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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 >>
Renewal of possibility
December 4, 2014
To fully appreciate Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new strategy to help struggling schools, it helps to remember former Mayor Bloomberg’s approach. Bloomberg put struggling schools on a fast track to failure and closing. In contrast, Mayor de Blasio is investing $150 million in 94 struggling schools and providing the help they have long cried out for.
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.
August 28, 2014
The huge and troubling racial imbalance in admissions to New York City's specialized high schools recently prompted a UFT task force to recommend altering the current test-only admissions process to improve equity and access. But some alumni of the elite schools told The New York Times that they oppose such changes.
July 29, 2014
Since when do due process rights for teachers hinder students’ ability to learn? That’s blogger Kristin Wald’s reaction to the lawsuit filed by seven parents in New York State that seeks to erode due process protections for teachers.
July 17, 2014
Former CNN talk show host Campbell Brown is all over the headlines these days, but not for her skills as a journalist. Instead, Brown has reinvented herself as the face of attacks on teacher tenure, teacher unions and the teaching profession.
June 30, 2014
Instead of pouring more resources into high-stakes standardized tests, those working to support low-performing students should focus their energies on supporting teachers, writes education professor Linda Darling-Hammond at the Huffington Post.
June 16, 2014
Picture a kindergarten classroom. What do you see? Chances are, your mental image doesn't include blank walls. But a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that kindergarten students in a visually stimulating classroom tended to be more distracted than those in a comparatively sterile environment.
June 12, 2014
According to a new report, many co-located city schools have inadequate facilities, oversized classes, restricted course offerings and insufficient student supports that violate state education law. The campaign is calling for a full-scale investigation into potential violations of student rights at all co-located schools.
May 30, 2014
We have a handful of students at my school who struggle with transitions and display aggressive behavior, fight, push, yell and curse. One of the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools strategies I have applied is to provide time away for the student who is acting out. The challenge is to let the student control the discussion and let him express his feelings and his interpretation of what happened.