Summer 2011 Issue
June 29, 2011

Union wins restoration for teacher centers

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Protesters rally in support of teacher centers. Photo by Studio Eleven Productions.

NYSUT never gave up on the state's network of teacher centers.

Now the union's advocacy, with the help of center directors, has achieved restoration of more than $20 million in state funding.

"Our collaborative efforts made a difference in ensuring that practitioners continue to lead in delivering high-quality professional development in our state," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "Our task now is to continue to stand in support of teacher centers, which we believe can offer a critical contribution to the kind of educational reform NYSUT endorses — in which sound, proven best practices steer planning and discussions."

A pool of $20.4 million will be available for teacher centers for the 2011-2012 school year, a figure representing half of what they received in 2009-2010, the last year the centers received state funding. Teacher centers will apply for a share of that money.

For their part, NYSUT members have already demonstrated great dedication and creativity to keep teacher centers around the state functioning.

At the Tioga County Teacher Center, for example, retired and inservice members never described it as closed; they instead said it remained "unofficially open."

Volunteers from surrounding locals staffed the center part time throughout the school year. That's been a point of pride for members. "We're still providing services for teachers," said Art Cacciola, a Candor Faculty Association retiree. He credited his union sisters and brothers' advocacy at meetings with lawmakers that led to the restoration of teacher centers.

Teacher centers will continue to lead in the critical work surrounding the implementation of Race to the Top initiatives and will continue to work collaboratively with network teams.