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New York Teacher

New York Teacher, May 10, 2012Highlights from the May 10 issue of New York Teacher:

If pineapples could speak…
What teachers have been saying for years about the content on state ELA tests has finally resonated with journalists, professors and even the state education commissioner. After 8th-graders voiced their bewilderment over the questions on this year’s infamous “Hare and the Pineapple” passage, Commissioner John King struck it from the test.

Final budget includes money for more teachers
Mayor Bloomberg’s final budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, released on May 3, restores 2,570 of some 6,000 teaching positions lost over the past five years — marking the first time in four years that the city will be replacing teachers who leave.

A schoolwide ‘Movement’: OT-, PT-driven morning program helps Bronx students prepare for learning
The magic that gets the school day started in high gear at PS 396 in the Bronx is a schoolwide, early-morning call to action called Movement in the Morning. And in every pre-K to 5th-grade classroom, everyone moves to the music. Teachers join their students for three minutes of jumping jacks, running in place, stretches and extended arm rolls.

UFT protests PEP ‘charade’ at City Hall
Waving signs that read “Support our Kids” and “True Reform Requires Investment,” scores of parents and teachers rallied outside City Hall to protest the mayor’s school-closing policy on April 26, just hours before the city’s Panel for Educational Policy voted to shutter 24 struggling schools, dismiss their staffs and reopen them in the fall under new names.

DA report: Mulgrew warns of challenges ahead
At the April 18 Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew warned the delegates to brace themselves for the mayor’s attempt to continue his “educational reform” policies beyond his third term.

Pair of schools gets last-minute reprieve
The mayor’s original list of 33 schools targeted for closure dropped to 24 by the time of the Panel for Educational Policy’s vote on April 26 as he and the Department of Education backpedaled on school after school in the face of a wave of public outrage and political pressure.

August Martin HS, Queens: Scores up — so why close down?
Charging the mayor and the city Department of Education with politics and arrogant indifference in their march to close schools, community activists, parents, political leaders and staff from August Martin HS pointed to the steady rise in graduation rates and test scores at the Jamaica school over the past three years as they stepped up their fight to save the targeted school.

Annenberg group says: ‘Way Forward’ is not closing schools
Citing school closings that have led to reduced services and increased dropout rates, the NYC Working Group on School Transformation on April 17 said closing a school should be the last resort. First, the Department of Education should engage in the hard work of school transformation, the group said at an event to launch its report at New York University.

2012 NYSUT Representative Assembly: Eadie Shanker receives Sandy Feldman Award
Eadie Shanker’s name is often followed by the description, “wife of the late UFT and AFT president, Albert Shanker.” But the former Queens teacher has blazed many trails of her own — which is why she was named a winner of the Not For Ourselves Alone: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award at the NYSUT Representative Assembly in Buffalo on April 26.

Tweed slammed on co-location policy
The Department of Education’s controversial policy of co-locating multiple schools in the same building faced sharp criticism at a City Council Education Committee hearing on April 19, one week before the city’s Panel for Educational Policy was scheduled to vote on 38 co-location proposals.