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New York Teacher

New York TeacherHighlights from the April 28 issue of New York Teacher:

The battle against crippling cuts
10,000 union workers turn out to “take our country back”

“Twenty years from now,” thundered UFT President Michael Mulgrew, “teachers will be teaching about how one percent of the country tried to take the country away from the rest of us …You will be part of that story.” Mulgrew delivered these rousing words to more than 10,000 cheering union members during a mid-day rally at Times Square on April 9.

Everyday hero: Mr. Porton’s classroom, where students are ‘safe and the possibilities endless’
“I represent senior teachers, who the Department of Education thinks are mummified and collecting dust rather than educating students,” said Thomas Porton, one of only 10 winners nationwide of the 2011 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards and the only winner from New York City. Porton has been teaching at Monroe HS in the Soundview section of the South Bronx for 42 years.

Black out, Walcott in as chancellor
Mulgrew hopes change is an opportunity to shelve failed policies

After only three tumultuous months on the job, embattled Schools Chancellor Cathie Black resigned on April 7. She was replaced by Dennis Walcott, a former Board of Education president and now top aide to the mayor on educational issues. At a press conference at City Hall, Bloomberg said that he and Black met that morning and had “mutually agreed” that she should step down.

New chancellor grilled by City Council members on layoffs
Dennis Walcott spent his first day as chancellor-designee on a City Council hot seat on April 8, as members of the Education Committee grilled him on the mayor’s plan to lay off thousands of teachers. Walcott followed the mayor’s script, saying layoffs were “unavoidable” but UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who testified after him, told the council that the mayor was playing politics with children.

Did I really say that about Cathie Black?
When Mayor Bloomberg named Cathie Black to succeed Joel Klein as schools chancellor on Nov. 9, here’s what some “experts” had to say. Pass the salt. It’s time to eat some words. Mayor Bloomberg: “I did have a public search and I picked the best person.”

Students from struggling schools ask DOE for more support, resources
Students from dozens of schools being closed by the Department of Education stood on the steps of City Hall on April 10 to ask the mayor and the schools chancellor to give them the support and resources they need to graduate. UFT President Michael Mulgrew, along with some City Council members stood with them and called for the DOE to change its school closing policy.

Welcome to my classroom
In February, the UFT organized an essay contest in which it asked members to tell the chancellor about the value that they add to the lives of students. What work do you do every day? What makes you so special? What do you do that often gets lost in all the talk? Here’s what your colleagues had to say.

700 attend King vigil for civil, worker rights
More than 700 UFT and community members held a “Workers Rights Are Civil Rights” candlelight vigil outside Battery Park’s Castle Clinton on April 4, one of more than 1,200 “We Are One” events marking the 43rd anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

UFTers take part in protest actions throughout the city
Throughout the five boroughs, UFTers took part in creative actions to protest the mayor’s claim that teacher layoffs are necessary in spite of the $3.1 billion city surplus.

Close to 1,000 in Queens protest budget cuts and layoffs
Almost the entire Queens political delegation joined close to 1,000 chanting UFT members on the steps of Queens Borough Hall for an April 14 rally against budget cuts and teacher layoffs organized by the UFT’s Queens office. Addressing the crowd, UFT President Michael Mulgrew blasted Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s DOE for the havoc that layoffs will cause.