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New York TeacherJune 15, 2023

Volume LXIV, Number 6

UFT members showed up strong at five simultaneous contract rallies — one in each borough — on May 24 to increase the pressure on the city and the Department of Education to agree to a fair contract.

Cover Story

5 contract rallies, 1 message to city

5 contract rallies, 1 message to city:

UFT members showed up at five simultaneous contract rallies — one in each borough — on May 24 to turn up the pressure on the city and the Department of Education to agree to a fair contract that meets their demands by the end of the school year.

“It’s important that the city sees all of us and sees that we are united in our message that we need and deserve a fair contract now,” said Christina Rizzo, a pre-K teacher at PS 200 in Manhattan. “I would like the mayor to see that we care about our students, and we would like for the city to care about us.”

UFT members have been working under an expired contract since Sept. 13, 2022. The union has been negotiating with the city since October. The after-school rallies — the latest action in a year-long contract campaign — sought to give the talks the push they need to arrive at a settlement so changes can be implemented when the…

Latest News


No cuts to school budgets

After a months-long push by the UFT and other public school advocates, the mayor and the city Department of Education made good on their promise not to cut individual school budgets in September. Schools will be held harmless for drops in enrollment — at least in September.

New reading curricula for city schools

New reading curricula for city schools

In a major reset, New York City is overhauling how reading is taught in early childhood and elementary school settings in public schools throughout the city. Over the next two years, elementary schools will be required to adopt one of three evidence-based literacy programs that are grounded in phonics.

Feature Stories

Breaking barriers in the Bronx
Member Profiles

Breaking barriers in the Bronx

Dayniah Manderson’s favorite genre to teach in her 8th-grade English classes at Mott Haven Community School is dystopian fiction because, as a wheelchair user with muscular dystrophy, she relates to the struggle to break free from oppressive systems. 

On a roll

On a roll

There was no foot-dragging on the way to PS 372 in Brooklyn on May 3. That morning, pre-K through 5th-graders enthusiastically pedaled and scooted their way to the Gowanus school on National Bike & Roll to School Day.

Member Spotlight

Cesar Garcia
What I Do

Cesar Garcia, ADAPT residential program specialist

For 10 years, Cesar Garcia has provided daily living assistance to adult clients with physical and cognitive disabilities at an ADAPT Community Network residence on Staten Island. Since 2003, the UFT has represented ADAPT employees at schools, day programs and residences citywide.

Maria Ponciano
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Maria Ponciano, PS 280, Queens

Maria Ponciano, the chapter leader at PS 280 in Jackson Heights, uses social media, email, WhatsApp, Google Slides and other technology to keep her members engaged and informed.

Around the UFT

Love is the answer

Love is the answer

UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s core message to the 1,300 UFT members at the union’s Spring Education Conference on May 20 was “Kill hate with love." He told educators at the New York Hilton Midtown, “What we do is powerful. It’s our voice that must prevail" over public school haters.

Academic High Schools Awards 2023

UFT Academic High Schools Awards

Successfully fighting off a charter school co-location. Reviving a program that teaches high school students how to swim. Creating a WhatsApp chat to connect librarians around the city. These are just a few of the achievements of the exemplary educators, union activists and unified school communities recognized at the awards ceremony.

Brooklyn-Manhattan awards ceremony

Provider Appreciation Awards ceremonies

More than 50 UFT family childcare providers received awards for chapter leadership, outstanding professional services, excellent regulatory compliance and other achievements at four ceremonies in different boroughs this spring. 

School Secretaries

School Secretaries Awards Soirée

School secretaries were honored with awards, flowers and festivities at the union’s School Secretaries Awards Soiree on June 2. The theme of the evening was “resilience.”

Better Speech and Hearing

Better Speech and Hearing Month Celebration

The 17th annual Better Speech and Hearing Month Celebration at UFT headquarters on May 25 recognized 29 members for creative projects that highlighted the diversity of speech teachers' work.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
UFT discounts

Member-only discounts

UFT members can save money by taking advantage of discounts on merchandise and services that the union has negotiated on their behalf.

Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights

Transferring schools

All UFT pedagogues, including teachers, clinicians, school counselors and school secretaries, as well as paraprofessionals, have the opportunity to transfer to a different school under the Open Market Transfer Plan.

Your Well-being
Summer vacation generic

Ready, set, recharge!

Educators and other professionals can benefit from taking time to reflect, release tension and recharge. Summer is a great time to slow down and reset, but don’t wait for summer for self-care!

You Should Know

Grants, Awards & Freebies
A teacher with young students

Grants, Awards & Freebies

See our list of current opportunities for educators to receive funds and recognition for their hard work and dedication. 

For Your Information
Generic image - Calendar for Home page carousel

UFT offices are open this summer

The UFT will be open to serve members on a modified schedule throughout the summer.

Q&A on the Issues
Student Debt Relief

Student Debt Relief Program

Everything you need to know about the UFT's Student Debt Relief Program and the status of federal student-debt forgiveness.

Secure Your Future
Business man passing money

Retirement fund loans

One of the many benefits provided by the Teachers’ Retirement System and the Board of Education Retirement System the ability to borrow against your Qualified Pension Plan and Tax-Deferred Annuity accumulations.


President's Perspective
UFT Contract Rally

The joy of coming together

On May 24, thousands of UFT members showed up at our simultaneous contract rallies in all five boroughs to make their voices heard. We joined together in a sea of blue with handmade signs, rallying cries and a determination to fight for more respect, more autonomy, fair raises and better working conditions. But there was something else present in the crowd on that day: There was joy. Joy in the act of coming together and joy in hearing the sound of our voices reverberate when we speak up at the same time. 

Kids on laptop in classroom

Empowering educators with technology

UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds writes that when it comes to our academic high schools and the broader New York City public school system, we need to lead — not follow — on innovation that affects our practice.


Booked on phonics

This May, New York City joined a nationwide shift in the teaching of reading when Schools Chancellor David C. Banks announced that all elementary schools over the next two years must adopt one of three evidence-based curricula that are grounded in phonics and foundational literacy skills. But the implementation of new reading curricula in a school system as large and diverse as New York City's is not going to be easy.

UFT members hold signs in support of the writers strike

Write the wrong

The motion picture, television, digital media and broadcast news writers are not reaping the benefits they are due from the explosion of streaming service content Their wages have stagnated and their working conditions have deteriorated. 

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
Reimagining homework assignments

Reimagining homework assignments

How often should we assign homework? How much homework should we give? How much should we weigh homework when we calculate grades? Or should we even assign homework? Hear educators who have grappled with these questions.

Linking to Learning
A graphic design tool for educators

A graphic design tool for educators

Canva is a popular online graphic design platform that has made premium features available to K-12 teachers for free. Canva for Education offers sophisticated designs that are easily customizable with templates created expressly for educators.

Teacher to Teacher
Linking home & school

Linking home and school

Our students, especially those at diverse schools, need to feel like they belong in the school community. I developed a museum unit for my 4th-graders that embeds lessons on cultural awareness into our social studies and writing curricula.

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
Fara station teaching

Supporting student responsibility and independence

Fara Shahryary, 2nd-grade ICT teacher, and her co-teacher at PS 58 in Carroll Gardens created a chart that makes student transitions between stations smoother and quicker.

New Teacher Articles
Rest, recharge and read

Rest, recharge and read

Educators need the summer months to rest and recharge. But it’s also a good idea to fit in a few books about teaching when you have the time and mental space to absorb new information and reflect on your practice.

New Teacher Diaries
Connecting with students

Connecting with students’ values boosts learning

When we as teachers take the time to get to know our students' needs, interests and values, we create a learning environment that is more meaningful and relevant to their lives.

Retired Teachers News

Seniors beware
RTC Service

Seniors beware: Scammers often target the elderly

Senior citizens need to be wary of emails, phone calls and text messages designed to get them to hand over money or share personal information, an elder fraud expert told UFT retirees at the Retired Teachers Chapter membership meeting in May.

Fraud is a booming business, said Anna Diao, the chief of the Elder Fraud Unit in the Queens District Attorney’s Office. In 2022, scam victims nationwide lost $8.8 billion, according to the Federal Trade Commission. People aged 60 and older, who tend to lose twice as much as younger victims, were scammed out of $1.6 billion. In New York State alone last year, there were more than 108,000 reports of fraud resulting in $408 million lost, Diao said.

“Victims rarely recover money,” she said. “If they do, they are rarely made whole. And elderly victims typically are underreported — they may not know who to talk to or they may feel embarrassed…

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

A symbiotic connection

Are UFT retirees missing out when they attend union events and courses remotely? The Si Beagle Learning Center now offers remote courses, activities and seminars that were only available in person before the pandemic. But there is growing pressure to organize more in-person activities, and the RTC is trying to provide both options.

RTC Section Spotlight

Putting technology to work in Queens

The Retired Teachers Chapter's Queens section continues to develop the rich selection of remote classes it created during the pandemic — from baking and line dancing to guitar — and is taking its use of technology to a new level in the process.