Many of you may have already read the news today, oh boy. Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address yesterday took direct aim at teachers.
Cuomo wants to overhaul the evaluation system so teachers’ ratings are based half on student test scores, Yes, half. Those Common Core tests, and the convoluted growth scores they yield, would count for 50% of your APPR score. And no one quite knows how the rest of us, who don’t get growth scores, will get rated. Music teacher rated on math and ELA scores?
He also wants to make it more difficult for teachers to get tenure and easier for them to get fired, promote state takeovers of failing schools and districts, boost the charter school sector and offer a generous tax credit to donors who support private school scholarships. He’s invested a lot of effort in Charters, his Holy Grail. Can you imagine if we had Charters Cops, Charter Fire Fighters?
Cuomo’s speech also included aggressive higher education proposals. He wants to close down teacher prep programs who’s graduates are rated ineffective on, yes you guessed it, the state tests. I wonder if we should close Albany Law School. After all, Cuomo failed the bar exam 4 times.
To say the least, Cuomo’s speech was deflating. And worst of all, he’s threatening New York schools via the state budget. If they pass his so called reforms, schools will get another $1.1 billion. If they don’t, they only get $337 million. How’s that for an offer you can’t refuse?
Now is the time to speak the truth about our great schools in New York. That is why I am asking that all of us get out on social media between now and April 1st, the budget deadline, to call out Cuomo and tell him what our schools, students, and communities really need for public education in New York.
Sign up for the NYSUT MAC. You can sign up for the NYSUT Member Action Center online for email updates at: https://mac.nysut.org or you can download the NYSUT Mac App for your iPhone or for your Android Phone.
Get text blasts. You can get our NYSUT Member Action Center text alerts sent right to your phone by texting the word NYSUT to the number 38470.
Like NYSUT on Facebook at the NYSUT Action Center. https://www.facebook.com/NYSUTActionCenter
Join Twitter. This is an important one. We need more people speaking up online and Twitter is one of the places where politicians and journalists interact with voters. Looking for messages to retweet? Follow @NYSUT on Twitter http://twitter.com/NYSUT
Help create a social media army by helping other members sign up on social media.
Join the debate — You can join the debate and speak up for our schools on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t be shy about speaking up for our profession. If we don’t stand together in this debate, we will most surely hang separately.
#InviteCuomo — Governor Cuomo has rarely stepped foot in a New York State public school so we want to invite him to attend the NYSUT-sponsored Community Forums on Public Education. Let’s invite him into the community to hear from teachers, parents, students, administrators and community members about what we need for public education. Tweet out an invite directly at him and be sure to include the hashtag: #InviteCuomo if you want your tweet to be seen and heard.
#AllKidsNeed — Highlight the inequities and lack of resources hurting New York State public schools by using the hashtag #AllKidsNeed. Tell the governor and the public what your students need — more science labs, music and art classes, school libraries, smaller class sizes and more. Many of your colleagues around the state have already begun tweeting using this hashtag. Retweet their tweets and write your own!
General ground rules for personal social media:
Don’t post photos of your students.
Don’t communicate with currently enrolled students.
Engage before and after the school day and during your lunch hour — not during your work day.
I know that together we can succeed when we all stand together as ONE union.