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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, Nov. 24, 2011Highlights from the Nov. 24 issue of New York Teacher:

An idea whose time has come can’t be evicted
30,000 rally in Foley Square as Occupy movement continues to focus attention on critical issues

Two days after being evicted from its home base in Zuccotti Park, the Occupy Wall Street movement roared its response on Nov. 17 as more than 30,000 workers, students and community members gathered in Foley Square to mark the movement’s two-month anniversary and call for jobs and economic justice.

‘Landslide’ victory in Ohio lauded
UFTers helped swing vote in favor of public-sector workers, Mulgrew says

UFT President Michael Mulgrew opened the Nov. 9 Delegate Assembly with some good news: in Ohio the previous day, voters turned back by a 61-39 percent margin an attempt to prevent public-sector workers from being able to bargain collectively.
He noted that 25 UFT retirees and staffers had been on the ground in Ohio, knocking on doors and making phone calls to talk about the issue and get out the vote.

Donovan re-elected Staten Island district attorney
UFT-endorsed candidate Dan Donovan was re-elected as district attorney for Staten Island on Election Day. Donovan, a Republican who became the borough’s DA in 2004, was re-elected for the second time with 70 percent of the vote. “Dan has a great record and educators did a great job backing him,” UFT Staten Island Representative Emil Pietromonaco said.

School secretaries feel the squeeze
School secretaries throughout the city are feeling overworked and under pressure as their ranks have thinned as secretaries leave and retire and are not replaced, according to UFT representatives. The number of school secretaries has dropped nearly 15 percent between October 2008, when there were 3,537, and this October, when there were only 3,047.

Who is really building the state economy?
This “Seeing is believing” infographic illustrates how the poor and the middle class are carrying the taxload in this state, and the rich are paying less than ever.

Class sizes at 5-year highs
Budget cuts continue to hammer city schools

To no one’s surprise, preliminary class size figures, released by the city Department of Education on Nov. 15, show class sizes increased in all grades and core subjects again this year as budget cuts continued to slam the city’s schools.

UFT files new appeal to stop TDRs
The UFT will go directly to the state’s highest court in an effort to prevent the public release of the city Department of Education’s Teacher Data Reports, a move made necessary when the union’s efforts to keep the widely discredited reports private were not successful before the lower courts.

Restrictive voting laws on rise across country
In 2011, legislators in seven states — Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — rewrote voting laws to require voters to present state-issued photo identification, while a voter-ID ballot question passed in Mississippi on Nov. 8. Florida and Ohio cut nearly in half the number of days for early voting and eliminated Sunday voting.

Campaign launched to fight attack on voting rights
UFT President Michael Mulgrew joined a host of community and civil rights leaders on the City Hall steps on Nov. 8 — Election Day — to launch the “Stand for Freedom” national voting rights campaign. The campaign announced a major march and rally on Saturday, Dec. 10 to protest the attack on voting rights nationwide.

Public libraries offer free delivery to some schools
Online service brings books to three boroughs

In another online first, some lucky city schools will be able to borrow up to 100 books at a time from the New York Public Library and have them delivered directly to their libraries and classrooms. A New York Public Library pilot program will allow teachers at more than 50 schools in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx to borrow books online, including sets for an entire class.

‘Look where we are today’
1,100 celebrate UFT activism at annual ceremony

Young UFT members just finding their union voice and longtime activists without whom the UFT would not be what it is were honored with awards at the Nov. 6 Teacher Union Day event that celebrates the contributions of the union’s own members.