carranza.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: Thank you Mr. Mayor. I also want to add my voice in acknowledging everyone that was a part of this process. I want to thank the members of the Department of Education team for the long hours that they spent preparing and actually engaging in a conversation that was an enlightened conversation. I want to thank you. But I also want to thank our colleagues from UFT who also spent the same number of hours and days, having a like conversation from a position of how do we make schools better and how do we treat professionals like the professionals they are. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge someone who I consider to be an incredible educator and a great leader. He's my brother from another mother, we have conversations regularly about what matters and what matters is teaching and learning and conditions for teaching and learning. And that's the UFT President Michael Mulgrew, thank you for your leadership. And also Larry and Bob. It sounds like a pop singing group, it's actually Larry Becker and Bob Lind who led us in these negotiations as well and kept us all moving in a very positive way. And this would not be possible without acknowledging the incredible leadership of our mayor, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Where there communities across this country this very day that are engaged in labor conversations that are not conversations but rather threats of strikes and labor unrest – this mayor has set a vision in this city which we can all rally around so I want to thank you Mr. Mayor for your leadership.
I am – to say I'm thrilled is an understatement. I'm thrilled to be here today for this exciting announcement. It is a great day for our students, for our educators, and the City of New York. Our gratitude and appreciation for our teachers cannot be over stated. And in an environment where it seems like teachers have become the piñata of public discourse – everybody takes a hit, in the City of New York we are saying that is not the way we view our educators. They are professionals. As parents we entrust our children to their teachers from as young as three years of age with the knowledge that our teachers will help our children grow and thrive. You see because without teachers there would be no other professions. There are no doctors, there no lawyers, there are no mayors, there are no school chancellors. Teachers are absolutely critical to our society and to our future and we are sending a message today. This administration respects teachers as professionals. That means investing in recruiting, retaining, and developing our teachers. Because having a great teacher in the classroom means great results for our students.
I have been talking about my four priorities for the year and for the most important one is advancing equity, not tomorrow, not maybe sometime in the future, advancing equity now. Today's announcement is especially exciting to me because of our Bronx Plan. The Bronx Plan is about advancing equity now. For the first time we are giving teachers more money to teach some of the toughest subjects at some of the most historically underserved schools in our city. For most of these schools, of course many of these schools in the Bronx, but there are other across our city as well. These are schools where teacher turnover has been high and graduation and college enrollment rates have lagged behind the rest of our city. These schools and teachers need this resource. And for the first time, we are providing it.
But it's more than just a salary incentive. Our collective schools model will bring school communities together to dive into data and to use that data to drive improvement. It's a comprehensive approach and it's how schools improve, we know that. And it's – we are doing it with an eye towards equity with everyone at the table. I'm excited to get to work on this plan and I want to speak a little bit more about how this contract helps advance another key priority, developing people.
New York City has been recognized nationally for our teacher leader roles. That is giving teachers opportunities for advancing their careers without having to move into administration. So in this contract we are adding two more teacher leader roles. And instead of having a career ladder which takes our teachers out of the teaching profession, we are creating a lattice where they can take leadership roles while still in the teaching profession. In this contract we are also changing the way teachers take advanced courses after they get their master's degrees. And this may seem technical but for the first time we have done something like this and this is a big deal, it's historic for us. You see currently about half of all teachers in our system receive additional salary because they've taken credits beyond a master's degree. But the credits that teachers will take will be aligned to what our school system needs. The work that we're doing, the work that we're doing now – those credits are the lifeline for continues learning for our teachers, and now those credits will come in DOE approved A+ courses. This will ensure their high quality courses aligned with our system needs like math, and science expertise or expertise in bilingual education. This is going to make a big difference in our ability to develop great teachers and to support our great teachers who can provide what our students most need. My friends, today we are advancing equity and we are advancing it now. We are developing people, and we're moving towards equity and excellence for all. Again, I want to thank you Mr. Mayor, and I want to thank President Mulgrew from empowering our teachers and our schools.
[Schools Chancellor Carranza speaks in Spanish]
Thank you very much.
Mayor: Thank you very much, Michael. And the last speaker will be someone who's just done extraordinary things now for five years running. And when he first came in to our administration I knew there was a bit of a legend about him. But he has lived up to it, surpassed it, surprised me at every turn, definitely someone who's very good at pulling a rabbit out of a hat. And Bob I want to say you've been creative, you've been persistent. You've been someone who always believed there was a solution around the next corner and you always kept everyone talking, which is a tremendous skill. And your batting average blows me away. You know having gone from no unions under contracts to essentially all our work force under contract and now having restarted that process again with such energy and with such strong contracts. I tip my cap, you are a treasure for this city and I want to thank you and congratulate you on this day for what you've achieved, our Labor Commissioner Bob Linn.
Commissioner Robert Linn, Office of Labor Relations: Thank you so much, Mayor. Let me just start with what a wonderful conversation I think we've been having at this table. Michael and I were negotiating till past 3:30 am today.
Mayor: It's amazing you can have a conversation at this –
Commissioner Linn: And far from being exhausted, there is a level of enthusiasm that is just extraordinary. When you think of what people used to say about collective bargaining when people would look haggard and beaten and they say it must be a fair deal, everyone looks horrible. This is such a difference where everyone looks excited that we've signed a deal and this is not the last conversation we're going to have for the next four years. This is the beginning of a conversation and a dialogue. So this is something wonderful we've done together. I hope everyone feels that moment that we have here. That we have really achieved something that we're all very excited about and hopefully the results will show in the months and years to come. Mayor, as you said when the administration took over in 2014, all 360,000 workers had expired labor agreements. And the UFT's contract had ended five years earlier in 2009.
President Michael Mulgrew, United Federations of Teachers: A little different this time.
Commissioner Linn: A little different. Within five months of arriving, the city and the UFT had concluded a nine year settlement. That also included an important health care savings, changes to health care system that hadn't been modified in decades. And we sat down and started to work on it. The city subsequently settled with virtually all of the other city labor unions reaching long term settlement agreements that have been widely viewed as fair to the workers and the tax payers and all providing with substantial health care savings and working together in them. And those agreements were invariably overwhelmingly ratified. So what a wonderful result of producing fair settlements that both the workers and the public acknowledge are fair. In June of this year we reached a settlement with 100,000 DC 37 workers and we agreed with the Municipal Labor Committee really with the leadership of Michael Mulgrew to a second round of health care savings and we agreed to a parental leave program that was a tremendously important program that was – has also been recognized for its innovation and fairness, we're very proud of that. Today we announced this extraordinary settlement. And I think the first most important thing to say is rather than being five years late we're settling four months early. What a difference we've achieved.
Second, it is fully pattern complying with the DC 37 settlement. But we found ways of working within that pattern to craft a settlement that worked specifically for the UFT and for its members and I think this was extraordinary effort to craft this into a settlement that 130,000 members I think will see as an extraordinary accomplishment. And then we moved in a number of innovative and historic areas. And everyone has been talking about the labor management collaborative work. I think that we will demonstrate to the country how labor management relations can work, how it can work in the public sector, how it can work in a big city, and specifically how it can work in a school and we're going to show that and I think that people will see those results as they emerge. We agreed to this extraordinary attempt on paying differentials for workers where they are most needed and where there is most turnover and also a historic approach. And we've agreed to how we deal with the education differentials and how we align them with the needs of the students. And we've improved our evolution process. So there's really very much to cheer about in this labor agreement. All sides as I said left the table with a sense of accomplishment. And the knowledge that we were fully respected, we respected each other at the bargaining table. And I think that is something that's been the hallmark of what we've done in these years in this administration is the feeling of mutual respect in our collective bargaining. So I want to specifically thank Michael Mulgrew, we have really gotten to get to know each other a lot in the last 10 months or so. And I think we've achieved a number of extraordinary successes. I want to thank Larry Becker and the DOE team their work has been extra ordinary – Renee Campion, Grace Lee, and OLR team, I want to them. I want to just mention Karin Goldmark who really envisioned a lot of the thoughts that we embodied in this labor settlement. Mayor de Blasio, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity and letting me work with you. Chancellor Carranza, and First Deputy Mayor Fuleihan, and let me also say to Chief Of Staff Emma Wolfe – Emma has also provided tremendous assistance to this settlement. So you see it was really an extraordinary team that came together that I think produced something pretty terrific.
Mayor: Thank you Bob very much. Yeah, Emma does help out once in a while.
Thank you Emma.
Commissioner Linn: Thank you, Emma.
Alright that's all the folks who we wanted you to hear from let's take questions on this agreement from the media and then we will turn to other topics thereafter. Questions on this agreement, yes?
Question: Can each of you just describe, I don't want to say a curse word in this room, but whether or not this is merit pay and how it might—
So, in other words, we're talking about rewarding schools. You're channeling money to schools rather than teachers, right? Like, I want to understand how individual teachers are going to get bonuses as opposed to overall schools, and how we know those teachers are good, like whether we're going to – whether you're going to tie it to evaluations or test scores, how you know those teachers deserve the bonuses.
Chancellor Carranza: So what we're talking about is a process of identifying where challenges exist for school communities and one of the metrics that is very supported in the literature in terms of building a robust educational program is when you have the constant churn of teacher turnover. We know that there are schools in our system that have difficulty keeping teachers and have difficulty even hiring for specific credentialed areas. So this is not merit pay, what this is is addressing an issue that we know is important to address in order to build a strong educational community. So it's very simple, if you, through the metrics said and the process and the frame work by which we will identify schools, if you're one of those schools and one of those components is you have this challenge, this will allow you now to target, not only to recruit teachers in those hardest staffed areas, but it will also allow you to keep teachers in those hardest staffed areas as well. So this is really, I think, a very practical of helping schools build the capacity they need to – to be able to teach.
Now the way it works is that once a school is – has identified a subject area, so I'm just going to use as an example, let's say we haven't been able to hire a math teacher or math teachers for years and there's a constant churn, then once we identify that as a subject area then the math teachers in that school get that differential. Once that happens, they obviously, because we all also now agree, how are we going to evaluate teachers from a formative perspective right? And I think, Eliza, one of the things I want to make sure is really clear is that the vocabulary around evaluation is steeped, just writ large, in this notion of get the bad teachers. See we're not starting from that point. We're starting from how do you build capacity for teachers to continuously get better. Now the teachers that aren't doing a good job we both agree don't belong in classroom and we have processes for that. But we're not spending our time on the point one percent of the one percent. We're instead building – how do you build capacity, how do we keep teachers, and then with this collaborative voice, how do we give teachers and community members a seat at the table to understand all of the data points that contribute to what's happening in the school.
Question: So it's a category of teachers within a school – within a specific school not—
Mayor: It's just, before going to Michael, it's a specific school and a specific subject matter.
Mayor: Or it could be more than one subject—
President Mulgrew: Could be a [inaudible] also.
President Mulgrew: So, as you know, merit pay, especially in education, is tying a bonus specifically to students' results, okay. That is not what this is about. This is – this is a hard to staff differential. That is – that would be the definition of it. We're saying that if a school has a problem – has had a challenge with a specific title or a license area, that the chancellor can say that they have the ability now to do a hard to staff differential for anyone who – falls into that. So hopefully the first thing we want to do is first, stabilize the school and keep people there. The second thing is we're hoping that people say you know what, if that's available, I might want to transfer in. So that's a way – one of the avenues to try to stabilize – to give a school – the ability to not have to spend most of its spring and summer trying to find people to fill positions. The other – but don't forget that the other piece here is – the piece that's more important is really about – these schools will now have this ability to come up with their plan for actually trying to meet their challenges. That's the most important piece of this. That a school community comes together and says alright, we understand the challenge that we're facing, we understand the kids and the children in our community. This is what we would like to do. They're telling us, they're telling the Department of Ed., you need to support our plan to do this. Where before, it was always done "we're coming in and telling you what to do." It's a game change shift in terms of how this process works.
Question: That's the innovation grant specifically?
Mayor: That's the whole thing.
President Mulgrew: That's the whole thing.
Mayor: Yeah, so let me just speak to this. It is – so look, the – I think if you think of sort of stages of development, we believe fundamentally when you know, five years ago we were in a pretty backwards place. There was not unity between labor and management. There was not respect for educators. The resources weren't in the right place, you name it. And even though – I'm not going to say there wasn't some progress made in some areas but we did not have a platform for lasting and deeper change. And there's a little bit of the definition of insanity point that, you know, we knew consistently that some schools were struggling but they weren't getting additional help. We knew some communities were struggling – they were not getting additional help. We also knew we were starting in the wrong place because we weren't doing early childhood education right. We've tried to systematically sort of knock down domino after domino.
But this piece is so powerful – it's not just to have that hard to staff differential, which I really want to emphasize is both about retaining teachers where they are need most and attracting new ones where they are needed most. And let's face it, in the absence of that differential we've had a huge turnover problem and a shortage problem. It is also about changing the culture of the entire school system to be focused on change within the school and more ownership and buy-in to the process of change. Some things, I'll be the first to say, some things have to be top-down. We had to do Pre-K for All top-down, it was the only way to do it. But, really when you look at change, lasting change comes from the grassroots up. That's true in society, that's true in a business, that's true in a school. So what's powerful here is to say okay. We're coming in with resources and we're coming in with new ways that you can do things. We want everyone to get together and figure out what will help your school. And it rewards cooperation – this is a really essential point. I think in the past we were not rewarding cooperation, unfortunately we were inadvertently – I'm taking about decades – inadvertently rewarding conflict. It was time to reward cooperation and say to people, guess what, if you actually – everyone saw themselves as on the same time and had a vehicle for that, we could do some things we'd never done before. That's the underlying value of it.
Question: Can I get some more clarity on the additional pay for teachers who take these hard-to-fill positions? Will they be required to stay more than one year because, I mean, would you think there'd be a situation where five teachers come in, they take their extra eight grand a year and maybe they say, okay, I'm out, and then you'd still need the same position but use it to fill a higher paying job [inaudible]?
Commissioner Linn: The length of stay required is – there are several years you have to stay to get it.
Mayor: Come up, Larry, you don't have a microphone.
Unknown: Teachers get this pay in increments, in three sessions. The last payment would be the following October so that we want them – it's contingent upon them returning to the school and staying, and they have to – it's a multi-year commitment. If they transfer to another school, they don't get the benefit of the [inaudible] differential because we want to keep them where they are, as the Chancellor said. So, we've taken into account that scenario and we tried to address it by having them at the end in October.
Question: And how many years is the commitment?
Unknown: So, we're looking at a three-year program here where we're expecting that the commitment will be for the life of that program, for three years. We can't prevent someone from leaving the system, but obviously this is our way of trying to hold onto people.
Question: And it's five-to-eight thousand, each of the three years?
Mayor: Questions – yes?
Question: Two questions – one, can somebody explain this pre-screening test that you're developing to see if teachers are suitable for the classroom; and, two –
Mayor: Can we just do one first? We won't lose you.
Commissioner Linn: We agreed that this is a process that we're going to begin this year and we're going to seek to find an appropriate test that is workable to identify teachers that should teach and that's something we'll implement in the year to come.
Question: That's what I need more on. What do you mean, suitable to teach?
Commissioner Linn: Do you want to – Karen, do you want to speak –
Mayor: You can hold to microphone up, it is admirably portable.
Deputy Chancellor Karin Goldmark: So, we've looked at multiple –
Mayor: Just pick up the whole thing, make your life easier. There you go –
Deputy Chancellor Goldmark: So, we've looked at multiple different industries that have screening at the frontend, and there are a couple of different ways to do this. This has not been done in teaching as far as we can tell in terms of the way the, for example, Police Department does. And there are in some other jurisdictions some [inaudible] for agencies that have ways of stress-testing candidates through psychological profiles, through workshops prior to the hiring taking place that lays out the boundaries that people should be respecting with respect to, for example, social media interactions with students. It also helps people understand what the expectations are in the profession – for example, the City's sexual harassment training that now happens for all employees. And so, what we're doing here is issuing essentially an RFP to get organizations to help us develop these measures, which, as far as we can tell, do not exist. They will test for suitability for the profession, which includes a range of issues, including can you keep going in the profession without burning out. It is not restricted to one type of –
Mayor: And it's to-be-developed. So, I just want to emphasize, those are broad concepts and examples but this is something that has to be developed.
Question: When do you expect this to be in place? Will it be administered to students before –
Mayor: Not students, teachers – those are not students – teachers.
Deputy Chancellor Goldmark: So, we are already working on the RFP, what we expect to be able to do is to start that development process this year. We're going to put some of those pieces in place in the pre-service training that teachers already do in the week before they start. So, it is a before-hiring process. We do not anticipate that as we phase this in, we will always be able to get to everybody before they start because we have vacancies in the middle of the year, we have people who one day [inaudible] that's the reality of a system this size.
Mayor: But I want to emphasize again, in-process.
Deputy Chancellor Goldmark: And it's something were we'll be working with the ed-schools. For the major pipelines where we know where the teachers are coming from, they'll get it first.
President Mulgrew: This is basically a pre-employment. But because of our hiring practices, this is something where we had to discuss this through. And you have to be aware that every year, we hire thousands of teachers and we're right now in October and quite a few have already left. So, we have to be clear that we're screening people ahead of time. This is basically the part [inaudible] we want to make sure it's appropriate for you to work inside a New York City public school system. I cannot stress this enough, this is a very difficult profession. We are in a high-stress environment in a lot of times here in New York City. We welcome that as educators, but it's not for everyone.
Question: Is this a time that you guys are able to be more choosy than in decades past when it was – you had a lot of vacancies? What does this mean in terms of that? How many people do you think would not qualify based on this stress test?
Commissioner Linn: So my sense is to simply emphasize, we don't know the answers to this yet. It is a process that we're going to engage in this year and then see what makes sense in the years to come.
Mayor: But on the question – I do want to make sure we got the first part of the question. I'll start as the layman at the table here. Are we doing better than a lot of other school systems in terms of being able to attract teaching talent? Absolutely. Are we in a perfect situation – I would not say a perfect situation, but I think we're doing better than many. But you're an expert.
Chancellor Carranza: Yeah we are, but I think, again, we want a quality teacher in every classroom. We want quality adults in every school. So, again, this is a way to explore – is there a way to have pre-service screening that gives us an indication that you're suitable for this profession, or perhaps you should do something else.
Question: In terms of the money aspect of it. The contract that you reached in May of 2014 – basically, the first couple of raises were cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous mayor administration.
Mayor: Well put – objective statement.
Question: The raises beyond that were not keeping pace with inflation and the assumption was those people are receiving so much in retro-money that would compensate for it. But in terms of these new raises, they're basically pegged to inflation. They're not catch-up type of raises. How is it that you think members are going to react to something they might say, well, it's not making up for some of what was lost in the intervening years?
President Mulgrew: I understand that has a right [inaudible] membership. I love my membership, it's very diverse with very strong opinions. For us, it's first – I cannot stress the significance – we are here four months early. You're talking about a workforce who went five years without a contract. And during those five years was also in one of the bitterest street fights with an administration in the history of New York City. So, for us, the stability, we understand of pattern bargaining, this round has already begun. We understood that the pattern [inaudible] was there. Yes, we still have lump-sum payments coming to us and coincidentally one of them goes out today for the teachers of New York City. I believe that our membership understands that this is us now, as a teaching force – especially with what the teachers have seen happening across the country, teachers having to go out on basically wildcat strikes because they haven't received a raise and are then basically getting a one-percent a year. I'm very proud of the statement this makes that New York City is saying we're here to support our educators and we are happy to work with a union because we want to be able to attract, retain and develop a great workforce. And I think that the majority of the membership understands that that's what this is.
Mayor: Yeah, I want to emphasize that and I want to base it on conversations I've had with teachers over five years now, but also what we saw around the country in West Virginia and all of the other places. The teachers went out on strike because schools weren't being funded. They of course were trying to get decent wages, decent benefits for them and their family but, as important or more important, their schools couldn't work because they weren't getting the support they deserved. Here, what teachers say to me more than they say anything about their own circumstance is they appreciate the respect for the profession, they appreciate the investments that are being made in schools, they appreciate things like pre-K, that they can see are changing the potential of kids going forward. They want a workplace they can feel comfortable in a proud of, and I think that's something to really think about in the society of today. Of course people care about the bottom line, but they also care about the quality of their life. They care about getting respect. They care about being in a place that's working and succeeding. They care about, you know, that their colleagues are being treated fairly. So, I want to go back to what Michael said when he was a teacher – if you're in a school that feels left behind, without investment, without attention, that's not going to feel good every day, right? So, this is part of really changing that once and for all and saying to our educators that backup is going to be there, that investment is going to be there, even if you're in a place that historically has had the toughest circumstances.
Question: I just want to be 100 percent clear on something, is this the first time the City is doing differential pay and does it only apply to UFT members?
Mayor: I will start again as the layman and say, certainly recently concepts of differential pay have not been functional and usable, but you all can speak to that. This is one that we think can actually work.
Commissioner Linn: We have differentials in many, many contracts for different types of work, for different needs and also for retention issues, and different times of the day. So, there are many, many times there are differentials. I think what we've done here was created a differential – we were replacing something that didn't work with something that should be targeted with laser focus on where money is needed. And so, I think it should be very successful.
Question: I had a second question – does this only apply to UFT members?
Commissioner Linn: This contract is for UFT members, but other differentials apply to other works in other contracts.
President Mulgrew: The answer is yes, this agreement right now only applies to UFT members.
Question: Does this in any way limit separately regarding the absent teacher reserve. Does this limit the amount of time that ATR folks can stay in the pool? And if not, why not? Or, are you doing anything to shrink that pool that I know has been bothering you for a lot.
Mayor: The pools – I'll let my colleagues talk about it in this context but I'll give you the quick overview. The pool's been shrinking consistently, it will be shrinking more in the coming year. A lot of things that could have been done a long time ago weren't being done, like ensuring that capable teacher whose school changed was not left out in the cold but was helped immediately to find a new assignment between June and September of the same year. So, we're doing a lot more of that and that is shrinking the pool right there. There's a host of other initiatives but it's absolutely shrinking and it will keep shrinking.
Question: Is there anything the contract can do for teachers who have been in there for three, four, five years? Is there any change?
Mayor: Not in this – no. We're shrinking it using other means and confident that we'll get that number down quite a bit. And also, the best way to deal with this is on the front-end. In my belief, this is not with an artificial construct and it's about addressing the underlying issue.
President Mulgrew: Okay, so I'm going to jump in at this moment on that issue. Since I will be very black and white about this pool of teachers that was part of a political strategy to demonize teachers in New York City, and so many people then took part in writing about it. I will be clear, that if someone is not doing their job, the school system has the ability and has done the work to say you are no longer allowed to be employed here. In terms of people who are evaluated and have been told that they are doing their job, this administration is placing them in a much more systematic and strategic way – that's why that pool is absolutely going down. So, when you say why not – I say to you, that people who come to work in New York City schools and have been evaluated that they're doing a good job – I say to you, that no one should be asking why they're not being taken out of their job.
Mayor: Can I just add, we'll get you the exact numbers to show you the decrease and we project a further decrease in the near-term. But I also want to note, in five years – we'll get you the exact detail – somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 teachers who were not fitting in the profession have left the profession here in New York City. And I've said the number as its grown over the last few years – I'm not saying this to be negative, I am saying it as a matter of fact – I rarely see that number reported. So, the extent that someone wants to talk about the big picture – are there some folks who should not be teaching? Sure, like every other profession. And actually, there's been a steady outflow of those folks. The vast majority should be teaching, want to be teaching, are good teachers, need to be developed to be even greater and this is part of what helps us to do it.
Question: The 2014 contract seemed to have similar pay differential. Could you clarify what's different here?
Unknown: [Inaudible] I would imagine that's what –
Mayor: Different concept.
Mayor: Can I start by saying, different idea – apples and oranges. Take it away Bob.
Commissioner Linn: So if you're talking about the positions of master teacher and leader teacher – leadership teachers, yes we've had those but we've expanded on that. Other things are completely different in this contract. This specific differential for hard to recruit is a brand new approach that is part of this contract; it was not in the last contract.
President Mulgrew: And in terms of the other roles that Bob spoke about from the last contract and our expansion of two more roles. The reason why both parties agreed to do that is because those roles from the last contract have been proven to be quite successful and useful for our school system. So we're happy that from that previous agreement, we have now been able to take that idea, target it towards what we believe our new position would be that can further help instructional practices in New York City, and I'm very happy we were able to do that. I'm happy again.
Mayor: You're happy. Back to happy. Yes?
Question: Michael, you said that teacher evaluations won't be a "gotcha" system, that's in the past. Can you explain what's specifically different about evaluations and observations in this contract?
President Mulgrew: I didn't hear her. I didn't hear her.
Mayor: What's different about evaluations and I'll just start – note the whole concept of attempting, at the school level, to cooperate and make change – right there is changing the very concept. If unfortunately in a lot of different parts of our world, labor management was constructed on a negative, this is attempting to construct things on a positive. We're all trying to get to the same place. Of course we need objective evaluation, that's part of how you make people better. That's how you determine, again, in a minor – in a very small minority of cases if someone may not be right for the profession, but in most cases what you're going to be seeing is where can someone improve and then help them get there. And that's what we want to reward, the notion of people are here for the right reason, and how do we help them get better.
Chancellor Carranza: Yeah so what I would say, to add to what the mayor has just said is that if you start from a perspective of developing the craft, then anything in a contract is going to be the minimum. So the minimum that you come in to observe, but we do know and actually the research is very clear that the more feedback you get as a teacher, and that that feedback is formative, and that that feedback occurs throughout the life cycle of the school year, not just at the end of the year or the end of the semester but throughout the school year, that it actually contributes to the teacher developing their skills, getting better at what they do, having that informed feedback. And as part of the evaluation process there also has to be feedback. You have to talk about what did I see, what we're you trying to do, what do you think you could do better, here are some suggestions. It's a process and what I am really proud of, in this agreement, is that we've set up some structures to what that looks like. So, cycles. So it's not just at the end of the year that you get your evaluation in, and it becomes just a checklist, okay I did all my evaluations, but no it actually promotes this notion that throughout the year you're going to have a conversation. You're going to have people in your classroom, your supervisor. They're going to be giving you feedback, you're going to be having a conversation. Again what we're trying to do here is change the culture – the culture around continuous improvement. There's a lot of strategies but, you know, if you don't change culture, culture eats strategy for breakfast. So it's important to go after the culture and not just talk about strategy and I think that's what we've accomplished at least in this contract.
President Mulgrew: We're truly taking a qualitative approach – how can we make our – or help systematically design a high quality observation cycle and so, therefore, lead to a high quality evaluation system that is truly developing the craft. That was a major difference and took up a lot of time, good, very well used time, I believe, at the negotiation table.
Question: [Inaudible] has the minimum number of evaluations gone up then? So, you're saying that more feedback is better?
Chancellor Carranza: Again, these are minimums, so what we've done is – we used to have an assortment of choices and now we're really clear, you know, if you're a new teacher there's going to be five. That's minimum. Now we have a principal in working with that teacher, especially a new teacher says, I want to do seven, I want to do eight. We think that's healthy, but we think that it's important that that becomes a conversation as part of the developmental process so I'll tell you I think the big mistake is to say how many, how many number, what the number of this, what's the number of that, then we're just in a compliance. We want to move beyond compliance and actually have the substantive conversations.
Mayor: Right. Okay, yes?
Question: Two questions Mr. Mayor. Can you just speak generally about where leaves your administration in terms of the labor negotiating process with other labor unions and does this contract include a reopener clause?
Mayor: Bob, go ahead—
Commissioner Linn: The answer is no, it does not have a reopener clause. We are now have – under contract, 230,000 workers. There's about 150,000 to go and we will continue reaching contracts as we have been over the months to come.
Mayor: Yeah, I want to say – someone help me with the date, when did we sit here with DC37? Does someone have that date?
Mayor: June, and it's October and we know have a clear majority and I think that's a lot of momentum. I think you're going to be seeing more in the near term because these – this is kind of the – these are the building blocks we need to just keep going and we look forward to the day when we've completed this entire cycle.
Question: [Inaudible] out of a contract—
Mayor: We can get you a whole list but it's everyone besides DC37 and UFT but again these are where the majority of the workers are. Okay, who has not gone? Anyone not gone? Okay, go ahead.
Question: In the release there's a mention of remote teaching program [inaudible] two Bronx high schools. Can you guys explain that thinking and also, you know, is there evidence that you guys are looking at that high needs schools perhaps can benefit from something like that.
Chancellor Carranza: That's absolutely part of our equity agenda. So the notion that there are schools that perhaps don't have a teacher yet, that is an AP teacher or a certain kind of advanced but we do know that in the system there are teachers that are incredibly good at what they do. We can't wait to develop that capacity. So this will allow students remotely to be able to get that instruction to have that course and be able to either take whatever exam comes with that or to have that course as part of their – their transcript. We call it remote teaching, others called it blended learning. But again the notion is very squarely rooted in the sense of equity, making sure that all of our students, especially students in historically underserved schools and communities have access to very high quality courses and instructors.
Mayor: I want to use the AP for All point here. You know, this was a sea-change, and it's a painful reality. We have high schools in the city that for generations have had AP courses, we have other high schools that have never had a single one. And AP for All said that that's a profound inequity that has to be addressed head on. We're making a lot of progress on that but if you're talking about a minimum of five AP courses per every high school, there is a staffing challenge there including some areas that are harder to staff. So this gives us an option to turn to to make sure we can keep that equity agenda around the AP courses moving forward. It's another tool because we don't want to see a school not move forward on that kind of option towards kids.
Question: [Inaudible] evaluating the success of it, because it says it's a pilot program, so I assume it's not permanent.
President Mulgrew: It's a pilot program also because as both the mayor and the chancellor spoke it's fulfilling one need but at the same time it's another element of us saying as an – together that we're – we will not shy away from trying new things to develop so that we can bring a greater experience to the children of New York City, so the pilot is really there to see what we can figure out as a school system how to use this tool going further into the future. So there will be all sorts of evaluations put in place; how many students were we able to attract, what type of curriculum, what is the differences that we need to do in order to train and prepare a teacher this type of instruction inside of multiple classrooms even though they're standing in only in one when they're doing it. The world has been grappling with this, the education world and there's a lot of for-profit people who have not done a very good job in this space whatsoever. So part of the conversation is we have this challenge on equity and excellence, AP for All. But at the same time, how do we come together and say we're going to – let's try to tackle this too and how do we make sure we develop this new tool together, working with schools, so that in the future, hopefully, we now can say we can broaden this past the pilot, so that we can serve more children in New York City.
Commissioner Linn: Could I just add, I'm a great believer in pilot programs as part of collective bargaining because the worst thing in the world is a provision that has been – is decades old and stays and people are not continuously improving the process that you are working with. And the advantage of a pilot is you look at it, you see what you achieved, you see what you can fine tune and make better, and that's what really makes the process work very well.
President Mulgrew: For everything we thought about at that table in this pilot, those schools are going to teach us more in the first year than anything we thought about at the table when we were negotiating it.
Mayor: The real world.
President Mulgrew: The real world.
Mayor: Okay, yes?
Question: Obviously this contract is going to have an impact on principals, assistant principals as well. Bob, can you talk a little about how much you have spoken with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators about a lot of this stuff and where you are in terms of your negotiations with them?
Commissioner Linn: We've begun conversations and we will be – we'll continue and become more active in this conversations in the weeks to come.
Question: Has there been any kind of briefing on the terms of contract?
Commissioner Linn: We've generally chatted about where we're going but there – the discussions will start in earnest very soon.
Mayor: and this is - let's be clear – the partnership and collaboration at the school level – crucial role is played by the principal by definition and for this to work, principals, educators, everyone's got to be working towards the same goals.
Chancellor Carranza: Mr. Mayor can I just add one more thing to this?
Chancellor Carranza: So, it's a great question. I will tell you that as a former principal myself, there was – it was impossible for me to lead a school where I didn't have the collaboration and working relationship with my teachers, with my support staff, with the community, with the parents. That was just best practice. And I will say that in my career I have never seen a school that is having great academic outcomes and just great outcomes for students where you don't have this kind of a collaborative approach. Everybody knows it, you see it. When you see it, you know it. What we've done here is put pen to paper and now memorialize this as a great approach that is a proven approach. So I'm really excited about this and as I've had conversations with the leadership of our principals union, you know, we are absolutely of the same mind that if you are able to build a collaborative approach you get better results. Does it mean that we may have do somethings a little differently? Absolutely. But that's what's innovative about going into a new way of doing the work.
Question: I'm wondering, in all these intense months of discussions, what were the sticking points? Like you could name a few areas where you had some friction—
Mayor: Look, you know, it's – I think – I think after a very healthy intensive process, it does not make sense to go back and re-litigate where to did you disagree—
President Mulgrew: No, I'll give you one—
Mayor: Just one second, then you can—
President Mulgrew: I'll give you one.
Mayor: —break my pattern.
Mayor: But I would say, you can see a lot got covered here, and a lot of issues that have been out there for a long time got covered and of course there was some back and forth but I'm very satisfied from the administration's perspective that the things we needed to see addressed in this contract are in there. Go ahead.
President Mulgrew: If Bob Linn doesn't get chicken salad for lunch he's a pain to negotiate with.
President Mulgrew: I'm just telling you.
Commissioner Linn: I've eaten plenty of chicken salad.
Mayor: Chicken salad.
Question: You know a lot of advocates really feel like reducing class size would go a long way towards boosting student outcomes so is class size ever – like the caps on class sizes—
Mayor: Class size is in every discussion all the time whether you're talking about collective bargaining, whether you're talking about policymaking, budget making, we're always trying to find ways to address it. It's a real challenge in this city. I will say, and I want to commend the School Construction Authority, tens of thousands more seats are coming and that's going to be a part of the solution, and we've hired a lot more teachers as part of, you know, our early childhood education and special education initiatives. But this is going to be, you know, a long effort to try and do better on that front. Yes?
Question: So is hard to staff differential a response to maybe challenges with the Renewal program or Equity and Excellence? Like what have you seen in the schools for the last five years that made the hard to staff differential a top priority?
Mayor: I'll start and pass to the chancellor. It' s a historic problem, it goes way before us, and it's, you know – it's understandable that it's hard to get teachers to go in to environments that are the toughest. And sometimes that's just because of geography alone and some communities being farther away from mass transportation or farther away from where most people live and sometimes it's about a history of schools struggling to succeed. And you know there are some people who say I'll go to a place that's historically struggled and try to make a difference but there's a lot of people that legitimately say I want to go someplace where I feel have a decent chance succeeding. So this is a historic problem, my complaint is that over the years there was not enough innovation brought to bear to address it. Renewal Schools I think helped because again, people key off of investment, so certainly a lot of teachers expressed enthusiasm that, to pick up on Michael's point again, that they're in a Renewal School and that was a place where new resources were going, more afterschool, you know, additional instructional periods, you know, additional professional development, whatever it may be. That was encouraging, that was good. But a hard to staff differential is a different and I think a very powerful pointed tool to address something that has nagged this school system for decades and a lot of other school systems and say once and for all let's see if we can break through and get teachers to stay in some of the most challenging environments in the most challenging subjects and get new ones to come over, I think that's – it's a basic structural thing that we need to address. You want to add? Anybody?
Chancellor Carranza: Well done.
Mayor: A lot of thanks, teacher. Okay?
Question: [Inaudible] calling it the Bronx Plan, I know that, I guess, to start it's going to be in The Bronx but then do you have any more information on how you'll select the schools in the other boroughs?
Chancellor Carranza: So we're – we are as we speak there are colleagues of ours that are starting to frame out what the framework will be, the list of criteria, the filters, if you will, that we'll run all of our schools through and come up with a list of schools that are eligible based on all the different criteria, but we do know one thing for sure when you look at the amalgamated portfolio of schools in The Bronx, we know that they have some of the challenges that we've been talking about in terms of staffing needs, in terms of just difficult circumstances in some of their communities. So we know that there's going to be a preponderance of those schools that are part of this plan are going to be in The Bronx, and quite frankly you know, we've talked about the fact that we live for the day when people say The Bronx and people say wow, what is happening in The Bronx, think about those schools, and we want to, right from the beginning say, the Bronx plan is our mutual commitment to working to change the narrative so that Bronx is something we're proud of, not they have a lot of challenges.
Question: In calling it the Bronx Plan did you think – considering it's a program to pay people more money to incentivize going to schools in The Bronx, do you think that continued to feed into the stereotype of what's going in the borough?
Chancellor Carranza: Yeah, so I want to clarify, the Bronx plan is not about staffing. Staffing, and the differential is but one component of a broader approach. The Bronx plan, and when I referenced it in my comments, is about a collective approach to not only understanding what the root causes are in school communities but then also having a collaborative way of approaching whatever those root causes are. It's a small part of what the plan is but it's also identifying where are the schools that have the most challenging circumstances and then how do we marshal a way of getting to the table, understanding what needs to be done in those schools. As President Mulgrew has talked about its not us coming and saying we're from Tweed and we're here to help you. No, it's about lets go through the process, lets identify what the challenges are. Then what are your ideas, where are we not connecting with community based organizations perhaps or with elected officials perhaps or with a faith based community perhaps or different kinds of approaches that would help that community. I think we're a big believer in the notion that local communities many times have the solutions, they just never get asked. And there's never a process for actually lifting up what those solutions are. So I just want to be really clear that the Bronx plan is more than just staffing. It really is a different way of approaching school improvement. I wouldn't even call it school improvement; I would call it community empowerment.
President Mulgrew: Yep, that would be appropriate.
Mayor: Okay, lets me see whose hands – yes.
Question: Considering that this is a huge plan [inaudible] in the Bronx. What is going to be like the very first step that you all make in this plan? Like is there, like what the next meeting that's going to take place?
Commissioner Linn: Could I?
Commissioner Linn: Could I just, let me give a minute or two on the mechanics, because we've been speaking generally and it's probably useful to talk about what's happening and when. The initial approach is going to be the selection of schools. And we superficially agreed that this would be data driven, we'd have criteria. And we look at things like academic achievement, and teacher turnover, and staff retention, and repeated use of shortage [inaudible], persistent vacancy, students demographics, students enrollments. So we have a set of criteria that will be used that we think based on the statistics that we know that will largely be Bronx schools that will identify those, that then forms a group of schools that will be the eligible schools for this program. We then establish two levels of labor management groups. There's a central labor management group that discusses all of the things necessary to make this work. What are the type of training, what's the type of education, how do employees look at data, and how do they establish metrics, and see whether they can achieve these metrics, and whether they can intervene in a way that moves the needle. Then there'd be in each school in labor management committee that works on these types of things that looks at data and then looking at data comes up with collaborative suggestions as to how they might advance the ball, how they might move the needle of the metric in order to improve, and that's the process of the mechanics we've been talking about. The underlying approach to the program that we believe is different and is something we can bring to the schools and really lead to results that will be, be really worth awhile seeing.
Question: [Inaudible] officially started [inaudible]
Commissioner Linn: Yes, the selection of these schools start in the next couple of months.
Mayor: Yes, by the end of this year.
Commissioner Linn: This year.
Mayor: By the end of this year – literal statement. It's October, so it means November to December. Go ahead.
Question: Very tactical question. How many teachers are going to get [inaudible]? How many are budgeted for? Is it a heads up? Or if there's 5,000 to 8,000? And how is that going to be determined?
Mayor: Well, I am just going to start with the logic point, because it is a decentralized process we don't have a perfect answer for you today.
Commissioner Linn: Correct
Mayor: Again, I would say we made the decision certainly since Melanie is at the table I will always tip our cap to our friend at OMB. Everything we did, we did in constant discussion with OMB about what we thought was budgetary appropriate but I think we need a little more time to be able to come back with a specific number. But certainly something we think is a very good use of money and a magical number. Yes?
Question: Because of how – what the identity of teachers place in [inaudible] outcomes for students and because of [inaudible] hiring and retaining teachers of color. Was there any focus on diversity and hiring in this contract?
Mayor: There is a focus on diversity and hiring in a lot of other things we're doing. My colleagues can talk about if there's any particular provision in that contract. But we have to create a more diverse teaching core. That is another one of the elements of succeeding. We have one of the initiatives in this administration is particularly to focus on the hiring of men of color to be teachers in our school system. We've had some success with that model. We've got to find other elements to make that stronger. So, it is a priority, it certainly a priority of this Chancellor. But again, you can speak to if there's anything specific in the contract.
President Mulgrew: There was nothing specific in the contract. Both sides have been working towards a greater diversity in our teaching force. And we're not moving fast enough, but we're definitely moving the right direction after years of moving in the wrong direction and we're happy now that it's not just the union doing this work. That we also have an administration who's working hand in hand with us, working with different partners out in the advocacy world and then non for profit world who are now working with both organizations to try to deal with the issues of diversity in New York City.
Mayor: Anything else about the contract? Yes.
Question: I feel like I am going to back to my office and my editors are going to say. Well this is just like the Carranza era renewal program. So how do we deal with that question?
Mayor: You have some cynical editors.
Question: How do we differentiate – why isn't this just a rebranding of an improvement, [inaudible] program?
Mayor: I just want to challenge it and then the man himself can speak. The renewal was a strategy which we have you know some real results from. We have some things that we didn't get as much as we wanted from. But definitely we have a body of work where in a certain number of schools graduated out of renewal we are going to have another bite at the apple at end of this academic year and then we'll be able to look at the grand total. But unquestionably a number of schools benefited from the renewal program. Others did better than they would have if it weren't for the renewal program and some others I'm sure we're going to say that we didn't get the results we wanted. But this is something entirely different. This is saying okay. Meanwhile back at the ranch we've got – that was an Arizona analogy.
Chancellor Carranza: I appreciate it.
Mayor: We've got a culture change we have to achieve if we're going to turnaround schools. And I want to amplify – what is that phrase you use about culture?
Chancellor Carranza: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
Mayor: Right, so this – this is one of the first things I remember vividly sort of quotable quotes from Richard Carranza in one of our first interviews. This Chancellor has said in all of our strategy meetings we've got to get at the culture too. And we've got to get at changing the climate in schools, particular schools that have had the biggest challenges. So this is a whole new wave and it is about that cooperation at the school level which clearly has not been a strength of the school system historically and it is about addressing this hard to staff reality which went unaddressed for decades. So I think you can tell you editors with assurance this is another wave. Absolutely. But this is a new thing we did not have before.
Chancellor Carranza: Yeah, the only I would add is that this isn't my strategy, it's not the Mayor's strategy. This is truly 79,000 teachers represented by their union, and the administration saying we're going to work in a different way, which gets to the culture of how we do the work. I would also emphasize that this is not the DOE's turnaround strategy. This is not the strategy for under performing schools. It's not; please don't even think about it in that term. This is just a different way of identifying challenges in a select portfolio of schools based on metrics that we will agree to, to identify can we do certain things that we know had been proven in research are effective. Can we do that here, and actually move the culture, and move the academic achievement in those particular schools. I think as I've gone around the city and spent time in the Bronx – I will tell you that if you look at every one of those indicators in terms of historical data, you're going to find that the schools in the Bronx had been historically under served for a number of reasons. I've talked at length about it. Some of you have written about what I've said. So I think what I appreciate about the boldness of the union and the administration linking arms and saying we're not going to blame each other, it's your fault, not it's your fault, not its their fault. We're going to own this, were going to work together, and we're going to actually prove the point that when you work in a collaborative environment, when you're all at the table. Where we have shared accountability – this is what's so remarkable about this approach. Michael could have just said that's your issue. We're about working conditions. It's your issue, and if it works, it's great, it worked. And if it doesn't work, see we didn't have a place at the table. All of the things that traditionally or historically you've heard about labor management relationships. What they've said is no, that we're not going to do that anymore. We're going to be at the table, we've got skin the game. Our skin in the game is that as we create these conditions, as we create these strategies and ways of doing the work. We're at the table with you, we own it just as much as you own it because we want to get good outcomes for the students in these schools. So it's part of a broader perspective of how we're working with our schools. I know I am a little long about this one. But I will say this – we also are working at changing the narrative about where we invest specifically our time, our treasury and our resources. So there is this notion that if a school is performing academically as measured by tests, then they're okay we don't have to touch those schools. We'll just leave them alone. But yet when you look inside those schools, are all students performing well. Are all students socially, emotionally being supported in those schools? When you take that much more broader approach. But I would say much more refined way of looking at schools there is improvement that should be and needs to be made in every school in America. What we're trying to do is say as we do that [inaudible] large work with 1,800 schools in New York City, there are opportunities to really do some targeted work and this is one of those opportunities.
President Mulgrew: And I just want to chime in quickly. Everything the Chancellor and the Mayor said I agree with. On the basic knots and bolts of this – this is – these schools who will be identified – some of them would not be on anyone's list for anything. But we do know that we will see that these schools face great challenges. So just as the Chancellor just said. These are schools that you would traditionally never even be speaking about with anyone. But we're saying that we are here to say what can we do to support the work you're doing and help you not [inaudible] this constant churn situation whether that would be with staff or whether that would that would be with your student population. And we're just saying that every school in New York City we're looking to figure how to support so that they can move forward in a way they've never had the ability to say hey we're dealing with a tough situation here. We're doing okay, but we appreciate the fact that you're now wanting to come and say if we ask you for these things you're there to support us. That's a much bigger difference than any approach that we did on renewal. Renewal was about schools that were specifically chosen because of achievement targets. And that as something that also needed to be done. But this is something we're saying we're here for all the schools, not just the schools who show up on a list because of some specific criteria. We're also here for schools that are showing their achievement looks good but we can also help them become better. It's a much a different approach.
Mayor: Let me see, last call to see if there is anything else on this? Please.
Question: quickly, sorry. I am just wondering if there are any particular cities that have done this. That you were looking at for evidence that giving a paid differential would actually make a difference?
Chancellor Carranza: I would tell you that a paid different in it of itself is again but one piece of a broader strategy. So if you're looking where did the silver bullet paid differential change a system. It doesn't exist. But I would say that silver bullet doesn't exist for really anything. It's part of a package, and its part of an approach.
Mayor: That said the broader question of a labor management cooperative structure at the local level. Whether it's he school or the factory floor. That's been strongly proven in a variety of countries and something I think has tremendous potential here. And I really want to emphasize, because Richard has been so clear about his. And we all worked for months to envision this that he's been out on the front line of American public education. And what I've heard very, very sharply from Richard is where it works, is where there's cooperation. And where there's conflict you can't get at the other core problems. So we do know in a lot of different organizations that localize labor management cooperation open up all sorts of doors and we think it's very promising here. Last call on this contract. Okay so let's do this for the folks who are here just for this. We're going to give you a moment to exit, and then we'll go to other topics. Thank you everyone, congratulations.
Mayor: Okay, let me just do a little announcement upfront. Public service announcement, and please if you can include this in your coverage I would appreciate it a lot. Important reminder for all New Yorkers. You have until the end of tomorrow, Friday, to register to vote in the election on November 6th. I think we can safety say this is one of the most important elections of all of our lifetimes. Its generating some of the greatest interest of any election I've ever seen. Well, if you want to be a part of it. Here's your last chance to get in it, if you are not yet registered. For information on how to register you can call 3-1-1 or you can go online at www.voting.nyc let me do that again www.voting.nyc. Or you can pick up a self-addressed registration form at your local post office or public library. But again you got to do that today or tomorrow, Friday. Quickly I need to say it Spanish.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
Mayor: Okay we have done our public service announcement, let's go to other topics. Yes, your –
Question: One more question.
Mayor: Oh my god, not an education question.
Mayor: Go ahead.
Question: So there's a UTF summary of the 2014 contract that describes a hard to staff differential. The UFT together with the DOE can designate a school as hard to staff and give teachers there a lump sum payment of $5,000. I understand that was not implemented. I just wanted to check so there's no contradiction there.
Mayor: If we need Bob on that, we can have him jump back? Or see him after? Okay let's do that with Bob for continuity. Since he was there for that and Richard wasn't. Yes?
Question: I was wondering what your concern level is on violence right now at Horizon and some of the steps that have to be taken and any thoughts you have on that ongoing situation?
Mayor: There are real challenges but we are going to address them, that's the bottom line. This reform, the Raise the Age reform is the right idea. It's right to get our young people out of jail settings. As you know we were one of only two states in the entire country that still send juvenile to adult jails. That had to end. That said we have said we have got to create a constant, secure environment and we will do that. We are putting in the staffing, the resources, also the consequences. I want to be very clear. Even though they are young they will be held accountable. And any young people who inappropriately act will feel the consequences, they could be recharged with additional crimes and additional time that they will have to serve. They could be restricted in where they can be. There's a host of measures that will be used. So it's a brand new thing, we are fixing each issue as it comes up, but I guarantee you we will make that a secure and consistent environment. Yes?
Question: Mr. Mayor, speaking of voter registration, Michael Bloomberg has reregistered as a democrat and a lot of people are looking at this with an eye on 2012.
Mayor: Sure. 2020.
Question: I'm sorry, 2020. How does he fit into the democratic prototype for a presidential candidate? Is he a good fit, is he what democrats are looking for right now?
Mayor: I will preface by saying everyone knows as mayor, I've had some areas where I really agreed with what my predecessor did and some areas where I disagreed. In terms of his response to President Trump I want to give him some real credit. He has been consistently willing to stand up to Trump and to put a lot of resources into the effort to stop the excesses of the Trump administration. But to your direct question – I do not think he fits what democrats are looking for right now. Yes.
Question: Mayor, speaking of another union, the ATU has voted to authorize strikes, school bus drivers, that comes after several school bus debacles earlier this year. I'm just curious what you make of that threat from the ATU, potential strike?
Mayor: I think that is a procedural action that we have seen taken not only this union but by a number of other unions over the years that very often does not result in further action. We are committed to keeping the school buses running. We are committed to addressing any issues with the companies and labor involved – we have been able to do that for five years, I have confidence in First Deputy Mayor, the Chancellor, everyone involved to keep doing that. But it's reminder that we have to stay focused on these issues. Please.
Question: On another topic, your administration says that 75,000 New Yorkers could be at risk of having to choose between social services benefits like food stamps and a path to permeant residency. These are legal immigrants who would be sort of immediately targeted under President Trump's proposal to reform immigration laws and that more broadly 475,000 immigrants in New York could face adverse consequences to their path to citizenship. I'm just curious of your reaction to that and you know, what your message to those people is?
Mayor: Well my message is we are going to fight this mistaken, broken policy. And I met with mayors from all around the country at the US Conference of Mayors a few weeks ago and we talked about this very issue. Democrats and republicans alike, from every part of the country, everyone was in an agreement. This is a horrible proposal that will undermine our cities, undermine our economy, it's unfair to people who have played by the rules you know. President Trump is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He has a very negative attitude towards people who came here without documentation but here you are talking about people who have done everything by the rules, are following the pathway to citizenship that all of our forbearers did. And he wants to penalize them. It's a classic nativist message and it's going to drive us into the ground. This country is great because we have allowed the right kind of immigration. The city has got more immigrants than it's had in a 100 years, we are the most prosperous and the safest we have ever been arguably. But now the President wants to hurt the very people who are contributing to our economy and our future. It makes no sense and we are going to fight it.
Question: Getting back to Mike Bloomberg, can you clarify for us why you think he doesn't have what it takes to be the next President of the United States and why you would like to see someone who [inaudible]?
Mayor: Yeah, I had the occasion to see Howard Dean at an event a few weeks ago, and I really think very highly of him, and I said to him – I wanted to credit him for one of the best lines I've ever heard in any campaign, when he said he was from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. You know, Democrats are looking for real Democrats more than ever. You certainly saw it in this State with the rejection of the IDC. I just don't think Democrats are going to be attracted to someone who left our party 20 years ago and now has just come back. I also think the issues of income inequality and absolute unfairness pervading our society. We have a profoundly unfair society. Donald Trump very cleverly figured out how to tap into that in the 2016 election, it's part of why he got elected. But I think more and more Americans understand that a lot of millionaires and billionaires have laughed all the way to the bank and I doubt they want to elect another billionaire after the experience they've just had.
Question: I have a question about the Link NYC kiosks in the City. We've been fielding a lot of complaints from people that say it's actually hurting, not helping their quality of life because a lot of homeless people are plugging in and basically living there –
Mayor: Well, that's not acceptable – that's not acceptable.
Question: So, why can't the charging ports be disabled while allowing the WiFi to [inaudible]?
Mayor: We have to keep perfecting this model. You know, the idea was to make internet access more broadly available. Obviously, it's one of the main streets of our society and it was important to give more access. And a lot of people wanted it and have used it really productively. But we found problems from the beginning that we had to address, so we made some changes. We'll make more to get it right. And also, some of this is just quality of life enforcement too that is not just because of Link kiosks but might be true any place else, and there's where neighborhood policing comes in – making sure that if there is some particular areas that are a problem, that the local precinct focuses on them and follows up as well.
Question: Do you think it's possible though to disable –
Mayor: I'm not an expert on those kiosks. We can have people talk to you about it. But the point is, if there are technical fixes, we'll make them. If it's more about enforcement in some places, we can focus more police resources as well.
Question: Last year, you said you would direct the Office of Management and Budget to look into the idea of charging tourists the ride the Staten Island ferry. Where do things stand at the moment, does OMB plan to release any type of report or recommendations on this idea?
Mayor: I don't have an update yet. Look, it's a meaningful issue, there's a lot of other big issues on the plate right now but we're about to start a budget process in earnest and I expect them to come back with an analysis and we'll present the preliminary budget in the next couple of months. So, between now and then, we'll have an answer to that question.
Mayor: Again, I want to see an analysis. I do not have a view yet until I see what the ramifications would be.
Question: Question on NYCHA – when you announced the NYCHA settlement in June, you said the City would do everything in our power to help fix the challenges of NYCHA. Now, the head of NYCHA says the agency doesn't have the money to fix all of the apartments, that repairs are going to have to be triaged. So, on that, I wanted to know – isn't that a violation of the settlement you've reached with the federal government and what will you say to those tenants who's apartments are not going to be fixed?
Mayor: Absolutely – there's nothing in what you just stated that is inconsistent with anything we've said previously. The most recent analysis – I mean, again, guys, let's all not live in dreamland here. Let's actually look at the history and the facts. The most recent analysis is, there's a $31 billion need and I've talked to a lot of residents of NYCHA buildings and they would much rather hear straight talk than hear empty promises. So, we've been honest with them about what we can do to address a $31 billion need. But we don't have $31 billion right now. We don't have it all identified. We, right now, unfortunately do not have a federal government that's contributing any major, new resources. We have a State government that's promised us hundreds of millions and has not produced it. We can't address some of the most essential problems if we don't have the other levels of government working with us. But what we can do is put in as much City resources as we can. And since we came here – well over $3 billion in additional resources has been added on top of everything else we were already doing, and we've committed to billions more in the settlement. And a lot of the new financing approaches, which are in the Next Generation NYCHA plan, but we're going to expand upon, can bring in billions more. So, we're going to systematically go at the biggest problems – that is, you could like or dislike the word triage, but I would say it – prioritization. We're going to go at the biggest problems. We're going to go at the things that related to health and safety. We're going to go at the heat issue. And we believe when we put all of this together, you're talking about billions and billions of dollars that will be invested, but it's not yet $31 billion. We don't have that yet and that's the honest truth. But that settlement, we take very, very seriously and we're doing our share of that settlement, unquestionably.
Unknown: Time for two more –
Mayor: Go ahead – anybody else? Going once, going twice –
Thank you, everyone.