November 19, 2007

NYSUT calls Contracts for Excellence a significant step

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. November 19, 2007 - New York State United Teachers today welcomed the news that Contracts for Excellence have been inked for high-need districts around the state.

"We know from experience that a contract forged through collaboration is a powerful tool for meaningful change," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, who participated in the announcement in Buffalo. "Teachers are dedicated to implementing research-tested reforms that make a difference in the lives of children most at risk. The governor's emphasis on reform, resources and results, which is at the heart of Contracts for Excellence, is essential to closing the achievement gap."

Iannuzzi added, "This historic collaboration among Gov. Spitzer, the Legislature, the State Education Department and the entire education community emphasizes the concept of best practice for helping students at risk. As we go forward, we must ensure that concept remains embedded in each district's Contract for Excellence and is implemented."

NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said there are many examples around the state of practices targeted to help students who are struggling academically. She noted that in Buffalo, for example, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore worked collaboratively with school district leaders to negotiate significantly reduced class sizes and added summer programs for some of the city's neediest schools.

Neira said NYSUT applauds the focus on ensuring that school districts implement research-based programs that enhance student achievement. "The State Education Department worked tirelessly to keep districts' plans focused on strategies with proven track records of success. Collaboration with teachers as full partners is invaluable to our state's efforts to end the achievement gap," Neira said.

NYSUT represents 585,000 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.

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