With Manhattan BP Race Looming, UFT Honors Robert Jackson

The United Federation of Teachers is set to hand West Harlem City Councilman Robert Jackson their most prestigious honor at their annual spring conference.

The award–the John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education–has also been conferred upon such luminaries as Bill Clinton and Martin Luther King, but it may have more some immediate political relevance.

Mr. Jackson is the chair of the City Council’s education committee, but he is also locked in a tight race for Manhattan borough president, and it is a race that a powerful union like the UFT could play a large role in.

Mr. Jackson has lagged in fundraising so far, but the Jackson camp isn’t convinced that the money will matter that much due to the city’s generous matching program.  Mr. Jackson may have a demographic, gender and ethnic advantage as well. The other candidates in the race–City Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Jessica Lappin and community board 1 Julie Menin–are all female and Jewish and live below 96th Street.

Full Jackson honor is below:



City Councilman Robert Jackson, the chair of the Council’s Education Committee, will receive the union’s most prestigious honor at its annual Spring Education Conference this year.


Jackson will be presented the John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education on Saturday, May 12, at the New York Hilton for his efforts to make a difference in the lives of New York City schoolchildren. Tickets are $50 each and can be obtained by mailing in the coupon on page 21. The deadline to get tickets is Friday, April 20.


In addition to the Dewey presentation, the event will feature the always-popular Operation Soapbox, an exhibit fair, workshops and panels.


Jackson — who represents parts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood — began his commitment to New York City public schools in 1980 when he became a member of the Parents Association at PS/IS 187, Manhattan.


After being elected to Community School Board 6 in 1986, he and attorney Michael Rebell founded the Campaign for Fiscal Equity in 1991. Jackson was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against New York State for failing to properly fund the city’s public schools.


Jackson walked 150 miles from New York City to Albany to dramatize the case, which proved successful.


He has continued his support for public schools and their students since being elected to the Council in 2001.


“For more than 30 years, Robert Jackson has been fighting for New York City’s public school children and has championed many causes that have improved education in this city,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.


Jackson joins an impressive list of Dewey Award winners that includes Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Norman Thomas and former President Bill Clinton.


Attendees will have the opportunity to network and receive professional development at various workshops and panel discussions.


The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and concludes at 3:30 p.m. Members will also hear from Mulgrew. Some 2,000 attended last year’s event.