With a little more than a month left in the state legislative session, NYSUT continues to ramp up activity and advocacy designed to inspire lawmakers to help educators “reclaim the joy of teaching and learning.”
The “Reclaim” campaign is built around a 9-point Plan; a call to action for the state Senate and Assembly. Those nine points are:
- Don’t hold school aid hostage. Decouple school aid from the November 2015 deadline for APPR.
- Retain local control and reject unfunded mandates. Repeal mandatory outside evaluators.
- Student learning is more than a test score and we need an evaluation system that recognizes that fact. Remove test scores from APPR. The federal government is moving in that direction and New York state should do the same. The tests coming from SED have been a debacle. No bubble test can measure a child’s curiosity. Use multiple measures to evaluate learning. Allow for achievement criteria (instead of only growth scores) in optional student assessment subcomponents.
- If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about doing what works. Support community schools legislation (Peoples-Stokes A.6791).
- Support local decision-making in the hiring, tenure and disciplining of teachers. Repeal automatic or mandatory 3020a charges based upon unreliable ratings.
- Allow struggling schools the time they need to succeed. Amend the receivership provision to give schools a true year or more to turn around and show improvement.
- Reform the tax cap to allow for common sense exemptions or adjustments for things like enrollment growth.
- Pass legislation supporting parents’ right to opt out of developmentally inappropriate tests (Nolan A.6777).
- Enact and implement true charter school accountability.
In an email to NYSUT leaders, Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta wrote:
“For many of us, education is a calling, not just a job. We made this our career because we care about our students; because we believe that education makes lives better; and because we want to make a difference. Most of all, we chose this path because we embrace the joy of teaching and learning. And it’s time for lawmakers to embrace it as well.”
NYSUT members and their supporters are encouraged to go to the union’s Member Action Center at mac.nysut.org where they can fax lawmakers, asking them to learn about the 9-point Plan and sign a Reclaim the Joy pledge.
Meanwhile, NYSUT has designated Friday, May 15, as a Day of Advocacy to highlight the Reclaim the Joy campaign. Locals can design their individual advocacy agenda so that it makes most sense for them. For some, it may be a letter-writing campaign; for others, an after-school rally; and, still others, a social media blitz, using the hashtag #ReclaimTheJoy.
Share your plans and your photos on NYSUT’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NYSUTUnited.