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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, Jan. 19, 2012Highlights from the Jan. 19 issue of New York Teacher:

Mulgrew: Mayor lost in fantasy world
“The mayor seems to be lost in his own fantasy world of education, the one where reality doesn’t apply,” declared UFT President Michael Mulgrew in response to the mayor’s State of the City speech on Jan. 12, in which, among other proposals, he threatened to fire half the staffs in 33 schools receiving federal School Improvement Grant support.

UFT asks PERB to help restart evaluation talks
The UFT on Jan. 13 asked the state’s Public Employment Relations Board to order mediation to bring negotiations on a teacher evaluation system for 33 restart and transformation schools back on track, after the city walked out of the talks during the Christmas break week.

Tweed OKs unwanted Eva in Cobble Hill
When charter school impresario Eva Moskowitz comes knocking at your school’s door, the Department of Education lays out the welcome mat. That’s what parents and educators in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood discovered when the city’s Panel for Educational Policy on Dec. 14 gave the green light to the co-location of Moskowitz’s newest Success Academy in a local school building already housing three schools.

UFT spreads holiday cheer for homeless kids: ‘The kids leave walking on air’
While the disc jockey in the UFT auditorium in Manhattan spins tunes ranging from Christmas songs to those by Rihanna and the Black Eyed Peas, the crowd starts dancing. Welcome to the annual holiday party for children, hosted by the UFT and the Coalition for the Homeless, which features carnival games, face painting, lunch, cake and presents from Santa for kids of all ages from family shelters throughout the city.

STARRR treatment: Professionals in the arts make key contributions at city schools — as UFT educators
While New Yorkers are not surprised to discover that an office temp or the waitress serving them is really an aspiring performer, not many know of the Actors’ Work Program which helps professional performers find meaningful sidelines to supplement their incomes — including bringing them into the classroom as substitute teachers.

Corporate tax loopholes must be closed
The UFT on Jan. 9 joined community, labor, student and faith organizations calling on state lawmakers to close corporate tax loopholes that are costing the state more than $1 billion a year.  “What we’re asking for here are very reasonable solutions,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the Albany press conference.

Cuomo to appoint new education commission
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the occasion of his State of the State speech on Jan. 4 to announce a new state commission to recommend education reforms in two key areas: teacher accountability and student achievement, and management efficiency.

UFT: Parents ‘marginalized’ by Tweed
“As major stakeholders in our schools, parents need to be engaged and respected,” Anthony Harmon, the UFT director of parent and community outreach, told the City Council Education Committee on Dec. 15 as he detailed the UFT’s varied efforts to help parents voice their concerns about their children’s education.

Funding cuts, city child care initiative concern providers
Testifying at a Dec. 12 state hearing, UFT Family Child Care Providers Chapter Chair Tammie Miller made clear her union’s concerns about both funding cuts to early childhood education and a new city initiative, Early Learn NYC, which threatens the livelihood of many of the UFT’s 28,000 providers.

Protesters call for Bronx principal’s ouster
The Columbus complex school community rallied on Jan. 10 in support of embattled teachers at the campus’ Bronxdale HS to protest the Department of Education’s mild disciplining of Principal John Chase Jr., who is accused of a string of lewd remarks to female staff in his one semester on the job.