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UFT 2021 New York State legislative priorities

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Despite facing the most challenging year in memory, New York City’s educators and students have persevered. But we still have much to do. We must prepare for academic remediation. We must plan for added social and emotional support in our schools. And we must continue supporting the high-quality programs that have been vital to educators, students and school communities this past year.

We must provide our public schools the funding they need

Even before the pandemic, state funding for NYC schools was at an all-time low, meeting just 36% of our budget needs. We must impose tax changes that recapture revenue from the wealthiest New Yorkers, many of whom are seeing financial gains while students and their families are suffering food shortages, evictions and unemployment.

Policy Recommendations

  • Implement a new billionaire wealth tax
  • Increase the ultra-millionaire tax on those earning more than $5 million, $10 million and $100 million per year
  • Enact a “pied-a-terre” luxury real estate tax on absentee owners of luxury condos and vacation homes
  • Roll back the 2017 Trump tax cuts to corporations and real estate investors

Now is not the time to pull back on teacher support

For over 40 years, the UFT Teacher Center has been a guiding light for NYC educators. When the craft of teaching changed overnight, it was the UFT Teacher Center that helped our city transition to remote learning. Now, more than ever, our schools need the award-winning embedded professional learning and support the Teacher Center provides. 

Learn more about the Teacher Center »
Read about the Teacher Center's work in schools »
See a list of Teacher Center sites »

Policy Recommendations

  • Restore Teacher Center funding to the 2008–9 level of $40 million
  • Continue supporting a proven program that supports our educators

We must continue providing a lifeline for families in need

The UFT United Community Schools (UCS) program was a lifeline to more than 20,000 students this past year. Operating out of 31 NYC schools and one school in Albany, the program is uniquely positioned to deliver vital services during severe times of need: feeding kids and families, closing the technology gap, supporting mental health and fostering professional development. The essential work of the UCS and its community school directors and social workers keeps kids fed, connected and engaged at school, and it must not be allowed to falter.

Learn more about the United Community Schools »
See a list of United Community School sites »

Policy Recommendations

  • Provide $4 million support for the United Community Schools program
  • Continue supporting a vital program that keeps kids fed, connected and engaged

We must prepare schools to heal from trauma, stress and inequity

The Positive Learning Collaborative (PLC) uses proven restorative practices to transform school culture. Over the past ten years, the program has dramatically decreased suspensions and major incidents while increasing academic performance and satisfaction in NYC schools. This past year, the program went virtual and increased its reach while focusing on what schools need most: providing schools with access to expert clinicians and educators, helping educators cope with stress, grief and trauma and training schools to heal from the trauma of stress and inequity. 

Learn more about the Positive Learning Collaborative »
See a list of Positive Learning Collaborative sites »

Policy Recommendations

  • Provide $2 million in support for the Positive Learning Collaborative program
  • Help transform school culture with restorative practices

We must level the playing field with charter schools

New York charter schools demand an ever-larger share of public school dollars, resources and facilities, yet they support fewer high-need students than our public schools and they do not meet the same standards of transparency and accountability. We must hold charter schools to a basic level of accountability for how they use tax-payer dollars, and we must keep the charter school cap in place and avoid bringing back “zombie charters” that could cost NYC $160 million.

Policy Recommendations

  • S.4200/A.5135(Hoylman/Benedetto) to require transparency and accountability of charter schools
  • S.676 & A.5117 (Mayer & Benedetto) to limit charter grade level expansions
  • S.1098/A.5191 (Liu/Benedetto) to repeal charter school facilities aid

Our parents and guardians need affordable childcare

NYC’s 6,000 home-based childcare providers allow many thousands of New Yorkers to go to work each day with the peace of mind that they are leaving their children in a safe and nurturing place. The stress and cost of operating as a child care provider has exploded in the era of COVID-19. Essential supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), have been scarce and costly. We cannot afford to let this vital support system fail our city’s hardworking residents.

Policy Recommendations

  • Dedicate funds to support our struggling childcare providers
  • Fully fund federal mandates
  • Ensure all approved CARES Act grants are received by applicants