[[nid:4814; line-height: 20.8px; float: right; styleName:nyt_small]]The presidential election of 2016 is historic because we have an opportunity to elect the first woman president. But it’s historic for another reason. Never before has the Republican Party put forth a candidate so woefully unprepared for the office and so lacking in the demeanor and character necessary to lead the country.
The choice is clear: we must elect Hillary Clinton to be the nation’s next president.
Her experience as a former U.S. senator from New York and President Obama’s first secretary of state makes her eminently prepared for this difficult and demanding job. And she has been a longtime advocate for racial justice, educational opportunity, working families and health care.
Her core beliefs would no doubt inform her selection to the U.S. Supreme Court for the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Senate Republicans have refused to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee. Clinton in the first debate vowed to end the conservative majority on the court, while Donald Trump called Scalia a “hero” and promised to nominate someone in his mold.
With three of the remaining eight members of the Supreme Court age 78 or older, the next president could very well determine the ideological makeup of the court for decades to come. As the anti-union Friedrichs case made clear to us, the makeup of the court matters a great deal. Our enemies have become expert in using the nation’s courts to drive far-reaching policy changes that empower corporate interests.
Hillary Clinton has laid out a detailed education agenda that describes the problems and specifies remedies, evidencing her knowledge and longtime involvement in the field. She proposes elevating the profession of teaching with better training, support and salaries, and rebuilding our education infrastructure through school bonds to fix and modernize classrooms across the country. And she plans to put forth a $2 billion plan to help schools revise student disciplinary policies that excessively penalize African-American and Latino youth.
As part of that effort, she has vowed to use the platform of her presidency to encourage states to use federal education funding to provide intervention services focused on social and emotional support for kids who act out — the kind of effort we have undertaken in our schools with the Positive Learning Collaborative.
Trump lines up with those who seek to privatize public education. In one of his few policy pronouncements, Trump said in a September campaign speech that he would provide $20 billion in state block grants for a “school choice” program that would dramatically expand vouchers for private schools. He has said he would defund or eliminate the Department of Education, which provides Title I funds to schools serving students in poverty. Any discussion of Trump’s education record has to include Trump University, a bogus enterprise that bilked students who thought their hard-earned money would give them access to Trump’s real estate “secrets.”
Clinton is a friend of the labor movement and understands the difference a union can make for all workers in terms of better wages, benefits and a voice on the job. She has been steadfast in defending collective-bargaining rights and pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. And she believes in a tax code that requires the nation’s wealthiest residents to pay their fair share of taxes.
By contrast, Trump has stiffed small businesses, refusing to pay what he promised for services and goods or paying substantially below what was agreed upon. He celebrates not paying taxes, the means by which the government pays for schools, roads, bridges and so much more. He calls profiting from the misery of working people who lost their homes in the Great Recession “good business.” He disparages teacher unions and has stated on the record that he is in favor of “right to work” laws that undermine unions.
On the road to the Republican nomination, Donald Trump tapped into the anger and resentment of white, working-class men who have lost ground with the disappearance of millions of well-paying, unionized jobs in manufacturing in the United States. But he has produced no practical policy proposals that would address their grievances. Instead, he has stoked anger against immigrants and foreigners with no regard for the grave damage he is doing to the country as a whole.
Trump has insulted Latinos, women, African-Americans, Jews, the disabled and veterans. He has lowered the level of discourse with character assassination and a flagrant disregard for facts.
In the end, Donald Trump favors his own interests over those of the country. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Clinton’s running mate, put it best in the vice presidential debate: “Americans need to worry about whether Donald Trump will be watching out for America’s bottom line or his own bottom line.”
The U.S. Department of Education has released new regulations requiring states to issue yearly ratings for preparation programs for new K–12 teachers, determined in part by the academic performance of the students of the programs’ graduates.
Ramping up efforts to elect Hillary Clinton, seven labor groups joined forces with For Our Future, a Democratic super PAC, and raised $60 million to mobilize working families for the presidential candidate in battleground states.
For 10 days in early October, a dedicated group of teachers, parents and education advocates marched 150 miles from New York City to Albany. Their goal: to shine a spotlight on the state’s failure to properly fund public schools.
For students at chess-loving IS 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, nothing tops a visit by World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. The 25-year-old Norwegian — who became a grandmaster at 13 and has held the world title since age 22 — looks like a rock star and was received like one by students on the school’s own championship-winning team on Sept. 23.
Carlsen was accompanied by ErnaSolberg, the prime minister of Norway, but there were no questions for her until students were prodded by teachers. And then, their first question was, “Do you play chess?” (The answer was yes, but not well.)
Like Carlsen, students at IS 318 devote a lot of time to the game. “It’s the culture at this school and kids have the opportunity to spend huge amounts of time” playing, said full-time chess teacher Elizabeth Spiegel, who was once ranked No. 10 in the country among women.
The guidance counselor and social worker at PS 203 in Queens believe in the same things, finish each other's sentences and walk the hallways in tandem. The school's successful character education program is a march of of the strength of their collaboration.
In the month leading up to this critical presidential election, UFT members turned out at after-school phone banks in all five union borough offices and also made calls from home on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Melissa Rodriguez found a new use for a stroller. At her first First Book event sponsored by the UFT, with 1-year-old son Noel sitting in front, Rodriguez stuffed their allotment of 50 books behind him.
More than 100 Brooklyn schools and Kingsborough Community College have received $26 million in grants from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to enhance instruction in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics — better known as STEAM.
UFT members found out how to tackle insomnia or help people kept awake at night by a partner’s snoring at a UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series seminar on sleep disorders: Solutions to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.
The Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living adjustment of 0.3 percent in 2017, an increase that will affect more than 65 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients.
To do their jobs well, educators need to understand their students’ lives and cultures. This involves skills we often downplay in Western culture: the art of listening and asking questions with humility.
It’s heartening that teachers are part of the state’s process of writing the new Empire State Learning Standards to better reflect the knowledge and skills that children should be able to demonstrate at each grade. But so far, we know one thing for sure: There’s still work to do.
Your Learning Curve column [Oct. 6] basically says that studies show homework isn’t necessary and may be harmful (due to other activities that the student is missing out on while completing it) and then has a bunch of teachers explain anecdotally that their students are somehow the exception and the homework they assign is extra meaningful and necessary and has nothing to do with those silly scientific studies.
Beyond the lack of civility and personal attacks in the second presidential debate, the failure of either candidate (or the moderators) to mention education in any capacity was a glaring and dangerous omission.
During the five-year period starting on July 1, 2016, professionally certified teachers and Level III certified paraprofessionals are required to collect a total of 100 professional development hours, now called Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours.
Exposure to even mild classroom disruptions lowers the academic achievement for all students in a class, including those who are highly motivated or top-performing, according to new research in the AERA Open journal.
My whole life friends and colleagues have been trying to rescue me; to save me from myself — with limited success.
One colleague put me on a mailing list for a very conservative institution, I guess to purge my liberal soul. After a quick glance, I usually toss their mailings. But one caught my eye. It had to do with the Supreme Court vacancy and who would make the appointment after a new president is inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017. The author began by saluting the late Justice Antonin Scalia for his support of original intent; that the words of the Constitution or any law must be read and implemented based on what they were understood to mean when written: the conservative insistence on textualism and originalism.
From its conservative perspective, the article presented a survey of issues that are expected to appear before the Supreme Court — an instructive analysis those of us who see things differently should note.