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New York TeacherApril 11, 2024

Volume LXV, Number 5

The mayor and the DOE have been reluctant to implement the state class size law. UFT members, standing together with parents, community members and students, will make sure this historic opportunity to make transformational change is not lost.

Cover Story

class size campaign logo - 2024 update - banner

Our class size campaign this spring

The recent passage of state legislation to lower class size in New York City schools represents not just a policy shift but a profound affirmation of decades of research showing that smaller class sizes lead to better student outcomes.

This law is our collective opportunity to significantly enhance the quality of education for every child in our city. Yet this historic moment is at risk due to the reluctance of Mayor Eric Adams and the city Department of Education to implement the new law.

The state law requires that classes have a maximum of 20 students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, 23 in grades 4–8 and 25 in high school by September 2028. This school year, the first year of the law’s five-year phase-in, the DOE has declared 20% of classrooms citywide in compliance with the law without lifting a finger. But next September, the rubber…

Latest News

‘Follow the law’
News Stories

‘Follow the law’

The UFT has accused Mayor Adams and the city Department of Education of trying to sabotage the implementation of the state law lowering class size in New York City public schools.
The state has significantly increased aid for city schools to finance the cost of lowering class sizes. But the mayor and the DOE are “inflating cost estimates, inventing excuses and gaslighting the public,” said UFT Assistant Secretary Michael Sill.
Lobby Day 2024
News Stories

A powerful Lobby Day

About 900 educators, along with 100 public school parents, made the three-hour trek by bus to Albany for UFT Lobby Day on March 11 to urge lawmakers to fix Tier 6 of the pension system, overhaul mayoral control of city schools and increase state foundation aid. That same week, thousands more UFT members sent emails urging their state representatives to support the union’s lobbying priorities as part of the UFT’s first-ever Virtual Lobby Day.

Feature Stories

A transformative experience

A transformative experience

After a class trip to the DNA Learning Center in Brooklyn, high school juniors used fluorescent protein from tiny bioluminescent green jellyfish to create petri dish samples that would soon teem with glowing green dots.

With the help of DNA Learning Center educator Elna Gottlieb, the 27 juniors at Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School transformed bacteria by introducing genes for antibiotic resistance and luminescence into E. coli samples. Back at their Staten Island school two days later, one of the four petri dishes each team created in the controlled experiment glowed green under ultraviolet light.

“It’s cool when the students see those results,” said Paraskevi “Kevi” Langis, who teaches their college…

2024 Career and Technical Education Awards

At the top of his game

CTE Award winning teacher Craig Cannizzaro has a knack for getting his students in his video design class at Ralph McKee CTE HS on Staten Island animated about coding and other key software engineering skills.
2024 Career and Technical Education Awards

A recipe for success

CTE Award-winning baking teacher Shamel Donigan provides his students at Food and Finance HS with the tools to find success in the culinary industry and in life.
More in Feature Stories

Member Spotlight

Amanda Dutton
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Amanda Dutton, PS 134, Manhattan

Amanda Dutton, the chapter leader at PS 134 in Manhattan, has stood up again and again for students with disabilities and the UFT members who work with those students at her school.

Monique Scrubb
What I Do

Monique Scrubb, adult education teacher

Monique Scrubb teaches professional and conversational English to adult students as an English as a second language teacher at the DOE’s Brooklyn Adult Learning Center.

Around the UFT

Paraprofessionals Festival and Awards Luncheon
Awards & Honors

Paraprofessionals Festival & Awards Luncheon

Nearly 700 members of the Paraprofessionals Chapter turned out at the New York Hilton on March 23 to honor 15 of their colleagues for their heroic efforts in New York City's public school classrooms at the annual Paraprofessionals Festival & Awards Luncheon, which feted the "Superheroes of Education."
Igniting students’ ambitions
Awards & Honors

2024 CTE Awards

The passion that educators bring to Career and Technical Education programs and their ability to light their students’ pathways to success were lauded at this year’s CTE Awards Recognition Ceremony.
HERstory celebration
Awards & Honors

HERstory celebration

More than two dozen women educators were nominated by their peers and recognized for their inspiring efforts to serve their school communities at the union's fifth annual HERstory celebration.
Chapter Leader Rosemarie Thompson addresses attendees at the 20th annual School Counselors Conference

School Counselors Conference

About 250 school counselors enjoyed a packed day of professional development, networking and some precious camaraderie with fellow counselors for the union's 20th annual School Counselors Conference.
Chapter Leader Raul Garcia speaks on stage at the 2024 Social Worker Appreciation Day

Social Workers Appreciation Day

More than 1,000 school social workers gathered at UFT headquarters and remotely on March 8 for a day of professional learning focused on holistic wellness to mark the union’s 8th annual Social Workers Appreciation Day.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Dental Care

Dental care

The UFT Welfare Fund provides dental benefits through two programs: the Scheduled Benefit Plan, which provides services through either a designated panel of dentists or a dentist of your choice; and Dentcare, a no-cost dental HMO.
Know Your Rights
School Based Options

School-based options

Spring is the time for school chapter leaders to discuss with their chapter’s members and then with their principal the school-based options they want to create, re-create or allow to sunset for the next school year. SBOs allow UFT members the opportunity to collaboratively modify contractual articles and/or create positions that the contract does not automatically allow. 

Your Well-being
Shadow of a man with words of sadness around him

Suicide prevention

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in more than 50,000 deaths in 2023. Stay vigilant for warning signs and risk factors in colleagues, students and others so that you can help and be aware of resources for assistance.

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
Green and blue arrows and circles showing a circular process

Switching schools

The Department of Education’s Open Market Transfer Plan, which gives UFT members the opportunity to transfer to a different school, opens on April 11 and closes on Aug. 6 this year.

Q&A on the Issues

Voting in your chapter elections

Every three years, UFT members vote for chapter leaders, delegates and paraprofessional representatives. For this election cycle, we are reverting to the pre-pandemic election procedures that were in place for decades. See some answers to common questions about chapter elections below.
Secure Your Future
Sneakers with arrows

Your TDA options at retirement

When you retire, you have three choices for handling your money in your Tax-Deferred Annuity: 1) Defer; 2) Convert your TDA into a monthly annuity; or 3) Withdraw all the funds. Most TRS and BERS members elect TDA deferral status.


Lutheran nurses OK 3-year contract

Fighting to put patients before profits

UFT Vice President Anne Goldman writes that hospital administrators driven by profit over patient care too often do not follow the nurse-to-patient ratios needed to safely care for patients. The Federation of Nurses/UFT is committed to continuing to expose such deficiencies and advocate for patients and the nursing profession.
Start Strong

Start strong

New York City led the nation when Mayor Bill de Blasio established free, full-day pre-kindergarten a decade ago and expanded it several years later to add 3-K. Sadly, Mayor Eric Adams is letting these vital programs wither.

Past-due payments

One of an employer’s most basic obligations is to pay its employees in a timely fashion. Yet over and over again, the city Department of Education falls short in this regard.
Editorial Cartoons
 Image CartoonStock

A teacher's dilemna

Now that I have your undivided attention...

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
Staying in step with your  teaching partner

Staying in step with your teaching partner

Integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes are taught by two teachers — a general education or content-area teacher and a special education teacher. A co-teaching relationship needs two willing partners who are communicative, collaborative and cooperative to be successful. 

Linking to Learning
Linking to Learning simulations Apr 2024

Using simulations in your class

Online simulations make it easier for students to explore settings that would be difficult to reproduce in real life. They are interactive and allow students to be in control of their learning.
Teacher to Teacher
Teacher teaching a class

Let students take the wheel sometimes

In my work as a 10th-grade social studies teacher, I’ve found that fostering student agency — allowing students some choices and control over how their day goes — increases engagement. 
Here are some ways that a classroom teacher can encourage student agency in the classroom. 

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
Inside my classroom

Put-ups and put-downs

School librarian Cynthia Turnquest Jones teaches young students to recognize “put-ups” (positive language) and “put-downs” (negative language) as part of a restorative circle.
New Teacher Articles
tenure celebration

Preparing for tenure

It is important for teachers in their probationary period (which lasts four years and a day) to be proactive about communicating with the principal about earning tenure and staying on top of their certification requirements.
New Teacher Profiles
With a song in his heart

With a song in his heart

“There is no music like live music. It’s a transcendent experience,” says Thomas Wright, the new music teacher at Edward R. Murrow HS in Midwood, Brooklyn. 
Wright, who previously taught elsewhere in the country, took the job in September, attracted by Murrow’s robust music department. 

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

Get ready, Get set, VOTE!

With the RTC leadership election coming up, I have asked Election Committee Chair Nina Tribble to write this month’ s column. 

— Tom Murphy

GET READY: It’s time again for Retired Teachers Chapter elections. Every three years, RTC members vote to elect who they want to lead their chapter.

When the RTC elections took place three years ago, we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and had to make some modifications in light of pandemic restrictions. Today, we are in a better place.

The RTC bipartisan election committee — made up of Doreen Crinigan, Robert Greenberg, John Soldini and me — is overseeing this year’s election and using the standard procedures and processes used prior to the pandemic.

Our election committee was empowered to develop and publicize the rules of the election. We have completed that initial step. Our committee is overseeing a process that we believe is simple, straightforward and transparent in order to…

Helping hand
RTC Service

A helping hand is just a phone call away

We can all use a little assistance sometimes. Retirees in need of a listening ear, help navigating hospital and rehabilitation stays, care for an ailing loved one, or other services can get free and confidential assistance by calling UFT Welfare Fund Retiree Social Services.
Gloria Dixon
Awards & Honors

Still fighting the good fight

The UFT’s Retired Teachers Chapter hosted a celebratory luncheon on March 6 to recognize 68 educators who have been union members for 50, 60 or more years.