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UFT pitches legislative priorities

New York Teacher
Panel of four speakers on a virtual video call

President Michael Mulgrew talks via Zoom with (counter-clockwise from top left) teacher Nikki Cistac of Harvest Collegiate HS in Manhattan, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Sen. Shelley Mayer.

The UFT held a virtual legislative reception on March 11 to press Albany lawmakers for a large increase in state education funding in the next state budget to help New York City public schools address the needs of students who will be recovering from the trauma of the pandemic.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the federal COVID-19 relief funds flowing to New York State provided a unique opportunity to support schools.

Elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, heard from three UFT rank-and-file members about the challenges facing New York City public school students.

“I had everyone’s ear; as did my colleagues in middle school and high school,” said Sandra Fajgier, a prekindergarten teacher in Brooklyn. Fajgier spoke about the needs of pre-K students facing a loss of learning and socialization due to the pandemic.

“Identifying and addressing learning loss and trauma in a 4-year-old looks very different than it does with older children,” she said. “We need help, we need more money, we need professional development.”

Matthew Rothenberg, a school counselor at College Point Collaborative MS in Queens, told lawmakers that the pandemic, coupled with unemployment and food insecurity, had taken a toll on middle school students and their families. “It was like a perfect storm of so many traumatic events on top of being out of school, not seeing their friends, not being with teachers,” he said.

Rothenberg told the lawmakers that state education funding could make a difference. “We need additional counseling and services and funding for outlets like clubs to help them get back to feeling some kind of normalcy,” Rothenberg said.

Budget Generic

Historic funding increase for schools

New York City public schools will receive a historic boost in state aid in the budget passed by the state Legislature in Albany on April 7.

UFT Members meet via Zoom with State Sen. Jabari Brisport

This year’s Lobby Day a virtual success

The coronavirus pandemic couldn’t stop 430 UFT members from virtually joining the union’s annual Lobby Day to advocate for funding for public schools and the union’s own education initiatives in the state budget.

Related Topics: Political Action