WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2010 - Delegates to New York State United Teachers 38th annual Representative Assembly are standing up to the possible layoff of 18,000 or more of their colleagues back home, and have embraced an initiative by the American Federation of Teachers to draw attention to the devastating impact of education budget cuts.
The "Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips" campaign – presented by AFT President Randi Weingarten in an address to delegates – begins nationwide on Monday, National Teacher Day. It encourages everyone - educators, students, parents and supporters of public schools - to wear pink hearts acknowledging the important contributions of educators.
"Educators put their hearts and souls into their work every single day," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Times are tough, but students need educators in their classrooms, not in unemployment lines."
According to estimates by the AFT, one of NYSUT's national affiliates, by the end of this school year as many as 300,000 teachers, school support staff and higher education faculty will receive pink slips throughout the nation. This will result in drastic increases in class sizes and less individualized instruction; it will erode classroom discipline and school safety, and eliminate essential programs like art, music, Advanced Placement classes and summer school.
For more information on how to take part in the "Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips" campaign, go to www.pinkheartsnotpinkslips.com.
The NYSUT convention continues in Washington through Saturday. More than 3,000 delegates and guests are taking part.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 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.