Letters To The Editor

Teachers’ Opinions in Letters to the Editor

How often do we stop to read the letters to the editor when we are reading the news? While the main headlines may have the most important stories in the BTU’s newspaper, the letters to the editor provide us with a diverse array of opinions, advice, and even criticism from teachers.

“Dad’s Gambling Problem” by Michael J. Maguire (2004)

A Teacher Shares His Opinion

“Dad’s Gambling Problem.” Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston: Boston Union Teacher, February, 2004. (detail).

In this letter by Michael J. Maguire, he is clearly comfortable sharing his opinion with the BTU’s newspaper. Additionally, this article shows how the newspaper provided teachers with a space when the world did not. the letter begins, “This following letter to the editor sent on January 16, 2004 to the Boston Globe, but as of January 18, 2004, it has not been published.” Maguire uses his voice to defend the union in the face of an article from the Boston Globe that compared the unions to spoiled children. Maguire turns this analogy around by explaining that perhaps the children are upset because the father, representing the mayor, has been wasting his money on gambling. This letter shows the spirit and loyalty that the BTU members have for their union, and the space they are allowed to have to share their opinions.

A Teacher Shares Advice (1981)

“Letter to the Editor.” Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston: Boston Union Teacher, July, 1981. (Detail).

In this letter, the authors praise the school committee’s decision to keep a number of Black and minority teachers, despite the other mass school closings and layoffs. These teachers speak of the need for Black teachers in the schools and the skills they bring to the classroom. Furthermore, the teachers advise for the need of parental support to maintain and widen the multi-racial coalition. The authors even call on one another to hold the leadership of the Union accountable to protect this coalition.

“And yet, the school committee’s decision this spring by a 3 to 2 vote to maintain the existing percentage of Black and minority teachers and administrators in Boston, whatever the number of layoffs, is a piece of genuine moral and educational leadership which deserves praise.”

“Teach for America Alumnus Cites Article Inaccuracies” by Joey Schotland (2009)

A Teacher Openly Criticizes the BTU’s Newspaper

“Teach For America Alumnus Cites Article Inaccuracies.” Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston: Boston Union Teacher, October, 2009. (Detail).

Joey Schotland writes in defense of Teach for America and openly criticizes a previous article posted in the BTU’s newspaper for its inaccuracies. Step by step, he explains how Teach for America is, in fact, a worthy institute. He writes, “…the letter writer claims that Teach for America teachers are ineffective, which is demonstrably untrue.” Within this newspaper, there are open conversations about the articles that are published and whether they are an accurate representation of the topic. Once again, the BTU allows for this dialogue where teachers can feel safe correcting misconceptions and raising their voices.

“As a proud member of the BTU and a proud alumnus of Teach for America, I was disappointed to read the anonymous letter about Teach for America in The Boston Union Teacher (“Former Teach for America blasts TFA Political Agenda,” June 2009).”