March 19, 2007

NYSUT activists converge at Capitol

Source:  NYSUT Media Release

New York State capitolALBANY, N.Y. March 19, 2007 - More than 700 New York State United Teachers activists, including teachers from pre-kindergarten through college, are converging on the Capitol Tuesday to tell legislators why investing in education and research-proven programs is the right direction for New York state.

This lobbying effort will make union history: Activists from NYSUT and the former NEA/NY are lobbying, for the first time following their merger, as one statewide union. NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said, "We will be telling legislators how important it is for every child to have a great public school and a strong public university system."

The union's message stresses NYSUT's commitment to "resources, reform and results" and a state budget that advances public schools and colleges while investing more in areas of need. Iannuzzi said the grass-roots lobbyists will press their hometown legislators to "avoid detours," such as lifting the cap on charter schools without needed reforms or a tax break that would subsidize private and religious school tuition.

The 700 NYSUT activists will exit buses at the Madison Avenue entrance to the Empire State Plaza beginning about 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday. A briefing will be held at 8 p.m. Monday at the Desmond, 660 Albany-Shaker Road. The media is invited to attend.

NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan B. Lubin said the volunteer lobbyists would be urging legislators to build a budget that increases education funding statewide, while targeting additional money to support research-driven programs in high-need districts as a strategy to close the achievement gap.

"Class-size reduction and pre-kindergarten programs have proven track records of success," Lubin said. "This is where we should be putting our additional investment."

NYSUT represents 575,000 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.