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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, March 22, 2012Highlights from the March 22 issue of New York Teacher:

Members, communities unite in anger against the mayor
Outraged teachers, parents, students and community and political leaders rallied in every borough on March 15 in a Day of Solidarity to protest the Bloomberg administration’s decade of mismanaging the city’s schools. Their anger was directed at the staggering number of school closings, surge of co-locations, release of the Teacher Data Reports and the mounting attacks on teachers.

Pension reduction for future city workers
Legislators give another free pass to Wall Street
State lawmakers on March 14 approved a measure to cut the retirement benefits for future public employees, including New York City public school educators, in what UFT President Michael Mulgrew denounced as a maneuver to “penalize future public workers around the state for the mistakes made by Wall Street.

Students ‘changed forever’ by opera
Metropolitan’s HD Live in Schools Program sparks love and learning
Don Jose, mad with jealousy, stabs the fiery gypsy Carmen in the heart as the crowd roars for her lover in the bullring. Students in the opera class from Susan Wagner HS on Staten Island have thrilled to this and other equally striking scenes, all live on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.

Union subpoenas Klein, DOE brass in closing schools suit
The UFT on March 5 issued a subpoena and deposition notices to compel former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and 11 other Department of Education officials to testify about the DOE’s failure to live up to its promise to provide resources and support to the threatened schools.

31st annual Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon
‘We have a whole lot to offer’
Each year the UFT celebrates paraprofessionals, “who give each and every child what he or she needs and make a difference in kids’ lives,” Paraprofessionals Chapter Chair Shelvy Young-Abrams told the audience of 900 gathered at the New York Hilton on March 10.

Getting bang for ‘Itak Bucks’
Teacher motivates Bronx middle schoolers with fun currency
Gold stars for jobs well done may thrill the little ones, but for middle school students, stars don’t cut it. That’s been the experience of Chapter Leader Jeffrey Williams of PS/MS 37 in the Bronx. But one imaginative teacher, Helena Itak, has come up with a solution that has kids so engaged that there are no serious behavior incidents in her classroom.

Labor leaders to state legislators: There ought to be a law!
Penalties needed for fraud that harms pensions
Faced with a state pension system decimated by Wall Street’s 2008 meltdown, labor leaders including UFT President Michael Mulgrew converged on the Capitol on March 12 to demand new legislation that would allow the state attorney general to recoup pension losses caused by fraud.

UFT asks state board for help on evaluation talks
The UFT asked the Public Employment Relations Board on March 6 to compel the Department of Education to negotiate in good faith after the DOE refused to return to the bargaining table to develop a teacher evaluation system for 33 restart and transformation schools.