- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sandra Feldman, 65, former AFT president

NEW YORK (AP) — Sandra Feldman, an advocate for disadvantaged children and a former leader of the nation’s second-largest teachers union, died Sept. 18 of breast cancer at her Manhattan home. She was 65.

Mrs. Feldman led the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers for seven years before retiring last year, saying her weekly cancer treatments made “doing the job with the justice it deserves — or at least up to my standards — impossible.”

While national president, Mrs. Feldman implored the union’s members to help poor students. She supported tough entrance requirements for teachers and standardized tests, and opposed social promotion.

Mrs. Feldman grew up in a New York tenement and public housing. She taught at a public school in Manhattan while pursuing a master’s degree in literature at New York University.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, called Mrs. Feldman “a giant in the field of education” and said she was one of the nation’s most effective champions for equal educational opportunity for children.

“Tens of millions of young students are better off today and will have better lives because of her,” he said.

Mrs. Feldman is survived by her husband and two children.

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