February 03, 2015

NYSUT urges lawmakers to reject anti-student, anti-teacher budget

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
Caption: L-R: UFT President Michael Mulgrew; NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta; and NYSUT Director of Legislation Steve Allinger. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 3, 2015 — New York State United Teachers today strongly urged a joint legislative committee to protect students from over-testing and called on lawmakers to reject Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "test-and-punish" agenda, and provide $2.2 billion in increased state aid to help school districts dig out from years of chronic underfunding.

In testimony to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees, NYSUT said the governor's proposed budget "constitutes the worst attack on educators and public schools in the state's modern history."

"The governor's budget is an assault on public education: our students, parents, local school boards, educators and the teaching profession," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "But his anti-teacher, anti-student budget proposal has galvanized parents and educators into fighting back to protect the promise of public education and ensure that this budget provides the resources that all kids need."

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the proposed budget's failure to provide school aid runs is undermining the democratic budget development process across the state. "The governor continues to hold school aid runs hostage to his dangerous so-called 'reforms.' While we don't know how much aid districts would receive, we do know it is not enough," he said. "The governor's proposal falls far short of the $2.2 billion increase that NYSUT, more than 80 legislators and other education stakeholders believe is necessary to move public education forward."

Pallotta told legislators the state's over-reliance on standardized testing continues to have a negative effect on students; he urged lawmakers to place greater emphasis on all that happens in the classroom to promote learning. "Education priorities need to be recalibrated to emphasize teaching and learning, not more standardized testing," he said. "Over-testing erodes learning time and is directly counter to what parents and teachers have been saying: Students are not a test score."

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