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New York TeacherApril 17, 2014

Volume LV, Number 10

Cover Stories

‘Unfair’ ELA test draws widespread protests

Incensed by what they said were confusing, developmentally inappropriate or needlessly long questions on this year’s English language arts exams, teachers, parents and students at more than 35 schools in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn mounted early-morning protests against the tests on April 11, drawing large turnouts.

Those protests followed a demonstration outside Park Slope’s PS 321 that drew hundreds from the school community the day after students in grade 3-8 sat for the three-day exams, given on April 1–3.

The tests were written by the giant testing company Pearson and billed as being fully aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards. But teachers said test questions were not well aligned with the Common Core, were often ambiguous or had more than one plausible answer, and even included product placements (Nike, Barbie)…

Michael Mulgrew Promo Image Headshot 07-19
President's Perspective

Report cards count again

The system devised by the Bloomberg administration didn’t work. It didn’t work for students and it didn’t work for teachers, and now it’s gone.

Retired teacher Vera Fried in her pink Mustang in Delray Beach, Fla. More than 3

The Unorthodox Vera Fried

A pink-clad dynamo of a teacher, Vera Fried inspired students to think differently. They never forgot -- one just put her in his Hollywood movie.

Latest News

State budget adds $400M to city schools

Legislators passed a new state budget on April 1 that will add more than $400 million in school aid for New York City and provide another $300 million to fund Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promised expansion of full-day prekindergarten to all four-year-olds in the city.

Chanting “one community, one school,” about 65 parents, students and teachers ra

Staten Island school fights to keep its program

At a time when Chancellor Carmen Farina is calling for more dual language options in the city school system, PS 16's cherished dual language program on Staten Island is increasingly embattled by new schools opening in its building.

Moral Mondays spread

The Moral Mondays movement began in Raleigh, N.C., in April 2013 when hundreds of protesters converged on the statehouse for the first in an ongoing series of weekly demonstrations.

UPS rehires 250 workers it fired for job action

Buckling to public pressure, the United Parcel Service said it will no longer terminate the 250 unionized delivery drivers who participated in a 90-minute walkout in Queens on Feb. 26.

Go, Wildcats!

Members of Northwestern University’s Wildcats have scored a touchdown for the burgeoning college athlete labor movement.

Feature Stories

Students in social studies teacher Edwin Berroa’s class read a 4th-century B.C.

For argument’s sake

Schuylerville Preparatory HS, a brand-new, unscreened school in the Westchester Square area of the Bronx, offers its predominantly Hispanic students a classical education that the school’s educators hope will hone critical thinking and cultivate students who are able to develop facts into arguments and convey those arguments persuasively and clearly.

In their side-by side rooms at PS 178 in Washington Heights, Elizabeth Albuquerq

Dual language: A practice whose time is overdue

Chancellor Carmen Fariña singled out the dual-language program at PS 178 in Washington Heights as a model that should be replicated in more New York City schools.

Member Spotlight

What I Do
Danielle Chisolm

What I do: Danielle Chisolm, paraprofessional

Danielle Chisolm has worked as a paraprofessional at the East River Academy on Rikers Island for seven years. The academy is jointly operated by the Department of Education and the Department of Corrections and enables young people to pursue a high school diploma or GED while they are incarcerated.

Around the UFT

UFT treasurer’s granddaughter joins the union

The granddaughter of UFT Treasurer Mel Aaronson, Liza Weinstein, submitted her UFT membership card to her grandfather.

Family Child Care Providers Chapter professional development workshop

Around 25 UFT family child care providers gathered on March 26 for a professional development workshop hosted by WNET and the network’s famous Thomas the Tank Engine, the star of its classic animated children’s show “Thomas and Friends.”

A replica check for the amount raised to that point was presented to the Nationa

Philippines fundraiser at PS 329, Brooklyn

When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last year, Evita Hernaez, a speech pathologist at PS 329 in Coney Island, knew the students would understand what the victims were going through.

60th anniversary celebration at PS 186, Queens

More than 250 students, teachers, parents and a few alumni celebrated the 60th anniversary of PS 186, the Castlewood School in Queens, on April 4.

Backpacks, supplies distributed at PS 106, Queens

Students at PS 106 in Far Rockaway went home on April 3 with new backpacks filled with a book and school supplies, and every teacher received a set of books for their class.

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. 

Secure Your Future
Patient in hospital

In case of accident or illness

No one ever expects to have a disabling accident or illness, and we hope this never happens to any of us. But in case it does, TRS offers some significant financial protections.


Karen Alford, talks to teachers at the UFT’s Early Childhood conference.

The challenge of reaching all young learners

Educational equity is a topic that is near and dear to early childhood educators. It is a subject that can never be exhausted, because we can always learn more and do more to spur great educational outcomes in all of our students, regardless of where they start their educational journeys.


Rule by the rich

Not too long ago, history teachers could tell students that plutocracy, in which a society is ruled by a small number of the wealthiest citizens, existed in the past or elsewhere in the world, not in the United States today.


Lunch and learning

With universal free lunch, an estimated 120,000 more children would take advantage of having a nutritious lunch every day. That’s 120,000 more children who would have the nourishment they need to learn and to reach their true potential.

Teaching Resources

Research shows

Strategies that work in science, math

New research examining the impact of different classroom instructional practices on student achievement in math and science found that learning gains were greatest in math when calculators, computers and other technology were integrated in the class and in science when the student completed a science experiment or project in class.

Teacher to Teacher

Project-based assessments in an ESL classroom

When my principal announced that this year’s focus would be on student assessments, I worried about the meaningless 1's my English language learners would receive on the writing or reading assessments at the end of every unit.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Living by our mission statement

In my 12:1:1 classroom we created a mission statement on the first day of school.
New Teacher Diaries

The ABCs of a first-year teacher

Interesting word definitions, based on the perspective of a teacher in her first year on the job.

Retired Teachers News

Helping members become their own best advocates

There have been some changes made in hospital procedures that I thought all RTC members should know about. Sasha Greene, the RTC director of retiree social services, explains those changes and how they will affect you.

At the state convention

The Retired Teachers Chapter was well-represented at the New York State United Teachers’ 42nd Representative Assembly April 4–6 at the New York Hilton.