Search   |   Contact   |   Donate   |   FAQ
Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten, President of the United Federation of Teachers, testified this week about the problems facing teachers in the New York City public schools. Ms. Weingarten also said that teaching students to meet New York’s tougher standards represents a dramatic shift in basic teaching methods and “the biggest challenge in this school system today. ”

Ms. Weingarten recalled her own beginnings as an uncertified teacher in a Crown Heights, noting that she did not feel prepared to teach at first until she learned classroom management and pedagogical techniques from her certification coursework. She detailed the many problems facing City teachers today, including overcrowded classes, poor working conditions, and a lack of professional development. The typical NYC high school teacher, she said, is responsible for between 150 and 170 students a day. As the state implements the new Regents Learning Standards – which, Ms. Weingarten noted, are “fundamentally different than the way teachers…have taught” – the need for additional resources and better preparation for teachers can only increase.

Even the most experienced teachers need a lot more professional development and preparation and curriculum materials in order to effectively teach to the new and higher standards…You need to make sure that you don’t put up a ladder with the top rung and not have the resources . . . to have each rung fulfilled. And what has happened in New York State is that the ladder is up without the rungs. We need to make sure that we have the resources to get there.

Ms. Weingarten went on to compare teacher salaries in the City with those suburban districts which directly compete with NYC for the best teachers. New York City, she said, has become “the school system of last resort” for teachers. She also noted that the lower salaries stigmatize City teachers, because they “[give] the world the impression the teaching in New York City is not to be valued.”

Testimony given on November 4, 1999

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >