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New York Teacher

New York TeacherHighlights from the Nov. 12 issue of New York Teacher:

53,000 members’ pension checks were returned quickly after a horrendous $189 million withdrawal, thanks to UFT and city demands.

At the 12th annual UFT Parent Conference on Oct. 31, some 3,000 parents eagerly soaked up information and ideas about how to help their children in school — and signed up in record numbers to advocate in the political arena for adequate education funding.

A sense of history, continuity and pride pervaded the UFT’s Teacher Union Day as more than 1,200 union activists gathered to honor their colleagues and leaders.

When it comes to special education, it seems principals are making excuses again. As of Nov. 9, 705 complaints were logged on the UFT online special education complaint form.

Of 49 City Council hopefuls endorsed by the union, 47 were elected to four-year terms on Nov. 3. The union’s choices for city comptroller and public advocate — Councilmen John Liu and Bill de Blasio, respectively — romped to victory.

Professional development took many forms on Nov. 3, from a UFT safety training to a session at the New York Public Library on how to teach Frankenstein, and strategies for reaching struggling writers in the Rockaways.

Tomatoes, celery, potatoes, parsley, sunflower seeds and other earthly delights, picked right out of the garden by kids at PS 205 in Queens, are part of the “Garden to City Harvest” project, which feeds the hungry in New York City.

Are you interested in protecting the environment? A novel way you and your students can pitch in is by participating in a citizen-scientist project. One teacher tells how he did that by creating a bird-watching club at his school.

Teaching is so much more than test results. Regardless of the critics’ demands, we can’t teach and children can’t learn when they are feeling sick or hungry or worried about adult-size problems.

Where should we spend precious education dollars, especially now that we don’t have so many? A new paper suggests there’s a much bigger bang for the buck when you invest in curriculum, rather than expensive “solutions,” like charter schools or merit pay.