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How the Teachers Union Can Rebuild To Become a Force for Students

Alan Singer, a social studies educator at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, describes himself as "pro-public education, pro-teacher, pro-student, and pro-union." But lately, he feels that teachers unions have lost their way by working on self-promotion instead of student learning. He wants to see teachers unions across the country rebuild themselves into organizations that always put students first over their own financial interests.

Singer, writing in the Huffington Post, is especially critical of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). He took issue with their endorsement of Bill Thompson in the NYC mayoral primary election because he viewed Thompson as the most likely candidate to award the UFT billions in back pay dating to 2008:

While teachers and municipal workers deserve a raise, there certainly were more pressing educational issues in New York City and the nation facing students and parents -- and I argue facing teachers as well. They include school closings, charter schools, teacher assessments, and poor performance on new standardized tests, especially by black and latino students. My own experience with the leadership of the UFT during the past four decades is that while they consistently promote better education for students, especially when they are negotiating new contracts for teachers and want parental support, they inevitably drop all other demands in exchange for a pay raise, or in this case, for retroactive pay.

Read the full opinion article here.

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