A Letter from the NYSUT President

In order to promote the membership meeting on Wednesday, February 11th at the High School Large Group Room, I’m republishing an e-mail I received from NYSUT President Karen Magee.


Sisters and brothers:

Gov. Cuomo has declared war on teachers and public education … and every student, parent and educator is threatened by his attacks.

He wants to:

·         gut collective bargaining and due process rights

·         hold school funds hostage to his threats

·         deny college students access and opportunity and

·         more than double the weight of high-stakes standardized tests.

And he’s pushing his Billonaires’ Agenda by demonizing teachers and unions.

This is the most punishing education plan ever put forward by any New York governor. And it’s a plan that MUST BE STOPPED!

This brief video is my urgent call to action for all NYSUT members. I ask you to take a moment to watch it and then share.

And go to nysut.org/allkidsneed for actions you can take right now to get involved.

Stand up against scapegoating and support what all kids need.

·         Please watch this brief video call to action.

·         Go to nysut.org/allkidsneed to get involved.

You will find action steps, resources and information at nysut.org/allkidsneed to help us win this war.

Thank you in advance for joining the fight to save public education!

In solidarity,

Karen E. Magee


NYSUT – New York State United Teachers
800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110-2455

A Letter from the NYSUT Executive Vice President

In order to promote the membership meeting on Wednesday, February 11th at the High School Large Group Room, I’m republishing an e-mail I received from NYSUT Excecutive Vice President Andy Palotta:


Dear Activist,

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo will present his budget when he gives his State of the State address. It is no secret that we are under attack by the governor. For us to win the public must hear the voices of teachers. And when I say the voices of teachers, I am contrasting that with the voice of the union. Governor Cuomo and the public need to hear from typical members – everyday classroom teachers, SRPs, retirees, and educators in higher education. In short, they need to hear from you.

That is why I am asking that all of us get out on social media between now and April 1st, the budget deadline, to call out Cuomo and tell him what our schools, students, and communities really need for public education in New York.

Get Ready!

  • Sign up for the NYSUT MAC. You can sign up online for email updates at: https://mac.nysut.org or you can download the NYSUT MAC App for your iPhone or for your Android
  • Get text blasts. You can get our NYSUT Member Action Center text alerts sent right to your phone by texting the word NYSUT to the number 38470.
  • Like us on Facebook at the NYSUT Action Center. facebook.com/NYSUTActionCenter
  • Join Twitter. Looking for messages to retweet? Follow @NYSUT on Twitter com/NYSUT
  • Help create a social media army by helping other members sign up on social media.

Take Action!

  • Join the debate. As you are getting out of school on Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter will be lighting up with comments about Cuomo’s teacher-bashing proposals. Join that conversation on Wednesday!
  • #InviteCuomo . Governor Cuomo has rarely stepped foot in a New York State public school so we want to invite him to attend the NYSUT-sponsored Community Forums on Public Education. Let’s invite him into the community to hear from teachers, parents, students, administrators and community members about what we need for public education. Tweet out an invite directly at him and be sure to include the hashtag: #InviteCuomo if you want your tweet to be seen and heard.
  • #AllKidsNeed – Highlight the inequities and lack of resources hurting New York State public schools by using the hashtag #AllKidsNeed. Tell the governor and the public what your students need – more science labs, music and art classes, school libraries, smaller class sizes and more. Many of your colleagues around the state have already begun tweeting using this hashtag. Retweet their tweets and write your own!

Important ground rules for personal social media:

  • Don’t post photos of your students.
  • Don’t communicate with currently enrolled students.
  • Engage before and after the school day and during your lunch hour — not during your work day.
  • Review your district’s guidance for using personal social media.

I know that together we can succeed when we all stand together as ONE union.

In Solidarity,

Andy Pallotta

Night Out

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow, we have committee meetings! Let’s go bowling!

JETA will be sponsoring a night out on March 19th at Revolutions at Destiny USA.

This adults-only evening will be about $10-15 dollars for members and $20 for guests. JETA will be subsidizing part of the cost, but we need a head count first. To RSVP, you can either e-mail Jessica Paquette  or reply right here. Please mention if you are bringing guests or not.

Eat, Drink, Rock & Bowl includes:

  • 2 hrs. of bowling, including shoe rental
  • Bites- wings, sliders, quesadillas, chips and salsa
  • Soft drinks (adult beverages like milk are available for purchase)

We hope you can attend! The more the merrier!

The December Meeting

The Executive Committee met on December 15th and got quite a lot accomplished:

–Decided on a form for building reps to use to report problems and concerns to both the Executive Committee and school administration when necessary.

–Decided that to increase turnout at Board Meetings, the High School would represent JETA at the meetings in January & April, Elbridge would represent at February and May, and the Middle School would represent at April and June. See your Building Rep to show the JETA colors!

–Decided to urge members to go to the NYSUT MAC (Member Action Center) to urge the Governor not to make Regents Field Testing mandatory.

–Decided to empower our Social Chair Jessica Paquette to set up a NIGHT OF JETA BOWLING AT DESTINYUSA IN FEBRUARY!!!! Stay tuned for more details!

Some Teacher Love from the Gov

I was having a great day teaching today.

Then I read this article about how the governor is saying that the APPR standards aren’t tough enough and he is going to look to make changes.

And another one saying that he won’t sign the bill that he introduced and negotiated making things easier for teachers who were hurt by the not-so-smooth rollout of the Common Core. The links are in the article:  It’s About to Get Real

That made me a little bitter, but it turned out just to be an appetizer when sent me this one.

In it, the Director of State Operations writes to the Chair of the Regents and Commissioner of Education how the governor “does not want to demonize teachers” and then proceeds to ask twelve questions that would seem to do just that, asks for suggestions on how to do it better, and insinuates he will use his budget to do so: Governor’s Letter. This letter will show the direction the governor is going as we head into 2015 and is worth a read.
No matter what they say, no matter what they think, for whatever it is worth, I believe that we do a fantastic job making our students the most important people in our district!

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.

New Coaches and Advisors, Listen Up!

This past week, Ben resolved an issue with the district that involves only first year coaches and first-year club advisers who are paid under Schedule A-3.

If you fall into one of those categories, please check with your building representative to be sure that you are being paid what you should be for your time.

Thanks for all you do for our kids.

Congratulations, Paul!

This past October, Paul Farfaglia was re-elected to the New York State Teacher Retirement System Board of Trustees.

There are only ten people who sit on the board, and only three active teachers.

Paul’s work for teachers goes way beyond Jordan Elbridge. Check out the page for the Board at https://www.nystrs.org/main/about/board.htm

Thank you and congratulations, Paul!

Brace Yourselves!

A common objection I hear from people who don’t like to donate to VOTE/COPE is that “NYSUT always endorses Democrats.”

To be honest, it’s not that simple. In the past election cycle, NYSUT refused to endorse Andrew Cuomo, and even worked to block his endorsement from the AFL-CIO, of which NYSUT is a part. Failing to win a union endorsement from the most heavily-unionized state in America essentially torpedoed his hopes of securing the Democratic nomination.

This article from the New York Post shows why I believe it is a good idea that NYSUT did not endorse the governor. We believe that charter schools are bad for students; he sees them as appropriate political payback. He supports using test scores to evaluate teachers; we know how unjust such a system is.


As you can see if you read this article, it is going to be an interesting four years.

No matter what happens, JETA members will continue to do what is best for our school and our students!

Vote on Tuesday and Some Other Things

I wish I could take credit for writing this, but it was written by Maggie Estlinbaum, one of the high school building representatives in a letter to the high school faculty that was too good not to reprint here:


Hello Everyone,


Tuesday November 4th is Election day.  It is of the utmost importance that we all take the time to vote and make our voices heard.  It was mentioned at our last faculty meeting that only 43% of NYSUT members voted in the last election.  As I am sure you are aware, if we do not vote, it is difficult to convince our elected officials that the issues that we value like a great education system is important.  So please, take the time to vote, and make sure that you vote for all of the contested offices.  It is almost more important that you vote for your local officials as  your voice is more powerful at a local level.


To help you in forming your decisions below are links to the Onondaga County Board of Elections and the Cayuga County Board of Elections.  On both of these websites you can find a sample ballot for each of the contested races so that you can do your research before heading to the polls on Tuesday November 4th.






Here is also a link to the NYSUT endorsed candidates in case you are interested.




Finally, there are two things that I need to request from you:

  1. We are looking for members to attend Board meetings and take notes at them.  As Mindy mentioned following our last faculty meeting we have done this in the past and it holds the Board more accountable for what they say about teachers in a public forum.  There is a sign-up sheet in the staff lunch room and I will likely walk around and try to sign folks up in the next week or two.
  2. We are looking for members who would like to join the APPR committee.  This committee will be in charge of looking at our APPR agreement and discussing any developing any potential changes.  I have already heard from Marlena Nivison, Pam Mead, and Jason Kufs that they are interested in being on this committee.