In more than a dozen media interviews following Gov. Cuomo's State of the State speech, NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi advocated for what students and teachers need, noting that more information is necessary to assess some of Cuomo's key proposals, and stressing that the union welcomes the governor's commitment to keep public education a high priority.
Below is a distillation of NYSUT's response in print, radio and television interviews:
As long-time advocates for our students, we would welcome the governor to work shoulder to shoulder with us in ensuring all children receive a quality public education. Teachers, in partnership with parents, have always been lobbyists for what children need. That historic advocacy has resulted in smaller class sizes, better technology, high standards for teacher effectiveness, anti-bullying legislation and hot lunches for children in poverty. Gov. Cuomo's advocacy would be invaluable in jump-starting the current state bureaucracy, which certainly has been frustrating to teachers as we work to achieve meaningful change.
We applaud the governor for emphasizing the need to make sure no child goes hungry. As teachers we know that ending the achievement gap is a shared responsibility, and combating hunger is an important piece in making sure children are ready to learn.
Regarding the governor's proposed commission, we don't know enough about its mission or composition, so we don't know whether to be anxious or excited, but we look forward to working with the commission to effect positive change.
We have a sound law for teacher evaluations in place, but we share the governor's frustration when it comes to implementation. Teachers and administrators in local school districts are working hard to implement the evaluation law, but SED Commissioner King used intimidation tactics to derail what has been significant progress by dictatorially yanking much needed federal support from some of our struggling schools. We look to the governor to jump-start that progress once again in an inclusive approach.