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Spring Education Conference

I’ll ‘dismantle’ DOE bureaucracy Stringer

New York Teacher
 City Comptroller Scott Stringer (second from right), the UFT’s endorsed candidate for mayor, joins President Michael Mulgrew,

 City Comptroller Scott Stringer (second from right), the UFT’s endorsed candidate for mayor, joins President Michael Mulgrew, teacher Milagros Colón (second from left) and paraprofessional Zelideth Diaz for the morning town hall discussion.

The UFT’s endorsed candidate for New York City mayor, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, said, if elected, he plans to “smash” the Department of Education bureaucracy “and reallocate money to the school system” during the union’s Spring Education Conference.

Stringer joined UFT President Michael Mulgrew; Milagros Colón, a teacher at PS 19 on Staten Island; and Zelideth Diaz, a paraprofessional at PS 150 in the Bronx for a morning town hall discussion of issues including school funding, class size, mayoral control and the resources monopolized by the DOE headquarters.

“We’re going to usher in a new day of fundamental change in the education system, starting with dismantling the Department of Education,” said Stringer.

A public school parent, Stringer also emphasized the importance of educators. “Without you, there’s no New York City comeback” from the pandemic, he said.

Carmen Romero, a teacher at PS 89 in Manhattan, asks a ques-tion during the town hall discussion.

Carmen Romero, a teacher at PS 89 in Manhattan, asks a ques-tion during the town hall discussion.

Both Colón and Diaz, members of the UFT team that evaluated the mayoral candidates, discussed what led them to get involved and to support Stringer.

“I wanted to be that voice for my community; I wanted to be that voice for my children,” said Diaz.

Stringer, she said, came before the UFT with a plan. “He already had envisioned how he was going to bring our city back from the pandemic.”

Stringer called for putting two teachers in every classroom and reallocating $1 billion now spent on the DOE bureaucracy and redirecting it to the schools instead.

“I believe that your plan is going to help keep families here in the city,” Colón told Stringer.

Mulgrew explained the unprecedented member-guided vetting process the UFT employed this year in endorsing Stringer and other candidates in the June 22 Democratic Primary.

“This year we did an endorsement process — despite the limitations of COVID-19 — that we have never even attempted before,” he said. “I don’t even know how many interviews we went through.”

Mulgrew said the union mobilized more than 400 members to evaluate candidates in 58 races.

Colón said UFT members brought multiple perspectives to bear in vetting the candidates. “We’re not only educators. We’re parents and grandparents, and we’re active in our communities,” she said.

Putting on the Spring Education Conference both live and virtually required a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

‘Battle-tested’ members hailed for courage, strength

UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised members for their courage and strength throughout the pandemic and spoke about the challenges ahead at the union's annual Spring Education Conference on May 15.

UFT Staff Director Anthony Harmon looks on as State Attorney General Leticia James accepts the John Dewey Award virtually.

Dewey winner James returns the praise

New York State Attorney General Lititia James was honored at the UFT's Spring Education Conference on May 15 with the John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education, the highest honor the UFT bestows.

Related Topics: Political Action