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August 10, 2017
Amid concerns about plan to let charter schools certify their own teachers, changes could be on the way
Changes may be on the way to SUNY's controversial proposal that would allow charter schools to certify their own teachers.
rules and regs
June 22, 2017
New York shortens length of ‘gag order’ on teachers discussing Regents questions online
After pushback from teachers, the New York State Education Department has changed a new provision that temporarily prohibits teachers from discussing Regents exam questions…
June 20, 2017
State teachers union protests ‘gag order’ on teachers discussing Regents test questions
A new state rule that temporarily prohibits teachers from discussing Regents exam questions online is raising eyebrows among teachers across New York.
a new face
April 11, 2017
For the first time, the state teachers union will be headed by a New York City educator
"We’re going to play a role in pretty much everything."
the final countdown
March 31, 2017
Hours left until budget deadline, New York state lawmakers squabble over charter schools
Charter school questions are one of the last things holding up the budget in Albany. Here's what you need to know.
take it back
November 16, 2016
One day after sweeping testing announcement, New York state walks it back
Instead of keeping tests constant for three years, as the state had announced, that testing changes are now up for discussion.
a more perfect union
April 4, 2016
For teachers unions, budget is more proof of a pendulum shift in New York education policy
The charter sector is excited about a funding boost, while the unions are relishing an ideological shift borne out in newfound support for “community schools.”
May 26, 2015
Education groups with opposing views welcome incoming Commissioner Elia
The national, state, and city teachers union chiefs praised MaryEllen Elia's appointment, as did some advocacy groups that often clash with the unions.
an objective measure
April 7, 2015
As new teacher evaluation system looms, Tisch defends need for state tests
Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch continues to defend the need for state tests as an objective measure in the new teacher evaluation system.
March 12, 2015
Legal challenge to tenure clears hurdle, union vows to fight back
A Staten Island judge denied the city, state, and both teachers unions' motions to dismiss the lawsuit challenging New York's teacher tenure protections.
January 14, 2015
After court arguments, judge puts off decision in teacher tenure case
It’s now a waiting game for those fighting and observing the legal challenge to teacher job protections in New York. After nearly…
January 13, 2015
Here’s what to expect as the teacher-tenure fight heads to court
A hearing set for Wednesday could be the jumping-off point for a long court battle over teacher tenure or spell the end of the…
December 8, 2014
Legal fight over teacher tenure continues
The legal fight over job protections for New York teachers is continuing, as the lawyers for the parent plaintiffs have filed a formal rebuttal…
October 29, 2014
NYSUT, following UFT, asks court to dismiss lawsuit challenging teacher tenure
The state teachers union is joining the city’s union in asking the court to toss out a lawsuit challenging teacher tenure laws in New…
The moratorium dilemma
June 12, 2014
Cuomo, union still at odds over changes to teacher evals
In a Thursday morning interview on the public radio program “Capitol Pressroom,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he's willing to lower the stakes for teachers by adjusting teachers' ratings, but not to the extent demanded by the Assembly and state teachers unions.
state of the union
April 6, 2014
State teachers union president defeated with UFT support
Karen Magee unseated Richard Iannuzzi, New York State United Teachers president since 2005, in an election seen by some as a power play by New York City’s union chief. Magee said she would not avoid tangling with the legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over state education policy.
January 28, 2014
A key ally of state teachers union criticizes its "no confidence" vote
The state teachers union took a hit from a key ally in Albany today when Assembly education committee chair Catherine Nolan criticized the union's denunciation of the state's top schools official.
January 13, 2014
Tisch calls NYSUT's "no confidence" vote a political "sideshow"
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch today dismissed new criticism from the state teachers union as a "sideshow" more motivated by politics than a commitment to addressing challenges posed by education policies being implemented across the state.
October 17, 2013
So far, parent group is sitting out dueling Common Core forums
Two sides of a heated debate over the role of testing in New York State schools are rushing to plan a series of dueling forums to give parents a platform to share their concerns. The State Education Department is scheduling more than a dozen small forums about the Common Core, the state's new standards, to replace ones that Commissioner John King canceled over the weekend. And the state teachers union is planning forums of its own in response to King's decision. But a statewide parent group caught in the middle of the fight isn't sure if it'll participate in either. "Until we can tone down some of the emotion, we're not sure we're ready to go out into public forums yet," said Richard Longhurst, executive administrator of the New York State Parent Teacher Association.
April 15, 2013
King and Walcott take their Common Core message to church
State Education Commissioner John King took the stage at Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Queens on Sunday to tell parishioners about the new Common Core standards, on the eve of the first state tests tied to them. Speaking to the congregation at Greater Allen AME Cathedral's morning worship in Queens on Sunday, the state's top education official summoned Martin Luther King, Jr. to respond to detractors who say he's moving too fast on the Common Core standards. "When it comes to the education of our children, we do not have as much time as the patient and the cautious would give us," State Education Commissioner John King said. He was adapting a line from a draft of the speech that Martin Luther King delivered on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. John King made the appearance alongside New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who ducked out shortly after speaking to make it to the Sunday service at his own church, as part of a sweeping public relations push in the days before the first state tests tied to the new standards.
March 18, 2013
Teachers unions wield much power in elections but can still lose
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten urges Cincinnati teachers to knock on doors and phone bank on President Obama’s behalf. (Photo by Sarah Butrymowicz) Early on in George Latimer’s 2012 race for the open New York Senate District 37 seat, the momentum was swinging in his opponent’s favor. Republican candidate Bob Cohen, a wealthy real estate developer, had a reputation as an aggressive campaigner who wasn’t afraid to spend money. Two years earlier, he had nearly unseated the incumbent who was now stepping down. “There was a substantial concern that Bob’s money could win this,” said Victor Mallison, who ran Latimer’s campaign. But the Westchester race had piqued the interest of the United Federation of Teachers and the New York State United Teachers, who saw a unique opportunity for Democrats to take over the Senate for just the third time since World War II. Democrats already controlled the Assembly, and controlling both houses of the legislature would give the party and its union allies the power to advance their agendas with little opposition.
March 6, 2013
In Albany, teachers unions' lobbying power remains unmatched
Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director for Alliance for Quality Education, a group that co-hosts Lobby Day with NYSUT, speaks in Albany on Tuesday.Teachers from across the state began descending on Albany Tuesday for a series of high-profile meetings with lawmakers, a small but significant part of their unions’ overall lobbying strategies. A high school marching band helped start off the New York State United Teachers’ lobby day in the late morning, leading hundreds bused in from around the state on a parade outside the state Capitol building. At a rally, the crowd of teachers, students, and community organizers asked for more school funding and called Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget, which increases state aid by 4.4 percent, “bananas” because it wasn’t enough. Today’s message will feature a different union — the city’s United Federation of Teachers — with different budget priorities and a more powerful audience. The UFT wants money for teacher training centers, community schools, and child care, and it has reserved speaking slots at its rally for the legislature’s three leaders: Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, Senate Republican Dean Skelos and Senate Democrat Jeff Klein. The two lobby days, which include union members and their supporters, are among the most visible manifestations of the unions’ annual behind-the-scenes effort to influence how state policies are shaped and money is spent. Each year, New York’s teacher unions spend millions to organize large rallies, launch statewide advertising campaigns and pay teams of staff lobbyists to work directly with elected officials on specific legislation.
November 14, 2012
Several NYC teachers on state's new Teacher Advisory Council
Jeff Li, who stepped down at Teach for America to return to the classroom this year, is one of seven city educators on the state's new Teacher Advisory Council. Among the 23 teachers from across the state that Education Commissioner John King has tapped to give him feedback about how policy is playing out in the classroom, seven work in New York City schools. The commissioner's Teacher Advisory Council, announced today, will meet periodically to discuss the policy agenda that the state's Board of Regents is advancing. That agenda, aimed at helping more students become college ready, includes adopting more challenging standards; overhauling low-performing schools; facilitating data-driven instruction; and improving teacher preparation and evaluation. "The teachers on the Council will give direct feedback from the frontlines of reform – the classroom," King said in a statement. "The most important thing we can do as educators is maintain focus on the students, and these extraordinary teachers will help us do just that." The teacher council parallels ones that already exist for superintendents, school boards, and other groups, according to Dennis Tompkins, a State Education Department spokesman. One of the city teachers on the board is Jeff Li, the former head of Teach For America's New York City office who returned to the classroom this fall.
August 24, 2012
Union endorses a candidate backed by StudentsFirstNY
It didn't take long for the complexities of New York State politics to make strange bedfellows out of two rival education advocacy groups. This week, New York State United Teachers endorsed Jeff Klein, a Democratic state Senator from the Bronx with a reputation for rebuffing teachers union interests. Earlier this summer, Klein also took in money from StudentsFirstNY, a group that a union-backed coalition is attacking for its board members' Republican ties. Over the past week, accepting money from StudentsFirstNY has received a lot of scrutiny from the coalition, called New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, which is made up of labor unions and community-based organizations. At protests, it has tacitly warned elected officials to reject StudentsFirstNY because some of its funding comes from people working in the private sector with ideologically different positions on education policy. And while most of their energy will be focused on the 2013 mayoral candidates, the coalition punctuated its point this week when it gleefully released a list of state and city politicians who agreed to reject contributions from StudentsFirstNY. "Taking StudentsFirst money is bad for New York," Billy Easton, executive director of Alliance for Quality Education, one of the groups that gets funding from the state teachers union, said last week.
June 22, 2012
With focus on teacher data deal, other education bills moved too
All eyes might have been on the teacher evaluation shield bill this week, but that wasn't the only education issue lawmakers tackled this spring. A host of other education bills traveled through both houses of the legislature in recent months, with varying success. Here's a brief rundown of those bills and how they fared: Senate, Assembly pave way for universal kindergarten in New York City In New York City, more than 3,000 children — or 4 percent — of all five-year-olds are not enrolled in kindergarten. Expanding that service has become a pet issue for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other council members, but it first required a change to state law that would allow the city to revise age regulations. Currently, the city requires only that six-year-olds attend school. The bill passed easily through the Assembly earlier this month, 141-1, and passed in the Senate Thursday just after 9 p.m. The passage doesn't automatically enact universal kindergarten, however. To do that, city officials will have to agree to new age regulations. Mayor Bloomberg initially raised questions about the expansion's cost — he estimated the additional enrollment could run $30 million a year — but the city Department of Education has since come out in support of the legislation. The bill still needs a final signature from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in order to become a law. "We are reviewing the legislation," said a Cuomo spokesman.
June 18, 2012
Bill to help charters serve high-needs students finds foe in union
The state teachers union is lobbying against a bill that would allow charter schools to serve students with special needs more readily. The bill would allow charter schools, which essentially operate as one-school districts now, to pool their resources to offer special services to students with disabilities and English language learners. The bill was introduced in April, just weeks before state charter school authorizers proposed enrollment targets to comply with a requirement added to the state's charter school law in 2010 that the schools serve "comparable" numbers of students with special needs. Charter school advocates have spent recent weeks lobbying for The Charter School Students With Special Needs Act and until now had encountered little resistance in Albany. The bill sailed through the State Senate's education committee, and Assemblyman Karim Camara introduced an Assembly version two weeks ago. But last week, NYSUT circulated a memo urging lawmakers to reject the bill. The memo lauded the bill's sponsors and acknowledged charter schools' challenges in serving special needs student populations. But it also warned that the bill could result in "a huge expansion of charter schools" and create an arrangement in which charter schools "segregate all of their students with disabilities to one site."
February 16, 2012
With state's evals deal said to be set, all eyes turn to city's talks
All eyes are on Albany today, the deadline Gov. Andrew Cuomo set last month for an agreement on new teacher evaluations. The deadline is for the state teachers union, NYSUT, to set aside its lawsuit over the evaluations and reach an agreement with the State Education Department over how new evaluations should be structured. The word on the street — and in the Capitol parking lot, which Cuomo exited early Wednesday — is that SED and NYSUT appear nearly assured of meeting that deadline. But the specifics of an agreement remain opaque. Last spring, NYSUT had sued over Cuomo's bid to increase the weight test scores play in the evaluations. Now, attention among the governor's staff has turned to the city's own evaluations impasse. Just a month ago, Cuomo gave the city a year to resolve its conflicts, which have focused on the appeals process for teachers who receive low ratings. But he seems eager to be able to announce a statewide sweep of teacher evaluation deals. Whether a sweep is in Cuomo's grasp remains unclear.
February 9, 2012
Citing poll, NYSUT pushes for limited role of test scores in evals
Across the state, school districts are inching toward teacher evaluation deals one week before a deadline Gov. Andrew Cuomo set last month. According to NYSUT, the state teachers union, 100 school districts have agreed on how to put new evaluations in place and 400 districts "report making progress." That leaves just over 200 districts that, like New York City, are nowhere near agreeing with their local unions on new evaluation systems. Cuomo said last month that if districts do not settle on new evaluations by next week, he would use the budget amendment process to change the state evaluation law. Last year, in a hint of what the changes might entail, the governor pushed state policy-makers to double test scores' weight, from 20 to 40 percent, in an action that drew a successful legal challenge from the union.
February 1, 2012
Principals union chief urges state to reject city's turnaround bid
The city's bid to "turn around" 33 struggling schools is politically motivated and should be quashed, according to the head of the city's principals union. The city is days away from submitting a formal request for State Education Commissioner John King to release millions of dollars in federal funding for the 33 schools even though the city has not yet negotiated new evaluations with the teachers union. Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, sent a letter to King Tuesday urging him to reject the city's request. Logan charges that the city's announcement last month that it would abandon two in-process school improvement strategies, "transformation" and "restart," was meant only to sidestep a requirement that the city negotiate with CSA and the United Federation of Teachers. Without an agreement, King froze federal funds to the schools last month. "Simply stated, if the Turnaround model were the most educationally sound plan of intervention for the 33 schools, it would have been selected for any or all of them in 2010 and 2011," Logan writes. "It was not. It is being proposed now only as a means of evading the ... evaluation requirements." The city is required to negotiate new evaluations in order to receive federal funds and, in a plan Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month, additional state school aid. But Cuomo also said he would push changes to the state's 2010 evaluation law if districts do not adopt new evaluations by mid-month. City officials are lobbying legislators to take that route, even though a statewide teachers union, NYSUT, has said it is on the verge of agreement for nearly all districts other than New York City.
January 20, 2012
State-level conflict over teacher evals said to be near resolution
A week that was packed with conflict over teacher evaluations is drawing to close with news that detente is nearing — at least at…
January 17, 2012
In state budget proposal, Cuomo issues evaluations ultimatum
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo slashed school aid across the state. This year, he plans to add back much of what was lost — but there's a catch. Districts will get the money only if they roll out controversial new teacher evaluations according to an accelerated timeline, Cuomo announced in a hotly anticipated speech in Albany today. He also outlined a procedure by which new evaluations could be put into effect even without local unions' agreement, which a state law passed in 2010 requires. Cuomo kicked off the procedure today with an ultimatum: He demanded that the state teachers union, NYSUT, drop its lawsuit over the evaluations and settle on a “protocol” for new evaluations with the State Education Department within 30 days. "If they can't do that then we'll do it for them," Cuomo said in his address today. Using the state’s unusual Article 7 process, Cuomo could use a budget amendment to change the state’s teacher evaluation law — possibly by striking the requirement for districts and unions to negotiate some details locally. For now, local districts and their unions would still have to sign off on evaluation plans even if NYSUT resolves its issues with the state. Districts that do so by Sept. 1 will be able to compete for $250 million in state funds, Cuomo said today. If they miss that deadline, they will have until Jan. 17, 2013 — a year from today — to settle on new evaluations or give up the 4 percent increase in state aid. "The equation is simple at the end of the day: No evaluations, no money, period,” Cuomo said.
January 10, 2012
Cuomo says state's teacher evaluation law was "destined to fail"
Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned up his rhetoric against teachers unions today, charging that their influence made the state's teacher evaluation law "destined to fail." Cuomo was responding to the Obama administration's warning that New York could lose hundreds of millions of federal dollars if it does not speed up reforms that include overhauling how teachers are rated. In 2010, with the deadline to apply for federal Race to the Top funds looming, legislators passed a law requiring districts to negotiate more sophisticated evaluations. That law was key to helping the state secure $700 million in the funding competition, and it is that law that the Obama administration now wants to see in effect. But a requirement that districts negotiate some details with their local unions has hampered implementation, including in New York City. Speaking several days after negotiations in several districts fell apart, Cuomo said in his State of the State address last week that the state's teacher evaluation law "didn't work." Today, he took that characterization even further, suggesting that legislators had been excessively influenced by teachers unions and arguing that a different law is needed.
January 9, 2012
City nowhere to be found at Albany protest about frozen funds
NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi on the steps of the State Education Department building today ALBANY — Nearly 200 teaching jobs across the state could be lost as a result of a decision to freeze federal funding to low-performing schools, according to the head of the state teachers union. New York State United Teachers President Richard Ianuzzi detailed the potential job casualties this afternoon on the steps of the State Education Department building, where the Board of Regents was holding its monthly meeting. He was joined by union officials from six districts and superintendents from Albany and nearby Schenectady — but not from New York City, where he blamed politics for impeding progress on teacher evaluations. The press conference was a response to State Education Commissioner John King's decision last week to suspend federal funding set aside for the state's lowest performing schools, known as School Improvement Grants, in all 10 districts that were set to receive the money. Some of the districts, including New York City, failed to negotiate new teacher evaluations for those schools by a Dec. 31 deadline, and King said the other districts' evaluation plans didn't meet state standards. "What is happening here, ladies and gentlemen, is that the State Education Department has decided that being a bully and acting like a bureaucrat is better than meeting the needs of New York State's most vulnerable children," Ianuzzi said at the press conference. The money still could be restored. King gave all districts a 30-day period to appeal the decision and revise their system to meet his concerns, which he spelled out in letters last week. District officials at the press conference said that they planned to follow that process.
January 6, 2012
Sticks, carrots, and familiar policies in state's NCLB waiver plan
New York will get new terms for high- and low-performing schools — and new ways to define good and bad performance — under a proposed accountability plan designed to replace the requirements of No Child Left Behind. The proposal, which was released in draft form late today and will be discussed by the Board of Regents on Monday, is the result of two months of planning in response to the Obama administration's offer to waive some of the decade-old federal law’s requirements, including one that requires full proficiency by 2014. In exchange, states must to commit to prioritizing college readiness, setting guidelines for teacher and principal evaluations, and holding schools and districts accountable for their students' performance on state tests. Under the proposal, the bulk of the state's testing program would remain unchanged. But elementary and middle school students would take science tests; the bar to be considered proficient on high school exams would be raised; and proficiency would be calculated not just by whether students met certain benchmarks, but by how much they improved. Schools that fall short would not get extra funding to pay for tutoring services, an arrangement that has shown mixed results. Instead, they would get extra money to carry out more of the initiatives that the Regents themselves have endorsed, such as improving teacher training and revising curriculum standards. Five percent of low-scoring schools would become Priority Schools and have to undergo federally mandated school overhaul approaches. Another 10 percent would become Focus Schools, and their districts would have to develop plans to improve them. For the first time, school districts will be evaluated with the same scrutiny as schools were under NCLB. "Since district policies often contribute to why schools have low performance for specific groups of students," the proposal says, "districts must play a lead role in helping schools to address this issue." New York City, a district certain to house many Focus and Priority schools, will not be evaluated as one entire district, according to a provision. Instead, each of the city's 32 districts would be evaluated based on state test scores for its schools.
November 16, 2011
State teachers union issues its own roadmap to new evaluations
The cover of NYSUT's evaluation handbook This school year, New York State school districts and their teachers unions are spending a lot of time hammering out local agreements about adopting the state's new mandated teacher evaluation system, required by June. While 40 percent of that system is predetermined by student test scores, myriad unanswered questions surround the remaining "subjective" 60 percent: Should formal observations be announced in advance? Should teachers be entitled to discuss their own observations with administrators afterwards? Should student surveys have weight in evaluations? Today, the state teachers union unveiled what it's calling a "groundbreaking" roadmap to answering those questions that it hopes local unions will use as they sit down to negotiate. Based on work that was piloted last year in six districts across the state with funding from the AFT and the Obama administration's Investing in Innovation competition, New York State United Teachers' "Teacher Evaluation and Development" system carves out a role for teachers to participate in their own evaluations. TED represents a shift from defense to offense for NYSUT, which sued this summer to stop the state from allowing districts to increase the weight of test scores in teacher evaluations. The roadmap is broken down into four phases, each involving teachers in the evaluation process, that are outlined in a 95-page guidance handbook available on the union's website.
August 24, 2011
Partial win for state union on evaluations, but appeal is likely
A State Supreme Court Judge partially sided with the state teachers union today over how big of a role standardized state test scores should play for teacher evaluations. Overturning a key state regulation that was approved by the Board of Regents in May, Judge Michael Lynch ruled that local districts could only double the weight of test scores in evaluations – from 20 percent to 40 percent – if the local union signs off on the arrangement. The judge upheld a different regulation, which will allow districts the option to increase testing emphasis, so long as it is through collective bargaining. The New York State Education Department criticized the judge's reversal and pledged to appeal it, further complicating the future of an evaluation system that was originally slated to take effect this year. The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by New York State United Teachers in June. In the suit, NYSUT lawyers argued that the Regents were circumventing a carefully negotiated state law that set the weight of test scores at 20 percent.
August 30, 2010
Listen to us, teachers tell Arne Duncan in Albany
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (right, blue shirt) and NYSUT President Richard Ianuzzi listen to a teacher at a roundtable at NYSUT's Albany headquarters today. ALBANY, N.Y. — Teamwork was the watchword as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan took his national back-to-school bus tour to Albany today. Duncan has taken to the road to celebrate teachers, and to convince them that his reform efforts will not undercut their interests. In New York, many teachers are still skittish of a new teacher evaluation plan that will, for the first time, allow school districts to judge them based on their students' test scores. The state and city teachers union struck the agreement with state education officials in May, in part to improve the state's Race to the Top application. And so, in appearances at the state teachers union headquarters and the State Capitol, Duncan and state officials emphasized that New York's reform policies are the result of a team effort between state education officials and its teachers unions. Those policies won the state nearly $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds last week. "Where other states were not able to reach consensus, New York was," Duncan said.
April 30, 2010
State Senate introduces new bill to double cap on charter schools
The legislative battle over whether and how to raise the state's cap on charter schools could begin again as early as next week. The State Senate's Rules Committee, which is chaired by Senator Malcolm Smith, introduced a bill today that would lift the charter school cap to 460, more than doubling the number currently allowed under state law. It also would require schools to make more of their financial practices public and increase the number of special education and English language learners they serve. Charter school advocates are hailing the bill as a compromise between supporters of the speedy growth of charter schools and critics who argue that a cap lift should come only with changes to how the schools are run. But perhaps the most vocal skeptics of charter management practices, the teachers unions, are crying foul. Union officials are complaining that the bill was developed without union leaders' input and that its regulatory provisions are too weak.
April 27, 2010
State teachers union makes its case for charter school reform
The state teachers union has been complaining about charter school mismanagement for a long time. Now, we have their complaints in writing. The New York State United Teachers released its report today cataloging cases of documented and alleged financial mismanagement, conflicts of interest and counseling out of needy students. The report, which NYSUT based on a review of records from 60 of the state's approximately 140 charter schools, estimates that the state's charter schools have an 8 to 10 percent student turnover rate each year. It also argues that state charter law doesn't prevent financial abuses such as those at East New York Preparatory Charter School, which the city is closing at the end of this school year. The union's arguments will sound familiar to those who followed New York State United Teachers representative's testimony at State Senator Bill Perkins' hearings on charter school oversight last week. At the hearing, charter school authorizers responded that many of the cases of mismanagement the union cites were uncovered through their current oversight practices. The full report is below the jump:
April 20, 2010
NY teachers union strikes back against Newsweek cover story
Does that April 15 edition of New York Teacher look familiar? Apparently, the state teachers union didn’t take to Newsweek’s take-down of teachers…
February 8, 2010
Education groups giving funds but not taking sides in gov.'s race
Major state education stakeholders are funneling money to both sides in the not-yet-official-but-looking-likely gubernatorial primary contest between Governor David Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. But donors say that although their gifts coincided with increased speculation about Cuomo's entry into the governor's race, the donations are more a reflection of what they want to see happen now than a sign they're taking sides in a future race. The state teachers union, which vigorously opposed Paterson's recent attempt to raise the cap on charter schools in the state without additional restrictions, gave $8,400 to Cuomo in the middle of December. That donation followed a $10,000 gift to the attorney general last June. Union spokesman Carl Korn said that the most recent donation was an indication of support for the attorney generals' crackdown on predatory lending to students and not a forward-looking political move. Cuomo has so far kept quiet on his views on charter schools and recently refused to comment on whether he supported Paterson's push to increase the number of charters allowed under state law.
February 25, 2009
State teachers union will now represent lifeguards
New York State United Teachers, the state chapter of the city teachers union, just announced that the union is on the brink of adding about 500 1,200 lifeguards into its fold. The lifeguards used to belong to another union, but they sought out NYSUT hoping it would offer "stronger representation," according to the press release below. Most of NYSUT's 600,000 members are teachers (and most of those are in New York City) but the union also represents some groups that aren't affiliated with schools, including hospital nurses, group home workers, and day care providers. Read background on how lifeguards got unionized here. Here's the NYSUT press release: Lifeguards join NYSUT seeking a voice, better pay & improved safety ALBANY, N.Y. February 25, 2009 — Along with their whistles, sun block and rescue buoys, some 1,200 state lifeguards, including nearly 500 who protect beachgoers on Long Island’s shores, will be carrying something else on their stands this summer — a NYSUT union card. New York State United Teachers announced today that state-employed lifeguards who protect pools, lakes and beaches from Lake Erie to Montauk are affiliating with the 600,000-member union. The NYSUT Board of Directors will formally vote to accept the new local union — known as the New York State Lifeguard Corps — on Saturday, ending a nearly six-year legal odyssey that started when lifeguards began seeking better pay, improved training and safety equipment, and a voice in their working conditions.
January 21, 2009
At union's request, city kids offer action plans for Obama
Here's an idea for the new president: Make people happy by giving them pennies. According to a story in triptych form by Miah Mansour, a kindergartner at PS 130 (not sure which borough), that's what it would take to stave off the foreclosure crisis. Miah sent the story, which you can view in full below the jump, to the state teachers union, NYSUT, after it asked schoolchildren to offer advice to Barack Obama. Other letters suggest insulating schools against budget cuts, reducing class sizes, and providing bigger file cabinets for teachers. (Via Edwize)
October 17, 2008
State Dems fight back against NYSUT Republican endorsements
Malcolm Smith NYSUT’s possible endorsement of Republican candidates for State Senate has Democrats worried. Malcolm Smith, Democratic leader of the State Senate,…
October 16, 2008
Could panic over education cuts cost Dems the state senate?
The state senate chambers Pledging not to allow any mid-year budget cuts to education has won the Republican leader of the state senate…
August 19, 2008
Studies of tax caps show detriment to education
New York State has the highest local taxes in the nation, prompting Governor Paterson to propose a cap on how much property taxes can be increased for education funding. But how would a tax cap affect public education? Studies show that tax limitations decrease revenue for public services and are associated with lower student achievement and higher class sizes, according to a briefing paper by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Research and Information Services. The briefing paper reviews more than a dozen studies and concludes that state funding does not replace local funding limited by tax caps; in fact, local funding is often used to make up for state funding cuts during economic downturns. Furthermore, tax caps affect poor families and their communities the most, widening inequality. Studies linked tax limitations with lower student achievement, both when comparing districts affected by tax caps to similar districts not affected and when looking at achievement before and after a tax limitation took effect. Also, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Massachusetts' Proposition 2 1/2 made local budgets more dependent on state aid, which fluctuates along with the health of the economy. Prop. 2 1/2 took effect during the "Massachusetts Miracle," a period of rising state revenues due to economic growth; CBPP warns against enacting a similar law during a slow economy, when state funding is unlikely to make up for local shortfalls.
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