The Rochester Teacher

Winner of NYSUT journalism awards and the Ted Bleeker award as “Best of the Best”

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The Rochester RetiredTeacher

The Rochester Retired Teacher Association is a Dept. of the RTA, composed of all retired members of RTA. Learn more…

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WHEREAS, John King has served as New York State Commissioner of Education since 2011.  During his tenure, the perception of the quality of education in New York State has been disparaged by the public comments and choices the Commissioner has made…

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  1. Begin this school year by joining your colleagues marching in the Labor Day Parade

  2. on Friday evening, August 29th. It’s fun, but it’s also important.

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  1.     I am pleased to inform you that we have reached an agreement with the District on the salary             adjustment for the 2014-2015 school year. Consistent with the Living Contact provisions, salary for Rochester teachers will be increased by 2.9%, the agreed-upon figure that represents the average of salary increases in the top one-third of highest paying school districts in Monroe County. That benchmarking has the intent of keeping salaries for Rochester teachers competitive in our area. The salary adjustment is retroactive to July 1, 2014. We are working with the District to expedite the switch to the new salary schedule and to issue any owed retroactive pay as soon as possible. Attached is the newly negotiated salary schedule for the 2014-2015 school year.

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Please Take Five Minutes to Get 50 Free Books - Plus Thousands More for Our Community’s Children

The American Federation of Teachers and First Book have created an unprecedented partnership to help Rochester youth become better readers and provide our children with their own books. When our community registers at least 2,000 people with FIRST BOOK by June 30th, a truckload full of 40,000 free books will come to Rochester. Each registrant will receive at least 50 books for the programs or community sites they run. Imagine our children reading on the school bus, at the Rec, at a shelter, in after-school programs, at church—wherever they spend time!

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NYSUT statement on Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn

New York State United Teachers President Karen E. Magee today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Harris v. Quinn. “The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Harris v. Quinn tilts the playing field to make it harder for home health care workers to organize and maintain unions — in a service area where there is a burning need for the living wages and the quality standards of care for which unions stand.

Why the anti-tenure lawsuit will fail

A few weeks ago, a judge in California struck down the state’s teacher tenure and seniority-order layoff laws. Even though the ruling has not yet been reviewed by the California Supreme Court — which may well reverse it — there already is a strong copycat effect, as groups in a number of states, including New York, have announced plans to file similar lawsuits in the near future.

Rochester families sue over teacher tenure

Two Rochester families are among those suing to change the teacher tenure system in New York state, the second of two lawsuits in the wake of a similar challenge in California. Partnership for Educational Justice, an educational advocacy group led by former CNN journalist Campbell Brown, filed its suit Monday, alleging that job protections unfairly shield bad teachers. It had previously announced its plan to sue.

Teacher protections aren't the real problem

Adam Urbanski

The lawsuit to deny teachers their right to due process, just filed in New York State, mimics a similar litigation in California, currently under appeal. This opportunistic copycat lawsuit, based largely on misrepresentation of facts, continues the wrongful narrative that all we have to do to fix public education is to fix the teachers. And it seems to assume that kids can't learn unless teachers can be fired for any reason or for no reason at all.

Let's get one thing straight: the rare teacher who is not doing the students any good is not doing the teaching profession any good, either. Struggling teachers should either improve or leave the teaching profession. This has been, and continues to be, the predominant view of teachers themselves.

NYSUT Talking Points on Tenure

The recent attacks on tenure — such as the legal case now before a California appeals court, the lawsuit filed by a group of students on Staten Island and another threatened in New York by a right-wing front group headed by former television celebrity Campbell Brown — are utterly without merit and simply nothing more than an all-out attack on the fundamental labor rights of working people by the wealthy elite and anti-union forces. NYSUT will mount an aggressive and vigorous challenge to any attempt to strip New York's dedicated teachers of this essential and fundamental right — which is a vital safeguard ensuring quality education, academic freedom and classroom stability.

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A strange definition of a ‘bad’ teacher

Keoni Wright is the lead plaintiff  in a lawsuit organized by Campbell Brown’s education advocacy group that is seeking to overturn New York laws that provide tenure and other job  protections to K-12 teachers. Brown has appeared on a number of television shows explaining her new endeavor, which will involve filing lawsuits in other states, as well, in an attempt to have national impact on tenure laws.  (Here’s a write-up about her appearance on “The Colbert Report,” and here’s a fact-check of what she said on the show).

Hundreds protest standardized testing

Hundreds of teachers, parents and students gathered at the steps of the State Education Department Monday to protest standardized testing. Busloads of people protested and shredded contracts between the state and the companies that make standardized tests. Protestors said it was not about Common Core because they’re used to standards. They said it was about how the standards are affecting students and teachers.

Many city teachers not up to par, says new report

Student behavior and disciplinary issues are not the main reasons so many Rochester public schools are failing; ineffective teachers and problems with developing the curriculum are. And only 30 percent of poorly performing schools are functioning well enough to make the improvements they need to make. Those were some of the conclusions that a group of educational consultants, most of them former superintendents, reached after assessing Rochester schools.

Special NYSUT Leader Briefing - The latest attack on tenure

NYSUT's vigorous defense of tenure continues with our statement today challenging the unsupported claims of former journalist Campbell Brown, who -- as expected -- has filed suit against New York state tenure law.

This copycat lawsuit was triggered by a lower court ruling in California that gutted teacher tenure rights there. Our legal team expects the California ruling to be overturned and is confident that challenges to New York state's tenure laws are without merit. Nonetheless, we take nothing for granted and are defending tenure aggressively in the courts and in the court of public opinion. You can help us amplify our message -- which we are promoting through mainstream and social media -- by sharing our statement with members and the public: on Twitter, Facebook, via email and in person.

No AFL-CIO endorsement for Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo got a bit of bad news out of yesterday's AFL-CIO COPE convention: the union umbrella group's political action committee didn't give the sitting governor its endorsement. (The list of the endorsements it did make is available here.) But the AFL-CIO didn't endorse any of Cuomo's challengers, either. While it's unlikely that the AFL-CIO would have backed Republican Rob Astorino, the members could have thrown the organization's endorsement to Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo's Democratic primary opponent.

Ferguson Teachers Use Day Off As Opportunity For A Civics Lesson

Chaos and unrest overnight have kept the National Guard in the suburban town of Ferguson, Mo., for a second day, and the local school district has canceled classes for the week. After two nights of violent clashes this week, neighboring Jennings School District is out of class, too. So this morning, instead of being in the classroom, 150 area teachers took part in some unusual professional development: picking up broken glass, water bottles and tear gas canisters from the street.

Campbell Brown put on notice by teachers union

I recently wrote a post about how Campbell Brown’s new advocacy group, the Partnership for Educational Justice, had used on its Web site the exact wording of the slogan of the current branding campaign of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union. It turns out that the AFT has trademarked its slogan, “Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education,” and isn’t thrilled that the Partnership for Educational Justice, which is trying to eliminate or reduce tenure and other job protections for teachers,  used the very same language to describe its mission. AFT president Randi Weingarten wrote a letter to Brown to credit the AFT for that language whenever it appears on the group’s Web site or in other materials.

Lunch lady rises to teachers union leader and takes on all comers, bluntly

She began her career in a school cafeteria, as a lunch lady. In three weeks, she will take over as head of the nation’s largest labor union, representing 3 million educators. Lily Eskelsen García, 59, a telegenic, guitar-slinging firebrand, has made her unlikely rise to the top of the National Education Association as the union faces the most daunting political challenges in its 157-year history. She is already fighting back with blunt talk, urging teachers nationwide to revolt against “stupid” education reforms and telling politicians to leave teaching to the professionals.

Education groups: NY owes schools $5.9B

New York has skipped out on $5.9 billion in school funding in recent years, leading to inequities in aid between rich and poor districts and causing cuts in programs, education groups said in a report today. New York spends the most per capita in the nation on its schools, $19,076 per student, and pumps more than $22 billion a year into education, including a 5 percent increase in the current fiscal year.

Florida: State Will Close Rick Scott’s Star Charter School

In 2011, soon after his election, Florida’s new Governor Rick Scott took Michelle Rhee on a tour to show off what Florida was doing in education. He took her to visit a charter school in Miami/Dade County, a middle school called Florida International Academy. “We have to make sure our system does exactly what you are doing here at Florida International Academy,” Scott said. Sad news. The elementary school attached to Florida International Academy was just starting. It shared the same campus and administration. There, things went from bad to worse.

Obama losing public support on education issues, new poll finds

Anybody paying attention to the roiling education reform debate won’t be especially surprised by the results of a well-regarded annual poll: Support for President Obama on education issues is waning — with only 27 percent giving him an A or B — and a majority of the public saying they oppose the Common Core State Standards and have more trust in their local school board than in the federal government when it comes to deciding what students should learn.

Administration problems add to Vargas's challenges

Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says he's making progress in improving city schools, and results are coming. But he faces some serious problems that he says could roll everything backward: open resistance from the administrators union and several changes among top administrators in central office. Vargas is at a key point in his tenure with the district. He's no longer the new guy, able to avoid criticism for the policies of previous superintendents. And he's reached that time when parents, teachers, and community leaders grow impatient for tangible results in the form of higher test scores and graduation rates.

Bryant: OK, let's blame the parents

Pretty much every time I write a suggestion about improving city schools, I get a flood of angry notes demanding that I BLAME THE PARENTS. "Troubled adults produce troubled children," one reader wrote. "The main problem is not talked about because of political correctness." It's true that I haven't published many columns excoriating parents. But believe me, I write them in my head. When people say that the city's new full-day prekindergarten might help the many children who start kindergarten woefully unprepared, in my head I write, "I know many of Rochester's parents lack money, but it costs nothing to teach your child the alphabet. If your 5-year-old comes to school and does not know the names of his body parts and cannot count to 10, you should be arrested."

Zephyr Teachout stays on Democratic primary ballot

A Democratic challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo will stay on the ballot for the Sept. 9 primary, according to a ruling Wednesday by a state appeals court. The Appellate Division rejected an appeal by an attorney for the Cuomo campaign, which challenged whether Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout meets the residency requirement to run for governor. The four-judge panel unanimously ruled in favor of Teachout, who has maintained she has kept her residence in New York since she was hired at the Manhattan law school in mid-2009. She is originally from Vermont and regularly traveled back there.

States Given a Reprieve on Ratings of Teachers

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Thursday that states could delay the use of test results in teacher-performance ratings by another year, an acknowledgment, in effect, of the enormous pressures mounting on the nation’s teachers because of new academic standards and more rigorous standardized testing.

The attack on bad teacher tenure laws is actually as attack on black professionals

After the Vergara v. California decision in California’s state Supreme Court, which held that key job protections for teachers are unconstitutional, anti-union advocates everywhere began spawning copycat lawsuits. But while reformers may genuinely want to fix education for everyone, their efforts will only worsen diversity in the teaching corps. The truth is that an attack on bad teacher tenure laws (and ineffective teachers in general) is actually an attack on black professionals

New York State Exposed Education: Common Core and private schools

Next week, about 110,000 children in Monroe County public schools will once again get back to learning under the Common Core. The backlash over the new national standards is still raging in many circles. In our report, we’ll show you that as the complaints have increased, so has enrollment at area private schools.

Some RCSD renovations complete

It’s a multi-year, multimillion dollar project. Renovations of Schools 5 and 28 in the Rochester City School District are done. Both reopened Thursday. Students and parents got their first look into the $24 million renovation at Henry Hudson School 28. The school is brighter and cleaner, according to some of the students walking the halls for the first time in a year. New computer labs, science labs, safety cameras and sound systems in the classrooms are just some of what has been done to transform the school. Seventh grade has also been added to the school that already has 90 more students enrolled this year than last. Parents say being in a different school for the last year was worth the wait.