Contact Your NYS Representatives Today!

Now is the time to contact your state representatives and express your frustrations with Governor Cuomo’s education proposals woven into this year’s NYS budget.  Just to be clear, Cuomo’s vision for NY would have a direct impact on our local schools and a significant impact on your teaching and your student’s learning.  Under Cuomo’s plan:

  • 50% of a teacher’s rating would be based on state test scores. (Currently it is 20%).
  • 35% of a teacher’s rating would be based on the findings of an outside (out of district) “independent observer” who will conduct a one time visit to the classroom. (This has never been done before. Currently our principal and assistant principals’ observations count for 60% of a teacher’s evaluation).
  • 15% of a teacher’s rating would be based on observations by the principal or assistant principals. The very people who know our work best would have the least input into our evaluation.
  • 50% + 35% = 85% of teachers’ evaluations would be removed from the hands of our community and placed in the hands of the state.  This represents a nearly complete loss of local control of our schools.
  • Teachers would be subject to a 5 year probationary period before receiving tenure, and only after a teacher has received 5 consecutive years of effective or highly effective ratings on their evaluations. Have a tough class one year, end up with a developing rating? No tenure for you.

Cuomo has threatened to veto any budget proposal from the legislature that doesn’t include these changes.  He hasn’t even released the aid runs for school districts so superintendents and boards of education aren’t able to plan for next year. As it stands now, we will receive no increase in state aid leaving us with an $800K+ budget shortfall.

If you’ve written a letter to Cuomo and our state reps, thank you. If you haven’t, I urge you to take just a few minutes to write a letter today. But don’t stop with just one letter. The politicians in Albany need to hear from each and every one of you today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and every day until they pass the budget.  Don’t let the frustrations that were expressed early in this fight fade into the past.  Please keep our concerns as teachers and parents at the forefront.  Thank you.

Senator John A. DeFrancisco

District Office
333 East Washington Street
800 State Office Building
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 428-7632

Albany Office
416 Capitol
Albany, NY 12247
(518) 455-3511

District Office
Room 840
333 East Washington Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
315-428-9651

Albany Office
LOB 837
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4826

Assemblyman Samuel D. Roberts

District Office
711 East Genesee Street, Suite 2
Syracuse, NY 13210-1540
315-449-9536

Albany Office
Capitol 510
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5383

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A Little Homework for Break – #InviteCuomo

Wednesday night’s #AllKidsNeed forum was only the beginning of our efforts regionally to stand up for public education.  We need your help. The only thing the politicians and the media will listen to is action by our members and by parents across the state.

Here are a few simple, but powerful, things you can do in the next week that will make a difference. Think of them as homework assignments. If you just one, you’ll be taking a step toward defending kids, schools, and teachers in New York.

1) Get informed

  • On Facebook, like the NYSUT page, NYSUT Member Action Center, and the CNY Teacher page for the latest updates on the fight for public education.
  • Sign up for NYSUT MAC text alerts. Text NYSUTto 38470on your cell phone
  • If you’re on Twitter, follow the #AllKidsNeed hashtagfor up to date posts from around the state on the fight for public education
  • Visit the NYSUT #AllKidsNeed site to learn how you can help stand up for public education: http://www.nysut.org/resources/special-resources-sites/all-kids-need/take-action

2) Get active on Social Media

  • If you currently use Facebook or Twitter, like and follow the NYSUT page and the CNY Teacher page for the latest posts.
  • If you’re a Twitter user, recruit one colleague, friend or family member to start a new Twitter account.  Simple screencasts and printable instructions are available at: cnyteacher.wordpress.com
  • If you’re not a Twitter user, please sign up todayFollow this link to learn how. We need an army of teachers and parents speaking up on social media in this fight. It is the new town square where politicians and journalists go to hear feedback from people like you.

3) Speak out!

  • Write a letter: Take a few minutes over break to write a letter to the Post Standard.  We’ve had some great letters published in the last few weeks but we run the risk that the print media will stop covering this issue. We need letters to the editor and articles in every print edition of the paper and that will only happen if teachers like you speak out.
  • Call your NYS Senator today. You can look up their number on the NYSUT MAC: https://mac.nysut.org/calllegislators/widget/issue/272
  • #InviteCuomo to your classroom via the web:  On your cellphone, take a picture of yourself in your classroom (no pix of kids unless they’re family please) with the hashtag #invitecuomo displayed (on a poster, smartboard, or the whiteboard). Send the picture to our WDEA email (wdea3115@gmail.com) or directly to my cell phone.  I’ll post the pix for you on our WDEA website and share them on social media.  This is a great way for you to speak out on social media even if that’s not your thing.  Be creative, take a pict with your teammates or photograph something in your class you’d like to share with the gov.
  • #InviteCuomo to your classroom via the mail: We’re going to deliver hand written invitations to Cuomo’s office in March from as many parents, teachers, and students we can muster.  After break, we’ll be circulating invitations for you to fill out. Think kids party with puppy dogs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on them.  We’ll pay for postage, all we need from you is a hand written note telling the gov he needs to get out of Albany and get into the public schools. Can you imagine thousands of invitations arriving at the governor’s office from around NY?

Thank you for all you do every day for our community.  In public education, people make a difference – you make a difference.  The next few months will be among the most challenging as teachers in NY.  I know you’ll continue to fight for public schools and the kids we serve.

In Solidarity,

GM

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Syracuse #AllKidsNeed forum a huge success

Wednesday night’s education forum in Lyncourt (TWC newscast) was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who made it out including one grade level who had half, yes half, of their teachers attend.  If you were in the audience (standing room only), you heard speaker after speaker stand up for what #AllKidsNeed. Check out some great pictures on the NYSUT Flickr site, you might see someone you recognize:
 
You can follow the conversation about what #AllKidsNeed online, including posts and photos from regional forums around the state, at: 
The best photo of the night was with Gov Cuomo himself (well actually a cardboard cutout). Check out a short video of the gov and his adoring fans at:
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Join the CNY #AllKidsNeed forum tonight: 7-8pm in Lyncourt

Tonight’s the night hundreds of central new york parents, teachers, and students will gather for #AllKidsNeed forum at Lyncourt School from 7-8PM.  The event is being hosted by local school leaders and advocacy groups from around CNY.  We’ll have a panel of teachers, parents, administrators, BOE members, and students from around the area gathered to discuss the governor’s latest proposals.  There will also be an opportunity for members of the audience to stand up for our kids and our schools.

We want and desperately need a packed house (standing room only) to send a message to Albany that the governor’s education agenda is dead on arrival. Won’t you join us?  Don’t miss this opportunity to stand on the front lines of the education debate in New York.

Follow the forum from home by tracking the #AllKidsNeed hashtag on twitter (filter password required from your school computer). I’ll be posting pictures and comments from participants throughout the night. But don’t fool yourself though, staring at your computer screen isn’t the same as being there so please join us tonight in Lyncourt.

I hope to see you there.

GM

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Call your NYS Senator today, stand up for public education.

Have you called your state Senator yet? I just called Senator DeFrancisco’s office and expressed my anger about the Governor’s education proposals.  Please take a moment to call your state Senator, right now. It’ only takes a minute. Follow this link to the NYSUT Member Action Center.

https://mac.nysut.org/calllegislators/widget/issue/272#issuesheadline_mobile

Cuomo is trying to grab control of our public schools, he’s underfunding schools across the state, and he’s holding schools hostage by not releasing state aid runs and tying the success of his reform measures directly to the budget process.  Enough is enough! The unfair attacks on teachers have to stop. Call your Senator today and ask if they’ll defend and fight for public education.  We need everyone speaking up in this fight, every day.
Will you help me speak up for public education and our schools? Will you be on the sidelines or the front lines of this fight?
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NYSUT Releases Opt-Out Fact Sheet

Parents and teachers share deep concerns about over-testing resulting from the state’s botched implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). Concerns include: stress on students, appropriateness of tests, erosion of learning time and lack of state transparency on test content.

Yesterday, NYSUT released a fact sheet on Opt-Out and test refusals. It addresses the impact of test refusals on teachers’ growth scores and the potential consequences for Opt-Out on districts. The memo is a must read for teachers and administrators who will be faced with increasing numbers students and parents refusing the state’s Common Core tests in the spring.

Get the facts – read the NYSUT Fact Sheet if you have students who may be considering test refusals or you’re considering opting your own child our of the state exams this year.

http://www.nysut.org/resources/all-listing/2015/january/fact-sheet-on-opting-out-of-state-tests

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Twitter for Teachers: Make Your Voice Heard

Last week we posted rundown of the Gov’s State of the State address and asked you to get connected with NYSUT’s Member Action Center.  There’s two ways to stay connected:
  • Download the NYSUT MAC (Member Action Center) App on your smartphone
  • Text NYSUT to number 38470 on your phone to get the NYSUT MAC messages via text message
  • You can also follow the NYSUT MAC on Twitter and Facebook
Write a Letter
This week, we’re asking all our members to become more active on social media and more interactive with the press. Some of you have already written some outstanding letters to the Post Standard regarding the Governor’s proposals.  Kudos to Mike Root for the letter that appeared in print today. Don’t be shy, your voice is important.  Writing a letter to the editor is a great way to get your voice heard.
 
Sign Up for Twitter
Across the state, NYSUT is encouraging members to become more active on social media. If you’re not already a Twitter user, I encourage you to sign up today and start engaging the media and our elected representatives online.  Many, many politicians in Albany, their staffers, and reporters from national to local outlets use Twitter to communicate with the public.  When you sign up, start by following @NYSUT and @WDEA3115.
 
New to Twitter? Check out a brief tutorial screencast on Twitter online.  
 
Attend the CNY Education Forum
Last night I attended a planning session for an education forum scheduled for Feb. 11.  Please save the date and plan to attend (location to be announced).  The forum will include teachers, parents, administrators, and students and will invite Cuomo to address the real issues facing teachers and parents today: poverty in our communities, an over reliance on high stakes testing, and the underfunding of our schools at record levels.  We know all kids need a governor who supports our public schools, all kids need schools that are fully funded, and all kids need a diverse curriculum that nurtures their hearts and minds and inspires them to a brighter future.  We think teachers and parents know what’s best for kids, not politicians and bureaucrats.
 
Please take a moment, today, to get connected.  This fight isn’t over. Will you choose to be on the sidelines or the front lines?
 
In solidarity,

Greg McCrea
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