GNTA VP for Professional Rights & Responsibilities
E. M. Baker
Andy Pallotta once again energized the delegation with his summary of political action this past year. Referring to the best of times, the worst of times, Andy reminded the delegates that NYSUT is a powerful, united, and strong union that is in this fight for the long haul. He stated that NYSUT had sent the largest delegation in history to this year’s AFL/CIO endorsement conference, and further explained that our voices were heard and that the Governor received “no endorsement” from the AFL/CIO. He spoke of the 300,000 faxes that legislators received in the first quarter alone and of the over 79,000 MAC E-Activists ready to respond within a moment’s notice. Pallotta referred to the Governor as one of the best organizers NYSUT could ever have. Never before has there been such mobilization of the membership. Never before has there been stronger community ties with parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and friends standing together to support public education. “Coalitions have been formed within communities that will last long past this current crisis,” Pallotta explained.
As for the worst of times, Pallotta explained that it is clear that the Governor owed his friends in the Charter Schools and the Hedge Fund leaders for their campaign contributions and that he is intent on paying this debt. Cuomo's attack on tenure, probation, and APPR is real. With Citizens United, the rules of the game have been seriously altered. “Public educators are disrespected and demoralized by scripted curricula and the overemphasis in testing,” Pallotta said. “What we have here is a fundamental difference in the purpose of public education. There is the misapplication of business models and industrial efficiency models, the results of which lead to creativity, autonomy, and innovation being stifled by the misguided notion that we need to fix what is not even broken.”
Pallotta summed up his speech with a call out to the delegation saying, “We are not deterred, and we will continue to fight. We have to remember that people are trying to divide us, and that we need to keep our eye on the real enemy.” He ended by leading the delegation in a chant stating, “The union, united, will never be defeated. The union, united, will never be defeated!”