GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM. In addition to the many forums on education taking place all across New York state, many are finding very creative ways to bring their activism and advocacy to their local communities. Be the union!
The state's failure to fairly provide resources should be the focus of state action this budget season, and NYSUT is leading this charge backed by a mighty groundswell of local leaders and members who are mobilizing like never before.
Emblematic of the many, many initiatives across the state are:
- a persuasive PowerPoint developed by the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, led by Lisa Goulding;
- a touching student-centered video created by Janine Gibney of the Yorktown Congress of Teachers, led by Sean Kennedy;
- a thought-provoking video resulting from a terrific collaboration by the Capital District Presidents Council;
- student voices captured by United University Professions, led by Fred Kowal, telling the governor why SUNY is key to their futures;
- and the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY, led by Barbara Bowen, is using radio to advocate for the significant state support CUNY deserves.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Teachers Association
When the real Cuomo is a no-show, Cardboard Cuomo will have to do.
Teachers in Burnt-Hills-Ballston, long frustrated by the lack of response from the open invitation to the governor to visit their schools, recently decided to take the matter into their own hands.
Hilarious. And sad. And hilarious.
Which is your favorite?
Spreading the word in Riverhead
Riverhead Central Faculty Association
Riverhead Central Faculty Association and local president Lisa Goulding are educating members and community members on the draconian nature of Gov. Cuomo's test-and-punish education proposals with face-to-face meetings, Power Point presentations, flyers and fact sheets.
And most importantly, they're following up the information with a call-to-action.
They're offering their materials here for you to download, adapt and use with your local members. Thanks, RFCA!
Feb. 14, 2015
White Plains Teachers Association and Niagara Wheatfield Teachers Association
The White Plains Teachers Association sent out hundreds and hundreds of red postcards for teachers, school health professionals and School-Related Professionals to sign. The message was to tell the governor and Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents, that the current proposals are bad news for public school students and their teachers.
And in Niagara Wheatfield, special education teacher Nick Azzarella is showing the love he has for public education, and the special education students he teaches, to a campaign called "I Love Public Education." Azzarella is using symbols of love, including Valentine's cards and the I Love New York symbol, to send out messages to redirect the governor. READ MORE...
Feb. 13, 2015
Greg McCrea, Westhill District Education Association
Not one to rest on the laurels of a successful forum on community education at Lyncourt School in Syracuse earlier this week, Westhill District Education Association President Greg McCrea has assigned his colleagues with homework for the February break, calling on them to get informed, get active on social media, and speak out. RE
Feb. 12, 2015
Brian Regan, Pittsford District Teachers Association
Brian Regan, a librarian at Barker Road Middle School and member of Pittsford District Teachers Association created a series of infographics based on our Myth vs. Reality fact sheet. We encourage you to share them on social media. Thank you, Brian - and thanks to PDTA President Jolene DiBrango for the heads up! SEE AND SHARE BRIAN'S IMAGES...
Feb. 10, 2015
Sarah Mattice, Schalmont Teachers Association
Teacher Sarah Mattice had an epiphany as she was closing up her 10th-grade English unit on Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." The unit, she said, focused on taking a stand and fighting for social equality and justice. "Protagonist Atticus Finch teaches his children invaluable life lessons about tolerance, acceptance, humility, civility and courage."
She took the new NYSUT "Respect Education" button – the one that Gov. Cuomo made a visitor to the governor's Executive Mansion remove during an open house – and pinned it to her school badge lanyard.
Mattice is joining others who are advocating for public education through her actions and those of her Schenectady County local union, led by Mary Beth Flatley, at the local, state and national levels. Flatley also works with the Capital District Presidents Council to work for change. READ MORE...
Jan. 29, 2015
Sean Crall, East Greenbush Teachers Association
East Greenbush TA President Sean Crall's New Year began with a request to remove his "Respect Public Education" button as he was approaching the governor for an open house "meet and greet" on New Year's Eve at the Governor's Mansion in Albany. He was with his family; their names had been chosen from a lottery.
"Why would the governor hate a button that says 'respect?' Crall asked. "How is respecting public education a propaganda piece?"
Later today, he'll be distributing 300-plus of those buttons to members of his local union at a meeting being held to come up with an action plan to fight against the governor's slams and cuts to public education and the teaching profession itself. READ MORE...