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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, Dec. 22, 2011Highlights from the Dec. 22 issue of New York Teacher:

Hard work for economic fairness pays off
UFT members, allies lead successful fight for first education funding increase from state in three years
Capping a yearlong political battle by the UFT and its labor and community allies for economic equity, the New York State Legislature on Dec. 6 passed legislation that brought a measure of fairness to the state tax code while providing a much-needed boost in education funding for next year.

Delegates thanked for role in long budget fight
“I can’t thank you all enough,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told delegates at the Dec. 7 Delegate Assembly, of their role leading up to the state Legislature’s Dec. 6 agreement that will make the state tax system more progressive and earmark $800 million of the new revenue for schools statewide.

This is what democracy looks like
Thank you, UFT members, for all that you did to help win a more equitable tax structure in New York State and secure an additional $2 billion in revenue for next year’s budget. There is no way it would have happened without the incredibly hard work that the members of this great union did to fight for the children of our city.

Special deliveries
Harlem school’s librarian brings role models to students through speaker series
“There is a sweet spirit in this place,” Dr. Cornel West, dressed in his trademark three-piece suit, pocket watch and scarf, told the packed audience of faculty, staff and students from Harlem’s Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts and Frederick Douglass Academy II on Dec. 5. The Princeton University professor urged students to lead an examined life and to “love learning.”

Thousands take giant steps for working people
In a show of labor-union strength in New York City, 20,000 unionized workers, including thousands of UFT members, marched from Herald Square to Union Square on Dec. 1 to demand jobs and a fairer tax system for working Americans. Watching the teeming crowd, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the march was yet another example of “labor standing up for their families, neighbors and communities.”

25 more schools marked for closure
Mulgrew: Another stunning failure of DOE management
Twenty-five more city schools face shutdown or phaseout — 11 of them opened by the Bloomberg administration — in what UFT President Michael Mulgrew charged is the Department of Education “playing three-card Monte with children’s lives and education.”

UFT Annual Parent Conferences: ‘We have the same needs and goals’
More than 2,000 parents, grandparents and guardians turned out for annual conferences organized by the UFT in every borough on Saturdays this fall, each focusing on topics selected by parents for parents. The full-day events, which included exhibitors, gave parents plenty of information and resources to use and share.

City’s scores flat on nation’s report card
Test scores for New York City students showed little to no progress between 2009 and 2011 on national exams — even as students in other cities improved — while the racial achievement gaps remain as wide as they were when the mayor first took office, according to new test data released on Dec. 7.

700 UFTers join fight against suppressing the vote
Civil rights pioneer W.E.B. DuBois’ epigram — “The power of the ballot we need in sheer self-defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?” — was the subtext of the Dec. 10 Stand for Freedom march and rally for voting rights that drew what rally organizers estimated were tens of thousands of demonstrators, including more than 700 UFT members.

Bucking system to deliver excellent patient care
Advocacy on behalf of patients — in the face of relentless pressure for profits by hospital administrations — was a major theme that threaded throughout the 32nd annual Professional Issues Conference of the Federation of Nurses/UFT held on Nov. 18 and 19.

No time clocks for paraprofessionals
UFT scores arbitration victory that treats them ‘with dignity and respect, like any other staff’
The UFT scored a big victory for paraprofessionals throughout the city on Dec. 13 when an arbitrator ruled that paraprofessionals, like other pedagogues working at schools and school-based programs including LYFE and hospital schools, do not have to punch in and out on a time clock.

Teacher evaluations in 33 schools subject of intensive negotiations
UFT: We won’t agree to a bad deal
The UFT and the Department of Education have been in intensive negotiations for the past two months over the details of a new teacher evaluation system for schools designated for the “restart” and “transformation” federal intervention models only. With a Dec. 31 deadline looming for finalizing an agreement, both sides are meeting in subcommittees and going back and forth on key issues.