January 14, 2014

NYSUT expresses optimism on opening of legislative session

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. Jan. 14 – New York State United Teachers today expressed optimism that elected leaders are beginning to listen to parents and educators who are calling for dramatically increased state aid to public education and for a three-year moratorium on the high-stakes consequences from standardized testing, so that the State Education Department can make necessary course corrections.

NYSUT said it was encouraged by the 83 legislators who have endorsed a $1.9 billion school aid increase in next year’s state budget, and by several promising bills which today passed the Senate Education Committee. The union also acknowledged the release of the final report of the governor’s Education Reform Commission.

“Students, parents and educators have seen the damage wrought by billions of dollars in state aid cuts, and from the State Education Department’s failed implementation of the Common Core. They are looking for real, meaningful solutions,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. “We are encouraged by some of the early discussion and action, especially the legislative endorsement of a robust school aid increase to direct as much money into classrooms as possible and real conversation about a moratorium.”

He added, “While there is still much to digest in today’s release of the Education Reform Commission report, the call for universal, full-day pre-kindergarten suggests policymakers understand the critical importance of investing in education and supporting the state’s youngest learners.”

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta noted the Senate Education Committee today moved several NYSUT-backed bills, including legislation requiring SED to expedite changes to teacher evaluation plans to help reduce state testing; a ban on standardized testing for the state’s youngest students; and requiring SED to audit and report on the scope and cost of state standardized testing. Pallotta noted that Education Chair John Flanagan, R-Northport, said he “believes we will see legislative action” this year on a moratorium.

“The voices of students, parents, teachers and grassroots activists have been echoing around the state, demanding an increased investment in public education; an end to the state’s obsession with testing and data; and a moratorium on the high-stakes consequences for students and teachers from state testing,” Pallotta said. “It is encouraging to see steps in the right direction so early in the legislative session.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members. Members are pre-K-12 teachers; school-related professionals; higher education faculty; other professionals in education, human services and health care; and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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