ALBANY, N.Y. May 16, 2018 — Voters put their trust in educators to help run their local public schools, newly electing at least 29 members of New York State United Teachers to school boards across the state. Countless other NYSUT members are already serving on school boards.
“No one knows better what works in the classroom – and what students need in order to thrive – than their teachers,” said NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta. “We are thrilled that, across the state, so many teachers will be serving students and their communities by making policy on school boards.”
Tuesday’s elections are the latest to bear fruit for NYSUT’s “Pipeline Project,” which has encouraged, trained and helped elect more than 100 educators to public office over the last four years, including the state Assembly, county legislatures and local school boards. NYSUT and its local unions were involved in more than 200 races on Tuesday, sending out tens of thousands of postcards and mailers and making more than 50,000 phone calls on behalf of endorsed school board candidates.
At a time when the New York State School Boards Association appears out of step with many of its members — raising bogus concerns about legislation to reduce the testing burden on students and fix the state’s teacher evaluation system — Pallotta said that electing front-line educators to school boards is vital.
“Teachers have the best interests of students at heart,” Pallotta said. “They are demanding an end to a flawed evaluation system that overemphasizes standardized testing and misuses fill-in-the-bubble tests to rank and sort teachers. They want more local control and a return to the days when schools could focus on teaching and learning, not endless test preparation. As new members of school boards, these educators will be able to use their voices to help develop fair and meaningful performance review systems that reduce testing.”
Under state Education Law, teachers are prohibited from serving on school boards in the districts in which they are employed but may serve in communities where they live but do not teach. There is no restriction for retirees.
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.