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Kudos to Bennett Fischer PS 231 @ PS 54, Brooklyn

For addressing paperwork issues at his school
New York Teacher

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Bennett Fisher
Bennett Fischer, the chapter leader at PS 231 @ PS 54 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, seized on the UFT’s new protocol to confront redundant and excessive paperwork to address three big paperwork issues at his District 75 K–8 school.

A strong seven-member union consultation committee led by Fischer used the UFT’s paperwork reporting form in November 2016 to beat back the principal’s effort to require teachers to keep burdensome student binders, in violation of the paperwork standards negotiated by the DOE and the UFT in 2015.

Fischer also reported to the union that members in his chapter were being asked to create multi-page unit plans when the UFT-DOE contract states that a unit plan should be only one page. Once again, the principal had to resolve the issue.

Fischer claimed a third paperwork victory after notifying the union that the principal was issuing weekly guidance memos to PS 231 members that “suggested” all types of inquiry work and onerous recordkeeping on Friday afternoons set aside for teacher-directed common planning.

The matter was brought to the attention of the district paperwork committee. Shortly thereafter, the district superintendent reached a resolution with the UFT district representative, and the principal communicated that resolution to the staff in writing.

Fischer applauded the UFT’s new protocol for enabling his team to win “very quick settlements” in these three cases.

A teacher at the school for 28 years, Fischer became chapter leader three years ago “to give back” and rebuild a chapter he described as “apathetic and intimidated.”

He has built a strong union chapter despite the challenge of representing 250 members spread across six sites. Fischer’s steady flow of informative emails and newsletters as well as after-school happy hours have forged chapter unity and empowered members.

Teacher and UFT delegate Jillian Moses gives Fischer credit for tackling the paperwork issues at the school. “He has worked tirelessly to ensure our contract is adhered to and our rights are protected,” she said.

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