NYC Teachers' Union Asks City, State For Money To Help Students Recover From Pandemic

Students have been impacted by the pandemic both academically and mentally. Wednesday, the teachers' union in New York City is making a multi-billion dollar request of the city and state to help public school students recover and thrive again; CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reports.

Video Transcript

- Students have been impacted by the pandemic, both academically and mentally.

- And today, the city's teachers union is making a major request to help students recover and thrive again. CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez with more on the Union's wish list.

SHOSHANA BROWN: I have students that are really struggling, and their teachers have no idea because they are getting straight A's.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: Shoshana Brown is a social worker with a heavy caseload of 35 students at a Manhattan public high school.

SHOSHANA BROWN: Who, over the last year, that has exhibited signs of depression, signs of suicide ideation.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: The pandemic has had a damaging impact on countless students. With an estimated $5 billion in new federal funding coming to the city, the United Federation of Teachers is calling on the city and state to earmark more than $1 billion to help students recover from the psychological effects and learning losses.

MICHAEL MULGREW: We know we have to start engaging our students in ways that they have not been engaged in the last over a year now.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: The UFT laid out a five-point plan to do that, forming mental health and academic intervention teams for each of the 1,800 city public schools, hiring 10,000 new counselors and social workers, creating smaller class sizes in the city's neediest schools, extended summer learning programs, targeted high school programming, including college and career prep, and teacher training to identify and address personal and student stress.

PEDRO DONES: Whatever we were doing beforehand wasn't working. We were just figuring it out and plugging holes. Well, guess what? The ship is sinking, and now it's our job to pick that ship back up and not plug the holes. We need to fix the whole shebang.

SHOSHANA BROWN: I'm really grateful that this push is coming or hopeful that this push is coming.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: The teachers union made its pitch to the mayor about a week ago, cautiously optimistic the city will use the funding to make the education system bigger and better than before. On the West Side, Hazel Sanchez, CBS 2 News.

- And the UFT says it's already looking at possible hires for the school intervention teams and may arrange a program to recruit SUNY and CUNY graduates.