ALBANY , NY — New York State United Teachers said Gov. Spitzer's second State of the State speech is a welcome reaffirmation of his commitment to investing in public education from pre-k through post-graduate. "Today the governor reaffirmed that public education is and will continue to be his cornerstone for revitalizing New York state," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.
"Children are already benefiting from the historic investment in public schools made last year by the governor and the Legislature. What we heard in the governor's address is a continuation of that promise, as well as new initiatives that highlight public higher education as the engine to New York's economy."
NYSUT Presiden Dick Iannuzzi responds to the media after the 2008 State of the State address.
"NYSUT applauds the proposal to expand full-time faculty at SUNY and CUNY as continued recognition that public education is high priority for this governor. This is a smart investment that will pay dividends in New York's economic growth."
Iannuzzi said that the governor's announcement of a commission on property taxes would appear to address concerns shared by educators about unfunded mandates and the impact on property taxpayers, "although tax cap proposals, while they may be well-intentioned, have proven over and over again to be problematic in concept and disastrous in practice." Iannuzzi noted, "It will be important to ensure that any tax relief proposals fairly reflect the state's commitment to ensuring all children — those who live in poverty as well as those who are advantaged — receive the quality public education they deserve."
Iannuzzi hailed Spitzer's call to emphasize the importance of physical education requirements and noted, "Physical education promotes academic achievement and is central in the fight against obesity." NYSUT's members include thousands of nurses and other health care professionals. Iannuzzi said, "a Healthy Schools Act that targets junk food would be welcomed — not only by parents — but also by educators, health care professionals and our cafeteria staff who are committed to students' health."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan Lubin said, "NYSUT looks forward to working with Gov. Spitzer and the Legislature on the specifics of a budget that will give concrete form to the pro-education philosophy the governor has shared with us today."
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.