ALBANY, N.Y. Nov. 10, 2015 — New York State United Teachers today released the following statement on State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia's decision authorizing Buffalo Superintendent Kriner Cash to erode collective bargaining rights in Buffalo receivership schools:
"The very definition of insanity is repeating discredited actions while expecting different results. Yet, the receivership law pushed through last year, with its emphasis on top-down state dictates, compounds the disastrous mistakes of Common Core. Buffalo teachers — not the district — are the vocal advocates for changes that will really improve student achievement. The commissioner's rush to impose policies that would erode teacher voice and disrupt school communities — rather than focusing on raising student achievement — is, once again, the wrong response to the wrong question.
"Buffalo teachers have repeatedly been deemed effective by the state's own ever-changing metrics. Teachers are an essential part of the solution, not the cause, of the challenges in high-needs schools. The reality is this: The state should make good on the nearly $100 million in state aid it owes Buffalo's public schools as a result of the CFE decision, and listen to parents and teachers about what students need.
"Incredibly, two weeks before Thanksgiving, the state has not yet disbursed a penny of the $75 million in grants for struggling schools that should have been released in July. New York should be investing in communities and tackling the root causes of chronic under-achievement — including the issues that have been raised by the Buffalo Teachers Federation, such as class size and the conditions of teaching and learning. Instead, the state is scapegoating educators and falsely labeling public schools while rushing ahead with a top-down agenda. This suggests the state has learned nothing from its botched implementation of Common Core.
"NYSUT strongly supports teachers and parents in tackling the real causes of struggling schools, and will take any action needed to defend teacher and parent voice."
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.