Educator and community voice
If you and your colleagues have concerns about the curriculum or instructional practices being used at your school to teach literacy, speak to your chapter leader or district representative. There are platforms and tools you can use to make your voices heard. The union achieved many of these through collective bargaining:
- School Leadership Team
This group, which includes UFT members, creates the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan and insures alignment of the school’s budget.
- Advocate for literacy-based goals within the CEP to ensure that funds are dedicated to this vital priority.
- Staff/Professional Development Committee
The contract empowers chapters to establish professional learning teams to plan professional learning in the school.
- Survey the staff to determine the need for additional training opportunities related to a literacy curriculum and/or literacy strategies across all content areas.
- Use survey data to advocate for appropriate training and support related to the identified areas of need. Professional Development can and should be differentiated and can occur during a specified time set aside for PD, or off-site. More intensive summer PD opportunities and training should also be identified and offered to staff.
- UFT Chapter Consultation Committee
Principals are required to meet with the UFT chapter committee. Educators can use this contractual power to raise educational issues. If these cannot be resolved at the school level, they may be brought to consultation at the district level.
- Within your Consultation Committee, discuss the need for an appropriate and effective literacy curriculum as well as training to ensure that staff feels confident in delivering the content and strategies within the curriculum.
- Central Operations
The contract provides this process to resolve issues in specific areas, including curriculum, professional development and instructional supplies.
- Advocate for district and borough-wide training and professional development on literacy curricula and strategies.
- Professional Conciliation
Article 24 of the DOE/UFT teacher contract outlines the process to address differences in professional judgment concerning educational issues.
- Utilize this contractual right if your school community cannot reach a consensus regarding a literacy curriculum that best meets the needs of your school community.
- Reading Rockets provides information on what children should be learning in school and how they can support reading at home. The site explains what children need to become strong readers and writers and includes videos and suggested activities and resources.
- These family and caregiver activities (FCAs) were supported through the United States Department of Education to provide simple, fun activities families and caregivers can use with young English learner children at home to leverage cultural and linguistic assets and knowledge to strengthen language development in either the home language or English. They are available in multiple languages.
- What parents need to know about the research on how kids learn to read (Hechinger Report, 2020)