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. Dear Colleagues,

  2. Unfortunately, the Rochester City School District determined to lay-off approximately 100     teachers. We are committed to continue our efforts during the summer to get the Rochester City School District to restore as many positions and lay-offs as possible.

  3. Read more…

  4.     Colleagues,

  5.         A week ago, I wrote to inform you that we have filed a Class Action Grievance and an  improper Practice charge against the District to protest the testing fiasco. But when the Board of Education demanded answers from Central Office, they responded dismissively that they did nothing wrong and our actions were "politically motivated." In other words, they told the Board that you are not telling the truth.

  6. Read entire letter…

  1. Superintendent Vargas has just informed me that the last day of school (Thursday, June 26th) will be a day without students. All teachers will have that entire day to fulfill their many end-of-the -school-year responsibilities.

Local News

National News

State News

Calif. court rules teacher tenure creates unequal conditions

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that tenure, seniority and other job protections for teachers have created unequal conditions in public schools and deprive poor children of the best teachers. In a case that could have national implications for the future of teacher tenure, Judge Rolf Treu sided with a Silicon Valley mogul against some of the most powerful labor unions in the country.

CTU President Karen Lewis on California court tenure ruling

It must be nice to be a wealthy tech mogul like David Welch. When you want to “prove” a theory, you just go get someone else’s kids to be the guinea pigs. When you want to “prove” a theory, you conveniently omit the most relevant and direct causes of harm. Such was the case in this week’s California lawsuit decision against tenure for teachers.

Delay Urged on Actions Tied to Tests by Schools

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the country’s largest donors to educational causes and a strong backer of the academic guidelines known as the Common Core, has called for a two-year moratorium on states or school districts making any high-stakes decisions based on tests aligned with the new standards.

Cuomo compromise affects evaluations for low-rated teachers

Governor Andrew Cuomo, teachers' unions and legislative leaders reached a deal on amendments to the state-mandated teacher- and principal-evaluation system that would remove student performance on Common Core-aligned test scores from the ratings of educators who perform poorly under the current system. The program bill, which Cuomo released on Thursday, applies only to educators who are rated "developing" or "ineffective," the two lowest ratings, under the current system, which state officials estimate would number fewer than 1,000.

Message from the RTA Action Committee

We are so proud to be Rochester Teachers working beside amazing people like you. You were AWESOME at the BOE meeting. We came out by the hundreds and  changed the course of education for our profession.  The passion, the tears, the joy, the caring demonstrated for our students was inspiring. We spoke from the heart, which is the children we serve. We will never again allow ourselves to be marginalized. Thank you for giving up your time last evening. Thank you for all you do everyday for the children of Rochester.

Fraternally, Dave Wurz & Dawn Hohmann RTA Action Committee Co-Chairs

NYSUT calls delay on consequences a necessary first step

New York State United Teachers today said it anticipates passage of a bill now before the Legislature that would establish a two-year moratorium protecting teachers from some of the worst consequences of the State Education Department’s flawed roll-out of the Common Core standards, an essential step toward fixing what’s wrong with the system.

A Letter to Vargas from Randi Weingarten

    I regret that I am not able to deliver these remarks in person.  Nonetheless, I want to add my voice to that of the many teachers and parents who are here to alert you to the realities that exist for the students. I spent today in Rochester helping launch, in partnership with the Rochester City School District, a comprehensive strategy including First Book, our union, educators, parents and Center for Youth to ensure all Rochester public school students have books to read at home this summer, and their parents use the union’s Share My Lesson website for strategies and guides to assist their children. All k-11 students will receive 100,000 books to boost your already impressive emphasis on reading and literacy.  We are doing this for the same reason that you, Rochester teachers and the Rochester community have: to heighten the prospects for better learning for all your students.

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New York State Challenge Planned on Teacher Tenure Law

A new advocacy group is helping parents prepare a challenge to New York's teacher tenure and seniority laws, contending that they violate children's constitutional right to a sound basic education by keeping ineffective teachers in classrooms. Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who has been a critic of job protections for teachers, launched the group, Partnership for Educational Justice, in December. She said six students have agreed to serve as plaintiffs, arguing they suffered from laws making it too expensive, time-consuming and burdensome to fire bad teachers.

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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New Approaches To Discipline Strive To Keep Kids Out Of Jail

School's out for the summer. For young people in New York City, if last summer was any guide, that may mean they're less likely to be arrested. The connection between young people, especially poor boys of color, getting into trouble in school and getting into trouble with the law is known as the "school-to-prison pipeline."

N.Y. teacher tenure law to be challenged

The family of a Rochester girl who made headlines two years ago for alleging harassment by teachers is a plaintiff in an upcoming lawsuit that challenges New York's teacher tenure law. The lawsuit, announced Tuesday before its formal filing by the Partnership for Educational Justice, comes in the aftermath of a similar, successful lawsuit in California. Six families from across the state will be the plaintiffs, including John and Clara Williams of Rochester, the parents of Jada Williams and three other children ages 10-18.

Logan Newman,won the 2014 Air Force Teacher of the Year Award for his work with the Optics Program at East High School.  

The annual award is given to a teacher who works incorporates STEM into their teaching.  Logan was nominated by his colleague and RTA Faculty Representative Paul Jonasse. Logan's Program will be added to a larger grant program to test children and immigrants in: Rochester City Schools, City Libraries as well as Monroe County in cooperation with Rochester Downtown Host Lions Club, University of Rochester Medical Center, Emory College and Harvard University Grant.


A disturbing look at Common Core tests in New York

The promise of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards  was that they would show which students were ready for college and career and which weren’t. But in New York, a look at the tests shows how the state is failing to meet that promise. This was written by Carol Burris and John Murphy. Murphy, a former English teacher, is the assistant principal of South Side High School in New York, and he coordinates the school’s IB program.

Better ways to use millions of dollars now spent on testing

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by states and school districts on standardized tests every year, money that could be used for purposes far more helpful in improving student achievement. What are those purposes? Here are some suggestions, from Jim Arnold and Peter Smagorinsky. Jim Arnold recently retired from the superintendent’s position of the Pelham City Schools in Georgia and he blogs at Peter Smagorinsky is Distinguished Research  Professor of English Education at the University of Georgia. His essays are archived here.

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.

Rochester City School District Educator Named to National “Dream Team”

Alice Lombardo, a sixth grade math teacher at Enrico Fermi School 17 in Rochester City School District, spent June 4-7 in New Orleans participating in TeachFest, a unique professional development event focused on creating high-quality Common Core curricular resources. Lombardo attended the event as part of LearnZillion’s Dream Team of 200 talented math and English language arts (ELA) teachers.

Do Teachers’ Unions Have Any Friends in the Obama Administration?

We are living in an era when the very idea of public education is under attack, as are teachers’ unions and the teaching profession. Let’s be clear: these attacks and the power amassed behind them are unprecedented in American history. Sure, there have always been critics of public schools, of teachers, and of unions. But never before has there been a serious and sustained effort to defund public education, to turn public money over to unaccountable private hands, and to weaken and eliminate collective bargaining wherever it still exists.

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.

How college remediation rates are distorted — and why

Are a large percentage of high school graduates so unprepared for college when they get there that they have to take remedial courses to catch up? School reformers like to say so, and throw out big percentages of students who are said to need remediation. But where do these figures come from, and are they accurate? Award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York  looks at this issue in the following post.

Webster superintendent to leave for city

After leading the Webster schools for eight years, Superintendent Adele Bovard will step down and take a new job with the district in Rochester — a move that will bring a pay cut, but also a chance to help city students realize their potential, she said. Bovard, 56, will become Rochester's deputy superintendent for administration.

State approves East High plan

The New York State Education Department on Wednesday formally approved the Rochester School District's partnership with the University of Rochester for East High School, according to the district. UR's Warner School of Education, in the person of professor and former Canandaigua superintendent Steve Uebbing, will serve as superintendent of the school, using district funds.

Union Night at Frontier Field

Friday - August 15, 2014

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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.

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.