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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 | 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.
Letters to the editor | December 16, 2013
Letter to the Queens Gazette from UFT member Ron Isaac.
Op-Eds | November 18, 2013
As Mayor Bloomberg leaves office, it's become apparent that the city has consistently had more money available than the Mayor has maintained. Rather than be fair to city employees, the Bloomberg administration has repeatedly chosen to spend public resources on tax breaks for developers or for consultant contracts on failed or overpriced projects.
Letters to the editor | November 6, 2013
Letter to the Staten Island Advance from UFT member Susan Adams Westerleigh.
Op-Eds | September 19, 2013
Ask what makes a great teacher, and you will get a long list of “must-haves”: intelligence, dedication, knowledge of the subject matter, a keen sense of humor. But anyone who has spent any time in the classroom knows that those ingredients mean very little without the essential spark — a desire to make a difference in children’s lives.
Op-Eds | September 4, 2013
The recent dramatic drop in student scores after the state introduced new tests based on the rigorous Common Core learning standards is a clear demonstration that — after a decade of Mayor Bloomberg's obsession with data, test prep and proclamations of his strategy’s success — our school system needs a new direction.
Op-Eds | August 8, 2013
While lower test scores largely result from more difficult tests, they fly in the face of Mayor Bloomberg’s constant assertions that everything in our schools was getting better, thanks to his leadership.