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Edwize, the union's blog, is a place where members, public education advocates and others can express opinions in an effort to establish an agora of informed commentary on public education and labor issues. The views expressed on Edwize, and in the posts below, are not necessarily the official views of the UFT, NYSUT, or the AFT. Visit Edwize >>
Giving due process its due
April 6, 2015
A bully principal with a grudge against the UFT gives the school’s chapter leader a rating of Ineffective, reflecting the principal’s animus toward the union, not the teacher’s job performance. A three-member appeals panel overturns the rating and orders the principal to submit a new rating. That is due process in action.
It's test-prep season but I have hope
March 27, 2015
It’s early spring, but instead of feeling lighthearted and happy, I feel stressed and tired. Test-prep season is in full swing. This annual ritual of feeling intense pressure to prepare my students for state tests and boost their scores nearly drains me of hope. But one thing gives me strength – my students.
What I told our lawmakers in Albany
March 13, 2015
I had the wonderful experience of joining a thousand other educators, parents and advocates for the UFT’s lobby day in Albany. In one meeting, a legislative staff member seemed visibly moved when I told how disheartening it is to look at my students every day and think that they cannot receive as rich a public education as previous generations. Gov. Cuomo could change all of that by providing schools the state funds that they are owed.
How a short story inspired my teaching
March 9, 2015
Last year, when our middle school was under pressure to score well on state tests, I had to stick closely to scripted materials and had little time to genuinely meet my students’ needs for moral and emotional development. But a short story I taught inspired me to keep trying.
New teachers swell the ranks
February 25, 2015
The city Department of Education brought in 5,000-plus new teachers last year, confirming a definite uptick in hiring since the economic downturn five years ago. Who are all these new educators? And how long might they be expected to stay? Here are highlights from the UFT’s February 2015 report on attrition and experience.
February 3, 2015
A recent report said that high-needs students transfer out of charter schools at the same or even a lower rate than out of public schools. Which begs the question: how many English language learners and special education students were actually enrolled in these charters to begin with? The answer is - not a lot.
January 28, 2015
Should students miss school for family trips? It’s a tough question that Jessica Lahey explored recently in the New York Times. “I’m of two minds,” she writes. “I have taken my children out of school for family events….On the other hand, I am also an educator, and I have seen the havoc these absences can wreak."
December 23, 2014
Teachers, families and photography or history buffs will find a rare window into American Indian life from the 1920s through 1970s in a photography exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian at One Bowling Green in lower Manhattan.
November 24, 2014
Are there lessons in the slow food movement for educators? Nick Romeo, writing in The Atlantic, sees parallels to the resistance to education reforms foisted on the public by for-profit corporations: "Just as factories aim to maximize profit, schools seek to boost test scores. In both cases, shortcuts are irresistible. Animals are injected with growth hormones, and students are taught quick tricks to answer test questions they don’t fully understand."
November 13, 2014
[A New Teacher Diary] Every new teacher knows that feeling when a new year starts — the glass-half-full Augusts when you dream of the boundless potential of your incoming students; the vow every year to work harder than last to make this the best year yet; the idealistic expectations you set for yourself as the school year begins.
November 5, 2014
You may have seen that former Chancellor Joel Klein has been back in the news. Reacting to Mayor de Blasio's announcement of the School Renewal Program to intervene decisively in struggling public schools, Klein defended his policy of closing large schools and replacing them with small schools. As in the past, Klein ignored evidence that fails to support his argument.
October 27, 2014
Teachers know from firsthand experience in the schools that the number of homeless students in the city is on the rise. Now the data confirm it. A new atlas of homelessness shows that the Bronx had 27,298 homeless students in 2012-13 — the highest number in the city. In Brooklyn, District 20 has had a 183 percent increase in the number of homeless students.
October 8, 2014
The link between poverty and academic achievement, particularly in terms of test scores, has long been established. SAT scores closely track family income. The difference between poor students (those qualified for free or reduced-price lunch) and those from better-off families is clear in all kinds of test reports, from state exams to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the “gold-standard” of national testing. But what has gotten less attention is the very strong difference in test score achievement within the subsidized lunch category.
October 2, 2014
The authors of a new book criticize the hostile approach of some charter advocates and called for charter leaders to stop “union busting” in their schools and instead move to forge collaboration between charters and regular public schools. They explain that charters enroll a small minority of students, and their quality is uneven—some are great, some are poor, most are somewhere in between.
September 30, 2014
Should the cell phone ban in schools be lifted? Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that he would seek to overturn the ban, which dates from the Bloomberg administration. He called it a safety issue, because parents need to keep track of their children.
September 23, 2014
Kindles, iPads and smart phones have made reading more accessible, interactive and engaging for many students. But a growing body of research suggests that our brains process digital reading very differently from paper reading and that we need to make sure that we – and students – can do both.
September 18, 2014
Corporate education reformers like to beat up on teachers under the pretext that teachers are the cause of the achievement gap, as if child poverty, class size and school funding play no part in a child’s opportunities for success. Reporter Dana Goldstein has a bold proposition: "To fix schools, stop beating up on teachers and start paying attention to their bosses."
September 12, 2014
I was a bad teacher. My first two years of teaching were awful. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, not even mine. I simply didn’t know what I was doing. I should have gotten a U rating. But I didn’t. I wasn’t even tenured yet. My administrators knew it was growing pains. I was learning.
September 8, 2014
The American Folk Art Museum is exhibiting the artwork of a working-class American original, Ralph Fasanella, who brought to his art a sense of strong social justice. Fasanella’s colorful, lively and detailed paintings are infused with history and politics and dense with visual descriptions of life.
September 4, 2014
No sooner are we back from vacation than some critics are saying we should end the summer breaks to avoid a slide in learning. Their arguments ignore the benefits of summer vacations: enrichment, unstructured play and family time for kids – and rejuvenation for teachers.