Albany, N.Y. January 9, 2013 - New York State United Teachers today said Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message lays out an ambitious agenda for the state's public schools and colleges that includes a number of worthy initiatives.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said proposals to expand pre-kindergarten programs, to establish more community schools with a full range of services for students in low wealth districts and to explore increasing learning time for students have the potential to accelerate learning.
"We appreciate the governor's recognition that schools are more than an academic setting and that expanded access to pre-kindergarten programs offers valuable educational opportunities to our neediest students," he noted. NYSUT advocated for community schools and investment in pre-K in testimony to Cuomo's education commission. NYSUT also supports the concept of establishing a quality 'bar exam' that would raise standards for entering the teaching profession.
Iannuzzi said other proposals, many of which have positive potential, need additional detail, and NYSUT looks forward to hearing more when the state budget is released later this month.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said, "Using SUNY and CUNY as incubators for economic growth and investing in community colleges' ability to train graduates for jobs are good steps toward a stronger education system and statewide job creation. I look forward to seeing the funding behind the proposals."
Pallotta said NYSUT will work diligently with lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo on specifics as the budget process goes forward.
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.