March 10, 2015

NYSUT congratulates new Regents; urges board to trust educators

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. March 10, 2015 — The election of four new members of the Board of Regents presents the opportunity for a fresh start and the Regents to begin rebuilding trust by listening carefully and working collaboratively with parents and educators in the best interests of all students, New York State United Teachers said today.

NYSUT congratulated the four newly appointed Regents — Catherine Fisher Collins from Buffalo; Judith Johnson from Mount Vernon; Judith Chin from New York City; and Beverly Ouderkirk from Clifton-Fine in the North Country — and re-elected Regents Kathleen Cashin from New York City; Roger Tilles of Long Island; and Lester Young of New York City. The Legislature voted on the appointments today.

“This is an opportunity for a fresh start, for the Regents to listen and trust the voices of teachers in New York’s classrooms and ensure that any ‘reforms’ are backed by research and have buy-in from stakeholders,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. “Much of the turmoil that has rocked public education over the last few years could have been avoided had the Regents listened more carefully to students, parents and educators. New York has excellent schools and excellent teachers, and the Regents should be celebrating that far more than they have.”

NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino, who works closely with the Regents and State Education Department, said the Regents must advocate more strenuously for the resources that all students need; for better teaching and learning conditions; and for what’s right for all of our young people.

“We look forward to working collaboratively and constructively with the Regents on many issues facing public education,” Fortino said. “There’s a lot on the plate. The Regents must still address the flawed rollout of the new edTPA assessment for aspiring teachers and help restore balance to the state testing system. We hope the new Regents, for example, will stress that standardized tests should be used to diagnose student learning and help inform teachers’ instruction, not as a ‘gotcha’ weapon that narrows the curriculum and stifles creativity in the classroom.”

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.

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