ALBANY, N.Y — With the clock ticking on the 2018 legislative session, NYSUT marched into West Capitol Park with bagpipers, a brass band and a gypsy jazz trio to drown out the off-key airs coming out of the Senate Republican conference.
The musicians played numbers drumming home the message: Time is running out and the Senate must pass S.8301 — the NYSUT-backed bill to fix the broken teacher-evaluation system and end the era of test and punish — with NO STRINGS attached.
“Just pass the bill,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “Especially when you have 55 of your 63 members on the bill, how is it possible that this is not on the floor? And yet, it is not on the floor. It’s time, it’s easy, just get it done. There’s no reason to keep playing this game.”
This week, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan proposed a different APPR bill encumbered by completely unrelated add-ons to pander to special interests, including millions of dollars for the charter industry and loopholes for private and religious schools.
“The bill that they introduced is really about unicorns and lollipops,” Pallotta said. It would ostensibly repeal the problematic APPR law, but only in exchange for providing another 100 schools for the charter-school industry and relieving yeshiva schools of curriculum oversight.
“These things are unacceptable, and all of a sudden they are in a bill on evaluations for teachers,” Pallotta said.
He said NYSUT’s bill has support from the Assembly, the governor, 87 percent of senators, the Board of Regents and Chancellor Rosa, educators and parents.
Asked if he thought time is running out to get the bill done before session ends next week, Pallotta said, “I believe that anything is possible, and we believe that anything is possible, and we believe that 55 senators who have signed onto this bill believe it is a good bill.”