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Op-eds & Letters to the Editor
This section archives columns, opinion pieces, and letters written by UFT members and officers and published in various newspapers and websites.
Op-Eds | March 19, 2018
The thousands of New York City students who walked out of their classrooms on March 14 to honor those murdered in the Parkland, Florida mass-shooting didn’t ask for Kevlar vests or gun-toting teachers. They do want adults to do the hard work to make their schools safe — to stand up to the national gun lobby, but also to arm staff with knowledge, such as how to create safe school environments, and to train them in how to recognize and de-escalate potentially violent situations.
Letters to the editor | November 6, 2017
Retired member Larry Hoffner sent this letter to the New York Times regarding Donald Trump.
Op-Eds | September 12, 2017
Charters claim that they serve the same children as city public schools, but the truth is that they enroll and keep half the percentage of English Language Learners, dramatically fewer special education students, including those needing the highest level of intervention, and far fewer children who are homeless or in temporary housing.
Op-Eds | August 15, 2017
Why is the charter lobby pushing a watered-down “instant“ license that would be worthless at any traditional public school and would undermine years of efforts to ensure that teachers are trained and treated as professionals? Because charters don’t want to invest in their teachers.
Op-Eds | June 12, 2017
In 2002 and 2009 State Senate Republicans, saying that the New York City’s public schools needed predictable and accountable management, couldn't wait to give former Mayor Bloomberg long-term control of the schools. But if the principle of mayoral control was enough to ensure that Bloomberg got a total of 13 years as head of the school system, why has Mayor de Blasio had to fight to get even one-year extensions of the mayoral control law?
Op-Eds | April 26, 2017
Children who miss 20 or more days of school in New York City have lost so much instruction time that they are classified as chronically absent, which studies have linked to lower test scores and higher dropout rates. So it is hard to see the educational purpose behind Success Academy's suspending a special-needs 7-year-old for 45 days, even if some form of alternative instruction was provided.
Op-Eds | March 23, 2017
Even as they are pleading poverty to the Legislature in Albany, charter schools across New York State are sitting on nearly half a billion dollars in cash and unrestricted assets.
Op-Eds | March 22, 2017
Across the nation, after-school programs are making a difference; here’s why. Before Trump administration bureaucrats start making value judgments about education programs, they should at least have the courtesy to learn more about them.
Op-Eds | March 13, 2017
New York cannot afford for its charters to remain a parallel system that takes public tax dollars yet remains resistant to public disclosure or accountability that would force them to serve all kids.
Wanted: fairness in New York taxes. Close the carried-interest loophole and keep the Millionaire's Tax
Op-Eds | March 7, 2017
Any fourth-grade student understands the basic fairness principle: You don’t take more from people who have less. Yet that fourth grader’s teacher can pay a higher tax rate on her salary than a Wall Street billionaire pays on his million-dollar hedge fund deals. How is that fair?
Op-Eds | February 13, 2017
If charter schools are really public schools, why is so much of the information about their operations private — even secret? New York needs to do more now — especially with President Trump’s pick of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education — to make sure that charters operate for the benefit of the public, not charter operators and their management organizations.
Op-Eds | January 9, 2017
Students in more than 1,200 New York City schools would face higher class sizes, have fewer teachers and lose after-school academic and enrichment programs if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on a campaign promise to pull billions of federal dollars away from public schools to pay for private vouchers.
Op-Eds | November 28, 2016
While there is very little we can do in the hours when students leave our care, it is imperative that we use whatever power we do have to make sure that during the school day, every student has access to nutritious food.
Op-Eds | September 27, 2016
Charter schools claim to be public schools, but if the less successful students continue to vanish and charters refuse to fill the empty seats, they shouldn’t be rewarded with more space in already overcrowded public buildings, or larger rentals paid for by taxpayers in private space.
Op-Eds | September 22, 2016
The UFT has joined many people and institutions — including the New York State Attorney General and the U.S. Congress — in the chorus of opposition to the Mylan Corporation's repeated raising the price of potentially life-saving EpiPens from $100 a few years ago to the current $600.
Op-Eds | August 8, 2016
Children in crisis who are disrupting classrooms are not going to be helped by the latest plan by the city’s Department of Education to ban suspensions outright in grades K-2, and neither will the thousands of other children who will lose instruction as a result of those disruptions.
Op-Eds | April 6, 2016
What’s a better way to judge how much someone has learned – hours of marking bubbles on a standardized test, or a semester-long project like building a robot, mastering a piece of music or a deep dive into a moment in history?
Op-Eds | March 18, 2016
Charter school advocates love to cite numbers that they claim demonstrate the superiority of their schools over public schools. But a close look at the numbers themselves, whether about student scores or safety incidents, often reveals a much more nuanced — and sometimes completely different — picture.
Op-Eds | December 14, 2015
The days of test and punish are over. After a disastrous experiment with the Common Core standards — implemented without proper curriculum or teacher training — New York now has a chance to get things right.
Op-Eds | December 9, 2015
No area of human effort is free from bad ideas and mistaken theories, but the quest to "reform" public education is particularly awash in misguided convictions. Concepts like "merit pay," the scapegoating of teachers, and the alleged superiority of charter schools manage to stay alive as policy options despite clear proof that they don't work.