NYSUT was front and center welcoming the news that Contracts for Excellence are now approved for high-need districts around the state.
"We know from experience that a contract forged through collaboration is a powerful tool for meaningful changes," said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi, who participated in the governor's announcement in Buffalo. "The governor's emphasis on reform, resources and results, which is at the heart of the Contracts for Excellence, is essential to closing the achievement gap."
Gov. Eliot Spitzer thanked Iannuzzi, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore and Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education for their leadership. "You are the ones on the front lines who made it clear we had to address this issue," Spitzer said.
Iannuzzi took note of the historic collaboration among Spitzer, the Legislature, the State Education Department and the entire education community to channel additional funding to the state's neediest schools.
Districts that received a 10 percent increase in state funding and had at least one underperforming school were required to enter into a contract by which they pledge to use funding on research-tested reforms to improve achievement such as reducing class size, expanding early child education and instructional time.
NYSUT will work closely with local leaders to monitor implementation of the contracts and to ensure that the second year includes a broader role for teachers in planning how best to allocate money.
— Sylvia Saunders