September 2012 Issue
September 04, 2012


Source: NYSUT United

Connect-Ability goes electronic

After producing five annual issues of our disability awareness newsletter — Connect-Ability — we have gone electronic with a blog and a redesigned webpage. Our blog and webpage are meant to inspire conversations with students and teachers around the world by creating more opportunities to communicate through artwork and writing with people who have disabilities. We hope our online discussions will promote the universal values of diversity, equality, acceptance and inclusion.

Please visit us at

Direct your questions about how your students can join our editorial board to

Co-editors Jeffrey Twitty, Niskayuna High School senior, and Cassie Ford, Bethlehem High School graduate

U.S. needs more economic balance

In addition to what the article, “What can we learn from Finland?" (NYSUT United, July/August 2012) mentioned, there are a few more significant things we can learn from Finland, as well as from other nations whose public education systems are ranked ahead of the U.S.

First of all, these nations do NOT have media that constantly attacks public school teachers, and other unionized public sector workers, as they do in the U.S. This significantly adds to the diminished respect U.S. residents have for teachers, on top of the long-standing anti-intellectualism of the U.S., and makes it even more difficult for us, as professionals, to implement changes we know will benefit our students.

Most important of all, the countries with high-performing school systems are more economically egalitarian than the U.S. As we teachers well know, schools, like students, never exist in a societal (economic/political) vacuum.

As the developed nation with the most inequality, it is no surprise that U.S. schools fare worse compared to those of other nations. Redistribution of the enormous wealth of the U.S., now unfairly and immorally concentrated among the top 5 percent, would go a long way toward helping all of our students do better in school and later in their adult lives.

I strongly urge all teachers, and all other Americans, to read The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. It opened my eyes, as no other book has, to where and why the U.S. stands compared to other nations in so many vital categories, including education.

Ed Ciaccio | Douglaston