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New York TeacherFebruary 1, 2018

Volume LIX, Number 6
NYT Cover - February 4, 2018 - Knock, knock, UFT knocking

Cover Stories

Door-knocking efforts crucial because ‘this is our fight’

Gloria Winograd goes out on cold winter evenings to knock on doors of fellow UFT members. Her mission: to alert them that their rights and benefits are endangered by the Janus v. AFSCME case, now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Door-knocking is demanding work, but it’s worth it,” said Winograd.

Winograd, a music teacher and chapter leader at PS 6 in Manhattan, is one of the UFT members who is reaching out to fellow union members to make sure they are aware of the danger ahead.

The Janus case, funded by billionaires, threatens to deprive public employee unions nationwide of the ability to collect agency fees from workers who opt not to belong to the union but nonetheless benefit from union contracts and services. Oral arguments in the case are slated for Feb. 26, and the high court is expected to issue a decision in May or June.

The door-knocking campaign began in November and by mid-January UFT members had rapped on more than 11,000 doors to…

Teachers (from left) Jessica Brickey of MS 588 in Brooklyn, Ed Flickinger of PS

LearnUFT offers CTLE courses in 5 boroughs

The UFT’s LearnUFT program, which offers members a low-cost opportunity to participate in professional learning while earning Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours, has now fully expanded to the union’s five borough offices.

PS 109, Brooklyn, teacher Diana Wright learns to walk again with the help of her

Tragedy to triumph

She was named after Wonder Woman, a fictional comic book superhero. Thirty-four years later, Diana Wright needed the strength and resilience of a superhero to turn the tables on a tragedy.

Latest News

Judge halts Arizona ban on Mexican American studies

A federal judge blocked Arizona from enforcing a controversial ban on Mexican American studies courses, arguing that the state law is unconstitutional.

Texas illegally denied special education services

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Jan. 11 that the Texas Education Agency ran afoul of federal law by failing to provide adequate special education services in the state’s public schools.
Generic school funding word cloud

Connecticut court blocks education funding overhaul

The Connecticut Supreme Court in January overturned a lower court judge’s wide-ranging decision that the state had failed in its constitutional obligation to adequately fund public education.

Three-quarters of public school spending cuts restored

Three-quarters of the nationwide public school spending cuts prompted by the 2008 recession have been restored, according to new federal data.

Baltimore schools left out in the cold

Baltimore schools have been forced to return millions of dollars in maintenance funds to the state in recent years, leaving repairs to their heating systems unfinished while students shivered at their desks or missed classes during the January cold snap.

Feature Stories

Staffers from IS 220 in Brooklyn, joined by UFT District 20 Representative Ellen

Educators step up for their students

Hundreds of families in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, had a chance to stock up on new clothes thanks to a trio of hard-working educators at IS 220 and Primary, an online kids clothing company. [[nid:105117; float: right; styleName:article_medium]]

Primary donated 30,000 units of clothing — everything from leggings to T-shirts to hoodies — for a clothing giveaway at the school on Dec. 18 and 19 for Giving Tuesday, a global giving movement.

Rachel Geiger, a 7th-grade special education teacher, was the link between a friend who works at Primary and the school’s Community Service Team of Christina Pennisi and Victoria Reinhardt. With the blessing of Principal Sheldon Dempster, the threesome got to work.

“There was a lot of preparation and planning,” said Geiger, including “sorting through thousands of units of clothing and organizing by sizes. I was really nervous about…

Teacher Christine Hunkele (center) helps students measure the quality of a water

Water system science secrets revealed

Students at George Westinghouse CTE HS in Brooklyn got up close and personal with New York City’s water supply on a visit to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint

Mahabir and junior Samantha Ortiz troubleshoot the problem with her square bot.

‘It’s about the student’

Sloan Award winner Krishna Mahabir of Grover Cleveland HS in Queens was recognized for his outstanding work and commitment to students in mathematics and science, but he insists “teaching is an art form.”

Member Spotlight

Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Maria Belkadi, PS 212, Brooklyn

PS 212 Chapter Leader Maria Belkadi has made creative use of the School-Based Option process in the UFT-Department of Education contract to make it possible for UFT members at the school in Gravesend, Brooklyn to be more actively involved with parents and community in after-school and weekend activities

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Rights


The union contract empowers us as educators to do our jobs well. It includes articles and rights whose sole aim is to ensure that we have the resources, support and structures in place so that we can do our best to educate our students. It gives us an important voice in the workplace and a mechanism for addressing problems that arise.

You Should Know

You Should Know

A dental plan for noncovered relatives of UFT members

The UFT’s Direct Access Dental Plan provides access to quality dental care at a discounted rate to UFT members’ family members not covered by the regular UFT dental plan.

You Should Know

Work expenses, UFT dues are tax-deductible

If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 of any unreimbursed expenses in 2017 for books, supplies computer equipment and supplementary materials you use in the classroom. Your union dues are also eligible as a miscellaneous deduction.

Secure Your Future

Retirement security key to union membership

Anti-union reactionaries want to destroy the four pillars of our retirement security: a defined-benefit pension, Social Security, the Tax-Deferred Annuity and premium-free health insurance.


President's Perspective

All eyes on Janus

The anti-union propaganda machine is already preparing ads for the post-Janus world urging workers to “give yourself a raise” and stop paying dues. We need to educate members to see through this ploy — you can’t get something for nothing.


Diploma option brings excitement, concern

With this new non-test-based diploma option, there are now five safety-net local diploma options for students with disabilities. There is reason for both excitement and concern. 


After Fariña

When Carmen Fariña stepped into the role of schools chancellor in 2014, she brought sanity back to New York City public education after 12 long years of Michael Bloomberg’s disastrous business-knows-best chancellors.


Silencing teachers

What would life be like if your union disappeared?


Good workplace habits

Given the pressure and demands on school professionals, it is useful to think holistically about your own wellness and how to maintain your energy level throughout the day. Here are some tips for cultivating healthy habits in the workplace.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve

Please sit — wherever

Many teachers have been using some form of flexible seating in their classrooms for years. But some teachers have begun to take flexible seating to a whole new level by replacing most or all of the traditional furniture in their classrooms with a host of other options, including wobble seats, floor pillows, crates, lap desks and beanbags.

Research shows

Voucher students’ test scores drop

Students who participated in Louisiana’s school voucher program experienced a significant decline in their standardized reading and math test scores in the first two years, according to new research from the academic journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Teacher to Teacher

The benefits of station teaching

It’s not easy to engage students in productive and meaningful discussions in math class while still using scaffolds and differentiation. This is where station teaching can help.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Our classroom 'vent wall'

Creating a safe learning environment is paramount. Providing a ‘vent wall’ is among several things I establish at the beginning of the semester. I introduce ‘vent’ as a vocabulary word.

New Teacher Articles

Attaining your professional state certification

Navigating state teacher certification regulations can be confusing to veteran educators, let alone new teachers. Now is a good time to take stock of the progress you’re making toward your professional state certification.

Retired Teachers News

Retirees (from left) Ken Buckley, David Berkowitz, Natalie Birnbaum and Diane an

Are you a 50-, 60- or 70-year member?

If you have been a UFT union member for 50, 60 or 70 consecutive years, you might be eligible for the UFT 50-, 60- or 70-Year Membership and Service Award.
More in Retired Teachers Chapter News