Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State and budget address on Jan. 13, vowed to transform every failing school into a community school, bring universal prekindergarten “to 100 percent of our communities” and provide a $200 tax credit for teachers who spend their own money on school supplies.
“Teachers deserve our support and encouragement,” he said. He called for a $2.1 billion increase in state school aid over a two-year period, including nearly $1 billion for the coming school year.
It was a far cry from last year, when in a more combative tone he tied $1.1 billion in additional state education aid to individual merit pay, more charter schools, punishing struggling schools, and making teacher evaluation hinge on state test scores.
Although Cuomo still voiced support for charter schools, it did not dominate his discussion of education solutions. Many of his proposals, such as community schools and universal pre-K, have been championed by the
Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter school chain is under fire from all sides for its harsh discipline policies and treatment of students with special needs. The network, the city’s largest operator of charter schools, now faces an investigation by the institute that licenses charter schools in the state as well as a federal lawsuit filed by parents and a formal complaint lodged by parents with the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
As hundreds of union leaders and members gathered outside the courthouse with protest signs, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Jan. 11 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Union, a case that threatens to undermine the ability of the UFT and other public unions to advocate effectively on behalf of its members.
The UFT is calling on the state Legislature to enact “anti-creaming” laws requiring taxpayer-funded charter schools and networks to accept and keep high-needs students in numbers comparable to those in public schools.
Bulging class sizes, stagnant salaries, fewer teachers and limited supplies of everything from books to copy paper: That is what the reduction in per-pupil state funding looks like in thousands of classrooms around the country since the Great Recession — despite a much vaunted economic recovery.
Throwing down the gauntlet before the governor’s budget address, parents and other education advocates on Jan. 10 called on the state to pay the billions of dollars it owes New York City public schools.
Nearly 5,000 teachers responded to the State Education Department’s invitation this past fall to weigh in on the Common Core Learning Standards. The standards, first rolled out in 2012, have provoked fierce controversy and the governor’s Common Core Task Force has now called for a thorough rewrite.
When Allyson Compton’s students enter her classroom at the HS for Environmental Studies in midtown Manhattan, they’re no longer high school seniors. Instead, as they take their places behind placards bearing the name of the country they represent, they become United Nations delegates. And what’s at stake in the day’s session isn’t just their grades but the political futures of the countries they represent.
Model United Nations is traditionally an after-school club activity. But — with help from teachers at Thomas Edison HS in Queens, where a similar course exists — Compton has combined themes of government, economics and UN procedures to craft a model UN class. The class encourages students to strengthen their skills in research, writing and public speaking.
“The idea is to teach students to be independent thinkers and proactive self-starters,” says Compton.
Students sit on one of five committees — business, design, technology, outreach and leadership — to which they applied by crafting resumes and cover letters and sitting for formal interviews with Compton. In addition, each student produces a research binder of background…
When the English language learners in Carlos Rosello’s9th-grade class at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice study literature, it’s total immersion. They perform scenes from the novel or play they’re reading in class.
Their dance performance at Passages Academy's holiday extravaganza was the latest reason that guidance counselor Adrienne Pritchett-Dames was proud of her nine girls, who come from juvenile detention centers. "They are much, much more than their mistakes," she said.
These are critical times for all public-sector unions in light of the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court. Perhaps nowhere is occupational mission and the importance of union membership more intertwined than among public school educators.
The 2016 presidential campaign already feels like it has gone on forever. But now is not the time to tune out or bail out. Among other things, the party that controls the White House in 2017 will almost certainly play a role in determining the balance of power on the U.S. Supreme Court for years to come.
He always came late. He sat in the back of the classroom. Alone, alert, quiet and reflective, he pulled out his pens and books. But his pens did not write our class notes. His books were not our books. Instead, he began to draw.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who chairs the union’s Welfare Fund Board of Trustees, is pleased to announce that retirees will be receiving their Optional Rider Reimbursement at the end of February.
This year’s reimbursement continues at the rate of up to $780 for retirees whose optional rider or health plan deduction was in effect for all of 2015. Retirees whose rider or health plan was in effect for less than 12 months will receive reimbursement at the rate of $65 per month. If the monthly deduction was not greater than $65, the Fund will cover the full monthly amount.
Checks are mailed to most retirees automatically. Any eligible member who retired in…
If you received one or more of the distributions listed below during 2015, you are required to report the total gross amount of the distribution in box 16a and the taxable amount of the distribution in box 16b on your 2015 federal income tax form 1040.
Those of us who have been both in-service and retiree activists have spent our professional union careers engaged with our colleagues and in solidarity with the labor movement as a whole. Let’s help renew that commitment with action.