Archive for the ‘Roundup’ Category
Highlights from the Jan. 31 issue of New York Teacher:
At 11th hour, mayor torpedoes evaluation deal
At 3 a.m. on Jan. 17, the day of the state deadline, the UFT and the Department of Education had reached an agreement in principle on a new evaluation plan that would have given teachers better working conditions, more voice in how they are evaluated and support for continued professional growth throughout their careers. But the mayor stepped in to sabotage the deal, and in the process forfeited at least $240 million in state education aid for city schools.
Parents want experienced school bus drivers
The city’s protracted yellow school bus strike has left both parents and teachers increasingly frustrated with Mayor Bloomberg for his failure to negotiate with the union that represents the approximately 9,000 striking drivers and matrons.
Where would we be without them?
Community volunteers like these are the backbone of many schools across the city.
Cuomo to boost school aid
Gov. Cuomo proposed a 4.4 percent increase in education spending next year, part of an overall state budget increase of 1.9 percent that signals the beginning of cautiously better fiscal times for the state and the city.
State ed commish reads DOE the riot act
State Education Commissioner John King read New York City the riot act a day after the city missed the deadline for concluding a new teacher evaluation system. Laying the blame squarely on the mayor and the Department of Education, King said the city’s failure would result in the immediate loss of $240 million in state education aid and put hundreds of millions of other state and federal dollars at risk.
Noteworthy graduates: Jon Bauer, founder, investment management firm
Jon Bauer, a co-founder, chief executive operating officer and chief investment officer of Contrarian Capital Management, which invests in troubled companies and helps them restructure their finances, was “blown away” when he first learned about economics as a boy.
School of rock
Manhattan teacher’s passion rubs off on his music students
The rock star of PS 34 moves like a dervish among his students, getting them to work through a progression of basic chords. Basic rock chords, that is — a spin on teaching music that has turned blasé students into driven musicians. Students and colleagues at this school in Manhattan’s East Village say it’s all because of music teacher Ulises Soto.
Teacher attrition up after recession-driven lull
Teachers are voting with their feet again. Though the 2008 recession and its aftermath reduced attrition among city teachers, it seems to be on the move now. According to new UFT data, teachers and other pedagogues are leaving the school system in much higher numbers than they were two years ago, even as the city has bumped up hiring.
Highlights from the latest issue of New York Teacher:
UCAN — and they do
UCAN. It stands for Uniting Communities and Neighborhoods, and it’s a new good-will project in the Bronx that has dozens of UFT members hammering or cleaning or beautifying or just playing games with children at a shelter.
Stress takes a holiday
Thanksgiving took on new meaning for the students and staff from PS/MS 105 in storm-ravaged Far Rockaway when their welcoming hosts at JHS 72 in Jamaica invited them to share a preholiday Community Feast — turkey and all the trimmings.
UFT creates hurricane hotline
A Hurricane Sandy hotline is now part of the UFT’s continuing and expanding outreach to members who need assistance in the wake of the devastating late-October storm.
Second Day of Action helps storm victims recover
Marking another UFT Day of Action on Saturday, Nov. 17, nearly 1,000 volunteers traveled to the city neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy or came to UFT headquarters to help stuff backpacks with supplies for displaced students.
Midwinter break shortened due to Sandy
State law and regulations mandate that New York City public school teachers make up three of the instructional days lost due to Hurricane Sandy. Schools will be open the last three days — Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Friday, Feb. 22 — of the city school system’s usual weeklong midwinter break.
Fighting the testing obsession
The push by so-called education reformers for increased testing of students in the nation’s public schools is facing growing opposition from concerned parents and committed educators who understand that high-stakes exams can never substitute for real student learning.
Academy not turning out good leaders
The city Department of Education has finally admitted that its Leadership Academy is not doing a good enough job of recruiting, developing and producing top-notch principals to lead New York City’s high-needs schools.
Leaving no child behind — for real this time
Policy advisers are calling on Obama to actually grapple with child poverty and its effects on students instead of tinkering with accountability measurement.
Supporting students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms
With the special education reform in full swing, many of us teachers — especially general education teachers — will find ourselves teaching students with disabilities and possibly collaborating with special education teachers.
Highlights from the latest issue of New York Teacher:
Resupplying relocated students with 30,000 backpacks
Calling it the “best of New York City coming together” UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised the efforts of educators, administrators, elected officials and corporate citizens who all pulled together with the goal of raising $1.5 million to deliver 30,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students whose schools were flooded by Hurricane Sandy.
Members roll up their sleeves
Idea to help in lieu of Election Day PD was born on UFT Facebook page
Hundreds of educators across the city spent Nov. 6 bringing water, blankets and baby supplies to hurricane shelters, walking up 15 flights of stairs in public housing to assess needs, doing demolition work on homes that were flooded, shoveling sand off the Coney Island boardwalk so emergency vehicles could get through and bringing hope and help to those who needed it most.
Repaying a debt
Upstate teachers volunteer to help rebuild Staten Island town
They arrived on Staten Island in a bus from Schoharie in upstate New York, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, sneakers or workboots, carrying shovels and crowbars and hammers and utility knives in their workgloved hands. “We came here to work,” one said. “Let’s get started.”
Hundreds of UFT members turn out for Day of Action
Hundreds of UFT members, bolstered by four busloads of members of the union’s national affiliate — the American Federation of Teachers fanned out across the city to assist with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery effort on Nov. 10, the first of several Saturday Days of Action being organized by the UFT.
Two taken from us by the storm
Two dedicated UFT members lost their lives in Hurricane Sandy. They are Jessie Streich-Kest, a first-year teacher and activist with a wide circle of deep friendships; and Henry Sullivan, a longtime Abraham Lincoln HS teacher known for his generosity, integrity and humor.
Dealing with the trauma
UFT’s Election Day PD switches focus after storm
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the organizers of the UFT’s Election Day safety training quickly refocused the agenda to make it relevant to chapter leaders returning to schools after the storm. They learned about how to address the short- and long-term trauma from the natural disaster affecting both students and staff.
Hard work pays off in national, state elections
Election Day was sweet for UFT members who had worked so hard in the weeks leading up to Nov. 6 to get out the vote for President Barack Obama in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, in a critical Senate race in Connecticut, as well as in key state races.
UCP workers win contract just before strike deadline
Poised to strike if a new agreement were not reached by Oct. 15, workers at United Cerebral Palsy of New York City beat that deadline by one day and then ratified a new contract in the final days of the month.
Highlights from the latest issue of New York Teacher:
Answering the call
Thousands of UFT members volunteer at evacuation sites to help victims of Hurricane Sandy
While Hurricane Sandy was still swirling around the Caribbean, the UFT was already reaching out to members to tell them how they could volunteer when the storm hit New York. And they volunteered — by the thousands. UFT members spent days and nights in 76 hurricane shelters, most in city public schools, helping however they could.
Tough return for members, students
Despite the enormous challenges still facing New Yorkers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, most teachers and students, many of them storm victims themselves, headed back to school on Monday, Nov. 5 bundled up against the cold in those buildings still without heat.
How to get assistance
Although the storm has subsided, the devastation left in its wake is tremendous. The UFT is marshaling its resources and providing services to our members and their families who have been affected by the storm.
Manhattan district schools protest Moskowitz co-locations
“Hey, Eva, we’re no fools! We won’t let you ruin our schools!” chanted more than 70 teachers from the six schools on the Washington Irving Campus, near Manhattan’s Union Square, as they rallied on the campus steps on Oct. 18 against the possible co-location of a new Success Academy charter school inside their building.
Mayor’s EarlyLearn NYC a travesty, providers say
Parents, children and child care providers have been left in chaos in the wake of the Oct. 1 launch of EarlyLearn NYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s long-anticipated and ambitious overhaul of New York City’s early childhood education services, according to officials at the UFT, which represents 21,000 family child care providers.
UFT: Where’s the curriculum?
A high-level gubernatorial commission on education reform on Oct. 16 got a rapid-fire earful from UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who warned that most teachers still do not have the curricula to prepare students for new state assessments this year that will incorporate challenging Common Core Learning Standards.
UFT: Special ed reform ‘pilot’ had weak results
Students with disabilities in schools that piloted the Department of Education’s new special education reform actually showed less improvement in performance over the last two years than their peers in other schools, a UFT analysis has found.
President’s Perspective: Thank you for staying strong
Teams of UFT members were volunteering in some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods, including the Rockaways, Coney Island, Staten Island and Gerritsen Beach, having volunteered to spend Election Day bringing relief to their fellow New Yorkers.
Highlights from the October 18 issue of New York Teacher:
Union in high gear for Nov. 6 elections
In addition to its push to help re-elect President Barack Obama, the UFT is working to elect a number of state lawmakers on Nov. 6 who will support public schools, unions and the needs of teachers, parents and children.
Addabbo wins UFT’s backing
With many important state Senate races in November, the UFT on Sept. 24 enthusiastically endorsed Joseph Addabbo Jr. for re-election for a third term representing the 15th Senate District in Queens. The incumbent faces a well-financed GOP challenger.
President’s Perspective: An inspirational trip
The members in Florida with whom I spoke each phrased it differently, but they told me the same thing: The stark differences between the candidates made it a clear and easy choice. Although we have not always agreed with him, President Obama is the candidate who will move our country forward into the future.
Green machine: New Bronx high school gives leg up on growing field of new energy technology
Teachers are excited, parents are thrilled, and “students can’t wait to begin building things,” said Aldrich Crowe, a teacher at the new HS for Energy and Technology in the Bronx. Creating a school focused on careers in green engineering and sustainable building technology is an idea whose time has come.
UFT contract dispute moves to fact-finding
The New York State Public Employment Relations Board on Oct. 3 appointed a three-member fact-finding panel to take testimony, hold hearings and issue a report and recommendations in an effort to resolve the contract dispute between the Department of Education and the UFT. The UFT contract expired on Oct. 31, 2009.
Union blasts city on rising class sizes
Roughly 225,000 — or nearly a quarter of the New York City school system’s students — spent part or all of their first days in school in overcrowded classes, according to a UFT survey released on Sept. 25.
Brooklyn charter teachers ratify innovative first contract
The UFT and the board at the Fahari Academy Charter School have agreed to a first-ever contract at the school. The three-year contract, which was unanimously ratified on June 29 by the staff, will go into effect during the 2012–2013 school year and cover the teachers and teachers’ assistants at the middle school, which is located in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
‘A’ giant leap: After getting F last year, UFT-represented charter in Bronx is thriving
Teachers, parents and students were beaming with pride at the UFT-represented Bronx Academy of Promise’s board meeting on Oct. 9 after learning that their school was one of just three schools citywide to move from an F to an A on its annual School Progress Report. The A grade should help the school as it seeks a five-year renewal of its charter.
Double number of guidance counselors, comptroller says
City Comptroller John Liu on Oct. 4 called for more than doubling the number of high school guidance counselors in city schools. He faulted the lack of hands-on academic and college counseling from an overworked and undersized counseling staff for the fact that just one in five city high school graduates finishes college.
‘We’re ready!’: Newest UFT ad stresses dedication of city’s public school educators
“We’re ready,” a cast of five New York City public school teachers told local TV audiences in a 30-second UFT television ad that blanketed prime-time broadcast and cable spots from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7.
Highlights from the September 27 issue of New York Teacher:
Three teachers, one opening day
How they welcomed the city’s littlest, biggest and in-between as another school year begins: There were tears, fears and fun as kindergarteners experienced their first day of school at PS 315 in Manhattan, awesome rules at MS 244 in the Bronx, and smooth sailing for high schoolers at Cardozo HS in Queens.
Strokes of genius
As the sun sets through the trees of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the work is just beginning for members of Row New York, who are perfecting their mechanics in preparation for an upcoming regatta.
Six off and running in community schools pilot
Six city schools will reach out to their communities this year to bring neighborhood resources, medical programs and social services to their buildings, thanks to a combined grant from the UFT, the City Council and the Partnership for New York City.
Lesson of Chicago strike: Be sure to vote
With their bold seven-day strike, our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Teachers Union have won an important victory in their fight to push back the misguided political agendas of so-called “education reformers” that are causing harm in their schools.
Teacher to teacher
Taming the beast: Making learning possible in overcrowded classrooms
District 75 school in Brooklyn beats back city plan to break it apart
The school community at P53, in Brooklyn’s East New York, may have bid farewell to their longtime school building last spring, but the school’s teachers, parents and students began this school year together, thanks to an impressive victory they won against the city’s Panel for Educational Policy last year.
Grievance settlement gives protections to teachers in excess
The recent settlement of a union-initiated grievance provides stronger protections for teachers serving in the Absent Teacher Reserve pool and new provisions governing their assignments.
PCB woes show DOE’s poor repair timeline
Just days into the school year, teachers and students at two schools have faced the risk of PCB-laden light fixtures leaking into their classrooms and offices.
Highlights from the June 28 issue of New York Teacher:
Hands off our evaluations!
In a victory for teacher privacy across the state, the state Legislature on June 21 passed legislation that restricts the public release of teacher evaluations, showing teachers the professional respect that the city did not.
Seeds of learning
Across the city, children are learning about the mysteries that are unlocked when a tiny seed is planted in the spring and grows into the food they eat at harvest time or blossoms into a rainbow of flowers. It’s Jack and the Beanstalk come true.
Contract talks headed to fact-finding
The UFT has started the fact-finding process after mediation with the Department of Education on the contract failed to resolve the serious differences between the two sides.
City grad rates stall, revealing weaknesses in Bloomberg reforms
Announcing the latest high school graduation rates on June 11, Mayor Bloomberg said the Class of 2011 “can smile again today,” while the chancellor congratulated a mayor who “changed lives.” N o one else was that upbeat. The 60.9 percent rate for the Class of 2011 was actually a small dip from 61 percent for the Class of 2010, as the state reported it, though the city got an uptick in the year-to-year comparison when it added in August graduates.
UFT joins thousands in march to end stop-and-frisk
Mulgrew: Bloomberg administration’s policy is racial profiling
Some 500 UFT members joined thousands more labor and community members for a June 17 silent march against the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which UFT President Michael Mulgrew and other critics denounced as unjust and discriminatory.
Mayor’s child care changes would bring ‘chaos’
EarlyLearn NYC would cost 2,300 provider jobs, 8,000 seats for children
The UFT, the family child care providers represented by the union and child care advocates are up in arms about major changes to city-subsidized child care set in motion by Mayor Bloomberg. Unless he is stopped, Bloomberg’s ambitious reorganization of the city’s child care services, dubbed EarlyLearn NYC, will go into effect on Oct. 1, leaving as many as 2,300 providers without work and thousands of young children forced into new child care settings.
‘Amazing’ Shanker Scholarship winners showed dedication, grit
The UFT honored 171 winners of the $1 million in scholarships given annually to college-bound students from low-income families who show academic promise.
What I do: Karen White, school social worker
Starting her career in September 2011, White works at PS 536 at PS 102 in the Bronx, where she was elected chapter leader this June.
Suspensions should be last resort, not first
The Department of Education held a hearing on June 5 at Stuyvesant HS to consider proposed changes to the student Discipline Code that are meant to reduce the number of offenses for which students could be suspended. But some critics say the code — even with the changes — is still too aggressive and does not adequately address racial disparities in suspensions.
State makes right call on teacher privacy
It took great political effort on the part of the UFT, NYSUT and Gov. Cuomo, but state legislators finally approved a bill that limits public disclosure of teacher evaluations.
Highlights from the May 24 issue of New York Teacher:
Mulgrew: Union ‘must’ play role in shaping city’s schools
Saying that the union won’t wait for Bloomberg’s departure in 2013, UFT President Michael Mulgrew on May 12 mapped out a path for improving New York City public education built on bringing the public back into public education and ensuring that city schools work for and with the whole community.
The operating room
A select group of 8th-graders at MS 217 in Queens knows exactly how to get to the heart of the matter. Working in teams of two, the young scientists search for the upper great vein of their sheep’s hearts and begin to cut. With scalpels, probes and scissors at hand, students in the Briarwood school’s after-school Heart Surgery Program begin the exacting work of dissecting hearts.
A model for co-locations
Long before co-locations became about squeezing scores of new schools into already occupied school buildings, the Twin Parks Campus in the East Tremont section of the Bronx grappled with the issue of sharing space. At Twin Parks, at least four schools have been cheek by jowl in one large building for more than 14 years.
Cincinnati community schools: A model for New York?
Cincinnati schools now have a whole range of social, academic and economic wraparound services to help its children and communities and allow its teachers to teach. More »
Highlights from the May 10 issue of New York Teacher:
If pineapples could speak…
What teachers have been saying for years about the content on state ELA tests has finally resonated with journalists, professors and even the state education commissioner. After 8th-graders voiced their bewilderment over the questions on this year’s infamous “Hare and the Pineapple” passage, Commissioner John King struck it from the test.
Final budget includes money for more teachers
Mayor Bloomberg’s final budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, released on May 3, restores 2,570 of some 6,000 teaching positions lost over the past five years — marking the first time in four years that the city will be replacing teachers who leave.
A schoolwide ‘Movement’: OT-, PT-driven morning program helps Bronx students prepare for learning
The magic that gets the school day started in high gear at PS 396 in the Bronx is a schoolwide, early-morning call to action called Movement in the Morning. And in every pre-K to 5th-grade classroom, everyone moves to the music. Teachers join their students for three minutes of jumping jacks, running in place, stretches and extended arm rolls.
UFT protests PEP ‘charade’ at City Hall
Waving signs that read “Support our Kids” and “True Reform Requires Investment,” scores of parents and teachers rallied outside City Hall to protest the mayor’s school-closing policy on April 26, just hours before the city’s Panel for Educational Policy voted to shutter 24 struggling schools, dismiss their staffs and reopen them in the fall under new names. More »
Highlights from the April 5 issue of New York Teacher:
Mulgrew challenges DOE to increase school budgets
With new money coming from the state and an improving city revenue picture, the Department of Education must finally start rebuilding ravaged school budgets, UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the City Council on March 27. Class sizes should go down and after-school and enrichment programs must be restored, he said.
Here’s the pitch
City schools finish in the money at annual Virtual Enterprise competition
Would-be entrepreneurs need to pitch detailed business plans to funders and investors. Learning to do that is part of schooling, too, as the annual Virtual Enterprise International’s Youth Business Summit competition attested. In round one, held at union headquarters on March 27, 19 student teams from high schools nationwide competed.
‘We can’t do it alone’
450 educators get message that collaboration is key to success in education
The theme of the day was “Collaboration: Changing Lives Together,” and it brought 450 early childhood educators to UFT headquarters for their fifth annual conference on March 24. “We can’t do it alone, we know it takes parents, teachers, family child care providers, administrators and advocates for children,” said UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford.
UFT blasts mayor for ‘reckless’ child care cuts
UFT President Michael Mulgrew accused Mayor Bloomberg of turning his back on 16,000 low-income families by failing to include $104 million in the budget for subsidized child care. At a press conference on the steps of City Hall on March 29, child care activists and community, union and political leaders protested the cut as unacceptable. More »
Highlights from the March 22 issue of New York Teacher:
Members, communities unite in anger against the mayor
Outraged teachers, parents, students and community and political leaders rallied in every borough on March 15 in a Day of Solidarity to protest the Bloomberg administration’s decade of mismanaging the city’s schools. Their anger was directed at the staggering number of school closings, surge of co-locations, release of the Teacher Data Reports and the mounting attacks on teachers.
Pension reduction for future city workers
Legislators give another free pass to Wall Street
State lawmakers on March 14 approved a measure to cut the retirement benefits for future public employees, including New York City public school educators, in what UFT President Michael Mulgrew denounced as a maneuver to “penalize future public workers around the state for the mistakes made by Wall Street.
Students ‘changed forever’ by opera
Metropolitan’s HD Live in Schools Program sparks love and learning
Don Jose, mad with jealousy, stabs the fiery gypsy Carmen in the heart as the crowd roars for her lover in the bullring. Students in the opera class from Susan Wagner HS on Staten Island have thrilled to this and other equally striking scenes, all live on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.
Union subpoenas Klein, DOE brass in closing schools suit
The UFT on March 5 issued a subpoena and deposition notices to compel former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and 11 other Department of Education officials to testify about the DOE’s failure to live up to its promise to provide resources and support to the threatened schools. More »
Highlights from the March 8 issue of New York Teacher:
Members ‘disgusted and angry’
Teachers reacted with dismay and anger when they returned to school on Monday, Feb. 27, after the release of deeply flawed Teacher Data Reports that ranked them against their colleagues based on student test scores.
Proposal: Co-locations would need CEC OK
UFT President Michael Mulgrew joined state and city elected officials, parents and education advocates on Feb. 28 to announce his support for proposed state legislation that would require elected parent councils to approve school co-locations before they could go into effect.
Blue-ribbon effort supports schools held hostage
UFT campaign aims to save 33 PLA schools mayor wants to close
Blue ribbons on trees and fence posts, posters blasting the mayor in neighborhood stores, buttons and school-based protest actions are the markers of a blue-ribbon campaign launched by the UFT in concert with the teachers, parents, students and community members at 33 “persistently lowest achieving” schools, who refuse to sit by while Mayor Bloomberg moves to gut their staffs.
Experts, pols agree: Bloomberg was wrong
Outrageous. That’s the word educator and author Linda Darling-Hammond from Stanford University used to describe the release of the Teacher Data Reports, and she was not alone. More »
Highlights from the Feb. 2 issue of New York Teacher:
Schools with high-needs students most likely to face ax
Ten years into Bloomberg’s education reforms, the New York City school system has come full circle and is now shutting down new high schools at the same rate as old ones. High schools established by Bloomberg represent about 40 percent of all existing high schools and 38 percent of the high schools on the closing list.
PS 22, Brooklyn: Principal blamed for plummeting enrollment
For more than five years, the Department of Education has turned a deaf ear to the persistent complaints of the staff that PS 22 Principal Carlen Padmore-Gateau has harassed, humiliated and driven teachers out of the Prospect Park school. According to District 17 Representative Rick King, more than 50 staff members and two assistant principals have been forced out.
PS 215, Queens: Crippled by cuts
The staff and parents of Far Rockaway’s PS 215 — one of the 25 schools on the mayor’s original hit list for this year — paint a picture of a school crippled by four years in a row of budget cuts. Like most of the other schools targeted by the mayor, PS 215, located in a historically neglected outlying neighborhood, serves a high-needs population.
Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Manhattan: ‘This is not a lost school’
A Harlem institution with 111 years behind it, Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts may have narrowly escaped being closed outright by the Department of Education this year, but the school must now battle to save its middle grades from the DOE’s ax — and battling it is. More »
Highlights from the Jan. 19 issue of New York Teacher:
Mulgrew: Mayor lost in fantasy world
“The mayor seems to be lost in his own fantasy world of education, the one where reality doesn’t apply,” declared UFT President Michael Mulgrew in response to the mayor’s State of the City speech on Jan. 12, in which, among other proposals, he threatened to fire half the staffs in 33 schools receiving federal School Improvement Grant support.
UFT asks PERB to help restart evaluation talks
The UFT on Jan. 13 asked the state’s Public Employment Relations Board to order mediation to bring negotiations on a teacher evaluation system for 33 restart and transformation schools back on track, after the city walked out of the talks during the Christmas break week.
Tweed OKs unwanted Eva in Cobble Hill
When charter school impresario Eva Moskowitz comes knocking at your school’s door, the Department of Education lays out the welcome mat. That’s what parents and educators in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood discovered when the city’s Panel for Educational Policy on Dec. 14 gave the green light to the co-location of Moskowitz’s newest Success Academy in a local school building already housing three schools. More »
In case you missed it, GothamSchools posted on New Year’s Eve an encyclopedic, month-by-month recap of the year in NYC school news.
They also compiled a roundup of 2011 roundups and 2012 predictions.