Standing before soon-to-be-graduates of the College of St. Rose's Lally School of Education, NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi implored the union's future members to become involved and make a difference in the lives of children.
Iannuzzi told 200 education students at the Albany liberal arts college that NYSUT is proud to fight for "resources and conditions that allow you to carry out your jobs and practice the art of teaching." By becoming involved in their local unions and supporting NYSUT initiatives, he said, new teachers can influence policy at the State Education Department, the Board of Regents and in the state Legislature.
"We are your voice. We need you to be there because it is your union," Iannuzzi said. "The success of our students and our nation depends on education, which means it depends on you." Iannuzzi noted that in addition to increased funding for schools, mentoring programs are a success to emerge from NYSUT's lobbying efforts.
"Mentoring programs are critical," he said. "You need the support from colleagues and somewhere to turn for help. Nothing is more challenging than not knowing what is expected of you. Mentoring can help you love what you do and practice it every day."
Closing achievement gap
Iannuzzi spoke passionately about NYSUT's efforts to end the achievement gap and ensure that children living in poverty have every opportunity to succeed in school. He said the gap, which disproportionately impacts children of color, threatens our nation's economic vitality. "The future our nation depends on it," Iannuzzi said. "We can't afford to lose any more children."