Topics in the News:
education law and policy

News stories | January 19, 2012 >>

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the occasion of his State of the State speech on Jan. 4 to announce a new state commission to recommend education reforms in two key areas: teacher accountability and student achievement, and management efficiency.

Press releases | January 4, 2012 >>

Declaring that “we need a new blueprint for education,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his Jan. 4 State of the State address announced that he will convene a statewide commission to recommend education reforms. UFT President Mulgrew said, "A bipartisan state commission on education is a very promising idea. Rather than do what New York City now does, which is to set its educational policy by a political agenda, the commission could look at the research about what really works in schools"

Editorials | December 22, 2011 >>

Most people have the capacity to learn from their mistakes, but there are some who will never get it. Consider, for example, Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks in a Nov. 29 speech at MIT where he claimed the New York City school system would be better off if he could lay off half the teacher workforce, pay the remaining teachers more, and double class sizes.

National education and labor news | November 24, 2011 >>

Less than a year after new teacher evaluation rules went into effect in Tennessee, both educators and administrators say they have had enough, and state education officials are mulling changes. The new rules tie teachers’ evaluations to student test scores and require principals to observe educators at least four times per year.

National education and labor news | October 13, 2011 >>
Responding to complaints from state that they cannot reach the 100 percent proficiency goal in math and language arts by 2014 established by No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration announced on Sept. 23 that it will instead grant waivers to states that adopt new higher standards, pledge to overhaul their lowest-performing schools and revamp their teacher evaluation systems.
News stories | September 22, 2011 >>

New York City’s Teacher Data Reports will be going the way of the dodo bird, following a Department of Education announcement on Sept. 15. The DOE said it would no longer produce the reports and instead turn that part of the teacher evaluation process over to the state.

Editorials | September 8, 2011 >>

If the controversial school closings it has rubberstamped for the mayor wasn’t enough to convince New Yorkers that the Panel for Educational Policy, dominated by mayoral appointees, is broken beyond repair, then perhaps its most recent move, approving a $120 million contract with Verizon, will be.

Insight | May 12, 2011 >>

Bill Gates recently wrote an editorial in The Washington Post, “How teacher development could revolutionize our schools,” in which he argued that most of what we have been doing in education for the last four decades hasn’t worked. But finally, he wrote, we have figured out “the big change that everyone knows we need: building exceptional teacher personnel systems.”

Feature stories | May 4, 2011 >>

In February, the UFT organized an essay contest in which it asked members in 500 words to tell the chancellor about the value that they add to the lives of students. What work do you do every day? What makes you so special? What do you do that often gets lost in all the talk about “reform” and “accountability”? Read excerpts from several winning submissions.

Feature stories | April 28, 2011 >>

In February, the UFT organized an essay contest in which it asked members to tell the chancellor about the value that they add to the lives of students. What work do you do every day? What makes you so special? What do you do that often gets lost in all the talk? Here’s what your colleagues had to say.

Editorials | April 28, 2011 >>
David Steiner recently announced his plan to leave his position as the state’s education commissioner later this year. It is fair to say that he will be missed. Steiner has distinguished himself with a number of achievements during his almost two years on the job. As a voice of reason, Steiner has refused to buy into injurious rhetoric about teachers and the teaching profession.
National education and labor news | April 14, 2011 >>

The University of Florida didn’t make the NCAA final four, but Florida Gov. Rick Scott is in the running for worst state leader on education. The governor has signed into law a bill that overhauls how teachers across the state will be evaluated and paid.

President's perspective | April 14, 2011 >>

“The floggings will continue until morale improves.” So goes an old joke about the counterproductive and clueless ways that managers sometimes go about running a business. But here in New York City, an equally absurd and outrageous idea has taken hold: Attacking teachers is the way to improve education. And it’s no joke.

News stories | April 14, 2011 >>

Around 150 parents, teachers, students and interested community members turned out for a March 23 meeting of the city’s Panel for Educational Policy held at Brooklyn Technical HS. The panel voted to close JHS 231 in Queens and to co-locate a new charter school in Brooklyn’s PS 114, which only recently narrowly escaped the mayor’s chopping block.

Insight | April 14, 2011 >>

At an international summit on education held in New York City on March 16 - 17, the nations with the highest-performing school systems explained that they treat their teachers with the utmost trust and reverence, and allow them wide latitude in what and how they teach.

News stories | March 10, 2011 >>

Across the country — in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana — anti-union politicians are taking advantage of their states’ fiscal crises to try to destroy the last bulwark of the American labor movement — public sector unions — by leveraging the crises to roll back wages and benefits and dismantle core union rights like collective bargaining.

News stories | March 10, 2011 >>

The mayor’s drive to end seniority layoff rules that guarantee impartiality stalled — at least temporarily — on March 2 after the state Assembly and the governor expressed serious reservations with the Senate bill that was passed at Bloomberg’s behest.

News stories | March 10, 2011 >>

The city’s Panel for Educational Policy, dominated by mayoral appointees, voted 8 to 4 at its March 1 meeting at Brooklyn Technical HS to co-locate a new charter school in Bedford-Stuyvesant’s already-cramped PS 308, infuriating the school’s parents, students and teachers.

President's perspective | February 17, 2011 >>
Everyone agrees that improving education is one of our nation’s top priorities. But I never read anything about curriculum, instruction or class sizes, figuring out which resources and supports will help educators or how to address the needs of struggling students or school communities.
News stories | February 3, 2011 >>

Addressing policy analysts and students at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs on Jan. 19, UFT President Michael Mulgrew skewered the mayor and the Department of Education for emphasizing “misguided strategies and ancillary issues” and making decisions “for political or ideological reasons — or out of pure hubris — instead of what was right for children.”

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