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Archive for February, 2009

A Test of Our Character

The sad truth is that the recent announcement of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein that they were making plans to lay-off close to 15,000 public school educators in September 2009 is quite consistent with the way our schools have been governed these last seven years.

The Bloomberg-Klein vision of education is a technocratic one which sees the world of schools through the prism of numbers — the data which they have made into an educational false idol. More »

Wear Blue to School on Feb. 10

On Feb. 10, AFT members around the country will be wearing blue to work to support the federal stimulus legislation currently being considered in Congress. The effort is part of the AFT’s “Fight for America’s Future: It’s Dollars and Sense” campaign. Essential services are facing draconian cuts due to the economic crisis, and the Feb. 10 show of solidarity is a way to send a clear message: Strengthening education, health care and public services is crucial in order to restore and preserve opportunity in this country. [View the flyer here.]

E-mail photos of members in your school wearing blue to the UFT [instructions here]. We’ll post a link to the online photo gallery.

Mayoral Control — A Work In Progress

[Editor’s note: This “What Matters Most” column appeared in the New York Times on Sunday, Feb. 8.]

In New York City, we are set to begin the debate over whether or not to continue a form of school governance — mayoral control — that was first instituted here in 2002 and is gaining much attention across the country. New Yorkers are passionate about public schools, so the debate is bound to be fierce on all sides as the state legislature weighs the arguments and decides whether to keep mayoral control as it is, modify it or repeal it entirely. More »

Video: Weingarten, Klein “Up Close”

Randi Weingarten on "Eyewitness News Up Close"

On Sunday, Feb. 8, Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein appeared in separate segments of “Eyewitness News Up Close with Diana Williams.”

Weingarten discussed the union’s cost-cutting proposals (a hiring freeze, retirement incentives, and reduction of administrative costs), mayoral control of schools, and Gov. Paterson’s consideration of Weingarten for the recently open senate seat. More »

Work Hard? Be Nice?

Hard working KIPP AMP teachers who organized to form a union have found that KIPP administrators at the school don’t seem to think “Be Nice” applies to them. The New York Times tells the story here.

NYCSA Chutzpah

No one is a stronger advocate for the state’s public school students than the UFT and NYSUT. No one has fought harder to ensure that schools have adequate funding. The UFT and NYSUT, working with many of our friends, won the Campaign for Fiscal Equity to provide public schools with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional support. Just last year, the UFT, parents, community groups, activists and elected officials formed the Keep the Promises Coalition and warded off most of the proposed budget cuts. For months, our members and coalition partners staged demonstrations, spoke at hearings and lobbied their representatives to protect schools from the fiscal axe. It was an impressive, sustained and broad-based display of solidarity on behalf of our children.

In all of this work, we made no distinction between district and charter public schools. All students have benefited from our advocacy. As district funding increased, so did charter funding. More »

Weingarten and Klein “Up Close” this Sunday

No, they won’t be debating. But UFT President Randi Weingarten and Chancellor Joel Klein are slated to appear in separately-taped segments of “Eyewitness News Up Close with Diana Williams,” airing this Sunday, Feb. 8, at 11 a.m, on WABC-TV Channel 7.

Topics of discussion will include the threat of teacher layoffs and mayoral control of schools.

If you miss the broadcast on Sunday, check the show’s website for video, or check back here — we’ll post the clips as soon as they’re available.

Adequate Funding is the Key Ingredient for Public Schools

As educators we know that the “key ingredient” for public schools is adequate funding for instructional programs, extended learning opportunities, and enriched health and social services. Effective teachers also know that often they must use their own personal resources to create classroom environments which are viable; write proposals to fund extended learning opportunities; and lobby in Albany to secure better health and safety conditions. Then teachers must lobby for additional psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors.

The failure of local and state governments to provide funding to economically poor citizens and their schools would otherwise compromise the teachers’ efforts and the future of this great nation. The truly dedicated educators have seen miracles happen daily for years as their students’ dreams were realized. Fortunately, this is not a new phenomenon throughout the nation. Good teachers have always made a difference in the lives of their students. Case in point: More »

Audio: Weingarten On “The John Gambling Show”

John Gambling Show

This morning, Thursday Feb. 5, Randi Weingarten spoke with John Gambling on his WOR News Talk Radio (710 AM) show about mayoral control and the UFT’s school governance report.

Listen to a recording of the discussion.

Fat and Feathers

Our “Education Mayor,” who earned one of the planet’s most massive material fortunes fair and square, has consulted his conscience and used his business acumen to conclude that teachers should bear 80 percent of the 23,000 jobs that he expects must be sacrificed for the city to confront the budget crisis in a manner that reflects sensible priorities.

It’s not clear precisely where these losses will be coming from but it’s obvious where the mayor is coming from. More »

Grading the ELA

[Editor’s note: miss brave is the pseudonym for a second-year elementary school teacher in Queens. She blogs at miss brave teaches nyc, where this post originally appeared on Sunday, Feb. 1]

I haven’t posted about school all week because I haven’t been at school all week. Instead I’ve been at another school, on the other side of the borough, grading the state English Language Arts (ELA) exam for third, fourth and fifth graders.

It’s difficult for even an experienced teacher-blogger like me to describe the disheartening disorganization and incompetence that’s been a daily part of this experience. More »