New York

Charter cap lifted, UFT returns to the budget fight

Now that we have a Race to the Top deal, the city’s teachers union is back to its regularly scheduled programing. The union launched a radio ad today lambasting the state legislature for threatening to cut education funding next year.

“I now hope that the entire legislature and the governor we can focus all of our energies on getting a budget that will have major education restorations,” said union president Michael Mulgrew in a phone interview today.

Both union and city officials are hoping that lawmakers will iron out a budget deal over the long weekend that will prevent them from having to lay off 4,400 teachers. Public school principals are expecting to have budgets next Tuesday and if the economic forecast does not change by then, layoff announcements could shortly follow.

The UFT’s ad, which will run throughout Memorial Day weekend, will air on radio stations WCBS, WINS, WBLS, WKTU, WSKQ and WPAT.

The full script of the ad is below the jump:

UFT  — “Pomp and Circumstance” – 60 second radio –

SFX:  Pomp and Circumstance.

ANNCR:  Graduation.  It’s a time of celebration….and hope.  But this year, looming budget gaps threaten our children’s future.

SFX:  Music turns dark and sad.

Some politicians in Albany and New York City want to cut more than $1.4 billion from our public schools. And that’ll mean overcrowded classrooms, an end to tutoring and after-school programs, and the loss of thousands of great teachers and school staff.

Yes, times are tough.  But our kids shouldn’t have to pay the price for a budget crisis they didn’t create.  It’s up to our leaders to protect our children’s education by cutting government waste and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share.

SFX:  Music turns hopeful.

Our kids don’t get a second chance.  They need good schools, good teachers and leaders who stand up for them.

Go to  Join with parents, teachers and community members.  Tell the legislature and City Hall to stop the budget cuts and save our public schools, now.

Paid for by the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, President.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.