MJ Saunders Administration Attempts End-Run Around Collective Bargaining Agreement, Shared Governance

June 11, 2012. Provost Brenda Claiborne announces significant changes to Promotion and Tenure policy without notifying UFF or faculty governance bodies

Dear Colleagues,

It has recently come to the union’s attention that the provost  released a May 31, 2012 memo regarding Promotion and Tenure (P&T). Particular notice should be given to section 9 where the external letters of recommendation have increased from 3 to 5. The union has recently contacted the provost stating that the Collective Bargaining Agreement specifically speaks to procedures that need to be followed in making changes to P&T criteria. Specifically, according to Article 14.2 (b) and Article 15.1 (c)(4) two things must occur first before modifying criteria:

1)  “The Board and the University may modify these criteria after notifying the UFF Chapter of the proposed changes and offering an opportunity to discuss them in consultation with the President or representative.” UFF has not been notified.

2)  “Any proposal to develop or modify promotion criteria shall be available for discussion by members of the affected departments/units  before adoption.” Faculty have not had any option to discuss this either. The union has never been made aware of such changes and needs to discuss them before any type of adoption takes place. Since the number of external letters was increased from two to three just two years ago after undergoing a comprehensive review by the University Committee, we need to understand the reasoning behind the increase of two additional letters in such a short amount of time.

In regards to the second issue review by members of the affected departments most faculty are not under contract right now so they are not obligated nor might not have adequate time to review the proposed changes. Either way, they were not given the opportunity. UFF suggests that administration should at least wait until the beginning of the fall semester to discuss these changes when faculty are under contract and present so they can discuss such issues as a group. Additionally, the administration needs time to allow the University Committee to meet to discuss any such changes.

If the administration fails to comply with the terms and conditions in the CBA, the union will then contact our legal counsel and proceed accordingly.

Furthermore, faculty should be aware that if any changes do take place, according to the CBA, Article 15.1 (4) states that such changes don’t become effective until a year after their adoption. Also, “an employee with at least three (3) years of tenure-earning credit as of the date on which the tenure criteria are adopted shall be evaluated for tenure under the criteria as they existed prior to modification” unless the employee chooses otherwise.

The CBA serves as a foundational document in such matters of P&T. This is yet another way in which the union protects the integrity of such processes. If you haven’t done so, join today. Download a membership form and send it to: Chris Robe’, CU 214, Boca Raton campus.

We are here when you aren’t making sure that protocols are followed. Join and become active in the union today.


UFF-FAU President

Governor-elect Scott Names Michelle Rhee to Education Reform Team

December 4, 2010. Controversial Washington DC Schools chancellor sacked teachers and battled unions before resigning under fire, Proponents of privatized higher-ed and school vouchers also appointed

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Florida Governor-Elect Rick Scott has named his Education Transition Team. At the top of the list, controversial former Washington, D.C. Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee.

Rhee’s three years as chancellor of schools was contentious after she helped restructure DC schools, among accolades from her allies and criticism from groups like teacher’s unions.

At the end of the last school year, Rhee fired 226 school employees for poor performance. An additional 729 employees were put on notice that they will be subject to termination after the 2010-2011 school year if their performance did not improve substantially.

Rhee resigned two months after the mayoral candidate that was critical of the job she was doing won the election.

Read more at WTSP.com

Controversial Michell Rhee Part of Rick Scott’ Education Team

By Cara Fitzpatrick
December 2, 2010

Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of Washington D.C. schools, has been tapped to join Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s education transition team.

Rhee, who made national headlines for firing teachers because of student performance and favoring merit pay, will be one of Scott’s “champions for achievement.” In the announcement today, he called her a “nationally recognized education reformer.”

Other members include leaders of charter school companies, the executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, which was founded by former Gov. Jeb Bush, and the director of a school voucher organization.

Rhee resigned from the Washington school system a couple months ago after a raucous three-and-half year term as chancellor. She was praised by education leaders, such as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, but also fought with teachers unions.

Read more at palmbeachpost.com

The Proving Grounds: School “Rheeform” in Washington, D.C.

Fall 2010
By Leigh Dingerson

Washington, D.C., is leading the transformation of urban public education across the country—at least according to Time magazine, which featured D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee on its cover, wearing black and holding a broom. Or perhaps you read it in Newsweek or heard it from Oprah, who named Rhee to her “power list” of “remarkable visionaries.”

But there’s nothing remarkably visionary going on in Washington. The model of school reform that’s being implemented here is popping up around the country, heavily promoted by the same network of conservative think tanks and philanthropists like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton Family Foundation that has been driving the school reform debate for the past decade. It is reform based on the corporate practices of Wall Street, not on education research or theory. Indications so far are that, on top of the upheaval and distress Rhee leaves in her wake, the persistent racial gaps that plague D.C. student outcomes are only increasing.

Chancellor Rhee helicoptered into Washington in 2007 promising to change the culture of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Everyone cheered. But we weren’t counting on the new culture coming straight out of Goldman Sachs. Suddenly, decisions were being made at the top and carried out with atomic force. Parents have been treated like consumers—informed about options and outcomes but denied a seat at the table. The district’s teachers have been insulted in the national media, fired or laid off in record numbers, and replaced by less credentialed and less experienced newcomers. The model views teachers as a delivery system, not as professionals. High turnover is not just the result—it’s the goal. Principals, too, are isolated and expendable. The district lauds the educational mavericks—principals whose “crusades” are described as “relentless” and “methodical”—those who see themselves as an army of one. We are becoming a district where the frontline workers are demoralized, people are looking out for themselves, and trust is all but gone.

Read more at rethinkingschools.com