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Friday, June 9, will be a remote workday for all DOE employees due to the unhealthy air quality. It will be a remote-instruction day for students scheduled to be in attendance.

New York TeacherFebruary 16, 2023

Volume LXIV, Number 4

School communities mobilized to block Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz from elbowing her way into three school buildings in Queens and the Bronx. But another battle looms in Albany, where Gov. Hochul has put forward a plan to significantly increase the number of charter schools in the city.

Cover Stories

A group of people standing on school steps holding signs
News Stories

UFT, communities thwart co-locations

In a momentous victory for community and student activists working in tandem with the UFT, the city Department of Education on Jan. 23 withdrew proposals to widen Success Academy’s footprint in public school buildings in Queens and the Bronx that critics had warned would harm the educational progress of the students already in them.

Charter Schools Chart
News Stories

Money pit

With aggressive marketing, strong lobbying, perks like free rent and millions of dollars of contributions from billionaire investors and philanthropists, the number of Success Academy charter schools has expanded at the expense of traditional public schools.

Latest News

News Stories

‘Teach-ins’ prepare educators for contract fight

UFT members are prepared to fight for the contract they deserve. That was the message resonating across the city on Jan. 30, as educators gathered in their schools for “teach-ins” led by members of each school’s Contract Action Team.

News Stories

COVID death benefits extended

The New York State accidental death benefit for in-service UFT members and other public employees who have passed away due to COVID-19 has been extended through Dec. 31, 2024, thanks to the advocacy of the UFT and other public employee unions.

Feature Stories

Teacher and student

Reaping what they sew

Ivy, a 12th-grader at Eleanor Roosevelt HS on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, wanted to explore what she describes as “the cyclical pattern of emotions” through her art. She sketched a face whose mouth appeared wide open in a scream; inside the mouth was another screaming face.

After transferring her sketch onto water-soluble graph paper, Ivy painstakingly traced the penciled lines with a needle and thread. When she was finished stitching, she explained, the grid paper would dissolve in water, leaving behind a distinctive embroidered piece.

Ivy’s project is part of a unique new elective at Eleanor Roosevelt known as Patterns of the World. Designed by computer science teacher Susan Ettenheim, it allows students to apply computer science…

Teacher and Student

A cool career path

Teacher Orvil Boatswain’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning program at the Bronx Design and Construction Academy is the only program of its kind in New York City public high schools, and it regularly wins an annual statewide competition.

Ballet dancers

Pirouetting into the future

Students in the Career and Technical Education dance program at Talent Unlimited HS in Manhattan learn not only technique and performance but also how to choreograph, produce and direct.

More in Feature Stories

Member Spotlight

David Ephross
Chapter Leader Shoutout

David Ephross, PS/IS 308, Brooklyn

David Ephross secured much-needed bathroom repairs at PS/IS 308 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, after repeated requests to the principal were unheeded.

Fergie Cantos
What I Do

Fergie Cantos, bilingual speech therapist

A bilingual speech therapist who “loves to talk,” Fergie Cantos helps students at P 186, a District 75 school in the Bronx, make themselves understood.

Around the UFT

CTE Awards 2023
Awards & Honors

Career and Technical Education Awards

Educators, family members and community partners attended the UFT's annual Career and Technical Education celebration on Feb. 3 at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, where 85 educators and community partners were honored.

Middle School Scavenger Hunt

Middle School Scavenger Hunt

UFT members, along with their families and friends, raced against the clock on the coldest day of the year to find the answers to these questions and others at the first-ever UFT Middle School Division’s Secrets of Grand Central Scavenger Hunt on Feb. 4.

Clinicians appreciation day

Clinicians Appreciation Day 2023

Social workers and school psychologists marked Clinicians Appreciation Day in person at UFT headquarters on Jan. 13 for the first time since the pandemic began.

African heritage dinner

African Heritage Committee Awards Dinner Dance 2023

The UFT African Heritage Committee Awards Dinner restored music and festivity to its 20th annual event on Feb. 3, reflected in its theme: “Thriving Into Our Future.”

Kids choose books to read

First Book giveaway in Manhattan

A First Book giveaway at PS 33 in Manhattan on Feb. 4, co-sponsored by the UFT and the AFT, distributed 5,000 free books to students who are asylum seekers, recent immigrants and newcomers to New York City public schools.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
sabbatical leaves

Sabbatical leaves

UFT members who are teachers or other pedagogical staff — including school counselors, social workers and school psychologists — may apply for a sabbatical leave to enhance their teaching skills, restore their health if they are ill or achieve state certification in a shortage area. 

Know Your Rights
Teacher reading to kids

Programs and professional activities

The provisions in the DOE-UFT contract regarding teaching programs and professional activity assignments give teachers a voice while providing an objective selection process. Here are the details.

Your Well-being
PS 217 The Roosevelt Island School, Manhattan

Love as a language

While we tend to think of romantic love around Valentine’s Day, there’s also love of family and friends, self-love, and love of learning, nature, beauty and more. 

You Should Know

For Your Information
Transit Programs

Pre-tax transit limits increase for 2023

The city Office of Payroll Administration has informed the UFT that the monthly pre-tax limit for commuter benefits has increased from $280 to $300, the new IRS limit.

For Your Information
Tax deductions for educators

Tax deduction for educators increases to $300

Eligible educators can deduct from their federal income taxes up to $300 of unreimbursed expenses from 2022 for books, supplies, computer equipment and other materials they use in the classroom. The agency raised the deduction from $250 to $300 for tax year 2022.

Q&A on the Issues
A young teacher with students

Certification changes

Since February 2022, the New York State Education Department has changed the requirements for a number of different state certifications. Read the following Q&A for the details. 

Secure Your Future
Smiling couple

3 reasons to love our pensions

As UFT members employed by the city Department of Education, it is important to understand the crucial role pension plans play in attracting and retaining talented educators and other school staff and ensuring financial security in retirement.

Secure Your Future
Looseleafs labeled Retirement plan and Pension

The importance of service credit

A key factor in calculating your retirement allowance under the Qualified Pension Plan (QPP) is your Total Service Credit. It helps to determine whether you’re eligible to retire and the amount you’ll receive when you do.  


President's Perspective
Contract Teach-Ins

Organizing for a fair contract

Schools across the city led by Contract Action Team (CAT) members joined together during the week of Jan. 30 to hold contract teach-ins that both informed and activated our membership on a whole new level.

Kids in a class doing STEAM

CTE grows to meet real-world needs

Leo Gordon, the UFT vice president for career and technical education high schools, writes that CTE programs in New York City schools have advanced significantly over the past 10 years, with a stronger emphasis placed on technology, industry relationships and in-demand skills.

Kathy Hochul classroom

Charter ‘nonstarter’

Gov. Hochul’s full budget proposal on Feb. 1 hit all the right notes on school funding but was completely off key on charter schools.

A high school class.

Failing on admissions

The city Department of Education’s high school admissions process this school year takes a step backward, reverting to pre-pandemic screening practices that rely too much on test scores and grades.

Editorial Cartoons
Florida Cartoon

Welcome to Florida

After Florida’s Department of Education informed the College Board that its Advanced Placement course in African American studies would be banned in Florida schools, the College Board removed some topics and modern Black thinkers from the curriculum. 

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve

Truth or consequences

We can teach students to become critical consumers of information by teaching them information literacy. The goal is not just to help students distinguish between factual and fictional content but to encourage them to think critically about all the information they encounter, whatever the source.

Linking to Learning
Career Options screenshot

Career options are just a click away

Middle and high schools may host career days or Junior Achievement speakers, but online resources can also help students discover where their skills and interests might one day lead them.

Teacher to Teacher
Puzzling out

Puzzling out an answer is revealing

A weekly Proofreading Puzzle gives you another opportunity to check in with your students, makes learning visible and develops some of the same skills needed for close reading.

Building Your Career

BYC New Teacher Articles
NYC is your classroom

NYC is your classroom

Think about expanding your teaching beyond the walls of your classroom with a field trip. Here are some tips to help you plan a trip.

Inside My Classroom
inside my classroom

A dynamic, inspiring space

Nichole Mills' special education classroom at MS 180 in the Bronx is a dynamic super-space that is simultaneously welcoming and inspiring. 

New Teacher Diaries
Woman at computer

3rd year is the charm

After a rough start to a teaching career during the pandemic, a thrid-year educator is happy to have stuck it out and stayed in the profession.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

Hard times put benefits at risk

“Biden and House GOP are at an Impasse as Nation Hits Key Debt Ceiling Deadline”

This headline recently introduced a story in the weekly Friday Alert of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is an AFL-CIO-affiliated organization formed 25 years ago to advocate for the interests of union retirees and has chapters in most states and some cities. As a member of the organization’s national executive board, I am tasked with coordinating outreach with UFT retirees and other NYSUT retirees in the rest of the state.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is rightly on alert to this sleeper issue. This manufactured crisis is of great concern to retirees. Except for a failed right-wing, ideologically based attempt in 2013 to enforce the debt ceiling that ended with a disruptive 16-day government shutdown, the federal government has raised the debt ceiling each year so it can pay its obligations for programs already enacted. Raising the amount the…

Retirees walking in the park
RTC Service

From walking tours to tea parties, outings are back

A wildlife refuge an outdoor sculpture garden, museums, a tea party and even a wastewater treatment plant are the destinations for in-person Si Beagle Learning Center outings this spring.

Gail Postal
RTC Second Act

Visual arts career draws on teen dream

Gail Postal, a 26-year teaching veteran, is relentless in the pursuit of her second career, constantly exhibiting and selling paintings, entering hundreds of juried art shows and putting her boundless energy into making her teenage dream come true.