The United Federation of Teachers’ Humane Education Committee (UFT/HEC) was formed in April 1989. Since that time, we have offered conferences and workshops for teachers at all levels – in grades pre-K to 12 – as well as science and essay contests for students. Our goal is to help educators bring humane, environmental and animal-rights philosophies and materials into their classrooms as a source of information for discussion and debate and to help both educators and students better understand how their daily choices affect the environment, animals and other people.
Humane education involves imparting facts as well as sensitizing students and educators to the various attitudes and behaviors humans exhibit towards the other animals which share our planet, the environment and each other. It aims to help people understand the ethical dilemmas generated by different social philosophies and to make informed judgments and take compassionate action. Humane education also encourages critical thinking and problem-solving with the goal of creating a more humane lifestyle.
UFT/HEC offers teacher training workshops, lesson plans and other resources designed to assist educators in developing classroom programs dealing with a wide variety of topics including: companion animals; “wild” or free-roaming animals; the use of animals in education or research and alternatives to this practice; farmed animals; nutrition emphasizing plant-based food choices; environmental and human rights issues; a healthy, compassionate lifestyle; and the relationship between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans.
Humane education materials are readily blended with reading, writing, science, music and art programs. During the school year, the committee also offers essay and humane science contests for elementary, middle and high school students.
The committee is open to all UFT members. Please fill out the enrollment form here if you would like to join the committee and be placed on our mailing list.
Non-UFT educators accessing this site cannot join our mailing list. However, we hope you will revisit this site periodically for updates on our events and activities and to make use of the lesson plans and other resources available.