ALBANY, N.Y. May 28, 2010 - New York State United Teachers said today that reforms to the state's charter law are a significant step forward in making charter management more accountable for its use of taxpayer dollars and its shortfall in serving students most at risk, but faulted the law for failing to address the critical issue of over-saturation that undermines regular public schools.
"NYSUT, with members in both charter and regular public schools, has been steadfast in saying that any lifting of the cap had to be accompanied by reforms to protect students and taxpayers," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "The Legislature did the right thing in enacting reforms to bring charter management out of the shadows and into the sunlight of comptroller audits, and to stop expansion by operators that put profits ahead of students. However, the law falls far short in safeguarding against charter oversaturation, and we will redouble our commitment to achieving those safeguards."
He added, "NYSUT will continue to support this principle: Charter operators cannot erode and undercut the regular public schools that are dedicated to serving all students across New York state."
"It is wrong to serve the few at the expense of the many and we will continue to press for the support all our students need," he said.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta credited the union's charter report - "A $2-Billion Decision" which has been corroborated by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times - for moving lawmakers to act on much-needed reforms. Hearings by Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan) also were "instrumental," Pallotta said, in highlighting legitimate concerns that charter's corporate lobby sought to silence with a $3 million anti-union advertising blitz.
"Despite a massive media campaign sponsored by charter corporate and designed to discredit teachers and their union, our documentation of serious concerns held up to intense scrutiny and helped achieve reforms that can let us better determine the best ways to help all children learn," Pallotta said.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 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.