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PR- 117-07
April 19, 2007


Teachers Union Supports Department's Fair Student Funding Plan and English Language Learner Strategies

City Commits to Work with Teachers and other Stakeholders on Class Size, Parent Engagement, and Middle School Initiatives

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten today announced a renewed commitment to work together to strengthen and implement key reforms to bring greater accountability and equity to New York City's public schools.  The Mayor was also joined by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Education Committee Chairman Robert Jackson, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition Chung-Wha Hong, NY ACORN Executive Director Bertha Lewis, and Irania Sanchez representing the Coalition for Economic Justice and Make the Road by Walking.  In particular, the City and the Union announced agreement on a Fair Student Funding proposal that will correct historic inequities in school funding, while also ensuring continued stability for all schools.  They also announced new collaboration on a range of other issues including teacher tenure, class size, parent engagement, and middle school improvement.

"I strongly believe in the need for mayoral control and a clear line of accountability running all the way up to the mayor," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "But I also believe in bringing people together around a common goal. The Chancellor and I appreciate all the people who have come together today behind these initiatives.  I think they will make a big difference for our schools and our students."

"After weeks of public discussion and debate, we have today a set of criteria that will strengthen our schools and provide a better educational experience for families and students.  Working with the Mayor's office, teachers, advocates and the Council, we have put together a work plan to lower class size, support educators, protect English Language Learners and improve our middle schools, with the full engagement of parents and school communities," said Speaker Christine C. Quinn.

"Since the mayor's State of the City address we have voiced areas on which we agree and disagree.  I am pleased we have reached agreement on some of the major instructional and funding issues that affect our 1.1 million students and the more than 100,000 educators who serve them - and on the mechanics to continue the dialogue," said United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.  "The bottom line is how we help kids.  Listening to parents and teachers is the vehicle to accomplishing that."

In his January 2007 State of the City speech, Mayor Bloomberg promised to correct decades of inequity in school funding by adopting Fair Student Funding, which will fund schools based on the number and needs of students. Since then, the Chancellor, his staff, and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott consulted with almost 6,000 people at more than 100 meetings throughout the City in order to gain feedback and refine the proposal. Based on these conversations, as well as those with the Union over the past week, a series of refinements have been made. These adjustments include:

  • A "hold harmless provision," which assures that successful schools will not be destabilized by reduction in funds. Schools will carry forward their hold harmless from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009.

  • A commitment to fund schools so they can continue paying for existing faculty, even as their salaries increase in the future. This protection will be available to all faculty positions where it is currently available (i.e., "base teacher" positions).

  • Allowing schools to keep any "hold harmless" funding from the current year that is connected with teachers who choose to retire or leave a school. This provides schools with the financial ability to replace departing teachers with other senior teachers.

In addition, the Administration will invite the Union, as well as the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, to become members of an advisory group that will analyze the impact of Fair Student Funding and recommend refinements over time. While the Administration and the Union agreed to work together to implement FSF, the UFT continues to believe that using "actual teacher salary" as a consideration in hiring decisions under the Open Market Transfer System is impermissible under the teachers' contract and has filed a grievance to that effect.


Teacher Tenure
In his January State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the City would strengthen the criteria by which the Department of Education awards tenure to ensure that teachers who receive tenure deserve it. The Department is forming an internal committee to develop the criteria for which teacher tenure will be granted, and will invite the UFT to participate in this process.

Class Size
After the New York State Education Department issues class size regulations, which are expected within weeks, the City's Education Department will work with the UFT and other stakeholders such as New Yorkers for Smaller Class Size to develop a joint set of recommendations on how best to implement the regulations.

Parent Engagement
The DOE will create a committee next week to design improved processes for parent engagement. The committee, led by the department's Chief Family Engagement Officer, will encourage the City Council, ACORN, the Coalition for Educational Justice, and other appropriate stakeholders to participate. The committee will focus on recommending steps to improve parent engagement and ensure that all schools have a functioning School Leadership Team, comprised of teachers, parents, and other members of the school community.

English Language Learners
The Department of Education will significantly increase the weights for English Language Learners to reflect the specific challenges these students face. The Department will ensure that English Language Learners with low academic achievement will receive additional support.

Middle Schools
As part of the Department of Education's effort to improve middle school education and results, the department will consider the recommendations of Speaker Quinn's middle school task force. If the Chancellor accepts the recommendations, the DOE, in conjunction with the Center for Educational Justice, the City Council, and other stakeholders, will work together to implement the proposals in at least 50 schools.

Student Success Centers
Working with the Urban Youth Collaborative, the Department will explore the idea of developing Student Success Centers, designed to work with high school students to increase graduation rates and help prepare students for college and careers.


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

David Cantor   (Education)
(212) 374-5141

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