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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, April 5, 2012Highlights from the April 5 issue of New York Teacher:

Mulgrew challenges DOE to increase school budgets
With new money coming from the state and an improving city revenue picture, the Department of Education must finally start rebuilding ravaged school budgets, UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the City Council on March 27. Class sizes should go down and after-school and enrichment programs must be restored, he said.

Here’s the pitch
City schools finish in the money at annual Virtual Enterprise competition
Would-be entrepreneurs need to pitch detailed business plans to funders and investors. Learning to do that is part of schooling, too, as the annual Virtual Enterprise International’s Youth Business Summit competition attested. In round one, held at union headquarters on March 27, 19 student teams from high schools nationwide competed.

‘We can’t do it alone’
450 educators get message that collaboration is key to success in education
The theme of the day was “Collaboration: Changing Lives Together,” and it brought 450 early childhood educators to UFT headquarters for their fifth annual conference on March 24. “We can’t do it alone, we know it takes parents, teachers, family child care providers, administrators and advocates for children,” said UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford.

UFT blasts mayor for ‘reckless’ child care cuts
UFT President Michael Mulgrew accused Mayor Bloomberg of turning his back on 16,000 low-income families by failing to include $104 million in the budget for subsidized child care. At a press conference on the steps of City Hall on March 29, child care activists and community, union and political leaders protested the cut as unacceptable.

Thanks and no thanks
Lawmakers get feedback for their Tier 6 pension votes from 1,200 educators, parents
“If any elected official says ‘special interest’ to you, you tell them you mean the millionaires and billionaires who only want more,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the approximately 1,200 teachers, family child care providers, paraprofessionals and parents who descended on Albany for the UFT’s annual Lobby Day on March 21.

Larger-than-expected state aid heading for city public schools
The state budget, finalized on March 30, brought mostly good news for city schools. The state agreed to an additional $292 million for the education budget in New York City, even more than the governor originally promised.

PERB names mediator for evaluation talks
The state Public Employment Relations Board has named a mediator, at the request of the UFT, to help break the impasse between the union and the Department of Education over teacher evaluations in 33 schools. UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomed the step.

Sheepshead Bay HS: 500 insist ‘We’re open!’
Sporting school-color orange T-shirts reading “We’re Open” superimposed over “Sorry, We’re closed!” the Sheepshead Bay HS community in Brooklyn is fighting for its life. On March 28, prior to a public hearing on its planned closure, more than 500 rallied to support its teachers and demand that the Department of Education reverse course.

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1 Comment:

  • 1 phyllis c. murray
    · Apr 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Re. Mulgrew challenges DOE to increase school budgets
    As educators we know that the “key ingredient” for community schools is adequate funding for instructional programs, extended learning opportunities, and enriched health and social services. Effective teachers also know that often they must use their own personal resources to create classroom environments which are viable; write proposals to fund extended learning opportunities; and lobby in Albany to secure better health and safety conditions. Then teachers must lobby for additional psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors.

    The failure of local and state governments to provide funding to economically poor citizens and their schools would otherwise compromise the teachers’ efforts and the future of this great nation. The truly dedicated educators have seen miracles happen daily for years as their students’ dreams were realized. Fortunately, this is not a new phenomenon throughout the nation. Good teachers have always made a difference in the lives of their students. Case in point:

    Directly after the Emancipation Proclamation “the exceptionally gifted rose above the staggering obstacle of quasi-freedom,” said Martin Luther King at the UFT Spring Conference in 1964. “It is precisely because education is a road to equality and citizenship that it has been made more elusive for Negroes than many other rights. The warding off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second class status.” And today we can see this happening as the rich-poor gap is allowed to widen in NYC, New Orleans, Alabama, Mississippi, and even Washington, DC, the nation’s capital.

    King reminded UFTers in 1964 that: “education for all Americans, white and black, has always been inadequate. The richest nation on earth has never allocated enough of its abundant resources to build sufficient schools, to compensate adequately its teachers, and to surround them with the prestige their work justifies.” Therefore, when we read the “Rich-Poor Gap Widens” not only for individuals but for schools in general,” we cannot be surprised.”More economists are drawing the conclusions that a good education is one of the gateways to wealth creation for individuals as well as for nations.” (Education Trust) Yet, benign neglect seems to be the mantra of many in political office who turn their backs on the ones who need quality education the most as the budget cuts cut-away at the dollars earmarked for public education.

    The Campaign for Fiscal Equity has become a prime example of how the state was not providing adequate funding to NYC Public Schools. And as educators, we know that the resources needed to implement new programs designed by the city are inadequate. Thus, we were not surprised to learn that “New York also stands out for neglecting to fairly fund poor and minority school districts. New York spends $2,280 less per student in its poorest districts than its does on students educated in its wealthiest school districts. Even after New York was ordered to deal with these funding gaps, policy makers have failed to take action.” (Education Trust Report 2005)

    John Hendrik Clarke said, “History is a clock. It tells us where we are, but more importantly, what we must be.’ If we are the union, we must continue to fight for equity for all. And as members of The Keep the Promises Coalition, we must continue to keep the pressure on legislators from Albany, NY to Washington, DC. Our quest must be to secure public schools that reflect democracy in action because… the children are waiting.
    Phyllis C. Murray
    UFT Chapter Leader
    P.S. 75X