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Mulgrew on “Inside City Hall”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew appeared on NY1′s “Inside City Hall” on Jan. 7. He spoke about charter schools, the Race to the Top application, this week’s class size lawsuit, and other issues.

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Part 2 after the jump.

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  • 1 Phyllis C. Murray
    · Jan 14, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Reflections on the “Key Ingredient “for Community Schools

    By Phyllis C. Murray

    ” Here is the top key ingredient for community schools according to the Children’s Aid Society: Education First–While the community school concept offers a revolutionary vision of the role a school can play within the community, its primary goal should be the education of children. The school’s core instructional program needs to be strong and effective if the extended services of the community are to achieve maximum results. Extended learning opportunities should serve to enrich and support the learning that takes place during the school day. Furthermore, the enriched health and social services of the school are all designed to ensure that children are emotionally, socially and physically supported so that they can focus on learning and developing to their full potential.’From:Are community schools too good for children?Filed under: Education by Maisie

    As educators we know that the “key ingredient” for community 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:

    Directly after the Emancipation Proclamation “the exceptionally gifted rose above the staggering obstacle of quasi-freedom,” said Martin Luther King at the UFT Spring Conference in 1964. “It is precisely because education is a road to equality and citizenship that it has been made more elusive for Negroes than many other rights. The warding off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second class status.” And today we can see this happening as the rich-poor gap is allowed to widen in NYC, New Orleans, Alabama, Mississippi, and even Washington, DC, the nation’s capital.

    King reminded UFTers in 1964 that: “education for all Americans, white and black, has always been inadequate. The richest nation on earth has never allocated enough of its abundant resources to build sufficient schools, to compensate adequately its teachers, and to surround them with the prestige their work justifies.” Therefore, when we read the “Rich-Poor Gap Widens” not only for individuals but for schools in general,” we cannot be surprised.”More economists are drawing the conclusions that a good education is one of the gateways to wealth creation for individuals as well as for nations.” (Education Trust) Yet, benign neglect seems to be the mantra of many in political office who turn their backs on the ones who need quality education the most as the budget cuts cut-away at the dollars earmarked for public education.

    The Campaign for Fiscal Equity has become a prime example of how the state was not providing adequate funding to NYC Public Schools. And as educators, we know that the resources needed to implement new programs designed by the city are inadequate. Thus, we were not surprised to learn that “New York also stands out for neglecting to fairly fund poor and minority school districts. New York spends $2,280 less per student in its poorest districts than its does on students educated in its wealthiest school districts. Even after New York was ordered to deal with these funding gaps, policy makers have failed to take action.” (Education Trust Report 2005)

    John Hendrik Clarke said, “History is a clock. It tells us where we are, but more importantly, what we must be.’ If we are the union, we must continue to fight for equity for all. And as members of The Keep the Promises Coalition, we must continue to keep the pressure on legislators from Albany, NY to Washington, DC. Our quest must be to secure public schools that reflect democracy in action because… the children are waiting.
    Phyllis C. Murray
    UFT Chapter Leader
    P.S. 75X