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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 | 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.
Op-Eds | May 9, 2014
The tentative agreement between the city and the United Federation of Teachers is a good deal for the students, schools and communities we serve, in addition to the teachers themselves.
Op-Eds | May 3, 2014
The United Federation of Teachers and the de Blasio administration agreed Thursday on a teachers contract that fosters an environment that will move the profession forward. Instead of the “Hunger Games” atmosphere encouraged by the previous administration, we have a contract devoted to the spirit of collaboration between educators — and between labor and management.
Letters to the editor | February 6, 2014
UFT President Michael Mulgrew sent this letter to the New York Times concerning the issue of retroactive pay for teachers.
Op-Eds | January 15, 2014
For the past 12 years, the Bloomberg administration has singled out charter schools for special treatment, a strategy that embittered many ordinary New York City public school parents and children. Here are four steps charter schools should take now to end that divisive relationship.
Letters to the editor | January 8, 2014
This letter was sent to the Z100 radio station after the writer heard an anti-teachers' union commercial on Jan. 8 sponsored by the anti-labor Union Facts.