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New York TeacherJanuary 7, 2016

Volume LIV, Number 5

Cover Stories

Brooklyn public school students and parents protest last spring against Gov. Cuo

Regents: Exclude scores from eval until 2019

In a move that few would have predicted a year ago, the State Board of Regents on Dec. 14 voted nearly unanimously to eliminate state-provided growth scores based on state test scores from teacher evaluations for four years.

The Regents is expected to soon make official this change through emergency regulations, with a public comment period to follow. Only outgoing chancellor Merryl Tisch voted to keep the state scores in evaluations.

The Regents vote follows on the heels of a report by a Common Core task force convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The task force report, released on Dec. 10, called for a full review and rewrite of the state’s adopted Common Core Learning Standards and related curriculum and tests, as well as a state ban on using state growth scores to evaluate students or te…

The new state regulations elevate transitional-bilingual and dual-language instr

Devil in the details

The State Education Department this year introduced changes to English language learner instruction that promised more instructional choices, stricter oversight and better parent communications.

Doing things the write way

City educators are wagering that a writing program first used at New Dorp HS on Staten Island can produce notable literacy gains among the many high-needs students at Flushing and 13 other struggling high schools in the city’s School Renewal Program.

Latest News

App-based drivers win right to unionize in Seattle

Seattle became the first U.S. city to pass a law giving drivers for Uber and Lyft the right to unionize.

United Auto Workers wins historic victory in South

After decades of failed attempts, the United Auto Workers on Dec. 4 won its first union election at a foreign-owned auto plant in the southern United States.
President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act into law on Dec. 10.

Major education law shifts power to states

President Obama on Dec. 10 signed into law major legislation that dials back the federal role in public education and bars the federal government from tying teacher evaluations to test scores.

Chicago teachers authorize strike

The Chicago Teachers Union’s 27,000 members have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike if ongoing contract negotiations fail, the union announced on Dec. 14.

New Mexico judge hits pause on test-based evals

A New Mexico judge has temporarily barred schools from using the state’s controversial test-based teacher evaluations to make personnel decisions.

Feature Stories

Teach touch lives forever

‘To teach is to touch lives forever’

As part of the union’s Passion and Promise in Our Public Schools campaign, teachers, students and parents thank educators who have inspired them, guided them and changed their lives

Kids' best friend

Kids’ best friend

Elizabeth Bonney is willing to try many things to figure out what will help the students in her self-contained special education class at PS 88 in Ridgewood learn — including a monthly visit from Sammy, a therapy dog.

Member Spotlight

What I Do
Donna Korol

What I Do: Donna Korol, adult education teacher

Donna Koral has taught adult education and ESL for 29 years, the last seven teaching mostly Hispanic adults in a church community center in Williamsburg.

Around the UFT

The young guests hit the dance floor.

Claus for celebration

When that other iconic winter figure — Queen Elsa — glided into the room at the holiday party thrown by the UFT and the Coalition for the Homeless at union headquarters on Dec. 12, children gasped and cheered as if they had just seen Santa Claus himself.

Elvis ‘lives’ — and has lots of famous company

Soni Persaud stepped into the gym at PS 191 in Floral Park, Queens, on Dec. 2 and was astonished by the eerie sight of some 70 “wax” figures arrayed before her.
The ribbon-cutting is complete.

Ribbon-cutting at PS 349, MS 358 and Q277, Queens

PS 349 Chapter Leader Farrah Padro found herself getting choked up as she presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building her school shares with MS 358 and Q277, a District 75 school.

Roberson addresses the group.

Big Apple Classic Leadership Summit 2016

Around 300 high school students from across the city got a head start toward preparing for career success at the UFT’s Manhattan headquarters on Dec. 5 for the third annual Big Apple Classic Leadership Summit.

Kappa IV 2nd-graders, flanked by Fischer (left) and Burton-Myrick, model the mit

Coat drive in Harlem’s District 5

When winter winds finally start howling around here, scores of children from neighborhood homeless shelters in Harlem will be ready with brand new mittens, scarves, hats, coats and sweaters to help keep them warm.

You Should Know

You Should Know

Member information needed for Affordable Care Act requirement

The Welfare Fund has contacted members whose dependents were missing Social Security numbers in its records and asked them to provide the missing information. 

Secure Your Future
Members also have security now

Members also have security now

In-service members can sleep well at night knowing that the union has your back if you are seriously injured on the job or suffer a debilitating medical or emotional disability.


President's Perspective
Michael Mulgrew listing image Headshot

Turning the tide against overtesting

The days of test and punish are over. After a disastrous experiment with the Common Core standards — implemented without proper curriculum or teacher training — New York now has a chance to get things right.

Carmen Alvarez speaks integrated co-teaching services

Get your students the services they need

The No. 1 special education issue in schools is pressure to fit students into the programs and services that are available in the school even if the programs and services did not meet the student’s needs.


Long days ‘got to go’

Eva Moskowitz has had an epiphany: A longer school day is not necessarily a bonus for teaching and learning.

A gorgeous mosaic

As educators and unionists, we are charged with reminding our students and ourselves that even in these frightening times — after the terror attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and elsewhere — we cannot give in to bias and fear-mongering.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning
A diagram outlining respectful online behavior and the risks students face

Digital citizenship

Digital Citizenship can be defined as navigating through online media responsibly, effectively and safely. Teaching these skills helps students think through ethical dilemmas they encounter online every day in order to ultimately make better decisions.

Research shows

Dual-language program boosts literacy

A new study has found significant reading gains for students enrolled in a dual-language immersion program.

Teacher to Teacher

Nurturing the joy of reading

As teachers, we want our students to view reading as a pleasurable experience — not just as something that is required of them. The following ideas may help in your quest to create that enjoyment.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Inspired by Malala

The student work shows Malala's story through various resources and how students were inspired by Malala's efforts to stand up for every girl's right to receive a quality education.
New Teacher Articles

Preparing for tenure decisions

Being granted tenure is an important milestone for new teachers. There are many steps you can take to prepare for your tenure decision.

Retired Teachers News

Short-cut phrases can mislead

As educators, we know the power of language to encourage or obstruct rational thinking. George Orwell, in his novel “1984,” dramatized the use of language as a weapon of control. Phrases such as “big brother is watching” short cut real thought and revealed the dark side of public rhetoric.

What kind of thinking do the short-cut messages of bumper stickers send?