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    • NYSUT files lawsuit on behalf of Buffalo teachers to vacate State Education Commissioner's ruling

      ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 9, 2016 — New York State United Teachers said today its attorneys have filed a lawsuit against State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, seeking to strike down her November decision giving the Buffalo public schools superintendent authorization to unilaterally impose changes at five persistently struggling city schools.

      Filed on behalf of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the lawsuit claims Elia's ruling — pursuant to the state's receivership law — impaired the BTF's collective bargaining agreement with the district, was "arbitrary and capricious" and exceeded the commissioner's jurisdiction because it affected staff in schools not designated as "persistently struggling."

      "Buffalo's teachers are dedicated professionals who work with some of our state's neediest students," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "Day-in and day-out, they are on the front line helping children overcome numerous societal obstacles so they have the chance to succeed. When it comes to enhancing our schools, it is critical that the voice of our teachers is heard."

      BTF President Phil Rumore said the lawsuit "is not about our contract. It is about using child-abusive state tests to mislabel students and schools, even though a Governor's Task Force - on which the commissioner was a member - found them so flawed that it (recommended putting) their use on hold until 2019."

      The lawsuit - which also names as defendants New York State, the State Education Department, Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash and the city's Board of Education - was filed in state Supreme Court, Albany County.

      As a result of the commissioner's ruling, Cash bypassed the BTF contract and unilaterally imposed measures such as lengthening the school day and ordering the involuntary transfer of teachers.

      The union, in seeking a decision to toss out Elia's ruling, noted the commissioner refused to consider whether Cash negotiated in good faith as required by state statute and regulations. The union also stated Elia refused to consider proposals put forth by the BTF to improve the persistently struggling schools, including smaller class sizes, and intensive math and literacy interventions.

      "The BTF sought and provided studies for initiatives to really support students, such as smaller class sizes," Rumore said. "Not only did the commissioner reject them, but she supported district proposals that provided no rationale, or studies to demonstrate how they would improve student performance. This (ruling) is not about supporting teaching and learning. It is about looking for someone to blame and punish for the state's failures."

      New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

      – 30 –

    • In testimony, NYSUT calls for greater investment in public higher education

      ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 8, 2016 — New York State United Teachers today reminded state lawmakers that a "college degree is no longer just an option but rather a prerequisite in many industries." As such, the state's public university systems require an investment greater than that proposed in the executive budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

      NYSUT represents nearly 80,000 academic and professional faculty at the city and state university systems and at nearly all of the state's community colleges.

      "Support for public higher education is support for New York's future," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "The state should provide the investment necessary to assure the quality, accessible and affordable college education students today need to succeed."

      Testifying before a joint legislative hearing on the 2016-17 higher education budget, NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said, "Students are funding most of the increases in SUNY's and CUNY's budgets through annual tuition hikes."

      Pallotta continued: "Annual tuition increases were supposed to be invested in student academic programs, services and faculty. However, much of that funding is (now) going to pay for mandatory costs that aren't covered by the current statutory definition of the state's maintenance of effort."

      As he did at a press conference earlier in the day with other union leaders and legislators, Pallotta called on the Legislature to amend the maintenance of effort definition to include mandatory costs such as energy and other basic operations.

      The Legislature passed a NYSUT-backed MOE bill last year; it was vetoed with a message that the issue should be negotiated as part of the budget process.

      Pallotta also stressed the need for lawmakers to:

      • increase base aid for community colleges by $250 per full-time equivalent student;
      • reject pay-for-performance programs;
      • create an endowment fund to hire much-needed full-time faculty and staff;
      • fully fund SUNY's teaching and research hospitals;
      • address teacher preparation, diversity and recruitment programs;
      • restore funding cuts to student opportunity programs; and
      • enact the DREAM Act.

      Frederick Kowal, president of United University Professions (SUNY), and Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY), joined Pallotta at the hearing.

      New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


    LTA Blog

    Stand Up For What All Kids Need

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    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget for 2015-2016 lays out a punishing anti-public education agenda that attacks teachers and hurts students.

    Rather than provide what all kids need, the governor is pushing a Billionaires' Agenda that would decimate the state's public schools. His "my-way-or-the-highway" budget would:

    • hold school aid increases hostage;
    • woefully underfund the state's K-12 and higher education systems;
    • more than double the weight of standardized tests;
    • make permanent an undemocratic tax cap that has wreaked financial havoc on school communities;
    • eliminate funding for teacher training;
    • launch a back-door voucher plan that would siphon funding away from schools most in need;
    • underfund public higher education by tying funding to campus "performance" rather than enrollment;
    • smooth the way for the privatization of SUNY's five hospitals;
    • destroy prep programs for future teachers;
    • and fail to fully address the student debt crisis.

    Simply put, Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget - which serves the interests of his billionaire backers - is an attack on public education that fails to address what all students need.

    Things you can do right now to fight back.

    Every NYSUT member is needed to defend public education and the teaching profession from Gov. Cuomo's Billionaires' Agenda.

    Tell the governor to stop scapegoating... stop teacher bashing and focus on what #AllKidsNeed.

    Here's your to-do list.

    Take action on this week's campaigns.

    The latest actions will always be right here in the No. 1 spot.

    Call your state senator. Now.

    • Stop what you're doing and call your state senator with this message: stand up to the Governor's "Bigfoot" tactics and defend our outstanding New York public schools!
    • You can look up the number at the NYSUT Member Action Center.

    Sign up for MAC text alerts!

    Take 10 seconds and sign up for MAC text alerts on your phone!

    Here's how: Text the word "NYSUT" to the contact number 38470.

    Sign the petitions.

    Call out the governor.

    • Invite the governor to visit your class to learn what #AllKidsNeed. Tweet out an invite directly at him and be sure to include his Twitter handle @NYGovCuomo and the hashtag #InviteCuomo if you want your tweet to be seen and heard.
    • Not on Twitter? See step 8.

    Get connected to the MAC.

    • BY TEXT. Get real-time text messages about urgent news and actions by texting the word NYSUT to the number 38470.
    • BY EMAIL. Subscribe to the NYSUT Member Action Center email alerts for updates on this campaign. If you're registered via email as a NYSUT MAC e-activist you'll also be the first to know about upcoming rallies, protests and more.
    • BY APP. Download the NYSUT MAC App for your iPhone or for your Android phone. Be sure notifications are enabled to receive alerts on new action items.

    Get connected on Facebook.

    Get connected on Twitter.

    • Join Twitter and follow @NYSUT to be part of the social media army.
    • Once a day (or as often as possible) tweet your thoughts on what #AllKidsNeed - more science labs, music and art classes, school libraries, smaller class sizes and more. We're reminding the governor to focus on what matters! Follow the conversation in real-time for some great examples from parents and educators.

    Share the poster.

    Wear the button.

    Take part in community forums.

    • Keep an eye on nysut.org/allkidsneed for information on upcoming NYSUT-sponsored Community Forums to Save Public Education in every region of the state.

    Talk it up.

    • Get the conversation going - online and offline. Read "Where We Stand" and use it to craft social media messages, send letters to the editor, and brief friends and colleagues.
    • Circulate and share print materials and videos.

    Support "Take Action Tuesday."

    • Mark your calendar to support NYSUT's "Take Action Tuesday" every week. Be on the lookout for updates.

    Learn more at www.nysut.org/allkidsneed.

     

    Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 March 2015 16:10)

     

    Member Alert Program

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    There are so many member benefits, that it can be hard to keep track of them all.
    The NYSUT Member Benefits MAP (Member Alert Program) email blast service keeps you informed through a brief email message every three weeks.
    You can join MAP on the NYSUT website, at http://www.nysut.org/49.htm

    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:58)

     

    Nysut Action Center Mobile App

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    NYSUT action center now has an app for smartphones that makes it very easy to take action. It is available in the app store for free.



    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:38)

     
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