September 20, 2010

Closing of teacher centers a 'travesty' that undermines state priorities

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT Communications

NYSUT continues to make its case again and again on the federal, state and local level about the fundamental role of teacher centers in effective teaching - a message made ever more urgent as centers close across New York due to lack of state funding.

Many teachers coming back to school have been greeted with the sad news that their teacher center is no longer available, eliminating access to essential professional development and training. Syracuse, Oswego, Auburn and Central New York join the ranks of teacher centers now closed.

In just one example, Syracuse Teacher Center provided services in 2008-09 to 5,000 constituents for courses, mentoring, training, technical application, creating classroom materials, computer labs, video conferences and meeting rooms. The center had employed five people, three of them professional development specialists.

"This flies in the face of the goals the state is trying to reach," said Dick Iannuzzi, president of NYSUT. "There clearly is a disconnect. This is a travesty."

While failing to fund centers, the state is at the same time raising standards for student test results and promoting the importance of effective teaching, an irony not lost on Iannuzzi. NYSUT continues to press for state funding restorations and for federal support for continuing these essential resources.

For more information on the teacher center closings in central New York, visit http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/without_state_funding_auburn_t.html