Those with disabilities today have “a world of opportunity ahead of them,” said Dr. Mary McInerney, the principal of the Richard H. Hungerford School on Staten Island, speaking of people like Marianna Pastena, a graduate of the District 75 school and now a paraprofessional there.
But it was not always so.
Willowbrook State School on Staten Island gained infamy in the 1960s and early 1970s when it was exposed as an inhumane, severely overcrowded, filthy warehouse for people with challenges. Pastena acknowledges that she feels “blessed when I think of what the people who lived at the Willowbrook State School had to endure.”
The Hungerford faculty celebrated their school’s 50th anniversary on April 1 by remembering that shameful history and reflecting on the transformation since their school’s founding in the treatment and education of people with special needs. The featured speaker was Geraldo Rivera, who as a young local TV reporter in 1972 helped uncover the atrocities. His exposé of Willowbrook was the catalyst that helped fast…
Public education in New York will get an additional $1.1 billion in the new state budget, while two UFT-supported provisions from the previous budget remain intact, making it possible for public schools to retain much-needed funds.
The Green School HS in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, received a $100,000 grant for technology and had to decide how to use the money.
In the space of two weeks, the school’s teacher-led technology committee polled staff, analyzed the data and came up with a plan. Now there’s a Promethean board, a laptop cart with 25 laptops and a printer in each classroom, plus a computer for each teacher.
“The teachers, to a one, told me and showed me I was special and handed me off with love to the next teacher,” says Yemaya Bordain, who in 2015 was the first black woman to receive a Ph.D in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne.
More than 30 UFT members attended the March 28 UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series seminar entitled “The Aging Eye” at UFT headquarters to hear doctors from the NYU Ophthalmology Center in Manhattan discuss vision ailments and their treatments.
“From four-year-olds to grandmothers, they learned in the morning, got into teams, decided what service could be provided or problem solved, made an app, honed their presentations and presented on stage to judges,” says Community School Director Kate Thomas of the hackathon at Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School in Brownsville.
The UFT Bronx borough office welcomed nearly 1,700 students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors on March 31 to a college fair that featured admissions recruiters from more than 100 institutions.
TRS allows members to choose how much of their benefit to receive: Members may take the maximum retirement allowance for which they’re eligible. Or, they may take a smaller amount and, if they die first, survivors receive a benefit.
What is the definition of “American”? According to Merriam-Webster, an American is “a native or inhabitant of any of the United States.” Unfortunately, too many residents of this country do not define “American” this way.
The Single Shepherd program, which launched in September, was designed to boost high school graduation and college enrollment rates in two of the most challenging school districts in New York City [see “Good ‘Shepherds’” on page 6]. Mayor Bill de Blasio is to be commended for backing a program that helps the students who too often fall between the cracks.
It took a little longer, but our hard work yielded results: The new state budget increases education aid by $1.1 billion, which includes $700 million in additional foundation aid for school districts. Prekindergarten, community schools and after-school programs all get a boost in support.
New nationwide studies published in Educational Researcher found that children entering kindergarten and first grade have significantly better academic skills than similar students had 15 to 20 years ago.
Michael Oeckel, a first-year high school math teacher, employs exaggerated hand motions and expressions and gets students out of their seats to illustrate math concepts to his students who don't speak English.
John F. Kennedy was born 100 years ago on May 29, 1917. As the president, he inspired many of us who came of age in the 1960s through his idealistic call to action in his inaugural address: “Now the trumpet summons us again …” That call put us on the path to accomplishing many things that would help better society.
By comparison, the current scene in Washington is a national nightmare hell bent on dismantling the social safety net that organized labor worked to put in place over the more than 100 years that included JFK’s short life.
But those of us who have inherited the progressive achievements won during that century are determined to preserve, protect and advance those enlightened accomplishments — even in the face of our national nightmare.
American Federation of Teachers staffers Lauren Luchi, the manager of retirees; Brandon Boswell, the deputy political director; and Chris Mattingly, the assistant political director, made a presentation to our UFT/RTC general membership meeting on April 4 that offers a blueprint for action. They made us very aware of how important member engagement is as an antidote to the ongoing legislative and…