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New York TeacherOctober 2, 2014

Volume LVI, Number 2

Cover Stories

Agreement reached to ease paperwork burden

The UFT and the DOE reached agreement on Sept. 3 on systemwide, enforceable paperwork standards that should ease the excessive and burdensome paper and electronic demands imposed on educators in recent years.

A joint UFT and DOE central paperwork committee negotiated the first set of standards, which took effect immediately, as part of the new contract. The committee expects to hammer out more standards in the months ahead.

The intent of the standards is to free up time that teachers need to devote to teaching while putting a brake on the paperwork requirements the Bloomberg administration kept adding to teachers’ workloads as part of its embrace of data that served no instructional purpose.

“These new citywide standards will free…

PD like it ought to be

The approach of Park Slope's PS 295 to professional development “honors the way adults learn best," said Rita Danis, the co-director of the UFT Teacher Center.

UFT becomes defendant in tenure lawsuit

A New York State Supreme Court justice on Sept. 11 granted the UFT’s motion to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to eliminate teachers’ due process rights.

Latest News

UFT candidates sweep Senate primaries

The UFT-endorsed candidates — from seasoned hands to newcomers — won big in the Sept. 9 primary races.

The new U.S. teacher — not like she used to be

The U.S. teaching force has undergone major changes over the last 25 years. Teachers today are less experienced, more diverse, more female and, unfortunately, more likely to quit.

CNN ordered to rehire fired workers

CNN ordered to rehire fired workers.

British Columbia teachers win tentative contract

Ending a months-long strike, British Columbia’s 41,000 teachers and their employer reached a contract agreement, but not all teachers are happy.

Philly parents sue over school conditions

Philly parents and advocacy group sue state over school conditions.

Feature Stories

Karen O’Connor, paraprofessional

Familiar faces. This year I’m a one-to-one paraprofessional in a general education classroom. I had worked with my student the year before so I was already familiar with him and was really looking forward to seeing him again. It was exciting thinking about the new school year and how he might grow this year. When we saw each other, he ha…

Anne Gallo

Anne Gallo, principal’s secretary

Looking like a brainiac. I’m very fortunate that I live across the park from school so it only takes me 10 minutes to get there. I arrived at about 7:10 and the first thing I do is turn my computers on. We just got new Macs, so I have an old Dell on my desk as well as a new Mac and a scanner — I look like a brainiac sitting in front of my computers.

Maggie Martin

Maggie Martin, school nurse

An early start. I got up about 5:30 a.m. and had a cup of coffee right away. On the first day, parents will come in with their children and have questions for the nurse, and sometimes they get there earlier than me. So I like to get in a little earlier than usual to see what’s going on.

Member Spotlight

What I Do
Matthew Colacurto

What I Do: Matthew Colacurto, GED teacher

Matthew Colacurto is a  Pathways to Graduation teacher who has for 15 years helped older students get their high school equivalency diplomas, most recently from a site in Harlem.

Around the UFT

Walk to Defeat ALS

A team of members of the Federation of Nurses/UFT joined 50,000 other marchers for the first time in the annual Walk to Defeat ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease — at East Meadow, Long Island, on Sept. 20.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew and the chancellor visit PS 206 in East Harlem

At their first School Leadership Team meeting of the year on Sept. 9, parents, staff and students at East Harlem’s PS 206 got to brainstorm parent engagement ideas with UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Labor Day Parade

Hundreds of UFT members marched up Fifth Avenue for the 132nd Labor Day Parade on Sept. 6. As in years past, retirees — including founding UFT member Leo Hoenig — joined in-service members in the march.

UFT Science Committee meeting

The UFT Science Committee focused on safety policy and procedures at its Sept. 18 meeting, a timely theme in the wake of science experiments involving methanol in Reno, Denver and New York City that went badly wrong in the past year.

At the Hispanic Education Summit

Karen Alford (right), the UFT vice president for elementary schools, participated on Sept. 12 in a panel discussion on community schools at the 2014 Hispanic Education Summit, organized by the Hispanic Federation.

More in Around the UFT

You Should Know

Secure Your Future
Mature male sitting at a desk writing

A pillar of our retirement security

The Tax-Deferred Annuity program or TDA is one of the most popular benefits that the UFT has won for its members.


President's Perspective

Using your voice in the classroom

No one understands the needs of educators better than educators themselves. That’s why we fought so hard to give members a voice in their schools and in the design of their own professional learning, effectively reversing years of being shut out by the previous administration.

Hexagon with blue background showing outline of adult holding child hand

Partners in education: teachers and parents

We now have a chancellor who is committed to creating the space for the necessary conversations and teamwork between educators and parents and, thanks to our new contract, we have at least 40 minutes of every school week to devote to parent engagement. So how do we best engage parents as our allies in the education of their children?


Smaller classes doable

Class size doesn’t matter. That’s a common theme among the so-called reformers who contend that an effective teacher can teach a class of any size, as if there is no difference in opportunities for teaching and learning in a class of 30 or 35 compared to one of 20 or 25.

Why they hate tenure

The people who want to toss teacher tenure in the trash will tell you that they are fighting for the kids. The fact is, though, that their quest to eliminate teachers’ due-process rights fits perfectly into the political agenda of the Wall Street backers of corporate education reform and privatization:

Teaching Resources

Research shows

Music training boosts language, reading skills

Learning to play a musical instrument or to sing has ripple effects in other areas of academic achievement including language and reading, according to new research in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Teacher to Teacher

Historical artifacts bring learning to life

A 5th-grade teacher discovers the value of using artifacts in the classroom during lessons.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Shaping scientific drawings

For young scientists, discovery and making observations is a foundational skill in the science inquiry room. Drawings can allow our growing scientists to communicate observations that may be difficult to communicate with words.

New Teacher Profiles

Varied experiences made teaching a natural choice

What happens when a baseball coach, a sailor and an electrician walk into a classroom? Just ask Brad Alter, a 6th-grade special education teacher at Spring Creek Community School in East New York.

Retired Teachers News

Political winds

The prevailing political winds that are blowing full blast as we approach the November elections appear to be blowing against progressive, labor-supported candidates and issues. But there are some crosscurrents that work in our favor.

One bellwether poll earlier this year that asked about which political party the public supports for Congress tilted toward the Republicans. Recently the odds evened out with some leaning toward the Democrats.

A big issue conservative-minded candidates hoped to run on — the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) — has been defanged. The health care law, with all its fits and starts, is working so well that even Republican governors are trying to find face-saving ways of implementing the programs in their states.

The latest news on Medicare is that it is in better shape than ever, with costs increasing at lower rates than budget analysts (and critics) could imagine…