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New York TeacherDecember 3, 2015

Volume LVII, Number 4
Braceing for Friedrichs

Braceing for Friedrichs

Cover Stories

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, surrounded by labor leaders a

22 attorneys general unite against Friedrichs

A coalition of 22 state attorneys general is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold existing law that protects the right of public-sector unions to collect “fair share” fees from workers who do not choose to join the union but are covered by collective-bargaining agreements that benefit them.

The high court’s decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association has grave implications for organized labor throughout the country, said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the coalition that filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.

“This case has the potential to undermine the vital protections that unions…

Speaking up at the monthly chapter meeting are (from left) special education tea

Chapter comes to life

The UFT members at Booker T. Washington MS on the Upper West Side have found their voices and discovered new avenues to make them heard with the help of the UFT's new chapter advocacy program.

Veronica Mellender

Empowering parents

UFT’s five parent conferences, held in each borough in the fall, have a common theme: strengthening the connection between home and school. These five parents share what they most enjoyed, what they will bring back to their school communities and what they can apply to their own family lives from this year’s conferences.

Latest News

Members and students from PS 204, Brooklyn, during the #AllKidsNeed campaign.

Fighters for what #AllKidsNeed

Seven school chapters that stood out in this spring’s #AllKidsNeed campaign to protect public education were honored at this year's Teacher Union Day. While each school took a different approach, they all made the point that educators are the solution, not the problem.

Union offers support at new member meet-and-greets

Meet-and-greet events, held in each of the UFT borough offices this fall, gave new members the opportunity to hear from Michael Mulgrew and Chancellor Carmen Fariña, both of whom dispensed advice and answered questions.

Far Rockaway schools oppose Eva move-in

The planned co-location of a Success Academy Charter School in a Far Rockaway school building that already houses two middle schools and an alternative learning center has roused community opposition.

Charles Cogen Award: NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino (third from left) acc

Tributes flow to modern-day heroes

Following the extraordinary mobilization of hundreds of school communities in defense of public education last spring, Teacher Union Day this year had a new focus: honoring seven school chapters for going above and beyond in the fight against Gov. Cuomo.

Sweep for candidates backed by UFT

The UFT’s four endorsed candidates claimed victory with the help of UFT members who cast ballots in the Nov. 3 special elections where every vote mattered since turnout was low.

Feature Stories

Students in Beth Reed’s 5th-grade wellness class at the Brooklyn Arbor School cr

Healthy and wise

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At one table, a group of 5th-graders is looking up the ingredients for stuffed acorn squash by scanning codes into classroom iPods. At another, the students are reading about the history of acorn squash and other Native American foods.

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, it’s the perfect lesson for Beth Reed’s 5th-grade wellness class at the Brooklyn Arbor School in Williamsburg.

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But this is no desk-bound exercise. In another part of the classroom, a group of students is busy draining cans of beans and corn, while others begin chopping sage and thyme from the classroom’s own herb garden.

Over the course of the period, each group will rotate through all the work stations, and by the end of the class they’ll all have had a hand in…

Tara Ryba, the school's dean, holds the "talking piece" that signifies her right to speak in the conversation circle with students discussing school issues.

Turning a corner

Dreamyard Preparatory School in the South Bronx opened in 2006, one of six small high schools that opened when the Bloomberg administration closed William Howard Taft HS. Nine years later, this arts-oriented high school is now facing the threat of state receivership.  The common denominator between the old school and the new is the kind of students it serves.

Ayisha Irfan
Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: Ayisha Irfan, policy analyst

On Sept. 11, 2001, Ayisha Irfan believed herself to be just another Brooklyn-born 13-year-old. “When I woke up the next morning, everything had changed dramatically,” says Irfan, now 27, and an analyst in charge of education, justice and policing for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

More in Feature Stories

Around the UFT

Veterans Day Parade

For nearly 20 years, UFT members who served in the armed forces have gathered in Madison Square Park on Nov. 11 for New York City’s Veterans Day ceremony and parade.

Virtual Enterprise networking event at Academy of Finance and Enterprise, Queens

Need a bike? Looking for new insurance? Hiring an ad agency? You could find all that and more at the Nov. 6 Virtual Enterprise networking event and trade fair at Long Island City’s Academy of Finance and Enterprise.

Seeing stars — and the president

It was a brisk, clear fall night at the White House when Brooklyn International HS senior Sofy Alvarez stepped out of the crowd of astronauts, students, congressmen and astronomy fans to show President Barack Obama how to use a reflecting telescope.

Focusing on respect

Anti-bullying event at PS/IS 180 the SEEALL Academy, Brooklyn

Rosanna Giannuzzi, a 5th-grade teacher at PS/IS 180 the SEEALL Academy in Borough Park, Brooklyn, knows her students are on the brink of big changes in their lives.

A student proudly shows off the Batman drawing created for him by volunteer Jose

‘What Thanksgiving is about’

The decibel level was off the charts as 150 children from homeless shelters across the city celebrated Thanksgiving at UFT headquarters on Saturday, Nov. 21, before heading home with new winter jackets, scarves, hats and gloves donated by members and others.

You Should Know

You Should Know

School Quality Reports released

The city Department of Education on Nov. 10 released School Quality Reports for the 2014–15 school year for all elementary, middle and high schools.

Secure Your Future

Preparing your legacy

One of the most difficult topics to contemplate is what will happen to your family after you die. It probably will be upsetting for your spouse or children to discuss as well.

Opinions

President's Perspective

The truth about Friedrichs

In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, the plaintiffs challenge the “fair share” requirement that public-sector workers in unionized jobs who choose not to join their union must still pay their fair share of the cost of union representation and services.

VPerspective

Supporting our new educators

This year, there are 6,000 new teachers throughout the New York City public school system. They need our support in acquiring the tools, resources and strategies they need to be successful.

Opinion

Where they stand

The 2016 presidential campaign debates have been among the most watched programming on television. That’s something to celebrate: An engaged electorate is good for democracy.

Opinion

Investing in the arts

Teachers know that art can instill a love of learning across all subject areas.
Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Research shows

Common Core and the NAEP math test

A nationwide drop in math performance this year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams spurred questions about whether the Common Core standards were to blame. A new study shows that the questions on the NAEP test actually aligned quite closely with new standards.

Teacher to Teacher

Role-playing brings learning to life

One strategy for bringing learning to life in your high school classroom is to have your students take on the role of characters from the past or from literature.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Self-assessment cards

Our students use these self-assessment cards to let us know if they are understanding content or directions or if they need help.
New Teacher Profiles

Inspired, and now inspiring

In her time as a paraprofessional, Carolyn Bonaparte-Jones has assisted many fine special education teachers, but no one came close to Laila Elhanafy. “From the first day of school, everyone loved Laila," she said.

Retired Teachers News

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Value of our annual meetings

In order to reach out to all our members, the RTC holds regular monthly meetings here at union headquarters and annual meetings here in the Greater New York area and all over the country where our retirees have relocated. The annual meetings are most often scheduled from January through March but there are a few as early as October.

These annual meetings focus on health, pension, social service and continuing education issues with member and local problems considered and questions answered. My role at these meetings is to offer an overall perspective on what is happening at the UFT and on national and political issues in general. This column is a précis of issues to be covered, understanding that, as with any lesson plan, timely updates will be added as events unfold.

Our in-service colleagues are benefiting from some positive attitudinal changes. After 20 years of mayors who blamed and insulted classroom educators and their union, the current mayor is supportive of their efforts. Chancellor Carmen Fariña, an educator who came up through the ranks, is setting a good tone. Some of the old guard administrators however have not yet gotten the message so recently UFT President Michael Mulgrew publicly criticized the continual mistreatment of hard…