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From the Desk of the President Deb Peterson - January / February 2015

Greetings and well wishes for a very Happy, Healthy New Year! As we make and reshape our resolutions, let us all be reminded of and take guidance from the AFT Mission Statement. “The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities.”


What Were the FIVE Most Talked About Education Issues in 2014?


TESTING led the discussion.   Teachers and Parents were united in their push back against too much testing. Both factions recognized that the high stakes standardized tests do not help students learn and are, in fact, counterproductive. A demonstration in Oklahoma in March drew 30,000 protestors demanding an increase in state education funding and a decrease in the amount of testing.


Teachers Know How to Give Generously

Teachers give generously to their classrooms and their students. In the 2012-2013 school year alone they gave  A WHOPPING $1.6 B to supply their classrooms. The $250 tax deduction meant to offset such purchases expired last year but Congress did manage to restore the deduction in a last minute effort to 'get things done' before their holiday break. The House passed the bill that revives the credit for K-12 teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies and instructional materials. 


What's the REAL Cost of Charter Schools and Voucher Programs?

Recent reports on Charter School Fraud in New York alone will cost more than $54 M . Widespread misuse of funds and undocumented expense combined with EXCESSIVE salaries for administrators is of great concern to any one interested in where their tax dollars are spent. Add to those problems the fact that charter schools are not held accountable to the same academic standards as public schools, are often exempt from the same or similar testing routines and can hire non-certified teachers and the ensuing result can be disastrous.


Congress Considers Pension Benefits Cuts

There are 1400 multi-employer pension plans in America, many of which are experiencing imminent threats of insolvency. Congress could help them out with a 'bail out' like the ones offered to banks that were 'too big to fail' OR they could vote to allow reductions to current retirees' pensions. The latter is more likely than the former.


Yellow Dot Program Now Available In Both New York State & Florida


The NYSUT endorsed Yellow Dot Safety program is now endorsed by Law Enforcement in Palm Beach County. RC 43 presented the Yellow Dot Program to NYSUT for endorsement. 

" First Responders rush to crash scenes everyday trying to help victime.  Buut for the injured who can't speak and who have allergies or other medical conditions, efforts to help could end up causing more harm. " Sun Sentinel - 12/1/2014