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Topics in the News:
News stories | March 8, 2012 >>
Testifying at a City Council hearing, UFT President Michael Mulgrew on March 1 took the Department of Education to task for its failure to claim more than $500 million in Medicaid reimbursements for services provided to students with special needs each year.
News stories | February 23, 2012 >>
The city expects to increase spending on education next year by a modest but welcome $182 million, or 1 percent, according to Mayor Bloomberg’s preliminary budget for fiscal 2013, a budget notable mostly for its lack of serious controversy.
National education and labor news | February 2, 2012 >>
Teachers in Chester, Pa., who said they would be willing to work without pay to keep classroom disruption to a minimum after their school district reported in early January that its cash reserves had dipped below $100,000, scored a small victory on Jan. 10 when a federal judge approved an advance on the district’s state school aid pending the outcome of a lawsuit to force the state to provide adequate funding.
The staff and parents of Far Rockaway’s PS 215 — one of the 25 schools on the mayor’s original hit list for this year — paint a picture of a school crippled by four years in a row of budget cuts.
In testimony before state lawmakers on Jan. 23, UFT President Michael Mulgrew made a forceful case for additional funding for New York City schools while setting the record straight on teacher evaluations and the struggling schools that the mayor has abandoned.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised more money for city schools next year in his budget address on Jan. 17, a welcome reversal after three years of budget cuts. But he made the offer conditional: Local school districts, including the city Department of Education, will forfeit the funds if they do not agree with their unions on new teacher evaluation systems.
News stories | January 19, 2012 >>
The UFT on Jan. 9 joined community, labor, student and faith organizations calling on state lawmakers to close corporate tax loopholes that are costing the state more than $1 billion a year. “What we’re asking for here are very reasonable solutions,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the Albany press conference.
Capping a yearlong political battle by the UFT and its labor and community allies for economic equity, the New York State Legislature on Dec. 6 passed legislation that brought a measure of fairness to the state tax code while providing a much-needed boost in education funding for next year.
National education and labor news | December 22, 2011 >>
The collapse of the bipartisan congressional supercommittee’s effort to agree on a plan to slash the federal budget deficit isn’t just a defeat for congressional Republicans who, as AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “insisted on protecting the 1 percent from any additional taxes.” With no better legislation in sight, it bodes ill for school funding, too.
Around the UFT | December 22, 2011 >>
More than 100 parents, teachers, students, administrators and education advocates attended a meeting at PS 58, Staten Island, on Nov. 29 to strategize ways to prevent further budget cuts to schools
Around the UFT | December 22, 2011 >>
Protesting budget cuts that have reduced course offerings, pushed class size over the limit and eliminated after-school programs in schools throughout South Brooklyn, teachers, students, parents and community leaders marched from the Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue MTA station to Abraham Lincoln HS after school on Nov. 30.
“I can’t thank you all enough,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told delegates at the Dec. 7 Delegate Assembly, of their role leading up to the state Legislature’s Dec. 6 agreement that will make the state tax system more progressive and earmark $800 million of the new revenue for schools statewide.
In a show of labor-union strength in New York City, 20,000 unionized workers, including thousands of UFT members, marched from Herald Square to Union Square on Dec. 1 to demand jobs and a fairer tax system for working Americans. Watching the teeming crowd, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the march was yet another example of “labor standing up for their families, neighbors and communities.”
Comments | November 24, 2011 >>
In the The Sunday New York Times on Oct. 30, Ross Douthat inadvertently made the case for more public school funding. He wrote: “Even though government spending on K-to-12 education has more than doubled since the 1970s, test scores have flatlined and the United States has fallen behind its developed-world rivals.”
Preliminary class size figures, released by the city Department of Education on Nov. 15, show class sizes increased in all grades and core subjects again this year as budget cuts continued to slam the city’s schools.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew opened the Nov. 9 Delegate Assembly with some good news: in Ohio the previous day, voters turned back by a 61-39 percent margin an attempt to prevent public-sector workers from being able to bargain collectively. He noted that 25 UFT retirees and staffers had been on the ground in Ohio, knocking on doors and making phone calls to talk about the issue and get out the vote.
School secretaries throughout the city are feeling overworked and under pressure as their ranks have thinned as secretaries leave and retire and are not replaced, according to UFT representatives. The number of school secretaries has dropped nearly 15 percent between October 2008, when there were 3,537, and this October, when there were only 3,047.
News stories | November 10, 2011 >>
Budget cuts reported in percentages are troubling enough, but budget cuts reported in the words of teachers in the schools convey the flesh-and-blood wounds that cuts can cause. A new UFT survey of chapter leaders showed teachers fear for their students’ futures as class sizes ballooned over three years and schools lost tutoring, academic intervention services, enrichment classes and support staff.
Around the UFT | November 10, 2011 >>
Chanting “Stop the cuts” and carrying signs that read “These cuts don’t heal” and “No budget cuts,” more than 125 parents, teachers and students rallied against budget cuts to education outside Leon Goldstein HS, in the Manhattan Beach section of south Brooklyn, before school on Oct. 24.
National education and labor news | November 10, 2011 >>
Nearly 300 school districts around the country have eliminated an entire school day each week in a desperate attempt to save money, and more are considering it.
For the first time, the larger, more urban districts are talking about it. At least 292 school districts nationwide have a four-day week, more than double the 120 estimated two years ago