The UFT Election

Apr 19, 2019 by

The UFT election was just completed, the ballots are in and the teachers union has once again demonstrated the unifying genius of democracy in action.

President Michael Mulgrew drew more than 86 percent of the votes.

By a margin surpassing resounding and well into the territory of the stupendous, he was returned to the leadership position to which he was first elected in 2010.

By tradition and in keeping with the collective character of the union, these contests never are treated as prompts for bragging rights or sour grapes.  There is no exultation or bitterness.

The UFT has many tens of thousands of members who are trained to think for themselves about dozens of education-related issues. There are bound to be differences among viewpoints, but they are all driven by good-faith perceptions of what is best for students.  There may be divergence in where they stand on the issues but not where they stand on the union.

No strife. No schism. No kidding.

With the election over, the business of the union carries on from where it never left off. 

Like it or not, the political landscape, local, state  and national, is an educational battleground. Its minefields are easy to find but can be  hard to clear.

New York State is in many respects, far better off in terms of support for public education, but even here there are pro-charter and other private school people of influence, some in high places, who are known to push their agenda with belligerent finesse. There are many additional issues that command the attention of the “union or professionals”, including some that transcend education itself.

Polls and surveys have in recent years consistently reflected an increased confidence in public education and an emphatically heightened favorable view of the teachers union.

Former President Coolidge is quoted as saying, back in the 1920s, that “the business of America is business.”  The absence of a single word renders that quotations an inaccurate reproduction of what he actually said. 

Coolidge had actually said that “the chief business of America is business.” The chief business of educators is the learning prosperity of their students. That said, it can be unapologetic ally added that the union also labors for its members in the workplace.  People of good-will realize that there is no contradiction between the primary and secondary pursuits.

The UFT’s platform and legacy is to serve our students and their education communities.  That’s the credo of all the members and their leadership.  They have all elected that applied philosophy for over 60 years.

Ron Isaac

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