ALBANY, N.Y. January 10, 2007 — The list of public schools in need of improvement should be used to drive additional resources — and intensive academic support — to schools and the children who need it most, New York State United Teachers said Wednesday.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said there are few surprises on the list, required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
"This list continues to highlight the devastating effects of a chronic — and tragic — lack of funding for schools serving impoverished children," Iannuzzi said.
"Thirteen years after the first filing in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity suit, the state is only now moving closer to making the investment required to lift children to higher academic performance," Iannuzzi added. "It can't come a moment too soon."
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said teachers — and the union — support the accountability goals of NCLB. "We welcome accountability," she said. "What we don't welcome is when public schools are unfairly penalized or when test results are used to point fingers or score ideological points. Now that the state has identified schools that are in need of improvement, it should drive additional resources — and intensive support — to the schools so they can better help children to learn. Isn't that everyone's goal?"
Last year, New York received some $911 million less than what Congress had authorized to pay for NCLB's requirements. Neira said that makes it more difficult for schools to provide the academic support children need.
"We know, absolutely that, smaller classes, a safe and orderly learning environment, strong early childhood programs and good working conditions for teachers and staff matter a great deal," Neira said. "Children who need health services, extra help in reading or math or support from guidance counselors or school psychologists should get it. Yes, it costs money. But if we truly believe no child should be left behind — and we certainly do — then a much greater investment is required."
NYSUT represents 575,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers; National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.