Volume XXXV, No. 9 Jan. 6, 1998


The PCT Executive Board has set January 31st as the target for completion of the Political Action Committee's fundraising drive for this year. The suggested contribution for teachers and librarians is $10. Clerical and substitute teacher and retired members are asked to contribute a minimum of $5.

Funds contributed to PCT/PAC are used to support candidates in elections for Board of Education, Public Library Board and representatives to the New York State Legislature. The PCT uses no dues money for these purposes, thereby avoiding the legal difficulties that have received so much public attention in recent times.

Political action is a very important part of our union's work. Cliched, but nonetheless valid is the old saw that says what we spend hours negotiating at the bargaining table can be taken away in an instant by an act of the legislature.

Political contributions have gotten a very bad name in recent times. It might well be that this would be a better society if we funded political campaigns differently. The fact of the matter is, however, that at the moment to have our voice heard on any level, from school and library boards to the New York State Legislature, require money, money which must be raised in our PCT/PAC fundraising drive.

Help keep the voice of the PCT strong. Give generously to PCT/PAC today.


PCT, CUPCT, SUPCT elections have been set by the election committee (K. Wilson-Kennedy, I. Pelled-Stratford, R, Fried - K. Center) for March 12.

The following offices are to be elected: PCT President, Vice President High School, Vice President Middle School, Vice President Elementary School, Secretary, Treasurer, SUPCT-Chair, Secretary-Treasurer, Alternate.

All terms begin July 1 and are for two years.

All members in good standing are eligible to run for office. A petition of 25 member signatures (10 for SUPCT) with a consent statement by the candidate must be submitted to the PCT office by 4 pm Friday, January 16. Petition forms are available in the PCT office.



Ask a representative group of New Yorkers whether they support tenure for teachers, and they are almost evenly divided, 43% in favor, 46% opposed with 10% unsure. Ask the same group if they would support replacing teacher tenure with a system that would give teachers the right to an impartial hearing before they can be fired, and 84% favor such a system. Conclusion - New Yorkers want the system that they already have. They simply do not know that it exists. So emotionally charged has the word "tenure" become that it appears clear that the average member of the public has a very different view of what it means than what the law provides. Such are the findings of a recent NYSUT poll conducted by Zogby International.

Another interesting finding of the poll is that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support a shortening of the current three year probationary period.


We work in a field where our efforts often seem unappreciated at best. From time to time, however, we get an opportunity to hear of the profound impact we have on shaping the lives of the young people we serve.

Dick Koubek, former PCT President and recently retired member of our union, passed along a letter that he received from a student he taught a few years ago. The letter is a moving tribute to the influence we all had on the young woman who wrote it and serves as a reminder that not all we do is unappreciated. The letter reads in part:

I remember you well as I do all of my high school teachers at Kennedy....I strongly believe the staff was uniformly excellent. My assessment is bona fide, I assure you, for it was the JFK teaching staff that inspired me to join the ranks of this noble profession that makes all other professions possible....I pay tribute to...the wonderful JFK teachers who shaped me as a humane being, and as one whose responsibility to others includes sharing the power and splendor of learning, just as you shared it with me....Thank you for helping me relate to the world in an open handed, open hearted manner. It is my hope that someday one of my students will pick up the torch you have passed on to me.

Cathrine Bradley Harper

November 12, 1997




Each year our state organization, NEA/New York, holds a convention attended by delegates from all of the NEA locals in the state. This year's meeting is scheduled for April 24, 1998. At this meeting, delegates debate resolutions that when passed set the policy for the state organization.

The PCT has always been a very active participant in the business of the NEA/New York convention. A substantial portion of the convention's business is almost always brought to the body by the PCT delegates.

Resolutions brought to the NEA/New York Convention are normally passed by the PCT Executive Board prior to submission. The February 3rd meeting of the Executive Board will deal with this year's resolutions. If there is an issue that you would like your delegates to take to the convention, please write a resolution and submit it to the PCT Office by Friday, January 30, 1998. Alternatively, members may wish to speak to their building reps who in turn can bring the issue(s) to the February meeting of the Executive Board.




Several weeks ago the Pledge announced a series of member discounts available at local merchants. Put together by PCT Benefits Chair Ellen Felber, better known as Discount Ellie, these benefits are the beginning of what we hope will be a growing list of discounts available to members as a result of the collective buying power of our membership.

About the time you receive this issue of the Pledge, you should also receive the new PCT Benefits Card which has been prepared for your convenience and which lists all of the current discounts available. To obtain a discount at one of the listed merchants, simply show your PCT Benefits Card.

If you know of a merchant who would be interested in participating in our PCT Benefits Program, please drop a note to Benefits Chair Ellen Felber at the PCT Office.




As merger talks between the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers continue, and as there appears to be progress on the drafting of a statement of principles to be presented to the national conventions of both unions this summer, NEA/NY and NYSUT, the state organizations, are taking the first steps toward merging.

Several months ago NEA/NY and NYSUT announced the formation of a Joint Council to serve to coordinate efforts to work together on issues of mutual concern. The Joint Council has now been formed and its first meeting announced for January 29, 1998 in Albany. PCT President Morty Rosenfeld has been named an NEA/New York representative to the council. The agenda for the first meeting will consist of an exploration of topics which the council will address. Watch the Pledge for developments.




Members will hear a new voice when they call the PCT Office. We are pleased to welcome Ms. Julie McCoy to our staff, replacing Rose-Marie Lopez who is out on long-term disability.

Julie comes to us after an eleven year career as the publications coordinator at the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) in New York City.



Beginning January 1, 1998, the yearly maximum dollar amount that an individual may contribute to a 403B account (tax sheltered annuity) is raised from $9500 to $10,000. This change results from the tax legislation passed by the Congress in its last session.

Members wishing to change their contributions or open 403B accounts are advised that they must complete this process with the Business Office before January 15, 1998.




Dear PCT:

My special thanks to all of you who called or sent a card wishing me well in recent weeks. Your warm thoughts and encouragement brighten my days.

Thank you.

Rose-Marie Lopez


PCT Members were shocked to learn of the injury to District Clerk Harriet Fischer in an accident with a car while jogging. We received the following note from Harriet who is recuperating.

To All My Friends at the PCT:

I want to thank you so much for the beautiful flowers that you sent after my accident, they really cheered me up. I also want to thank everyone for all the cards that you sent. It's difficult for me to express how much your warm thoughts and words of encouragement meant to me.

Thank you again for everything.

Harriet Fischer


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