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Topics in the News:
News stories | September 22, 2011 >>
The UFT has more than 100 new members. A precedent-setting decision by arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman, delivered in early September, extended union membership to 112 of more than 120 educational analysts whose status had been in dispute.
Press releases | September 22, 2011 >>
A teachers’ union survey of New York City public schools has shown that in mid-September the system had 6,978 general education classes with more children than are permitted under the UFT’s contract with the city’s Department of Education. Based on these reports, the UFT estimates that approximately 256,000 children were spending part of their day — in some cases all of their instructional day — in overcrowded classrooms.
Comments | September 22, 2011 >>
I’ve noticed a few similarities between your current campaign and that of public school educators hoping to achieve tenure. Both are constantly attacked by movements designed to see them fail, such as either the school reform movement or the Tea Party movement in your case.
While Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on July 27 touted a dramatic increase in extensions of probation as proof that the new tenure-granting framework that the DOE instituted in December was working, the UFT questioned how the decisions were reached and demanded that the pertinent information be released.
An arbitrator ruled on July 18 that 5th-grade class sizes in a Title 1 middle school should be governed by the class-size limits set in the UFT contract for the junior high division. The UFT filed a grievance when the class size in a 5th-grade class at MS 390 in the Bronx was over 30, which is the limit for Title 1 junior high schools.
Despite five consecutive years of school budget cuts, the total number of teachers in excess rose only slightly this year. As a result of principals’ decisions, school closures and enrollment changes, 2,186 teachers lost full-time assignments in June.
Ignoring arguments that the Teacher Data Reports have unacceptably huge margins of error and that they are fundamentally inaccurate measures of educational effectiveness, the state court’s Appellate Division on Aug. 25 upheld a lower-court ruling to allow individual Teacher Data Reports to be handed over to city newspapers.
In what the UFT charges was retaliation for union activity, 13 teachers at Opportunity Charter School who had signed union authorization cards in May were summarily fired just days before graduation in June. Colleagues, parents, students and union representatives rallied with several of the dismissed educators outside the school on August 4, calling for their reinstatement.
News stories | August 4, 2011 >>
No layoffs! The victory, after weeks of cliffhanger budget negotiations and literally hundreds of protest actions by concerned parents and educators, was sweet indeed for teachers who can now close up their classrooms with the knowledge that they’ll see their students again in September.
News stories | August 4, 2011 >>
Despite suffering a setback in their legal effort to prevent the closure of 21 city schools and the inequitable co-location or expansion of charter schools in 18 more, UFT officials said that the lawsuit they filed jointly with the NAACP and other plaintiffs against the Department of Education will move forward.
Press releases | July 28, 2011 >>
The appellate division of New York State Supreme Court on July 28 declined to rule on the allegations in a lawsuit filed by the UFT and a coalition of community groups and parents on Jan. 5, 2010 that the New York City Department of Education was misusing hundreds of millions of dollars in Contract for Excellence funds earmarked for smaller class sizes.
Press releases | July 27, 2011 >>
While Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on July 27 touted a dramatic increase in tenure extensions as proof that the new tenure-granting framework that the DOE instituted in December was working, the UFT questioned how the decisions were reached.
News | June 29, 2011 >>
Despite an outpouring of protest from district school parents, teachers and students, the city’s Panel for Educational Policy on June 27 voted to move forward with all 18 of the charter school co-locations before it.
Feature stories | June 23, 2011 >>
A community dental clinic in a South Bronx school must shut down. An award-winning robotics program in a Harlem school has to give up its room. Another elementary school in Harlem is losing its showcase art room. These are among the sacrifices that district schools are being forced to make to free up room for charter schools to move into or expand in their buildings, according to a team of UFT and NAACP representatives that recently visited the schools.
News stories | June 23, 2011 >>
Dozens of parents, teachers and students held a press conference on June 13 outside the Department of Education’s headquarters to announce that a new organization of public school parents, the New York City Parents Union, will file a lawsuit against the city related to the suit already filed jointly by the UFT, the NAACP and other plaintiffs to stop the city from closing 21 schools and co-locating or expanding charter schools in another 18.
News stories | June 9, 2011 >>
The city’s Independent Budget Office, in a new report, found that class sizes in New York City public schools have been rising for the last three years, with the biggest increases occurring in the early grades, where research shows class size reduction has the greatest educational impact.
News stories | June 9, 2011 >>
Defending the NAACP and the UFT against a coordinated attack on their recent lawsuit challenging school closings and co-locations, NAACP President Hazel Dukes convened parents, press and politicians in front of the offices of the Harlem Success Charter Network on June 3 to set the record straight.
In an impassioned report to the May 18 Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew thanked delegates for the fantastic turnout at the May 12 rally, but told them that “if pink slips are sent out, we have to make last Thursday’s demonstration look like a leisurely jaunt in the park.”
For the second time in two years, the UFT and the NAACP have filed suit against the New York City Department of Education to halt threatened school closings. This year’s suit, filed on May 18, also demands that the DOE stop the co-location or expansion of 20 charter schools that would create inequities in the use of shared space and facilities.
PS 308 in Brooklyn is still battling plans by the DOE to co-locate a new school in its already-overcrowded building — even though Deputy Schools Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky got a look at the cramped conditions himself on May 13 after angry teachers and parents denounced the plans at a May 9 town hall meeting.