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    • NYSUT locals mark Thanksgiving by reaching out and educating

      Two hallmarks of Thanksgiving are gathering around a meal and gratitude. And knowing a feast isn’t possible for many families, a number of local unions around the state are looking to the holidays as a time to rise up and reach out to others.

      A “Teacher Trot,” turkey giveaways, food drives, and a fourth-grade class meal are just some of the ways members are making note of Thanksgiving this year, as they offer food to those in their communities, space for colleagues to spend time with each other, and teach students what the holiday is all about.

      This November marks the 22nd year the Buffalo Teachers Federation is donating meals and gift certificates, joining up with charitable and non-profit organizations to serve more than 200 families in need. Several hundred shopping bags and boxes crammed with food have been piling up in the union’s office, filling the floors and conference table. Every bag is filled with canned corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, stuffing and a gift card to buy the big turkey.

      “This bounty of food was donated by Buffalo teachers and students who want to do their part to make sure families, who might otherwise go without, will enjoy Thanksgiving,” said Phil Rumore, president of the BTF.

      More than 3,000 families have benefited from the union food program since it began.

      Saranac Lake Teachers Association members trekked through the snow to make sure freezers in the local food pantry were stocked with more than ice. They donated hams, chickens and turkeys. Saranac Lake TA Co-President Maria DeAngelo said the local's outreach was in response to a call for help from the food pantry, which appealed to the community for help stocking its shelves as they were nearly bare.

      Fourth graders in Schodack will learn the meaning of Thanksgiving and its history when walls separating classrooms are pushed aside and they all gather for a holiday meal brought in by parents and set up on a buffet table in the enlarged classroom.

      “We talk about why we celebrate on that day and how it became a national holiday,” said fourth-grade teacher Scott Charlebois, whose daily work is to educate students about New York state history.

      Students learn Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, and how the declaration was an opportunity to unify a nation cut apart by the Civil War. The holiday, Charlebois tells students, was held on different Thursdays in November among some states, until it was formally declared the fourth Thursday in November.

      In New York City, members of the United College Employees of Fashion Institute of Technology are bringing in edible goods to the union office for the fall food drive, which runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 17. The non-perishable foods will be provided to City Harvest, a food rescue organization that collects food and brings it to pantries and soup kitchens in all five boroughs.

      For more than 20 years, families on Long Island have been benefitting from the generosity of the faculty and staff from the Faculty Association of Suffolk Community College. Each of the three college campuses has a food pantry, and the FA allocates $400 for each pantry that ultimately are filled with items such as chickens, hams, canned goods and stuffing.

      The emphasis for the Webster TA is on gathering.

      Four years ago, the local union started a Teacher Trot, making a Thanksgiving morning event where “we kind of take a slow, old-person jog through the woods,” according to local president Chris Wojtas. Teachers, staff and administrators in this Monroe County locale join up on the Hojack Trail along an old railroad bed, and head toward Irondequoit Bay.

      Wojtas, who teaches social studies, said the Trot offers an alternative from the community’s jam-packed race in town so that teachers can spend time together and give thanks for the gift of camaraderie.

      “It’s a collaborative get-together before the holidays.”

    • Pallotta: Saluting SRPs, the unsung heroes of public education

      Thank you!

      Thanks to everyone who took part in SRP Recognition Day celebrations across the state Nov. 20!

      Check out this recap of your tweets, photos and videos - and keep them coming by using the hashtag #SRPRecognitionDay and tagging us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

      And be sure to enter your celebration into our SRP Recognition Day contest.

      Thanks again to our many dedicated School-Related Professionals for all you do, every day!

      The following op-ed by NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta appeared in the Eagle News Online Nov. 19, 2019.

      If classroom teachers are the face of Central New York’s public education system, its bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school secretaries and custodians are its backbone.

      They drive our kids safely to school in hazardous weather on busy roads; cook nutritious meals and supervise the lunchrooms; and work incredibly hard keeping our classrooms and hallways spotlessly clean. School secretaries maintain important school records, while teachers’ aides and assistants offer valuable support in overflowing classrooms, while often providing one-on-one instruction to students with special needs.

      On Nov. 20, New York State marks School-Related Professionals Recognition Day – and it has each third Tuesday of November since it was signed into law by Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007. While there will be no parades or fireworks, it’s nevertheless appropriate for New Yorkers to remember these unsung heroes of public education and to appreciate our state’s nearly 100,000 paraprofessionals in a broader economic context.

      Paraprofessional jobs first emerged in the 1960s as a product of federal anti-poverty programs. Research by Columbia University doctoral fellow Nick Juravich finds that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 provided millions of dollars in new funding to public schools to combat poverty, and school systems responded by hiring thousands of people – primarily African-American and Latino mothers of schoolchildren – to work in neighborhood schools.

      School leaders correctly theorized that these new workers would improve instruction and discipline by bringing knowledge of their communities into schools; enhance communications by acting as conduits between teachers and the community; and create steady careers, respect and opportunities for women entering the workplace, many for the first time.

      NYSUT’s largest local affiliate — the United Federation of Teachers — began organizing school workers in 1969. In the nearly 50 years since, school-related professionals have transformed our school workplaces and contributed mightily to the success of public education in New York State.

      The experiment has turned into a “win-win” for workers, as well.

      Learn more about SRP Recognition Day at www.nysut.org/srpday2018.

      Today, because of their union membership, school-related professionals throughout Central New York enjoy significant benefits — good health care, a dignified retirement through the state’s pension system and opportunities for further education and career advancement that do not generally exist for similar jobs in the private sector. Salaries, too, have improved with unionization and are generally higher than in the private sector. Still, in many cases, school-related professionals earn less than they should considering the invaluable jobs they perform and the challenges they face.

      Because they carry union cards, these workers can also organize and fight collectively to make their workplaces better and fairer. For example, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this fall signed union-backed legislation that will now provide the same benefits for “labor class employees” that are provided for non-competitive class employees under Civil Service Law.

      This new law means that many NYSUT members who work in transportation; food service; buildings and grounds; and other titles — and are considered “labor class employees” — will benefit from some form of due process and cannot be dismissed based on someone’s whim.

      These and other benefits for our school-related professionals are hard-fought and well-deserved. New York’s school bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and other school-related professionals do a terrific job. If you’re around one today, seek them out and say “thank you” for doing their part to make our public schools great.

      Andy Pallotta is president of the more than 600,000-member New York State United Teachers.


      SRP Recognition Day 2018

    LTA Blog

    Stand Up For What All Kids Need

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    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget for 2015-2016 lays out a punishing anti-public education agenda that attacks teachers and hurts students.

    Rather than provide what all kids need, the governor is pushing a Billionaires' Agenda that would decimate the state's public schools. His "my-way-or-the-highway" budget would:

    • hold school aid increases hostage;
    • woefully underfund the state's K-12 and higher education systems;
    • more than double the weight of standardized tests;
    • make permanent an undemocratic tax cap that has wreaked financial havoc on school communities;
    • eliminate funding for teacher training;
    • launch a back-door voucher plan that would siphon funding away from schools most in need;
    • underfund public higher education by tying funding to campus "performance" rather than enrollment;
    • smooth the way for the privatization of SUNY's five hospitals;
    • destroy prep programs for future teachers;
    • and fail to fully address the student debt crisis.

    Simply put, Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget - which serves the interests of his billionaire backers - is an attack on public education that fails to address what all students need.

    Things you can do right now to fight back.

    Every NYSUT member is needed to defend public education and the teaching profession from Gov. Cuomo's Billionaires' Agenda.

    Tell the governor to stop scapegoating... stop teacher bashing and focus on what #AllKidsNeed.

    Here's your to-do list.

    Take action on this week's campaigns.

    The latest actions will always be right here in the No. 1 spot.

    Call your state senator. Now.

    • Stop what you're doing and call your state senator with this message: stand up to the Governor's "Bigfoot" tactics and defend our outstanding New York public schools!
    • You can look up the number at the NYSUT Member Action Center.

    Sign up for MAC text alerts!

    Take 10 seconds and sign up for MAC text alerts on your phone!

    Here's how: Text the word "NYSUT" to the contact number 38470.

    Sign the petitions.

    Call out the governor.

    • Invite the governor to visit your class to learn what #AllKidsNeed. Tweet out an invite directly at him and be sure to include his Twitter handle @NYGovCuomo and the hashtag #InviteCuomo if you want your tweet to be seen and heard.
    • Not on Twitter? See step 8.

    Get connected to the MAC.

    • BY TEXT. Get real-time text messages about urgent news and actions by texting the word NYSUT to the number 38470.
    • BY EMAIL. Subscribe to the NYSUT Member Action Center email alerts for updates on this campaign. If you're registered via email as a NYSUT MAC e-activist you'll also be the first to know about upcoming rallies, protests and more.
    • BY APP. Download the NYSUT MAC App for your iPhone or for your Android phone. Be sure notifications are enabled to receive alerts on new action items.

    Get connected on Facebook.

    Get connected on Twitter.

    • Join Twitter and follow @NYSUT to be part of the social media army.
    • Once a day (or as often as possible) tweet your thoughts on what #AllKidsNeed - more science labs, music and art classes, school libraries, smaller class sizes and more. We're reminding the governor to focus on what matters! Follow the conversation in real-time for some great examples from parents and educators.

    Share the poster.

    Wear the button.

    Take part in community forums.

    • Keep an eye on nysut.org/allkidsneed for information on upcoming NYSUT-sponsored Community Forums to Save Public Education in every region of the state.

    Talk it up.

    • Get the conversation going - online and offline. Read "Where We Stand" and use it to craft social media messages, send letters to the editor, and brief friends and colleagues.
    • Circulate and share print materials and videos.

    Support "Take Action Tuesday."

    • Mark your calendar to support NYSUT's "Take Action Tuesday" every week. Be on the lookout for updates.

    Learn more at www.nysut.org/allkidsneed.

     

    Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 March 2015 16:10)

     

    Member Alert Program

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    There are so many member benefits, that it can be hard to keep track of them all.
    The NYSUT Member Benefits MAP (Member Alert Program) email blast service keeps you informed through a brief email message every three weeks.
    You can join MAP on the NYSUT website, at http://www.nysut.org/49.htm

    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:58)

     

    Nysut Action Center Mobile App

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    NYSUT action center now has an app for smartphones that makes it very easy to take action. It is available in the app store for free.



    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:38)

     
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