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New York TeacherSeptember 4, 2014

Volume LVI, Number 1

Cover Stories

Scores rise modestly in year 2 of Common Core tests

The scores of New York City students increased slightly in both math and English language arts on the latest state tests, released on Aug. 14, as students became more familiar with the Common Core Learning Standards and their teachers worked hard with what materials and training they eventually got.

Not surprisingly, only about one-third of students met standards in math and fewer than 30 percent met ELA standards, as the Common Core tests set very high proficiency benchmarks. However, the second year of the new tests saw improvement across all racial and ethnic groups and for English language learners and students with disabilities.

Performance gaps between black and Latino students and their white and Asian counterparts remained wide …

The papier-mache German shepherd at the foot of the bed actually growls at anyon

Dream home

Using scavenged castoffs, lots of imagination and plenty of hard work, Brownsville Academy HS students, under the guidance of art teacher Susan Tuthill, transformed the school’s art gallery into a fully furnished, ready-to-occupy studio apartment by the school year’s end.

Powering bright minds

Tottenville HS's solar car club is about more than fun and racing. The skills that students learn prepare them for careers in green technology.

Latest News

Members urged to vote in primary

The UFT is supporting a large slate of candidates in the 2014 elections for the New York Assembly and Senate and the U.S. Congress through its state affliliate, NYSUT. Among the 98 endorsed candidates who represent parts of New York City are five women vying for open seats in the Assembly.

McDonald’s is liable for labor, wage violations

The National Labor Relations Board said on July 29 that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations perpetrated by its franchise operators in a ruling that could upend fast food labor practices and give a dramatic boost to ongoing unionization efforts.

Show goes on at the Met

The embattled Metropolitan Opera settled the last of three outstanding contracts with its largest unions on Aug. 20, clearing the final major hurdle for its season to begin on time in September.

UNO out of charter schools in Chicago

The scandal-plagued United Neighborhood Organization will cease to operate its 16 Chicago charter schools at the end of the 2014–15 school year.

All students in Pittsburgh, Philly to receive free lunch

Starting this September, all students in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia public schools will receive free breakfast and lunch regardless of family income, courtesy of a federal program.

Feature Stories

Menachem Tabanpour

Noteworthy graduates: Menachem Tabanpour, research scientist

One of the summer’s big stories was the environmental crisis in Toledo, Ohio, where algae blooms in Lake Erie made the water supply undrinkable for several days. The problem is largely caused by the runoff of phosphorous-rich fertilizers used in modern agriculture. It’s an issue with which Menachem Tabanpour is intimately familiar: He has been studying phosphorous in wastewater ever since he was a student at James Madison HS in Brooklyn.

“Phosphorous is an essential nutrient in fertilizer that plants and crops need, but it can be more carefully used so it doesn’t end up in runoff,” he said.

Tabanpour, 28, is the president and co-founder of Nutrient Recovery & Upcycling LLC, a company that specializes in extracting phosphorus and other minerals from sewage and converting them into agricultural products. “We bring phosphorous back as a…

Around the UFT

Around the UFT

UFT hosts financial literacy summer camp

New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson wowed students and adults alike with his talk about the importance of education, helping others and being responsible with one’s finances at a three-day financial literacy summer camp for public school students hosted by the UFT.

You Should Know

Secure Your Future

Misleading press report on pension system

A New York Times article attacking the city's public pension systems failed to report the major reason why the city has had to increase its contributions to the pension funds: Wall Street and corporate manipulations of financial markets.


UFT Vice President Sterling Roberson (left) chats with teachers Sandy Magny (sec

Rebuilding the parent-school connection

A new pilot initiative this school year has the potential to reinvigorate the parent-school connection that has become frayed in many of our middle schools.


Rhee’s fall from grace

Michelle Rhee’s recent departure from StudentsFirst, the organization she started, reveals the bankrupt claims of the corporate education reform movement.

Difficult conversation, positive march

The peaceful Aug. 23 march in Staten Island responding to the death of Eric Garner in a confrontation with police earlier this summer showed that such tragic deaths do not have to divide communities and police officers. They can bring people together.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning

Plan ahead for technology projects

It’s important to consider which technology-based procedures to have in place and what technology-based projects you’d like to pursue as part of your preparation to make sure you start the new school year off on a good note.

Research shows

Benefits of students teaching students

Students who believe that they will have to teach material to others remember more information than students who are told that their learning will be measured by a test, according to new research.

Teacher to Teacher

Start the year on the right foot

Do you count down the minutes at work or leave feeling defeated? Here are some tips about teaching that they didn’t teach you in college.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

A color-coded library

One of my goals as a new teacher was to create an organized, color-coded library system in my class to increase student independence in selecting and returning books to the library.
New Teacher Articles

Set the tone for a successful year

The first few weeks of the school year offer a valuable opportunity to launch new strategies for classroom management. Here are some tips from veteran educators about how to set the tone for a successful year.

Retired Teachers News