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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, Nov. 10, 2011Highlights from the Nov. 10 issue of New York Teacher:

Plan in works to improve pension fund returns
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, City Comptroller John Liu, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other municipal union leaders announced an agreement in principle on Oct. 27 to create a new investment advisory board that will oversee the investment process for all five New York City pension funds.

Enough is enough!
UFT survey finds great damage done to schools

Standing with teachers and families in front of PS 1 in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Nov. 1, UFT President Michael Mulgrew revealed the results of a new UFT survey that confirms the devastating effects of three years of budget cuts on the city’s schools.

Gym dandies
Mighty Miler program helps teachers fill schools’ physical education voids

Teachers are launching their own initiatives to step into the breach created by the Department of Education’s failure to comply with state requirements for physical activity in city schools. With 40 percent of city schoolchildren overweight or obese, teachers have started Mighty Miler walking, jogging and running clubs that take place before, after and during school.

Bad-times budgets cut to the bone
Budget cuts reported in percentages are troubling enough, but budget cuts reported in the words of teachers in the schools convey the flesh-and-blood wounds that cuts can cause. A new UFT survey of chapter leaders showed teachers fear for their students’ futures as class sizes ballooned over three years and schools lost tutoring, academic intervention services, enrichment classes and support staff.

Let them eat cake
Seeing is believing

Over the past two decades, the wealthiest New Yorkers have acquired an unprecedented portion of the city’s income while the bottom 50% have lost share. This infographic shows just how much!

UFT helps Occupy Wall Street
Venturing from their home base at Zuccotti Park, protesters have “occupied” spaces ranging from Washington Square Park to Gracie Mansion. But there has also been a friendlier “occupation”: Occupy Wall Street’s takeover of the first floor storefront adjoining the lobby of the UFT’s headquarters which is a perfect storage space for gear.

First contract ratified at Queens charter
By a unanimous vote, educators at the Merrick Academy Charter School ratified their first contract on Nov. 3, capping a three-year struggle for recognition and a contract. The new contract includes salary increases as well as tuition reimbursement for Merrick educators who have worked for one full year at the school.

Tenure: What the DOE’s new framework means to you
Do you expect to be up for tenure? If so, become familiar with the Department of Education’s new Tenure Decision-making Framework. The new framework, which was introduced in the 2010-2011 school year, guides principals in making tenure decisions. There are important changes to be aware of.

Teacher evaluations that put ‘data’ in their place
What is evidence of good teaching, or bad? It’s not student test scores. But neither is it an unquantifiable “gut feeling.” In Montgomery County, Md., teacher evaluations, under a plan negotiated by the local union and the district, use data far beyond test scores to assess the true quality of the teaching that is taking place.