Highlights from the Oct. 28 issue of New York Teacher:
DOE backs off release of Teacher Data Reports in face of UFT lawsuit
The UFT scored an 11th-hour victory on Oct. 21 when the city Department of Education backed off a decision to release test-based data reports on nearly 12,000 teachers, at least until a Nov. 24 court hearing. The DOE made that commitment before a state judge as the UFT was in court trying to block the release of the individual names.
UFT working to elect DiNapoli comptroller
In the statewide race for comptroller, the UFT is making a big push for Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli. “As comptroller,” union President Michael Mulgrew said, “Tom DiNapoli is a strong defender of defined-benefit retirement plans, an opponent of efforts to privatize such plans, and an excellent steward of the state’s finances. He also doesn’t — and won’t — blame public employees and retirees for the state’s insolvency.”
McMahon for Congress getting union push
With the balance of power in the U.S. Congress in play, UFT volunteers are working overtime to re-elect Democrat Michael McMahon to the U.S. House of Representatives in a hotly contested race against conservative challenger Michael Grimm, a political newcomer.
Teacher-designed data systems more useful
Teachers, it turns out, really do know how to build a better mousetrap. Frustrated and disappointed with ARIS, the Department of Education’s $80 million data system, teachers have taken matters into their own hands. Jesse Olsen, a math teacher at Validus Preparatory Academy in the Bronx, was disappointed with the way ARIS tracks student attendance. When ARIS marks a student present, it indicates present for the entire day. But high school teachers know better. Students can be in class for attendance and then cut a class or two or three. So he set out to do it better.
What to do if you encounter bullying
The recent suicides of five middle and high school students who were relentlessly taunted because they were gay or thought to be gay have called national attention, once again, to the problem of bullying in schools. Whether based on prejudice about someone’s race, religion, ethnicity or sexuality or just because a kid is different, bullying has had consequences for both victims and bullies.
Thousands of UFTers walk the walk
It was a splendid day for the thousands of UFTers who stepped out with thousands of other New Yorkers in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer march at sites in every borough and on Long Island on Oct. 17. In sun-drenched Central Park, UFT President Michael Mulgrew was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony freeing a tsunami of striders, scores wearing pink breast cancer survivor T-shirts.
Members across city show their true colors
Schools across the city took time to bang the drum for breast cancer research during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Besides participating by the thousands in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 17, UFTers have been staging Pink Days at their schools to raise awareness and money for the cause.
Providers’ right to unionize now law
In an historic moment for New York City’s 28,000 family child care providers and tens of thousands more providers across the state, Gov. David Paterson on Oct. 1 signed into law new legislation guaranteeing providers the right to form a union and bargain collectively with the state.
Harlem charter’s teachers want UFT representation
The first charter school established in New York City is going union. Twenty-seven out of 28 pedagogues at Sisulu-Walker Charter School of Harlem signed union authorization cards with the UFT and, on Oct. 21, gave letters to the school’s principal and board of trustees explaining their decision.