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 | 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.

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.

Op-Eds | September 21, 2015

A “reform” proposal now in state law essentially blames teachers for the problems of eight New York City schools on the state’s must-improve list. The state mandates that these schools re-interview all existing staff — and systematically push out all employees found to be “unwilling or ineffective.”

Op-Eds | August 13, 2015

The incremental gains New York City recently scored on statewide reading and math tests are good news for our schools and children — and a much more positive and credible development than the rapid, but ultimately meaningless, increases in scores touted by Michael Bloomberg during his tenure as mayor.

Op-Eds | May 18, 2015

It’s time to ring down the curtain on a long-running farce: New York’s current statewide standardized tests. These exams — administered last month — give parents misleading information, encourage schools to focus on test-prep rather than real learning and are all but useless to teachers, the people who need them the most.

Op-Eds | March 18, 2015

The keys to better schools are active and involved parents, well-trained and supported teachers, and focusing social and medical services in school buildings as in our community schools program.

Op-Eds | May 27, 2014

A bad idea about teaching children doesn’t become a good idea just because someone calls it a reform. That’s why I am proud of the fight the UFT has put up to protect our schools and our children from the wrong-headed and often destructive strategies embraced by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his allies.

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