Gov. Cuomo has made a huge mistake.
With a budget proposal that favors hedge fund billionaires over needy children, rich contributors over working families and private education profiteers over public school teachers and staff, he has declared war on teachers, public education and working men and women across New York state. Thus begins the long haul of the budget process. We are in it to win it.
Spreading the word
NYSUT is engaged in a wideranging campaign to fix this mess. The union and its 600,000 members are working closely with parents and coalition partners around the state to counter the attacks.
"Make no mistake, we are in for a fight this year," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee, "and we are ready to rumble. We need members, their friends and families, and all of our supporters in local communities to stand up."
"It's no secret that we are under attack by the governor," said Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta, who heads NYSUT's legislative and political department. "We are in a crisis and we need everyone to join together in the fight for public education and against Gov. Cuomo's actions!"
State Budget 2015
In an aggressive, longterm campaign to secure your rights and the future of public education, the union is using political action, print ads, television ads and social media campaigns on Facebook, NYSUT's Member Action Center and Twitter, using the hashtags #AllKidsNeed and #InviteCuomo. The NYSUT Member Action Center, known as the MAC, is a key online source of campaign information.
This fight will not be dictated by the governor, said Magee and Pallotta.
Cuomo "is taking education policy advice from billionaires and not listening to parents and educators,"
Pallotta said. "He is not listening to the people who know the children by name.
"For us to win, the public must hear teachers' and parents' voices, loud and clear," Pallotta said. In addition to the strong media component will be a more important ingredient: the activation of NYSUT members and their communities.
The union plans a series of regional Community Forums on Public Education, hosted by parents, teachers, school board members or administrators, as well as community leaders such as small business owners or coalition partners.
Legislators and the governor will be invited - remember the hashtag, #InviteCuomo - to hear from the public what schools and colleges need. NYSUT is working in coalition with parent groups and community groups to organize these events.
The forums are opportunities to:
- Inform legislators and community members about the needs and issues facing educators and students.
- Advocate for students, schools and communities and emphasize that voters care about these things.
- Form coalitions with community groups.
- Activate NYSUT members and participants to become involved in the fight for public education.
What you can do
Watch the MAC - mac.nysut.org and www.facebook.com/NYSUTActionCenter - for details about an event coming up in your region this month. Attend the forum in your area, bring friends, family and people who support public schools.
Use the MAC's new mobile app that generates text alerts about upcoming actions. Simply text the word NYSUT to 38470.
Use the #AllKidsNeed hashtag on social media and #InviteCuomo and your local legislators to attend your event. You can also ping the governor directly by including his Twitter handle @NYGovCuomo in your message. This is our chance to show the governor and Legislature what the needs of New York schools really are. Then keep the conversation going, using every opportunity and tool you have.
"We will do this, but we must do it together," Pallotta said.