January 19, 2012

In bad faith

There is but one conclusion that can be drawn from the Department of Education’s last-minute walkout from negotiations over a teacher evaluation system for 33 schools placed in the transformation and restart models: It was always Tweed’s intention to refuse to enter into an agreement.

December 22, 2011

Partial retreat on special ed cuts

Our strong alliance with parents, advocates, disability groups and professional organizations was on display this fall as we together fought another series of cost-containment proposals for special education made by the State Education Department.

November 24, 2011

The heart of teaching

When I was a young girl in Argentina, living in another language, I read the newspaper columns that women wrote. Through the printed word, they were able to put forth new ideas, challenge the status quo and create new possibilities for our daily lives. The articles I was most drawn to were those that reported on the plight of “los maestros,” the teachers, and how they were always fighting to bring education and justice to all.

November 10, 2011

At your service

“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” I grew up doing community service and I think that’s why I do what I do — and why quite a few of us teachers do what we do. I want to make sure I help kids grow up to become good citizens and community members. That’s my livelihood. It’s something that we as teachers do every day.

October 27, 2011

Another reform is the last thing we need

Over the last few years I have written several articles about middle school reform. I cited the various efforts that have been tried and abandoned under past administrations. These include the 1986-88 Middle School Task Force under Chancellor Nathan Quinones, the 1994-2000 Middle School Initiative by Chancellor Joseph Fernandez, the 2001-2002 Task Force on Improving Middle Schools by Chancellor Harold Levy and the 2005-2008 Middle School Reform Initiative by Deputy Chancellor Carmen Farina.

October 13, 2011

Keeping CTE viable for a changing world

Can medical school be considered “career and technical education”? Absolutely. But “Don’t be silly!” would be the knee-jerk reply of folks steeped in the distinctions and definitions of the past. They can’t help associating the “professions” with a higher class and more complex body of accomplished learning, one with superior status and perceived value to society.

September 22, 2011

Class warfare

“Class Warfare” is the title Steven Brill gave his new book on the state of American education. With that title, you might think it would investigate how deep class divisions between America’s wealthy and our poor and working class — a gap that has grown immensely over recent decades — has harmed our schools and our students.

September 8, 2011

New cost-saving proposals strike at heart of special ed

This fall, the state Board of Regents will be making recommendations to the state Legislature on another package of cost-containment measures. This isn’t new. Special education is a very large target because it is expensive and it has a lot of requirements. But this time is different.

June 23, 2011

CTE: Looking back and ahead

To help keep CTE thriving and our students in a high state of readiness for learning, the UFT has this year provided more than 500 teachers with keenly focused professional development adaptable to dozens of CTE programs in 34 schools spanning all the boroughs.

June 9, 2011

Getting their priorities straight

We find ourselves near the end of another school year — challenging in many ways. Budget worries, the threat of layoffs, a new evaluation system, the common core curriculum and the overemphasis on data are but a few of the concerns facing our middle schools. While formidable, these issues did not stand in the way of teaching and learning in the middle-level classrooms across our city.

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