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New York TeacherNovember 2, 2017

Volume LIX, Number 3

Cover Stories

W.E.B. DuBois HS guidance counselor Nixon Jeanty’s four children pose with the f

Remember: Vote No

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In the crucial weeks before Election Day, the UFT and its members stepped into high gear to spread the word about why New Yorkers should vote “no” on holding a state constitutional convention.

See the UFT's endorsed candidates »

The question will appear on the back of the ballot as Proposal #1 on Nov. 7 because the state constitution requires that this question be put before voters every 20 years.

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If the voters approve a convention, it will trigger a lengthy and expensive process of reviewing and revising the state constitution. The UFT, along with many other labor and civil rights groups, opposes a state constitutional convention because workers’ rights and benefits as well as civil rights enshrined in the state constitution — in some cases stronger than those guaranteed by the U…

The question of whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention will ap
President's Perspective

Coming for your rights and benefits

Our opponents want to take away your rights and benefits by weakening the union. They are now arguing in the courts that non-members should not be required to pay fair-share or agency fees to cover their portion of costs associated with collective bargaining and union services. 

Students eagerly share their ideas for the class story.

Super authors!

Behind a door cleverly disguised as shelves at the back of the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company lies a “Secret Library” that houses 826NYC, a nonprofit organization whose true mission is to support student writers.

Latest News

UFT President Michael Mulgrew (right) and NYSUT President Andy Pallotta discuss

UFT, NYSUT sue to halt charter certification shortcut

The UFT and NYSUT filed a lawsuit on Oct. 12 to prevent the weakening of teacher certification standards after the SUNY Board of Trustees Charter Schools Committee voted the previous day to allow some charter schools to create their own in-house teacher certification programs with watered-down standards.
Betsy DeVos

Seventeen states sue Betsy DeVos

Attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in October against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her department’s decision to block Obama-era protections for students attending for-profit colleges.

A man in a white lab coat speaking to a woman in a blue pattern shirt

Congress lets children’s health program expire

Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, allowing the program to expire.


Kansas school funding again found unconstitutional

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state’s new school finance system is unconstitutional, sending the issue back to the state Legislature ahead of an election-year legislative session.

Puerto Ricans find welcome in mainland schools

Public schools in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York are preparing to take in thousands of students fleeing Puerto Rico following the devastation from Hurricane Maria.

Feature Stories

Fifth-graders get ready to march with their teacher, Kimberly Constantine.

Hats off to Queens school

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Who says you can’t wear hats in school? Students at PS 55 in Richmond Hill, Queens, enjoyed breaking the time-honored “no hats in school” rule, covering their heads all day inside the building and enjoying a hat parade outside, all for a good cause.

It was part of the school’s Oct. 6 fundraiser for Heavenly Hats, an organization that helps cancer patients by providing them with wigs, scarves, hats and other forms of head coverings.

“We want students to show good citizenship and learn to give back to the community,” said Michelle Weintraub, an art teacher who organized the inaugural event. She was inspired by the new Passport to Social Studies curriculum, which emphasizes the values of community involvement, global thinking and good citizenship.

All 400 students at PS 55, from pre-K through grade 5, took part enthusiastically…

The new longer blocks on Thursdays and Fridays enabled the school to offer AP ph

Right on schedule!

Thanks to its participation in the PROSE program, the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction in Manhattan has introduced an innovative new class schedule that has given teachers and students the gift of time.


First Book giveaway at PS 323, Brooklyn

More than 700 parents, teachers and children took advantage of the First Book giveaway at PS 323 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, on Oct. 7.

Member Spotlight

Lynda John
What I Do

What I do: Lynda John, family child care provider

Lynda John has two grandchildren, but as a UFT member and group family day care provider, she has up to 16 other kids — from infants to preschoolers, plus older children after school — at any given time. It’s an investment, she says, in herself and in the future.

Joseph Valentin
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Joseph Valentin, MS 51, Brooklyn

MS 51 Chapter Leader Joseph Valentin’s relentless drive to increase the amount of COPE contributions at his Park Slope school is paying off — it’s up 30 percent from last September and climbing.

Around the UFT

Masefield shows off a half-dozen eggs from his farm program as he receives his a

Hometown Heroes in Education

Ten educators were honored as New York Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education for their special contributions to improving the lives of the city’s public school students at an awards ceremony on Oct. 5.

District 29 tenure celebration

For the second year in a row, newly tenured teachers in District 29 gathered for a celebration of their accomplishments. This year, 60 teachers were honored in a ceremony at PS/IS 208 in Bellerose, Queens on Oct. 11.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo (center) presents the awards to Mohr

Patrick F. Daly Award

“This is not a singular award but an award that belongs to the whole school,” said Wilson Mohr, who teaches at Pathways to Graduation's St. George's Hub on Staten Island, insisted after receiving the Patrick F. Daly Award, an education leadership award.

Bita Mehrjou, a nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn and a Federation

Unions come through for Puerto Rico

At least 3 million people are still without electricity, at least a million are still without drinking water and at least 49 are dead.

You Should Know

You Should Know

NYSUT Catastrophe Major Medical Plan bills arrive soon

If you enrolled in the Catastrophe Major Medical Plan sponsored by the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust during the limited-time open-enrollment period in spring 2017, your first bill will be arriving in mid-November.

You Should Know
Melba Perry (second from right), the treasurer of the UFT Paraprofessional Chapt

Nominate an outstanding paraprofessional for an award

Each year, the UFT recognizes outstanding paraprofessionals at the union’s annual Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon.

You Should Know
SESIS system improves after UFT push - Pixabay (students - child-study-boy-proof-learning-1529218)

Students do better when charters unionize

Disputing a common mantra of charter advocates that unions have an adverse effect on student learning, a new study has found that student achievement in fact rises when charter schools unionize.

You Should Know
Young partygoers line up to try on their new jackets

Donate new winter accessories, coats for homeless students

Help take the chill out of winter for homeless children in New York City’s schools by donating new winter gear in the fourth annual clothing drive organized by the UFT Middle School Division.

You Should Know
UFT Member Update

New digital newsletter for UFT members

In the Member Update, members will find professional learning opportunities; up-to-date information about salary, evaluation, school safety, health benefits and other relevant topics; and more.

Secure Your Future

It’s back to basics for our new members

To help newer members understand the benefits of union membership, we’re reviewing some basics about the Qualified Pension Plan, the Tax-Deferred Annuity Program, death benefits and more.


Ani Khaniashvili, a senior at Brooklyn Studio Secondary School, shows Sterling R

Learning in 3-D at Brooklyn high school

At Brooklyn Studio Secondary School, Career and Technical Education Coordinator Karen Mason and her advanced web-design students aren’t just dreaming about the future, they are living it.


Congress fails kids

In an unconscionable act of negligence, the U.S. Congress allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire on Sept. 30. CHIP provides low-cost insurance to 9 million children around the country whose family income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to access insurance in the private market.

Homeless plan sought

The numbers are growing: One out of 10 students in New York City public schools — about 100,000 children — were homeless last year, 6 percent more than the previous year, according to the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students.

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning
The Rewordify website allows students to simplify any sentence to a more basic l

Using leveled reading sites

When it comes to selecting texts for whatever subject we teach, reaching all students can be a challenge, to say the least. One solution lies in websites that offer high-quality texts at different reading levels.

Teacher to Teacher
Students with their hands raised

Feedback in classroom learning

Creating a classroom culture where feedback is valued and expected requires deliberate and explicit mechanisms.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Mistakes are sweet

This eraser gumball machine is one of my favorite classroom accessories.
New Teacher Diaries

Birds of a feather helped rookie take flight

Sparrows nesting above my school's front entrance listened exceptionally well and requested nothing in return. In their own small way, they kept me going long enough until I found what I needed within myself to do the job well.

Retired Teachers News

Generic dialogue graphic

Bipartisanship could lead to progress

Will bipartisanship work in the present national climate? This is an age when congressional combatants have retreated to their respective corners. When the bell rings they come out slugging, looking for the knockout blow. It’s hard to imagine success, but maybe it’s worth a try.

Director of Retiree Programs Gerri Herskowitz (left) presents the prize to raffl

‘General’ education

There was plenty taking place at the first Retired Teachers Chapter general membership meeting of the school year in Shanker Hall on Oct. 16.