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Our mission

The UFT is committed to strengthening our communities, our profession and the lives of our members and our students.

As a member-driven organization predominantly made up of education and healthcare professionals, the UFT negotiates and advocates vigorously for fair and competitive salaries, enhanced professionalism and improved working conditions.

Our union actively supports policies, legislation and programs that promote attaining educational equity, closing the persistent and unacceptable achievement gap and assuring parent and community voice in school governance. We believe in raising academic standards and strengthening instruction; reducing class size and overcrowding; creating safer, more orderly schools; improving school facilities; and increasing parent involvement in schools.

Cogen at rally

Teachers Guild President and later first UFT President Charles Cogen addresses a rally in lower Manhattan in 1952.

As part of its goal to foster educators' professional development, the UFT offers a full spectrum of workshops and graduate-level courses to tens of thousands of our members annually, including content specifically targeted to the students they serve from pre-school age through high school. Through the UFT Teacher Center and LearnUFT, our members can receive professional and certification support, which can help you improve your practice and earn CTLE credits with specialized workshops. The UFT Teacher Center and LearnUFT are both state-approved providers of low-cost, high-quality workshops for CTLE credit that count towards the 100 professional development hours you need every five years once you have your professional teaching certificate.  Members can also increase their pay by earning their MA+30 salary differential by taking new A+ courses.

The UFT also supports members in completing state certification requirements and earning college credits through workshops and college courses for your New York State certification specifically designed for New York City educators.  Through the UFT's partnerships with institutions like Mt. Saint Vincent, Baruch, NYIT and Adelphi, we offer master’s degrees in programs ranging from Literacy and Early Childhood Education to TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and Special Education. In collaboration with Empire State College, we also have designed programs that enable paraprofessionals to obtain college degrees and for school secretaries to advance in their field.

Our union also prides itself on its extensive parent and community outreach. For example, the UFT’s nationally acclaimed Dial-A-Teacher program offers homework assistance to more than 80,000 public school students and parents every year. In addition, the Albert Shanker Scholarship Fund awards more than $1 million in college scholarships to deserving students each year.