Q&A Regarding the APPR Settlement
Just before the vacation, NYSUT and the Department of Education settled an agreement regarding APPR. Here are NYSUT's FAQs about the settlement and what it will mean for each of our members.
Negotiations are ongoing in Bronxville.
Executive Council Meets Today
3ish in the teachers' room.
On Saturday, I joined BTA members Glenn Stockton, Meg Weiss, Karen Green, Pam Kohlhoff, Mandy Gersten, Mike Mari, Mary Schenck, and Donna Bianco at the A&P in Bronxville. We stood out in the cold and snow with some middle and high school students collecting food and toiletries for the Food Bank of Westchester. In all, we collected 49 boxes filled with good stuff for those less fortunate.
Thanks, especially, to Glenn and Meg for their leadership in taking this project on this year.
Poll Regarding Use of Test Scores
More than 70 percent of public school parents reject a proposal to greatly increase the weight of a single state test score in evaluating teachers, according to a recent poll conducted by Hart Research for NYSUT. Here's our news release on the poll, and here are highlights of the results.
The statewide poll was conducted in January while NYSUT and SED were discussing teacher evaluation processes. It confirms New Yorkers favor accountability in the classroom, but they have serious doubts about an overemphasis on student testing. Its findings are in line with a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week.
NYSUT's statewide media campaign continues online. The website[learnmore.nysut.org] provides plenty of evidence that schools all over the state are putting evaluation plans into motion.
Gov. Cuomo has indicated he plans to mandate a statewide evaluation system if he believes significant progress is not made by later in the month. To date, nearly 400 school districts report progress in developing a new evaluation program, with another 100 school districts having already negotiated an implementation plan for evaluations.
Meanwhile, Fred LeBrun of the Times Union newspaper in Albany wrote a perceptive commentary in which he laid out the governor's machinations on teacher evaluations and affirmed the union's position.
Restoring State Aid
Nearly 19,000 friends of public schools have signed NYSUT's petition seeking restoration of $250 million in state aid. More support is needed urgently. Please continue to ask members, friends, family and other supporters of public education to sign. The $250 million is currently set aside for competitive grants that will put many of the neediest districts -- those that depend most on state aid -- at a severe disadvantage.
Action Center Targets Tier 6 Proposal
Action Center targets Tier 6 proposal:
NYSUT is urging its activist members to contact lawmakers and tell them to oppose the proposed new pension Tier 6. The union has materials for members so they can explain to legislators -- and their own friends and family -- how pensions strengthen the middle class and the state economy.
Become a MAC e-activist and take action:
NYSUT officers reached out to activists and local presidents this week via emails and telephone calls. Union members can contact legislators and the governor on the AFL-CIO action line at 877-255-9417.
Here's the basic message we need you to share:
You do not support the creation of a sixth pension tier.
Tier 6 is being considered just two years after the creation of the money-saving Tier 5.
Public service workers have already negotiated new contracts with concessions that saved millions of taxpayer dollars and rescued important programs.
Moving to a defined contribution plan (like a 401k) places all pensions at the mercy of the stock market.
This plan also guts the optional retirement plan that covers most higher education members, which will make it more difficult to attract and retain top faculty.
In addition, NYSUT's polling center is making "patch-through" calls to members that allow them to transfer directly to their state representatives.
The AFL-CIO this week launched a statewide radio and print ad, supported by NYSUT, to criticize and respond to the Tier 6 plan.
The state Teachers' Retirement System has prominently criticized the defined contribution proposal as not secure for retirement.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who oversees the state pension systems, has boldly challenged the concept of a Tier 6 as unnecessary and unwise.
Thanks Frank Viggiani, Stephanie Grohowski, Mandy Gersten, and Katie Brosnahan for joining me on Saturday morning at the district's budget workshop.
The district's website has a recap of the meeting.
Please let me know of important happenings in the lives of BTA members, so that I can print them in the BTA NEWS from time to time.