Today is the day when Governor Andrew Cuomo will release his plan to radically change public education as we know it in New York State to the detriment of students and educators.
The opposition caucus in New York State United Teachers called Stronger Together has responded in advance with a letter to NYSUT's leaders demanding a fight on more than just the school funding issue. UFT President Michael Mulgrew revealed last week that the union's main goal in Albany would be getting more money for public schools this year. This looks like it is the plan at the state union level too.
Stronger Together urges a wider battle against Cuomo's education plan. Here are some highlights of their letter to NYSUT's leadership:
While NYSUT’s response to date seems to be centered on fighting economic issues, a bully politician is attacking teachers at the core of our professionalism. School funding is critical. For too long, the
Governor has ignored the glaring funding crisis in our most needy rural and urban schools. We are writing to emphasize that protecting our APPR, as it stands now, with a focus on local control, is a concurrent top priority. Clearly the Governor made changing it his top priority, and likewise, its defense must be our top priority.
As local leaders we are dismayed that the Governor’s letter was sent to the Chancellor on December 18th and a month later we have yet to hear a full-throated defense of the evaluations we have negotiated. More importantly, we have yet to hear a full-throated attack of the junk science behind VAM scoring. We have ceded too much ground to education reformers, by turning over our curriculum and judgment to the representatives of hedge fund managers and charlatans hiding behind standardized tests. And lest we forget, where is NYSUT legal on Cuomo’s libelous statements of convicted sex offenders being in the classroom? That kind of juicy headline yet again demonstrates the lack of truth or gravity behind his assertions; the rank and file is not happy that it has not been aggressively addressed.
The rank and file can't be lying down here. It's up to us to save ourselves.