ALBANY, N.Y. March 6, 2018 — Hundreds of activists from New York State United Teachers are converging on the Capitol today urging lawmakers to take advantage of an improving economic picture and to further increase the state’s investment in public schools, colleges and hospitals.
The volunteer activists — educators and professionals from school districts, SUNY and CUNY campuses, community colleges and public hospitals — will fan out this morning for appointments with their local legislators. They will detail for their hometown lawmakers why a $1.5 billion general school aid increase — roughly double the proposed $769 million — is needed just to maintain current programs and services for students. The grassroots advocates will also urge lawmakers to boost funding for SUNY and CUNY campuses to ensure they can hire faculty and expand programs to meet rapidly increasing enrollment.
Buses carrying about 600 members of NYSUT’s volunteer advocacy team will begin arriving at 8 a.m. on Tuesday at the Empire State Plaza’s Madison Avenue entrance.
“The state’s rapidly improving economic picture means there’s a real opportunity for the state to more fully invest in its public schools, including dedicating new money to Foundation Aid as a way of increasing equity and further helping students to thrive,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta.
Noting there is consensus that more state revenue will be available, Pallotta added, “This additional money can also help fund a much larger investment in SUNY, CUNY and our community college system. More higher education funding is vital to covering mandatory costs and supporting these great institutions as they work toward preparing New York students for the next wave of good jobs created by a better economy.”
Educators will also express their deep frustration over an “unworkable evaluation system that places too much reliance on standardized testing,” Pallotta said. The union has called for major changes, including returning evaluations to local control.
The NYSUT activists will urge lawmakers to approve a greater investment in community schools and teacher centers. NYSUT is also pressing the Legislature to restore $78.6 million in subsidies for SUNY hospitals, which provide much-needed patient care to many of the poorest New Yorkers while training the next generation of health care workers.
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.