ALBANY, N.Y. Dec. 16, 2015 — New York State United Teachers today praised Regents' support for study of the arts as an alternate pathway to graduation and a Regents' vote supporting a wide-ranging set of recommendations aimed at achieving better educational and career outcomes for boys and young men of color.
The Regents this week supported guiding principles for standards, instruction and assessment in dance, music, theatre and the visual arts that will lead to a new pathway to a high school diploma. And, under the leadership of Regent Lester Young, the Regents developed goals and strategies aimed at improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.
Young's workgroup received assistance from a blue ribbon committee, including legislators, higher education faculty, workforce development professionals and representatives from community-based organizations. The workgroup recommended a comprehensive approach to ensuring an appropriate investment in the array of supports and services boys and young men of color need to create a pathway to success.
"This is important work," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "Every single one of us has a role in ensuring that students and young men of color have the opportunities and supports they need to reach their educational and career goals."
NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino, a blue ribbon committee member, said the comprehensive recommendations — including focusing the work of agencies and institutions around improving outcomes; providing clearer road maps for college and career readiness; and recruiting more students of color into the teaching profession — are worthy and attainable.
"These are extremely important recommendations that will go the Legislature, to school districts and other institutions across the state," Fortino said. "These goals are more than aspirational. They are attainable. If all stakeholders work together, we can achieve the proper investments in equity and support programs. NYSUT pledges its support toward these goals."
In addition to Fortino, other NYSUT members on the blue ribbon committee included LeRoy Barr of the United Federation Teachers; Jermaine Wright of the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY); and Cheryl Hamilton of United University Professions (SUNY). The workgroup's presentation can be found at:
Led by Regent Roger Tilles, the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Arts included NYSUT member Grace Barrett of the Commack Teachers Association. The group is developing new pathways to graduation in the arts that could be adopted in 2016, Fortino said.
"We support this work because it recognizes the study of the arts as a powerful element of a well-rounded education and a viable career path for our students," Fortino added.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.