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New York TeacherNovember 3, 2022

Volume LXIV, Number 2

From contract negotiations to the general elections to health benefits, the UFT and its members are coming together to make their voices heard in a fight for fairness.

Cover Story

Members hold up signs in support of fair contracts

Contract negotiations begin

City officials entered Shanker Hall on Oct. 13 for their first negotiating session with the UFT to face the 500 members of the union’s bargaining committee all dressed in union blue in an impressive display of solidarity and strength.

“We are united, prepared and ready to fight for the contract we deserve,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

The prior DOE-UFT contract expired on Sept. 13. By state law, the terms of the old contract remain in effect until a new agreement is ratified by members.

The UFT has been preparing for negotiations since last spring. The union’s 500-member negotiating committee began meeting in March, and subcommittees for key areas and each functional chapter were assembled over the summer. A survey conducted for the union by the national polling firm Hart Research Associates generated 32,000 responses from union members in May. The priorities identified by the rank and…

Latest News

Gov. Kathy Hochul
News Stories

UFT goes all-in for Hochul

The UFT is focusing its get-out-the-vote efforts for the Nov. 8 election on securing a full term for Gov. Kathy Hochul.

News Stories

City test scores are mixed

The results of New York State’s standardized tests showed the pandemic took a toll on math education in New York City public schools that was in line with a national trend, even as student reading scores improved slightly in contrast to the declines elsewhere.

Feature Stories

2022 Teacher of the Year Billy Green
Awards & Honors

Rebel with a cause

Shakespeare taught us that all the world’s a stage. For chemistry teacher Billy Green, all the world’s a classroom.

At A. Philip Randolph Campus HS in Harlem, Green teaches with his whole body. He shimmies to the rhythm of R&B music as his students play musical chairs, checking one another’s chemical formulas when the music stops. He punctuates discussions of systemic inequity with sweeping hand gestures, calling on students to bring their cultural backgrounds with them into the classroom.

For his relentless commitment to his community and his students, Green was named the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year by the New York State Board of Regents.

A product of city public schools who rose above homelessness, the Harlem teacher was a finalist for the honor in 2019. …

Supporting migrant students

Supporting migrant students

Public school educators across the city have stepped up to address the educational, socio-emotional and economic needs of the 6,000 migrant students, shipped from Texas, who have arrived in city schools this fall.

Seanelle LeeSang
Member Profiles

Prioritizing the planet

Teachers often go above and beyond for their students, but for Seanelle LeeSang, a teacher at IS 68 in Brooklyn, teaching is an opportunity to go the extra mile for the planet, too.

More in Feature Stories

Member Spotlight

Shanick Williams
What I Do

Shanick Williams, School secretary

As a school secretary at PS 154 in Harlem, Shanick Williams provides support — and smiles — to administrators, staff and families.

Faiza Khalid
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Faiza Khalid, PS 36, Manhattan

Faza Khalid, the chapter leader at PS 36 in Harlem, used the consultation process to get some unwelcome guests kicked off school grounds this year: a troop of rowdy raccoons.

Around the UFT

Teachers holding up a banner

One stride at a time

UFT members in all five boroughs and on Long Island participated in this year’s American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks on three separate weekends in October, raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research, advocacy and patient services.

Future in Focus

Future in Focus

More than 250 New York City public high school students gathered on Oct. 20 for the UFT’s Future in Focus college and career fair, exploring the benefits of organized labor and featuring a job fair with representatives from a variety of unions.

Staffers at PS 45 on Staten Island wear pink in memory of Denise Budde, a prekindergarten teacher and chapter leader who died of breast cancer in 2019.

Pink is for support and remembrance

UFT members across the city were proud to wear pink on “Pink Day,” Oct. 12, the second Wednesday in October, to raise awareness about breast cancer, celebrate survivors and remember colleagues lost to the disease.

Invitational Golf Outing

Invitational Golf Outing

The UFT’s Invitational Golf Outing on Oct. 10 at Silver Lake Golf Course on Staten Island was a driving success, raising more than $82,000 for the UFT Disaster Relief Fund.

Alzheimer walk

Alzheimer’s walk

A UFT team of about 40 people walked in Central Park on Oct. 23 to raise money for CaringKind, a group that provides care and support services for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

More in Around the UFT

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Disability generic

Short-term disability

In-service UFT members have the protection of a short-term disability plan that can provide valuable income when personal illness renders them temporarily unable to work.

Know Your Rights
Negative COVID test result

School safety

Under the DOE-UFT contract, every school must have a safety committee and a safety plan created by that safety committee. As part of the 2018 contract, UFT-represented members have a new mechanism to report safety violations and resolve safety issues.

Your Well-being
Pharmaceuticals

Addiction and families

Addiction is often referred to as a “family disease” because it affects the entire family.

You Should Know

Q&A on the Issues
Generic teacher evaluation word cloud

Teacher Evaluation

The following Q&A answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the teacher evaluation system for the 2022-23 school year.

Secure Your Future
retirement finance

Tax-Deferred Annuity program

By investing part of your paycheck in a tax-deferred annuity, you take an important step toward a secure retirement.

Opinions

President's Perspective
UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the negotiating table

We deserve a fair contract

This is our first contract negotiation since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first with this mayor and his schools chancellor. We have been preparing for this round of bargaining for eight months.

VPerspective
Young boy in a wheelchair in a library

Speaking up for students with disabilities

The city’s superintendents gathered at UFT headquarters in early October. We made it clear to them at this introductory meeting that when special education compliance issues are brought to their attention, we’ll be checking in to make sure they’re working in earnest to solve the problem.

Editorials
An image of books with the label "censored" written across

Bigoted book bans

Across the United States, right-wing opponents of racial justice and LGBTQ rights are waging a campaign of censorship to prevent children from learning about these topics.

Editorials
Google logo on laptop

Botching GAMA

In September, the DOE rolled out GAMA, a new online grading, attendance and parent messaging system. The implementation has been a disaster.

Editorial Cartoons
A cartoon illustration of a pharmacist handing a woman what looks to be dug up plants because she can't afford her medication.

High drug prices

"Since you can't afford our pills, I dug this up for you."

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
Reaching students

Reaching students where they are

It’s an age-old question that has become more pressing in the wake of pandemic-aggravated inequalities: If some of my students are just learning to read English, some read at a 5th-grade level and some are at or above grade level, how do I differentiate instruction for all of them?

Linking to Learning
Student-created podcasts

Student-created podcasts

Creating podcasts with your middle and high school students isn’t just a trendy project, it’s a task that teaches important skills and is fun and motivating for students.

Teacher to Teacher
Teaching the Novel

Teaching the novel in an ENL class

Here are a few practices to ensure that all students in an ENL class are engaged, challenged and able to facilitate meaningful discussions with each other when studying a novel unit.

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
Play-doh monsters

Inside my classroom

PS/IS 268 science teacher Maria Katsanos uses an engaging lesson to teach about genes and inherited traits.

New Teacher Articles
Making the most of parent conferences

Making the most of parent conferences

It’s no small feat to make introductions, review expectations and suggest pathways to improvement in under 15 minutes during parent-teacher conferences. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your upcoming conferences.

New Teacher Diaries
An illustration shows a group of young students throwing paper at each other in a classroom

The calm after the storm

Just like the students, teachers and schools needed last year to transition back to business as usual, though perhaps with a new definition of usual. Already I can recognize and appreciate the changes my administration has made to address problems that were exposed in the last year.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

Protect benefits with your vote

With friends like these, we need more friends like these.

The most labor-friendly president and Congress ever are facing tough midterm elections. We should help our friends.

We’ve spent decades enhancing UFT member benefits by building the power of the UFT into a force to be reckoned with. Retirees more than anyone remember the challenges and the hard work it took to improve the economic and professional rights of educators and health care providers. For example, in 2017, to protect our pensions, we turned public support for a state constitutional convention into a rejection of that ballot initiative by 83% of state voters.

Healthcare -stethoscope
RTC Information

Health care Q&A for retirees

The following FAQ answers commonly asked questions about the national health care crisis, its impact on New York City employees and retirees, and the challenges facing the UFT and its fellow municipal unions.

Chet Edwards
RTC Second Act

Making a difference for returning soldiers

Chester “Chet” Edwards, a retired New York City public school teacher and decorated veteran, volunteers his time helping his fellow veterans return to civilian life after serving in the U.S. military.