The 42nd annual NYSUT Representative Assembly is Friday to Sunday, April 4-6, in New York City.
NYSUT President Emeritus Tom Hobart will receive the union’s highest honor, the Albert Shanker Award for Distinguished Service. The union will also honor outstanding members across constituencies. The 2014 honorees are:
New York State Teacher of the Year, Ashli Skura Dreher, Lewiston-Porter United Teachers;
Health Care Professionals Member of the Year, Cynthia McDaniel, United Federation of Teachers;
Higher Education Member of the Year, Anne Friedman, Professional Staff Congress;
SRP Member of the Year, Margie Brumfield, Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals;
Retiree Members of the Year, Louisa Johnston, UFT, and David Keefe, Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association;
“Not For Ourselves Alone:” The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, Rona Freiser, UFT, and Sandra Bliss, Retiree Council 12; and
Sandra Feldman Leadership Grant, Debbie Kydon, Rockland BOCES.
The RA is NYSUT’s highest policy-making body. Delegates will elect NYSUT officers and members of the Board, and consider major resolutions, including action on an unprecedented NYSUT Board resolution vote of “no confidence” in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King Jr. and a call for his removal.
The step withdraws NYSUT support for the Common Core standards as implemented and interpreted in New York state until SED agrees to major course corrections, including a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences from standardized testing. The Regents recently voted for a seemingly long list of recommendations to fix the problems, but their proposals fall far short of the substantive changes parents and teachers are demanding.
“The commissioner and Regents are giving away ice in winter, and we don’t need another snow job. We need a moratorium now because the clock is ticking and another round of flawed tests is looming,” said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi.
Another resolution opposes the “rushed implementation” of edTPA — Teacher Performance Assessment. Students applying for initial teaching certification on or after May 1 must pass edTPA. Union leaders are concerned that graduating seniors won’t be adequately prepared to pass the rigorous and complex assessment.
Both United University Professions, representing 35,000 faculty and staff at the State University of New York, and the PSC, representing 25,000 faculty and staff at the City University of New York, submitted resolutions calling on SED to extend the timeline for implementing edTPA.
Resolutions to suspend the implementation of SUNY Seamless Transfer, oppose chained CPI for calculating Social Security benefits and honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela will also be considered.
The Pre-RA Local and Retiree Council Presidents’ Conference includes workshops on running an effective VOTE-COPE drive, updates on legal and organizational challenges facing NYSUT and the impact of the state budget.
Reminder: Locals must pay their per capita dues and agency fees by March 14 to participate in the RA.
Support disaster relief
NYSUT will hold a raffle at the RA to support the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. A drawing will be held during each of the three RA sessions on Saturday and Sunday to award one iPad Mini. Visit www.nysut.org for more information.