The conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27 ruled against public sector unions nationwide in a decision that will make it more difficult for them to raise the funds necessary to support and advocate for the employees they represent.
In a 5–4 decision, the high court declared unconstitutional the agency or fair-share fees that nonmembers pay to offset the union’s cost of negotiating contracts that cover all workers, regardless of whether they are union members.
“The Janus decision reflects years of scheming by forces desperate to destroy workers’ rights and to undermine public education,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “These people think that their money, power and privilege give them the right to rig the system in their favor. But our union will remain strong, and we will not be silenced. Everything we have been able to accomplish for our members and our students has come from our ability to work together, and we will continue t…
The plaintiff in the anti-union Supreme Court case known as Janus v. AFSCME was Mark Janus, a child support specialist for the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services. But Janus wasn’t fighting alone. The case against the union representing Illinois state workers has been bankrolled by anti-union billionaires.
In May 2017, Emily James, a mother of two and a teacher at Brooklyn Preparatory HS, decided to publish a petition on Change.org calling on the UFT and the DOE to implement a paid parental leave policy. In just a few months, James’ petition garnered more than 80,000 signatures and thrust the UFT’s efforts to negotiate a parental leave policy into the spotlight.
The UFT and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, won their battle to maintain rigorous certification standards for teachers when a New York State Supreme Court justice on June 19 struck down less stringent regulations established last October by the State University of New York. The union victory was a setback for the charter school lobby, which had pushed for the new rules.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled on June 7 that the state has at last complied with a court-ordered mandate to fully fund its education system by September of this year, ending a decade-long case known as the McCleary lawsuit.
Four years ago, science teacher Pat Lockhart was looking for a new way to teach simple machines to her 3rd-graders at PS 57 on Staten Island. She did it by utilizing something that’s been around since 1934. “I was talking about building go-carts from my childhood,” she explained. “So I went online and found the website for the All-American Soap Box Derby.”
These days, the Soap Box Derby is not just a staple at her school, but is spreading to others across New York City, as teachers are using the connected curriculum to help teach science, technology, engineering and math as well as develop critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and team building skills — all while having fun. “The race is a culmination of the program,” Lockhart said of the June 10 event at the Petrides School complex on Staten Island, where some 80 cars built by students representing 40 schools competed for six spots in the national event this July in Akro…
This year’s opening of a UFT Teacher Center at Hillcrest HS — where the school’s 240 educators now can earn CTLE hours at on-site workshops and gather for professional conversation and collaboration — may be the most celebrated achievement in Chapter Leader Michael Ferruso’s efforts to rebuild his chapter.
Thirty-one Bronx high school seniors will begin their freshman year of college in September with laptops and printers presented to them at the second annual Bronx High School District and Pathways to Graduation Recognition Awards ceremony held at the UFT’s Bronx borough office on June 19.
A retrospective of the UFT’s Speech Improvement Chapter, which was founded in 1991, was a highlight of a May 30 event that drew more than 100 members of the chapter, past and present, to UFT headquarters.
School secretaries have many responsibilities. But for Mona Gonzalez, who is stepping down as chapter leader, the job will always be about relationships. “The relationships and memories will last a lifetime,” she said after accepting the Annette Carlucci Celebration of Life Award at the union’s 32nd annual School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon on June 2.
“Testing is not the be-all and end-all.” That statement would not be surprising coming from a teacher who sees subject mastery in a student’s class performance and work portfolio or from a parent in the opt-out movement. Both know that a child is more than a score on a high stakes test.
Success Academy was awash in celebration in June when it graduated its first high school seniors. Founder Eva Moskowitz reportedly shed tears of joy. She had so much to be proud of! Twelve years after opening its first school, the city’s largest charter network was sending all of its first high school graduating class to college. All 16 of them.
While online technology courses are convenient, face-to-face opportunities are still important. Meeting and establishing connections with colleagues can help build community and allow for networking and camaraderie — outcomes not easily achieved when communicating over a screen.
There is a profound connection between developing good character and achieving academically. For this reason, our committee of educators launched a character education program to highlight skills that might promote good character in our students.
When we first met in September, BiBi was an entry-level English language learner and I was a new English as a New Language teacher. BiBi, a 5th-grader, was reluctant to learn, to speak a word of English or even to go over the English alphabet. She wanted to hold on to her home language. I totally understand this. Why should a child be stripped of her identity just because she is in another country?
Summer vacation for retirees can be any month just as retiree weekends can be any two days ending in y. Because so many retirees have committed the free time that retirement provides to union organizing and political activities they have become known as the UFT’s Daytime Army and they are mobilizing all across the country.
New Arizona UFT/RTC Section Coordinator Jerry Weissman and the more that 300 retirees now living there supported the ferment when that state’s teachers took a lead from those in West Virginia, Oklahoma and elsewhere who decided to stand up for their professional and economic well-being. UFT Arizona resident retirees watched events like the rally in Phoenix, the state capital, and the passionate lobbying efforts of their brothers and sisters through th…