President's perspective

March 8, 2012

A betrayal of trust

There is no love lost between teachers and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but the mayor’s breaking of his word by failing to fight the release of the error-ridden Teacher Data Reports that the city promised would never be shown to the public is the last straw for many New York City educators.

February 23, 2012

Moving education forward

The UFT has been working for two years to create a new evaluation system because we know that a new system, done right, can support teachers and make them better classroom instructors. On Feb. 16 we took another significant step in this long journey when we reached an agreement in Albany on an appeals process for teacher
ratings that includes third-party, independent validation.

February 2, 2012

Reality check

The UFT released a television ad the week of Jan. 23 that is bluntly critical of Mayor Bloomberg’s management of our schools. As I travel around the city and visit schools, educators and parents who have seen the ad have thanked me for taking on the mayor and sounding an alarm about the state of our schools.

January 19, 2012

An open letter to New York City parents

It has been a decade of disaster for New York City children and schools on Bloomberg’s watch, and now as the legacy of the so-called “education mayor” is going up in smoke, he is looking for scapegoats and distractions from his record. I wrote the following letter to parents, which ran as an ad in the Daily News on Jan. 9, to set the record straight.

December 22, 2011

This is what democracy looks like

Thank you, UFT members, for all that you did to help win a more equitable tax structure in New York State and secure an additional $2 billion in revenue for next year’s budget. There is no way it would have happened without the incredibly hard work that the members of this great union did to fight for the children of our city. 

November 24, 2011

Less testing, more teaching

The reliance on ever more standardized tests to determine everything from graduation requirements to teacher tenure to school closings is the holy grail of the so-called education “reform” movement, but testing does not improve education. In fact, testing harms education in many ways. Forcing teachers to teach to the test distorts instruction and impoverishes the curriculum.

November 10, 2011

Retired, but never retiring

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared war on working families last winter by introducing legislation to strip teachers and other public-sector workers of collective-bargaining rights, the call went out across the nation to fight back. Among the first to respond were UFT retirees who got out their parkas, got on a plane and stood side by side with the tens of thousands who occupied the Madison Capitol.

October 27, 2011

Doing something about bullying

Last month, a 14-year-old boy in Buffalo took his own life after years of relentless bullying. In school, classmates hurled anti-gay slurs at him. Online, they told him to kill himself. And so Jamey Rodemeyer became another victim of “bullycide.” It’s chilling that we even have a term for what happens to kids who are literally tormented to death.

October 13, 2011

Why we’re marching

Occupy Wall Street has touched a nerve and has sparked non-stop protests on Wall Street, and across the country. Here in New York, as our mayor continues to refuse to help stop the sunsetting of the millionaire’s tax while once again threatening teacher layoffs, it’s easy to see why the new movement’s signature slogan — “We are the 99 percent” — is so popular.

September 22, 2011

Taking back our profession

We face many challenges this school year, starting with the hard realities of more budget cuts and austerity, exploding class sizes and increasing poverty and homelessness among our students. But in the face of challenges, the members of our union always make our schools work, and I cannot thank you enough for all that you do.

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