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Stuyvesant Teachers End Letter Boycott

Compiled from college newspapers

Teachers at one of the nation's leading public high schools this week ended a 24-day refusal to write college recommendations, which had jeopardized the applications of students applying early action to Ivy League schools.

Under "a veiled ultimatum" from Frank J. Macchiarola, chancellor of New York City schools, the teachers at Stuyvesant High School voted over-whelmingly to end the boycott, Frank McCort, a teacher who voted against ending the boycott, said yesterday.

The boycotting teachers were seeking more time during the school day to write the letters, arguing that some teachers had to write as many as forty letters, which cut into their evenings and weekends, Rlene Dahlberg, an English teacher, said yesterday.

Stuyvesant leads the nation with 53 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists, and sent 26 graduates to Harvard this year.

Meet Obligations

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In a letter to the teachers Macchiarola said he "expected all teachers to meet their obligations" and would take disciplinary action if the teachers refused.

There was talk of "considering the boycott an act of insubordination" and threatening the teachers with transfers to other schools, Dalhberg said.

Gaspar R. Fabbricante, principal of the Manhattan school, on Monday proposed to alleviate the situation by distributing teachers' letter-writing workloads more evenly and asking students to enter a lottery system to determine which teacher would write their recommendations.

But before the teachers' union acted on the proposal, the chancellor "ran out of patience and decided to knock down" the package of concessions, Fabbricante said.

William R. Fitzsimmons '67, acting dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, said yesterday he is "greatly relieved" that the boycott has ended, adding that early action candidates could not have been considered with incomplete applications.

Although most of the teachers at Stuyvesant yielded to the chancellor's ultimatum, some may still refuse to write letters. "The union vote was rammed down our throat in a squeeze play and I will not be coerced to write recommendations," McCort said.

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