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Anne Goldman, UFT Vice President for Non-DOE Members

By Anne Goldman

As the United Federation of Teachers’ first-ever vice president for non-DOE members, I am proud to represent our members in charter schools throughout the city. In this role, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the teacher-activists and member-leaders who serve at our UFT-represented charter schools. As the union movement in charters continues to grow, I call on you to join us in our common struggle for high-quality education in every school in our city.

For over 50 years, the UFT has been a member-led organization that has championed quality public education for the educators, parents and children of New York City. Currently, with teacher unionism under attack across the country, some have tried to pit charter school educators against district teachers and their unions. But in fact, former UFT President Albert Shanker was one of the first education leaders to introduce the concept of charter schools. In a 1988 speech, he outlined a vision of charter schools as teacher-led laboratories that would experiment with new instructional practices and disseminate these best practices to the larger public school system. Continue reading&#0133

The importance of paid sick days

No one should have to go to work while sick. Whether you’re a nurse, a child care provider, a charter school teacher or any other worker, working while sick is bad for you, your family, your colleagues and those you serve.

This is especially true for restaurant workers, who handle the food we eat, and for caregivers and educators, entrusted with the welfare of others, including children.

Nearly 90 percent of restaurant workers reported that they receive no sick days, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the advocacy organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. The same survey found that two-thirds of these workers go to work when sick. The effect on public health is tremendous: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sick restaurant workers are the cause of more than 3 million cases of food-borne illness each year.

It is not a stretch to say that the lack of paid sick days for these and other workers is a public health crisis. Nationally, more than 45 million U.S. workers do not receive paid sick days. Continue reading&#0133

UFT Teacher Center workshop for charter school educators

Join us on Saturday, May 17 for Collaboration and Engagement in the Common Core Classroom: English Language Learners, a workshop developed and delivered by UFT Teacher Center. This course focuses on the application of the Common Core Learning Standards to support language and content learning for English language learners (ELL).

Register now.

Participants will:

  • Deepen knowledge of Common Core Learning Standards Instructional Shifts
  • Explore the use of primary sources to develop academic language and content knowledge
  • Engage in collaborative, evidence-based conversations around multiple media
  • Acquire tools and strategies to scaffold the development of academic language.

When: Saturday, May 17, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Where: UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10004

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Registration is required and space is limited.

Bronx Community Charter staff gain greater voice in new contract

Founding teacher Chris Whitney (Gary Schoichet)

By Rob Callaghan

Last winter, educators at the Bronx Community Charter School organized a UFT chapter, citing the need for teachers’ voices in the school’s operation. This February, they unanimously ratified their first collective-bargaining agreement, which features teacher-led committees.

“This is a foundation that allows us to work together to address issues as an entire community, including our parents,” said founding 2nd-grade teacher Chris Whitney.

The Bronx Community Charter School, located just north of the New York Botanical Garden, on Feb. 12 approved the two-year contract, which covers the 43 teachers, instructional assistants, school counselors, data managers, and school aides at the elementary school. Continue reading&#0133

Merrick Academy members OK 17-month pact

Members from Merrick Academy Charter School in Queens Village participate in a 2010 rally. (Bruce Cotler)

By Rob Callaghan

UFT-represented educators at Merrick Academy Charter School on Feb. 24 approved a new contract with better health care and stronger due-process protections.

The 30 teachers and teacher assistants at the K-6 charter school in Queens Village ratified the school’s second contract, which runs from March 1, 2014 until Aug. 21, 2016, by a unanimous vote.

Teachers will now have lower health plan co-pays and an improved salary schedule that will make the school competitive with the Department of Education’s salary scale. And in an important gain for Merrick educators, arbitration will now be the final step for grievances and terminations. Continue reading&#0133