West Islip Retired Teachers Association
Joan Perrini began her teaching career in turbulent times for teachers unions and became an advocate while still untenured. Joan taught social studies and was a guidance counselor in the West Islip public schools.
Joan is president of NYSUT Retiree Council 21 and serves as chairperson of the NYSUT Retire Advisory Committee. She is passionate about keeping retirees informed and educated about legislation that impacts their American Dream. Joan sees the unfortunate parallels between teachers' struggles today and those struggles that were the reality when she began her teaching career: low salaries, no contracts, no say in the curriculum and teachers serving at the whim of superintendents or the board of education. "It seems like those turbulent 60s are coming upon us again. We see it in the paper," she said. "People want teachers to give up things that they fought for, for many years." Calling it a long, hard fight to get many of these rights, Joan is concerned that many teachers may take these things for granted and she urges action. "If we don't continue that fight, if we don't stay vigilant, if we don't continue to work with our union and be strong, it would be very easy for us to lose the things that took us nearly 50 years to achieve for education today."