No time to let down our guard
As the CDC issued new social distancing guidance for schools today, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta noted that any educator will tell you the best way for students to learn is to be in person in the classroom. Yet it is clear that social distancing is only one element of a nuanced and multifaceted approach to COVID mitigation in schools. When it comes to changing local reopening plans, districts must continue to work with educators and parents to maintain confidence in the safety of their buildings. “… This is not the time to let down our guard,” he said.
Keep up to date on standardized testing mandates
With all the recent changes in federally mandated standardized tests, NYSUT has prepared a fact sheet explaining the latest plans for this year’s Regents Exams; and grade 3-8 assessments in ELA, math and science. Even in the face of opposition in Washington, NYSUT will continue to be out front calling for the tests to be canceled.
Fund Our Future: One house bills call for taxes on the wealthy
This week, the state Senate and Assembly passed their one-house budget proposals and they reflect many of the changes NYSUT has been advocating to fill holes in the governor’s budget proposal. Union activists and legislative staff will be working around the clock as lawmakers have to develop and pass a spending plan by March 31. Unlike the executive proposal, both of the one-house budget bills would use federal stimulus funds to supplement, not supplant, state aid.
- Look for our television ad campaign on the air.
- AFT pandemic grants help students and families.
- With support from NYSUT's "Take a Look at Teaching" initiative, students from more than a dozen Rochester-area high schools attended an online Careers in Education conference this week.
- To help answer questions about students opting out of standardized tests, we’ve updated our fact sheets for parents and teachers on test refusal rights.
- NYSUT has an updated FAQ on new guidelines for the NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
- Why are women missing from history curriculum and how can we change that? Don’t miss the next #NYSUTChat on Twitter at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 21 with discussion moderated by NYSUT’s Jolene DiBrango, UFT’s Janella Hinds and Jackie Stapleton of WSKG Public Media. Here’s DiBrango’s blog on the topic.
- You can sign up online for NYSUT’s upcoming free student debt webinars.
- Apply now for grants up to $1,000 for essential workers, including educators, to help cover childcare costs during the pandemic. Grants are available on a first-come basis to qualifying families (up to $125,470 income for a family of four).
- Check out the NYSUT Member Benefits Financial Learning Center, powered by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
- The educators’ expense tax deduction now includes PPE and other COVID-related expenses. Also, new charitable giving tax incentives help charitable organizations like the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. And don’t forget, if you itemize, you can deduct union dues from New York state taxable income.
- DemocracyReady NY continues its free webinar series on civic education Tuesdays in March.
- Educator’s Voice, NYSUT’s professional journal, has re-issued its call for article proposals for the 2022 edition. The focus is on Leveraging Student Strengths through Project-Based Learning and Authentic Assessment. Deadline is April 1.