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UFT 2021 New York City legislative priorities

Download the UFT's 2021 city legislative priorities 

Despite facing the most challenging year in memory, New York City’s educators and students have persevered. But we still have much to do. We must prepare for academic remediation. We must plan for added social and emotional support in our schools. And we must continue supporting the high-quality programs that have been vital to educators, students and school communities this past year.

We must invest in pandemic recovery

This year’s enacted state budget includes a much needed $1.3 billion increase in school aid for NYC schools with a commitment to fully fund foundation aid in the next three years on top of the $6.9 billion in federal funding, which can be used over the next three school years. We must use this relief aid to lower class sizes and for mental health and academic support to help our city’s public schools recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the UFT's Pandemic Recovery Plan.

Policy Recommendations

  • Invest relief aid in the UFT 5-Point Recovery Plan

Now is not the time to pull back on teacher support

For over 40 years, the UFT Teacher Center has been a guiding light for NYC educators. When the craft of teaching changed overnight, it was the UFT Teacher Center that helped our city transition to remote learning. Now, more than ever, our schools need the award-winning embedded professional learning and support the Teacher Center provides.

Learn more about the Teacher Center »
Read about the Teacher Center's work in schools »
See a list of Teacher Center sites »

Policy Recommendations

  • Fund UFT Teacher Center at $9M
  • Continue supporting a proven program that supports our educators

We must continue providing a lifeline for families in need 

The UFT United Community Schools (UCS) program was a lifeline to more than 20,000 students this past year. Operating out of 32 New York schools, the program delivers vital services during severe times of need: feeding kids and families, closing the technology gap, supporting mental health and fostering professional development. The essential work of the UCS keeps kids fed, connected and engaged, and it must not falter. 

Learn more about the United Community Schools »
See a list of United Community School sites »

Policy Recommendations 

  • Provide $5M in support of the United Community Schools program
  • Continue supporting a vital program that keeps kids fed, connected and engaged at school

We must prepare schools to heal from trauma, stress and inequity

The Positive Learning Collaborative (PLC) uses proven restorative practices to transform school culture. Over the past ten years, the program has dramatically decreased suspensions and major incidents while increasing academic performance and satisfaction in NYC schools. This past year, the program went virtual and increased its reach while focusing on what schools need most: providing schools with access to expert clinicians and educators, helping educators cope with stress, grief and trauma and training schools to heal from the trauma of stress and inequity. 

Sensory Tools for Healing Schools Flyer
Learn more about the Positive Learning Collaborative »
See a list of Positive Learning Collaborative sites »

Policy Recommendations

  • Provide $2M in support for the Positive Learning Collaborative program
  • Help transform school culture with restorative practices

We must reimburse teachers for purchases that help our students

Even during remote learning, teachers are spending their own money on supplies to support students and enhance their classrooms. The Teacher’s Choice Program reimbursed these crucial purchases, but it has been completely cut in the FY21 adopted budget. 

Policy Recommendations

  • Restore funding for Teacher’s Choice to the 2019-2020 level of $20M
  • Baseline the program in the city budget

We must expand programs that work

Fielding more than 40,000 calls in nine languages last year, the Dial-a-Teacher hotline is poised to help even more students this year with new technology and curriculum. 

Policy Recommendations 

  • $170,160 in funding to expand services

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, students, families and educators dealing with bullying can contact this vital hotline by phone, text or chat to get support, resources and help resolve these highly detrimental situations.

Policy Recommendations

  • $281,000 in funding to continue to being an anti-bullying lifeline

Every NYC high schooler should see a Broadway show before they graduate. Broadway Bridges provides tickets to high school students so they can experience the city’s rich cultural opportunities.

Policy Recommendations

  • Support this initiative in the FY22 City Council budget

Albany capitol building

State legislative priorities

See the UFT's policy recommendations for New York State.