ALBANY, N.Y. June 18, 2018 — New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta today said the Senate majority’s “Big Ugly” is a giveaway to the greedy charter sector at the expense of school districts statewide, with up to $375 million in state funding diverted to unaccountable charters that refuse to serve all students equally.
“The Senate’s linking of teacher evaluation and testing reform with another wheelbarrow of money for charter donors and increased privatization of public schools is both unacceptable and unnecessary,” Pallotta said. “It is unacceptable because the Republican Senate already shoveled more state funding to its charter benefactors in the state budget — without demanding they serve the neediest students — and it’s unnecessary because we are nowhere near reaching the existing cap.”
In response, NYSUT today will begin a large-scale social media ad campaign aimed at Republican senators who are sponsoring S.8301 — a clean, bipartisan bill with 55 total sponsors that would reduce student testing and decouple standardized tests from teacher evaluations — but voted against bringing it to the floor for a vote.
“It is hypocritical for Senate Republicans to co-sponsor S.8301 and tell parents and teachers that they support fixing the state’s broken testing and evaluation system, but then quietly vote against it on the floor when it is introduced as an amendment,” Pallotta said. “The GOP Senate can’t have it both ways. Do they stand with angry and frustrated parents and teachers who want less testing and a fairer evaluation system? Or, do they stand with the billionaire-backed corporate charters in New York City? On this issue, they can’t do both.”
Pallotta noted the Assembly passed its teacher evaluation reform bill with a 133-1 vote, and the governor has indicated he would sign it.
“It’s up to the Senate. We need Republican senators to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park. A strikeout on a bill with 55 sponsors is simply not acceptable,” Pallotta said. “Our message remains unchanged: Let teachers teach. Let students learn. And let the Senate vote on a clean S.8301— no strings attached.”
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.