Today New York State United Teachers President Melinda Person joined Gov. Kathy Hochul as she signed into law bills in support of public schools, capping off years of NYSUT advocacy on behalf of students and educators. These three victories will strengthen New York schools as places where children and staff can thrive, and position education professions as enticing, sustainable career choices.
Among the legislation signed into law is a bill that will now include schools in the state’s Workplace Violence Prevention Act, a 2006 law that requires public employers to develop and implement programs to identify and prevent workplace violence. NYSUT members have been fighting for inclusion for more than a decade in their push to enhance the dignity and human connection in their workplaces.
The law will ensure educators and school staff have the training and professional support they need to help students with unique behavioral or emotional needs.
“Educators’ working environments are students’ learning environments,” Person said. “When we are proactive about creating safe workplaces for teachers and school staff, parents and kids can have confidence that New York’s classrooms will set them up for the success they deserve.”
Hochul also signed a NYSUT-backed bill to support and develop Grow Your Own programs, aimed at attracting diverse and underrepresented candidates to teaching, and announced the first round of awards from the Empire State Teacher Residency program. This program provides matching funding for local public school districts or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services to create two-year residency opportunities for graduate-level K-12 teacher candidates. These include:
- Eastern Suffolk BOCES - $4,590,000 to partner with 51 school districts to support 153 teacher residents.
- Albany City School District - $150,000 to support 5 teacher residents.
- Chatham Central School District - $30,000 to support 1 teacher resident.
- Warrensburg Central School District - $52,000 to support 2 teacher residents.
- Monroe 2 Orleans BOCES - $3,600,000 to support 120 teacher residents.
- Rochester City School District - $1,160,000 to support 40 teacher residents.
- Utica City School District - $300,000 to support 10 teacher residents.
- Ulster BOCES - $269,595 to support 9 teacher residents.
- Rockland BOCES - $300,000 to support 10 teacher residents.
- Syracuse City School District - $1,500,000 to support 50 teacher residents.
“We’ve seen residency programs drastically enhance the experiences of new teachers by giving them the mentorship and professional support they need to flourish,” Person said. “Opportunities that acknowledge and support the complexity of the profession are just the start of new ways the state can attract and retain educators in years to come.”
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with nearly 700,000 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.