April 28, 2010

RA 2010: NYSUT delegates to chart union's course

Author: Clarisse Butler Banks
Source: New York Teacher
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With health care reform, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and a pending federal response to the nation's ongoing economic and unemployment crisis dominating the headlines, the location of NYSUT's annual convention couldn't be more relevant.

A delegation more than 3,000 strong will converge on the nation's capital April 29 to May 1 for the statewide union's 38th annual Representative Assembly. This year's convention theme is "Defining Excellence."

Elected delegates will consider 49 resolutions (PDF) charting the union's course for the next year. Delegates will also have before them 13 resolutions reaffirming existing policies.

Topics range from calling on lawmakers to reject further cuts to higher education to seeking review and revised scoring on state assessments.

Local unions are also calling for professional development for school nurses and strategies to increase the recruiting and retention of health care professionals.

With the union's policy-making convention set on a national stage, union leaders will focus on tackling tough federal issues.

Key is the Obama administration's recently released ESEA "blueprint," which focuses too heavily on tests and privatization, rather than need.

"A blueprint that abandons public education by seeking to fire teachers and relying heavily on charter school operators and Education Management Organizations is the wrong plan," said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi.

This year's convention continues the "green" theme, with convention materials being made available online.

NYSUT will also present its most prestigious annual awards, recognizing the work of individual members and local unions.