South Middle School
It was a great privilege to represent the Great Neck faculty at this year's NYSUT Representative Assembly. New to the process, it was a bit daunting at times. Thankfully, my esteemed colleagues made sure that I was brought up to speed on all the necessary protocol and helped ensure that I understood the practices put in place, helping to make this an eye-opening experience into the democratic process that is our union.
The weekend was filled with powerful speeches, serious discussions, passionate arguments, and lots of great camaraderie. It was impressive to be around so may members of our union from all over the state, sharing their personal views about education and the impact of testing on their local districts. It is not often that we get an opportunity to step outside our own world and see these changes through the eyes of our colleagues. We, teachers of New York State, are quite an impressive bunch!
When President Randi Weingarten took the stage, the energy was palpable. She began by thanking NYSUT for the activism against Governor Cuomo’s attack on public education. “These are trying times in New York State, but its’ been great to witness NYSUT standing up,” AFT President Weingarten said. “I’ve seen it in New York City at the governor’s office, on Long Island, in Syracuse, in the North Country and in thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook.” Weingarten said that it was our activism that has turned the tide in our favor, and has brought the court of public opinion on our side. The public now understands that Gov. Cuomo and his test-obsessed friends has ‘stacked the deck’ against public education and that’s just not okay. She spoke powerfully against testing, stating that tests should be used for informing and not for undermining the work teachers do or worse, as a tool of intimidation.
She went on to say share her views regarding of the current situation in Baltimore and in many of our cities across the country, stating the importance for us, as a union to through our weight to the side of justice – the future of our kids.
Finally, she made a request for union members to run for political offices, and to continue to support our unions through activism. And in closing, pledged her support to us as well. “You didn’t pick this fight, but it’s not a fight you intend to lose – and we are with you 1,000 percent.”