When an Eva Moskowitz Success Academy Charter School moved into a Harlem school building in September, she wanted the front door for the exclusive use of her own students and staff.
“They asked us not to use the front door,” said a still incredulous Griffith Terry, the chapter leader of the Academy for Social Action, one of the four district schools that occupy the building. “They wanted us to go around the block and use the side entrance.”
The outraged teachers flatly refused.
“We’ve worked well with charter schools before, but not this time,” said Terry.
Grievances from the teachers at the four schools came pouring out at an early-morning meeting with UFT President Michael Mulgrew on Sept. 30.
“They don’t want us to walk in their halls,” reported an exasperated Jennifer Grant, a special education teacher at the Academy of Social Action.
UFT members from MS 80 in the Bronx, who were walking in memory of a teacher who died of breast cancer in June, were among the thousands of UFT members who participated in this year’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk.
Harvest Collegiate HS is using the PROSE provision in the UFT contract to gain more freedom to veer from tradition this year. This year’s plan is to increase teacher leadership positions and conduct a grand experiment in peer evaluation.
New York City Council members, joined by NAACP representatives, advocates, parent leaders and the UFT, launched a campaign to increase school diversity and credit multiple measures of student success at a press conference in the City Hall rotunda on Oct. 22.
With public schools under attack, the UFT will launch an ad campaign on Oct. 6 to remind New Yorkers of the passion and promise of public education. The 30-second spot, called “Think Big,” will air from Oct. 6 – Oct. 17 on broadcast, cable and social media platforms.
UFT members called fellow union members in the suburbs and upstate at union phone banks and a day of door-knocking in the Hudson Valley was planned for Nov. 1 as the fight to decide which party controls the state Senate came down to a handful of competitive races, all outside New York City.
Jelani Cobb, a graduate of Jamaica HS in the class of 1987, has constructed a life at the nexus of academia and journalism. You might find him one day discussing the Watts riots of 1965 with his history class at the University of Connecticut, Storrs — and the next day writing about this summer’s fatal police shooting and its aftermath in Ferguson, Missouri, for The New Yorker.
Cobb’s books include “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama & the Paradox of Progress” (Bloomsbury, 2010) and “The Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic” (NYU Press, 2007). He’s also a savvy user of Twitter, where he weighs in on the news of the day and tweets the links to his journalism. In addition to The New Yorker, he has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, theRoot.com and National Public Radio, among other places.
Cobb says his high school experience gave him the confidence to pursue his dreams. “Jamaica HS set me in good stead academically, intellectually and socially,” he says. After Jamaica, he attended Howard University and in 2003 earned his doctorate in American history at Rutgers University. In addition to being an associate professor of history, Cobb is the director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. His newest book, “Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931–1957,” is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.
I was born and raised in Queens, in Springfield Gardens and Hollis. I attended PS 134, IS 192 and IS 238 before attending Jamaica HS. I had good teachers at the elementary and middle schools, but my most memorable experience was in high school. When I graduated from Jamaica HS in 1987, I was one of five friends, only one of whom had college-educated parents. Three of us went on to obtain the Ph.D. It was a very enriching environment.
It’s not often that city kids calmly kneel before flowers and count bees and wasps. But the 21 students in Diane Corrigan’s1st-grade class at PS 179 in Kensington did just that on a class trip to the Gateway National Recreation Area on Jamaica Bay in Queens on Oct. 9.
Colleagues, family and friends of SimeonetteMapes, a social studies teacher who helped found the School for the Classics in Brooklyn, gathered on Sept. 27 at a Staten Island street corner which was renamed in her honor during an intimate ceremony.
No one denies the importance of the Regents exams, but pen-and-paper exams are not the only way to measure our students’ learning, or for them to demonstrate to us their mastery of a body of knowledge.
Public school educators know from both experience and common sense that when school administrators treat teachers as partners rather than adversaries, schools function more smoothly, staff morale is higher and the entire school community benefits.
I am a pupil accounting secretary. If charter schools are public schools, then why do they send back students to the school I work in who have behavior issues or learning disabilities or language barriers? If charter schools are public schools, why are their books closed to the public?
Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s new evaluation system for schools comes as a relief for those in the trenches. It is about time to put the joy back into the schools for both the teachers and the students. It should be fun, not paranoia.
So there are more than 3,500 classes above the contractual limit [New York Teacher, Oct. 2]. What exactly is the legal hurdle to getting more room to create smaller classes? It’s clear that lower student-to-teacher ratios would equate with a higher success rate. So what’s up? Why does it happen so often?
Income inequality, income disparity, end of the middle class, the working class, the working poor.
For the first time in our history, there is a strong belief that the next generation will be worse off than ours: Younger people are “nesting” with their parents, and economic dignity and security are in decline. Or in the words of that old Depression song: “There’s nothing surer, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Why and how has it come to this? Government policies or their lack have consequences and create ripple effects everywhere.
A recent New York Times business section article, headlined “Equation Is Simple: Education = Income,” featured a photo of President Franklin Roosevelt signing the GI Bill of Rights 70 years ago that paid college tuition for veterans and tapped into a great resource for building a prosperous American future.
Now, the article notes, “… the United States ranks near the bottom in the share of its working-age citizens who surpass the education attainment of their parents.” Policies that tilt toward the haves and ignore the have-nots shrink rather than increase the great American middle class, upending traditional improvements for the next generation.