ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 8, 2014 - New York State United Teachers today said Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2014 State of the State address presented a mixed bag for public schools, colleges and health care - offering a continuation of promising programmatic ideas but raising serious questions about resources.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the governor's proposal for prekindergarten is "encouraging," but expressed deep concern about the governor's package of proposed tax cuts and the significant omission in the governor's address of the need for a course correction in the implementation of the Common Core. Regarding the governor's proposal on merit pay, Iannuzzi said research shows such programs do not impact student achievement.
"It is troubling that the most important issue facing students, parents and teachers today - the botched implementation of the Common Core and the need for a moratorium on high-stakes consequences for students and teachers - was absent in the speech," said Iannuzzi. "With all that is on our plate now in public education, to be distracted by a failed concept like merit pay would be a serious mistake."
The NYSUT president also questioned how the state would sustain investments in pre-K, professional development, technology, and in public colleges and universities when the economy is still in recovery and the governor wants to cut $2 billion in needed tax revenue.
"It is difficult to reconcile how the education programs will be paid for, not to mention sustained, when a horrific tax proposal is on the table," Iannuzzi said.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the governor's education proposals present a "starting point," but the union will await details of the governor's forthcoming executive budget proposal later this month and fight to ensure that adequate funding is allocated for the state's public schools and higher education system.
"NYSUT has long been a strong proponent of universal pre-K and the union is pleased the governor considers it a priority. Now, the state must provide the resources necessary to make it a reality so all of our children are given a strong foundation for academic success," Pallotta said. "We look forward to working with the governor and Legislature to carve out a legislative agenda and budget that meets the needs of students, parents and teachers."
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New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members. Members are pre-K-12 teachers; school-related professionals; higher education faculty; other professionals in education, human services and health care; and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.