Archive for President’s Messages

Exec. Meeting Re-Scheduled for Wed. 4/15

The Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Monday 4/13 has been rescheduled for Wednesday 4/15. Since email is down, I am sending this out here and will follow-up with an email to the committee from school when email is functional. As always, all members are welcome to attend.  We will still meet at Elbridge Elementary. Please spread the word:)

March for Education, Auburn, 3/26

On Thursday, March 26th, at 6:30pm, at Veteran’s Memorial Park (next to the County Office Building) in Auburn, JETA will participate in a March to Support Public Education in CNY.  Bring your family, friends, and colleagues and join us in making a statement against Governor Cuomo’s educational reform agenda.  Now is also a great time to call your State Senator and remind them to support public education, equitable school funding, local control and the tenure rights that allow all of us to effectively advocate for our students and to be politically active citizens…So let’s march!


Upcoming Forums & Rallies

There have been many rallies and forums across the state in the last several weeks to protest recent proposed reforms to education and teaching.  Below is a list of some local upcoming forums and rallies in and around the CNY region that might be of interest. Please let me know if you plan on attending any of these, so that perhaps, we can carpool and attend in number!


March 16 Liverpool HS 6 PM
March 19 Lancing Middle School 6:30 PM
March 19 Geneva, NY @ Hobart and William Smith College, Geneva Room, 7 PM
March 19 Spencerport, Spencerport High School, 7 PM
March 19 OCC Syracuse, 6 PM
March 23 Fulton Jr. High 6:30 PM
March 24 Monticello HS 6:30 PM
March 26 Syracuse City Roberts Elem. 7PM

Mandatory Field Testing

The Board of Regents has proposed an amendment to state Education Law that explicitly would require school districts to participate in “field testing.” State Education Department officials maintain the action is necessary to offset the increasing number of parents keeping their children from participating in field testing, which is the practice of administering test questions that aren’t scored but serve to generate feedback and help testing companies enhance future exams.

Please consider visiting the NYSUT Member Action Center to email your comments about mandatory field testing to SED.

Points to Consider in Your Comments:

-Students should not be subjected to over-testing or burdened with field tests.
-The main purpose of field tests is to benefit for-profit test makers.
-Mandatory field testing would only further the erosion of learning time.
-Parents and teachers want more time spent on teaching and learning and less time spent on testing.
-The state’s priorities need to be recalibrated to emphasize teaching and learning, not more standardized testing.

Time Magazine Cover Slams Teachers

Time magazine is about to use its cover to blame teachers for the problems in America’s schools. On Monday, Nov. 3, this cover will be in every supermarket checkout line and newsstand across the country—and it’s already online.

I just signed this petition demanding Time apologize to teachers. Will you join me?

Tenure, Talking Points

Teacher tenure is under attack in New York state and nationwide. In July 2014, two lawsuits were filed–Davids v. New York and Wright v. New York–that claim New York’s tenure laws deprive students of their right to a sound basic education. The lawsuits specifically attack the tenure process, the use of seniority in layoffs, and the three-year probationary period for new teachers, which they claim is too short. Former news anchor Campbell Brown, fronting for a shadowy group calling itself the Partnership for Educational Justice, is bankrolling the Wright case. Brown, who won’t disclose her financial backers, makes the unsupported claim that tenure is responsible for low student achievement.

The New York state lawsuits were filed after a lower-court ruling in the case of Vergara v. California gutted that state’s tenure laws. NYSUT attorneys believe the California ruling will be overturned on appeal–but meanwhile it has emboldened copycat suits across the country. Bankrolled by the wealthy elite and anti-union forces, these attacks represent an all-out assault on the fundamental labor rights of working people.

NYSUT is mounting an aggressive and vigorous defense of tenure both in the courts and the court of public opinion.

Read more

Meeting with NYSUT Officers

On Friday, September 12th, I will be attending a 5PM meeting with some of the newly elected NYSUT officers. If you would like me to address something specific with them, please feel free to leave a comment below, or send me a quick email. The meeting will take place at NYSUT Regional Headquarters and will involve many other local area presidents. It’s a great opportunity for me to let leadership know how you feel and what they can do to make a difference in your everyday teaching lives.

JE Community Pep Rally

Don’t forget to sign up to volunteer at the concessions stand this Friday, September 12th.  The pep rally starts at 7PM at the high school stadium and is a great way to make connections with parents and students…and it’s a great way to see some fireworks!  We hope to see some of you there.

Email Kathleen Gugel at to sign up, or if you would like further information or leave a comment below.

Join JETA in Wearing Blue on December 9th!

Why wear blue on Monday?

If nothing else, it is a show of unity.  If you have been following the news with regards to the Regents’ Reform Agenda and the series of forums that have been held across the state you should understand.  One such forum was held in Fayetteville on Tuesday, December 3rd.  What the commissioner, the Regents and our area legislators are hearing is a consistent message over and over.  That the rushed implementation of the common core standards has been ill-advised and has wreaked havoc among our students and educators.  The standards were rolled out with little or no resources provided by the state until after the first set of assessments reflecting the standards appeared last April.  The message has been clear and consistent from NYSUT in asking for SED to slow down and provide some mid-course corrections to our current path.  Essential in that request is the enactment of a 3 year moratorium on the use of assessments for high stakes consequences for students and teachers.  Let’s take the time to do something right for a change instead of doing it to say we “got it done”!

It was apparent from Tuesday’s forum that these calls continue to fall upon deaf ears.  The commissioner and our area Regent have been consistent in their message that they are committed to the current course of actions.  We will continue to meet and press the commissioner, the Regents and our legislators with regards to this agenda.

Can you wear blue on Monday, December 9th as a show of support?  This is a day of action nationally supported by the AFT, the NEA and our state organization, NYSUT.  We hope to take some pictures and post them on our website to show our support for what is our cause!

Thank you!