Ron Isaac’s Commentary: The UFT, the New York Post and the Gold Rush

Oct 21, 2021 by

In the mid-1800s, frantic prospectors joined the Gold Rush in quest of the mother lode that would make them fabulously rich.  The New York Post serves a similar function as the source of an infinite wealth of false gold nuggets about the alleged failure of public schools and their teachers union.

At a City Council meeting last week, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, citing the pattern of diminishing enrollment, urged the Department of Education to release update data concerning enrollment and attendance. 

Why does he care? 

Could it be because he is devoting his life to improving the quality of education?  Could being a mountain on the landscape of professional debate have anything to do with it?  

Many school systems are mired in and in some cases paralyzed by controversies. But although in New York there is always a stirring of the cauldron of obstacles and challenges,  we tend to ultimately set our house in order.

The teachers union is a major player in the creation of positive solutions.  Because they care and they know.

Not so, according to the New York Post.  They insist that the reason that the teachers union is concerned about student enrollment is the correlation between the number of kids on register with the quantity of teachers needed for staffing and the union dues they generate. Teachers couldn’t care less about kids, the Post frequently claims.

It is not worth bothering trying to persuade anyone who shares that warped and contemptuous opinion.  Curtis Sliwa, the Republican candidate for mayor, for instance. 

Every chance he gets, he calls the UFT the “Union of Failed Teachers”.  Rational people, even some critics, can see through the ruse of his attempting to drive a wedge between the teachers union and their members by pretending that there is an attitudinal schism between them. 

When adversaries like him strike at the teachers union, they are really targeting public education itself, which  are inseparable and no apology is owed for their unity.

They are in the business of guiding future generations along the path to healing the world one day.  That may be self-serving to the teachers union, but it is no less so for everybody else.

Ron Isaac

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