It’s not baseball season, but Michael Mulgrew threw his pitch to lawmakers today.
Here’s some video so you can hear it for yourself, and pictures of the variety of UFT members and NYSUT officers who met with lawmakers to talk about what schools in New York City need.
(Sorry about the lighting in a lot of the photos. I could not close the window shades and the sun was quite bright.)
The pictures don’t matter. What matters is the message. A brochure for lawmakers spelled it out: Fairness for All.
Fairness for students would be reasonable class sizes and restoration of tutoring, college prep courses, academic intervention services, art, music, theater, science labs and more. Fairness for students would mean an expansion of career and technical education programs and the College Now program to help students be ready for college. Fairness for students means the state DREAM legislation is approved so that undocumented high school graduates and members of the military have a path to citizenship and higher education.
Fairness for charter school students mean they do not give up their due process rights and that all charter schools follow district school suspension regulations.
Fairness for taxpayers means the state should close corporate tax loopholes, crack down on real estate partnerships that underpay taxes and non-resident hedge fund management companies that pay no taxes and start a minimum tax for big business.
Fairness for teachers means ongoing and relevant professional development, mentoring and support so the state should restore funding for teacher centers. Fairness for teachers means a teacher evaluation system that helps teachers improve their skills and become better at what they do, not as a justification to fire them. Fairness for teachers also means an educationally valid appeals process when a teacher does receive a negative rating.
Fairness for paraprofessionals means they should automatically be enrolled in a pension system when they are hired.
Fairness for all means an alert notification system be started to let everyone in a school community known within 72 hours if an environmental hazard occurred at school. Fairness for all means Community Education Councils should get to approve where a school can be co-located within another school.
Because UFT is part of the statewide union, Mulgrew also talked about the need to fund statewide programs like BOCES and teacher centers at the legislative briefing. The majority of conversations with lawmakers was about the need to increase aid to schools. The governor’s proposed budget increases aid to New York City schools by 2.9 percent, but schools have been cut 11 percent since 2009. Schools need school aid above the levels currently in the budget and distributed through the Campaign for Fiscal Equity foundation formula. This will support at-risk students and low-performing schools, restore programs and services to classrooms and reduce class size.