New York City reaches tentative deal with teachers' union, will offer virtual learning program

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Tuesday, June 13, 2023
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New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new, tentative five-year deal with the United Federation of Teachers on Tuesday.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new, tentative five-year deal with the United Federation of Teachers on Tuesday.

And after a challenging negotiation, a deal between the district and its teachers will include raises and two types of bonuses: for retention and contract ratification.

Adams said it's a fair deal, which will provide teachers and students with the support they need.

The agreement will also establish a virtual learning program to allow students to take classes at non-traditional times like nights and weekends.

It will make NYC the first major school system in the nation to offer an expansive voluntary virtual learning program, offering some parents and teachers the flexibility to take classes on nights and weekends.

It learns from the lessons of the all-virtual days of the pandemic and looks to build on them. It will be available to 25% of the city's high school students next year and will ultimately be available to all high school students and at least some middle school students.

"The virtual learning program will give students access to a much broader set of course offerings across the city, and the ability to take classes at non traditional times, like evenings and weekends," said NYC schools Chancellor David Banks. "We learned during the pandemic that some students, especially non traditional students, benefited from the additional flexibility in their schedule. Students who were at risk of dropping out were able to continue their course work on a schedule that worked best for them. This expands those types of opportunities across the entire system."

The teachers' union president says during the pandemic, it became clear that virtual learning can be extremely useful for students who need to catch up.

"You don't put a camera in the middle of the classroom and then just push it out, it does not work," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said of virtual learning. "If you fell behind in 9th grade, and we know this is a critical piece, it's just as critical as literacy, you fall behind in 9th grade, don't worry, you now have access to classes online to get your credits back to get you on track."

Tailoring online classes can help students who fall behind to catch up or broaden the availability of accelerated classes.

"This is the hardest and most challenging school district in this country to teach in," Mulgrew said. "But our teachers love it. Our guidance counselors love it. Our therapists, social workers, psychologists, they take that challenge on, they wear that badge proudly."

The deal includes wage increase, retention payments, ratification bonus, and the new virtual learning program.

Teachers get a 3% raise for each of the first three years, 3.25% in the fourth year, and 3.50% in the fifth year

It cuts in half - from 15 to eight years - the length of time it takes most teachers to reach a salary of $100,000.

The union said its new top salary would be $151,271 including the bonus, by the end of the proposed contract. The starting salary for new teachers would be $72,349, including the bonus, by the end of the contract, up from $61,070.

The agreement also includes a $3,000 lump sum ratification bonus for all UFT members and a retention payment to be paid in May of each year, beginning with $400 in 2024, $700 in 2025, and $1,000 in 2026 and every year thereafter.

Members of the United Federation of Teachers will still have to approve the deal.

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