THE PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXV, No. 8 Dec. 15, 1997
REFERENDUM VOTE DECEMBER 17, 1997
PCT members are reminded that a vote will be held on Wednesday, December 17, 1997 on an amendment to the PCT Constitution proposed by the Executive Board that would remove the present constitutional provision that prevents officers of the PCT from serving more than 3 successive 2 year terms.
A YES' vote on the proposed amendment will indicate support for the amendment. A 'NO' vote will indicate a desire to keep the constitution as it currently is.
Active members will vote in the building in which they receive their paychecks. Retired, Substitute Teachers and Public Librarians will vote by mail on ballots mailed on December 1, 1997 which must be postmarked no later than December 11, 1997. Members who know that they will be absent on December 17, 1997, may call the PCT Office to receive an Absentee Ballot which must be postmarked by December 11, 1997.
PCT/PAC DRIVE TO BEGIN
The PCT Executive Board has accepted a recommendation from the officers to begin our annual drive to collect money for our union's political action activities. With three seats on the Board of Education up this May, we will want to be very active politically this spring.
Members are reminded that PCT political action is funded entirely from a separate fund composed of monies collected from member contributions. Dues dollars are not used to support political candidates for the Board of Education or any other political office.
The suggested contribution is $10 per teacher and public librarian and $5 for clericals and substitute teachers.
Political action is a vital activity of our union. It makes a great deal of difference who sits on the Board of Education and who represents us in Albany.
Our collection drive will continue through January. Members are asked to make the job of their building reps easier by volunteering their contributions as quickly as possible.
SPECIAL ED COMMITTEE TO BE REVIVED
The last edition of the Pledge reported on the Superintendent's report to the Board of Education on the status of the district's Special Education program. Following the highly critical series of articles in Newsday, the report aroused concerns as to what the district's intentions are vis. a vis. Special Education. Of foremost concern is the possibility that in the current climate of intense scrutiny of Special Education programs and their cost, our outstanding program may come under attack.
To prepare for this eventuality and to better cope with some of the problems emerging from the change in Pupil Personnel administration, the PCT Executive Board, at the recommendation of the officers, has called for the re-establishment of our Special Education Committee. PCT members from any of the disciplines in the Pupil Personnel Department are asked to apply to serve on this very important committee. If you are interested, please drop a note to the PCT Office expressing your desire to serve and indicating which day of the week is best for you to attend meetings.
ALBANY'S LATEST REFORM
Before the New York State Board of Regents is a proposal from Commissioner Richard Mills that would radically alter the way in which teachers are certified in New York State. The Commissioner's proposal would also take an end run around the tenure laws of the state.
The Commissioner's proposal to the Regents sets up a three tiered certification model.
*The entry level certificate, Internship Certificate, would require a bachelor's degree, a college recommendation, passing of arts and science, content and teaching skills tests. This certificate would be valid for two years.
*The Initial Professional Certificate, valid for seven years, would require a one-year mentored internship and enrollment in a master's degree program.
*The Advanced Professional Certificate would require five years of teaching, a master's degree, advanced content test and an advanced teaching skills test which would include a portfolio assessment, observation, diagnostic session and a career growth plan.
All certificate holders would be required to participate in a district-run professional development program to be established by the collective bargaining process. Additionally, all certificate holders would receive an annual, local performance review.
Most ominously, all teachers would be subject to a performance review conducted by two practitioners and an administrator from outside of a teacher's district. Failure to pass this performance review could lead to revocation of a teacher's certificate, whether or not the teacher has tenure.
Finally, each school district would be required to establish a peer intervention program "under the direction of the appropriate bargaining unit." Teachers could be referred to the peer intervention program by the District Professional Development Committee.
Clearly the commissioner's proposal raises more questions than it answers. In what substantive ways, for example, is his proposal for a performance review ever five years different from the attempts of several school boards to skirt the tenure laws by instituting five year renewable contracts? Where will the money come from to conduct these reviews? Couldn't these monies be better spent on educating children? We could go on and on. These and many other questions are being raised by NEA/New York and NYSUT as they attempt to stop this lunacy from being passed by the Regents. Stay tuned! We haven't heard the last of this yet.
NEA/NEW YORK'S GREG NASH
TO SENATOR D'AMATO
We received a copy of the following letter from NEA/New York President Greg Nash to Senator Alfonse D'Amato concerning the senator's anti-teacher ads. We thought our members would be interested.
November 10, 1997
The Honorable Alfonse D'Amato United States Senate
Hart Senate Office Bldg., Room 520
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator D'Amato:
You just don't get it. Your recent blitz of television ads attacking the quality of education in New York State and decrying the role of the teacher unions in the education process exposes your lack of knowledge about both. The fact that it was used during the time when New Yorkers were being asked to support a bond act to improve our educational infrastructure can only be seen as politically self-serving at the expense of New York's children.
With your broad brush of "our public schoolsystem isn't working" you have defamed the vast majority of students across this great state who continue to stand out in this nation. Your blame attributed to liberals and unions who have put their demands ahead of children is disingenuous at best. This union, like our colleagues in NYSUT and the AFT, has continued to struggle in the political arena to assure a quality public education for all children. Day in and day out our members assess the needs of children and work to meet those needs.
Your voting record does not stand the same test. You have voted to slash education funding. You have opposed voluntary standards for schools. You have supported legislation which would have made it harder for students to attend college.
We urge you to be honest with the people of New York State. Put your education agenda before the people. Make it one that improves the opportunity for and quality of learning in New York State and across the nation. The blame-game is something of which the American people have grown tired. Education needs leaders, not accusers.
Gregory S. Nash, President
JANUARY 15TH DEADLINE FOR TAX SHELTERED ANNUITIES
Members wishing to start a 403b plan (Tax Sheltered Annuity) or to change their rate of contribution are reminded that the Business Office must be notified no later than January 15, 1998. Necessary forms are available from the Business Office.
PCT members who are completing or who have completed credits to lane movement on the salary schedule are reminded to notify the Personnel Office during the month of January to take effect in February. Notify the Personnel Office even if you do not as yet have a transcript to insure that you receive an increase in February.
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