NCCFT Update – 5/1/2015
This weekend, elected delegates from the NCCFT attended the 43rd NYSUT Representative Assembly in Buffalo, NY. This Assembly includes K-20 teachers and school related professionals from across New York State. In addition, representatives from our national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), were also in attendance so that educators across the nation could share a common narrative, “Be the Union”.
- held a rally in support of the Buffalo Teachers Federation who has been without a contract for 10 years
- witnessed NYSUT confer Constituency Awards wherein Steve London, VP of CUNYs Professional Staff Congress, won HigherEd member of the year (of course, you recall Frank Frisenda won this award in 2012)
- held caucus meetings for all the various constituency groups – HigherEd, K-12, SRPs, political action, social justice, LGBTQ, health and safety and many more
We focused on HigherEd which includes the SUNY, CUNY, Community Colleges and private colleges of NYSUT. The concerns are the same in every corner of the State: inadequate funding, inadequate staffing, privatization efforts and the attacks on tenure and governance.
While there are a variety of court cases that directly attack tenure making their way through the justice system, our own Governor, State Assembly and Senate have dealt a deadly blow to the K-12 constituency by tying test scores to teacher evaluations via the APPR. NYSUT is presently gathering data on the number of parents that have participated in the Opt-Out campaign. This campaign encourages parents to have their children not participate in the reading and math tests. In addition, the State has increased the K-12 probationary period to four years from three for tenure.
Some of the resolutions brought forward for HigherEd include
- NY University to reform taxation of Graduate Tuition Remission which would allow the cost of Graduate school to be tax-deductible for its employees
- a resolution supporting the United University Professionals Action Plan for the success of SUNY
- a resolution encouraging HigherEd faculty across the SUNY system to NOT adopt Pearson Textbooks. This is the company that has the $32 million contract with NYS to design and implement the unacceptable Common Core testing along with a gag-order on teachers. Please consider this resolution as you consider adopting your course texts.
Finally, Karen Magee, President of NYSUT, encourages us all “To Be the UNION”. We are organizing from K-20 and have beat back the “Hunger Games” policy the Governor has tried to impose upon us through Performance Based Funding. The Opt-Out movement is growing, Downstate Medical has been saved, NYSUT’s legal department is defending tenure and due process, challenging the tax-cap, Pearson Publishing and the Governor’s unacceptable attacks on teachers and public education. Of course, this takes, both, member boots on the ground and money. VOTE-COPE is the only financial tool at our disposal to fight back. So please, fill out your VC forms with a contribution of 1/10 of 1 percent of your annual salary and return them to the NCCFT office.
We must organize more than ever. The new leadership at NYSUT promises “we will NOT back down” and declares that all NYSUT members must standup, be engaged, be counted and “Be the Union”. We, the Executive Committee of the NCCFT, are committed to this end and ask that you join one of our many NCCFT committees, Be the Union and, together, we can make a difference.