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New York TeacherSeptember 8, 2016

Volume LVIII, Number 1

Cover Stories

School safety generic

UFT raps DOE suspension ban for grades K–2

The UFT sharply criticized the Department of Education for announcing a ban on suspensions of students in kindergarten through 2nd grade without having a clear citywide plan to address the needs of young students with behavioral problems.

“It is easy to ban suspensions,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew wrote in a July 21 letter to Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “It is much harder to do the real work so suspensions are no longer necessary.”

Mulgrew warned the plan would backfire if the DOE did not put the necessary supports and interventions in place.

“In a perfect world, no child under the age of 8 would ever be suspended,” he said. “But children who are in crisis and who are disrupting classrooms are not going to be helped by this plan to ban suspensions in grades K–2, and neither will the thousands of other children who will lose instruction as a resul…

Fourth-graders add the finishing touches to their projects.

At the heart of learning

In Angela Fremont's art class at PS 69 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, art, social studies, literacy and science are knitted together.

How I spent my summer vacation - Richard Skibins

How I spent my summer vacation

I went to Krakow, Poland, for World Youth Day, which is a Catholic event that’s held every two to three years where youth from all over the world congregate with the Pope. It’s inspiring to see so many nationalities that share the same faith.

Latest News

Line art image of clock

UFT blasts re-staffing of out-of-time schools

The UFT sharply criticized state regulations that left the Department of Education little choice but to re-staff six schools that have been deemed “out of time” by the state because they failed to substantively improve after three or more years of intensive support.

City ELA test scores soar to surpass state

Students in grades 3-8 in every school district in New York City improved on the state’s Common Core English Language Arts test in 2016, matching the performance of their peers in the rest of the state for the first time.

Only 4 NYC schools make ‘dangerous’ list

The DOE announced on Aug. 2 that only four New York City public schools appeared on the state’s 2016 list of Persistently Dangerous Schools.


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Christie funding plan would hurt neediest kids

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, announced in June a proposal to rip up the state’s formula for distributing $9 billion in state school aid and replace it with one-size-fits-all funding: $6,599 for each student, whether the student is struggling in an impoverished block of Newark or thriving in the suburbs of Summit.

Grad students at private colleges can unionize now

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are school employees who can join or form unions.

Feature Stories

Students get creative in the block area, which features a projector for casting

And the children shall lead

In the block corner, a trio of 4-year-olds is winding a string of LED lights through a complex wooden structure topped with flowers, magnetic tiles and toy dinosaurs. Tucked behind a curtain in a darkened area of the room, another trio is playing house, addressing each other as “Mommy” and “Daddy.” In the art studio, one girl is wrapping a pipe cleaner around a stick she collected in the yard the day before, while another carefully affixes colored tape to a drawing.

It’s a typical morning in Sandy Fajgier’s prekindergarten classroom at K-280 in Windsor Terrace. At K-280 — a pre-K center affiliated with PS 10 that is also known as the School of Inquiry and Journeys — teachers like Fajgier eschew traditional curriculum in favor of the Reggio Emilia approach to education.

The Reggio philosophy encourages teachers to let children investigate their own interests through exploration and play.

“This is what kids should be doing, exploring the…

Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: Reno Wilson, actor and screenwriter

Reno Wilson is a renowned television actor, but he hasn’t forgotten the New York City public schools that nurtured his talent.

Wearing a custom-made cap and gown, one of four youngsters who “graduated” clutc

Stepping up to serve littlest learners

There was a red carpet, a barbecue and a DJ. Most of all, there was love as four youngsters “stepped up” on Aug. 5 from UFT member and family child care provider Regina Carlton’s Little Lions Early Learn Academy in East New York, Brooklyn.

More in Feature Stories

You Should Know

You Should Know

New breast-pumping benefit for mothers

A New York City Health Benefits Program improvement now available to city workers covered by GHI CBP makes breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling available with no co-pay or deductible.

You Should Know

Phone lines set to open for Dial-A-Teacher

The phones at Dial-A-Teacher, the UFT’s long-running homework help line, will start ringing again this school year on Monday, Sept. 19.

Secure Your Future

Union keeps working to protect your pension

The UFT and its allies — the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems and the National Education Association — are leading the fight to protect public pensions.

Opinions

President's Perspective
UFT President Michael Mulgrew

Facing a year of opportunities

Fair funding tops the UFT list of priorities this year; it will be the centerpiece of our lobbying effort in Albany.

VPerspective
Janella Hinds

Learning from current events

We can’t ignore the passions inflamed or the anxiety triggered by this summer’s world and national events for our students. As high school educators, we can provide a safe space for our students to explore these incidents.

Opinion
Bird wing - generic

New teachers, new wings

Every September thousands of new teachers enter our classrooms — this year it is estimated that some 5,200 educators will be teaching in New York City public schools for the first time. And to them, we extend a hearty welcome.

Opinion
civil rights - generic

Civil rights and public schools

Public education is at the heart of the civil rights struggle in the United States. That’s why it’s heartening that two civil rights organizations acting independently of each other — the venerable NAACP and the newly minted Movement for Black Lives — have proposed a freeze on charter schools.

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning

A vote for understanding elections

This year’s race for president has been a source of keen interest for many of our students, including elementary-school students, so it presents a wonderful teachable moment.

Research shows

Building conditions affect test scores

New research shows a strong linkage between decrepit school buildings, high absenteeism and low test scores.

Teacher to Teacher
Cooperation

How to thrive as a co-teacher

Here’s what I learned in my first year of co-teaching about building and sustaining a productive and positive relationship.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Making students feel at home

I love making my students feel that they are right at home in our kindergarten classroom.
New Teacher Profiles
Alison Fox left the entertainment industry for a more satisfying career teaching

Finally, a rewarding role

After seven years of catering to adults who often acted like children, Alison Fox fled the entertainment industry for the classroom, where she teaches actual children. “Real kindergartners are so much nicer and more rewarding to spend time with,” she says.

Retired Teachers News

Hillary an ally worthy of your vote

[[nid:97016; line-height: 20.8px; styleName:large]]Ballots and bargaining are the foundations of power for working men and women. They are the most effective tools we have to stop the harmful and inordinate power that wealth and corporate greed have established in government and in the workforce.

The ballot box, both before and during the development of the modern trade union movement, gave some voice to the neglected members of our society. As voting rights gradually included non-property owners, former slaves, women, immigrants and younger adults, the disenfranchised slowly gained incremental rights. But the entrenched powers and the robber barons of the Gilded Age mounted obstacles and hurdles to frustrate the ability of working and poor people to vote. Even though they were on the wrong side of history, it required continued progressive surges to…