ALBANY, N.Y. Jan.18, 2018 — New York State United Teachers has been awarded a three-year, $322,000 grant to help early-career teachers in Kingston, Schenectady and Amsterdam better recognize — and then proactively address — racial and social injustice in their schools.
The grant from the National Education Association’s Great Public Schools Fund will enable NYSUT and its local unions in the three small cities to redesign their mentoring programs for teachers just beginning their careers. Working collaboratively with school boards, superintendents and administrators, the union-led initiative will help provide early-career educators the tools to better recognize and understand issues like racial inequality, diversity, women’s rights, fair wages and environmental justice. The program then aims to empower teachers, students and their school communities to develop strategies to address inequality and injustice.
NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said, “This program will improve the teaching and learning environment in schools and, ultimately, will help school districts retain teachers — a key to reversing the looming teacher shortage.”
“Supporting teachers — and supporting students — is all part of union work,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango. “We are committed to ensuring that teachers feel supported in their work. Educators who know their union is helping them succeed as professionals from their first day on the job to their last are better equipped to help their students thrive.”
“Nobody knows better than educators how to reach, teach and inspire students every day to learn, to realize their dreams and to achieve success,” said NEA Vice President Becky Pringle. “We need to accelerate the educator-led transformation of public education, and these grants help with that process.”
Under the program, faculty at the University at Albany, represented by United University Professions, will facilitate and help direct the pilot program and evaluate its effectiveness with an eye toward replicating the most successful components in other school districts across the state.
Experienced trainers from NYSUT’s Education and Learning Trust and programs such as the New York City-based Border Crossers will assist in presenting professional development sessions to educators.
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.