By Micah Landau
More than 150 charter school teachers and other staff gathered at the UFT’s Manhattan headquarters on Jan. 29 for a half day of union-sponsored professional development on bridging the achievement gap in charter schools.
The morning training, which included a panel and several workshop sessions, was the third in a four-session series, “Teaching for Social Justice: Charter School Perspectives.” Previous topics in the series included action research and how to keep authentic education alive in the “age of standardized tests.”
The union is offering the series as part of its work with charter school educators. The UFT represents educators at 12 New York City charter schools, has sponsored a charter school of its own and partnered with Green Dot in sponsoring another.
“Charter educators need a collective voice in their schools to advocate for themselves and for their students,” UFT Vice President Leo Casey said. “The UFT supports all teachers and all students regardless of what kind of school they are in. We want charter teachers to reach their full potential as educators — and we’re committed to helping them get there.”
Panelists at the training included Bob Moses, founder of the Algebra Project and a veteran of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee of the 1960s; Sheila Evans-Tranumn, former associate commissioner at the New York State Education Department and now the chief executive at the UFT Charter School; and AFT President Randi Weingarten, a former UFT president.
The final session in the series will be held at UFT headquarters on March 12 and will feature Martha Andrews of the Bronx Community Charter School; Mona Davids of the New York Charter Parents Association; Zakiyah Ansari of the Coalition for Educational Justice; and famed educator Deborah Meier in a conversation about parent and community involvement at charter schools.