THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXVI, No. 3 October 27, 1998
by Morty Rosenfeld
Historically, Americans, who vote in deplorably low numbers, pay even less attention when the Presidency of the United States is not up for grabs. While that has always been a lamentable fact, this year it is frightening. Coupled with the cynicism generated by the unending politics of scandal in Washington, it is possible that supporters of progressive candidates may stay home in record numbers. Should this happen, should the well organized, highly motivated radical right make significant gains, you and I can forget about support for public education, the right to health care, protecting Social Security, preserving our environment, protecting the rights of women and minorities and protecting the rights of working people to join unions that have the ability to defend them from those hostile to the interests of working people. It will also be more likely that we will see the impeachment of the President and his removal from office, in my view a veritable political coup by the religious right in our nation.
This must not happen, and it wont if people like us do what must be done.
On every ballot in every voting district will be candidates who support public education, Social Security, the right to health care, candidates who want to be elected to contribute to the building of a more decent and humane society. Find out who they are in your district. Vote for them as though your welfare depended on their victory. The simple truth is, it does.
The Political Action Committee and the Executive Board of PCT are recommending the following candidates. These recommendations are based on the candidates record and positions on issues of concern to us as education employees.
United States Senate - Charles Schumer
Governor - Peter Vallone
Lt. Governor - Sandra Frankel
Comptroller - Carl McCall
13th Assembly District - David Sidikman
There is more for you to do. The PCT will be running a phone bank in support of its endorsed candidates. We will be phoning from the PCT Office on Sunday, November 1 and Monday November 2 between the hours of 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Additionally, lists will be available on Friday, October 30 for those who wish to make their calls from home. Please see your SRC Rep to volunteer some time to this vitally important work of our union.
Since last spring, the District has been wrestling with the problem of how to accommodate the expected increase in enrollment of some 1000 students over the next five years. Last year a Task Force on Enrollment was created to study the issue. The group was made up of representatives of the various school constituencies. The PCT was represented by several of the officers of our union. The hope was that a plan could be thrashed out that would have the support of most, if not all, of the Task Force members. In that way, Task Force representatives would sell the proposal to their members, thereby creating a cadre of motivated workers in what was sure to be a struggle to get a bond referendum passed to raise the money necessary to do the necessary building and renovation.
Unfortunately, after three poorly planned meetings, the Superintendent dismissed the Task Force, even though it never had a opportunity to accomplish its mission.
At its meeting of Monday, October 19, 1998, the Board of Education, despite objection from the Superintendent, voted to reconvene the Task Force. In the debate on the motion, many Board Members spoke of the need for serious discussion and debate on the various proposals being considered. They additionally expressed a desire for the Task Force to make a recommendation.
The Board further acted to postpone their decision which had been scheduled for October 26, 1998. It now appears that a decision will not be made until December 7, 1998 at the earliest.
THE LATEST ON MERGER
PCT members will recall that this past summer both the National Education Association (NEA) and The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) voted on whether or not to merge the two great education unions into what would be the largest labor union in the United States. The vote at the NEA Convention was a disappointing and overwhelming defeat for the merger.
As the Pledge reported at the time, there were several state organizations poised to merge when the vote failed. It seemed inconceivable that organizations that had spent several years negotiating mergers would simply forget about them because of the failure of the merger vote at the national level.
Thus it was not surprising to learn that the Minnesota Education Association and the Minnesota Federation of Teachers concluded their merger negotiations and in effect said to the national organization, "What are you going to do now?"
They formed a new organization called Education Minnesota.
Neither was it unforeseeable that the NEA Board of Directors would find a way to accommodate the merger. The only other choice was to expel 42,000 members. Thus while the NEA Constitution mandates that all members of state affiliates pay the full dues to the NEA, the NEA Board of Directors approved a long term loan to Education Minnesota to pay the dues of the 22,000 members of the AFT.
At best, this was simply an expedient solution to the problem. The NEA Board is currently putting together guidelines for mergers which are to be presented to the Convention in July. Clearly a way will have to be found to accommodate mergers that are slated to happen in other states and which do not obligate members to pay double dues. As PCT President Morty has often said, "The merger may have to be built from the ground up."
NEA NEW YORK SCHOLARSHIP
Each year our state organization, NEA/NY, awards a number of scholarships to children of members who are graduating high school seniors. The amount of the scholarship is $2,000, spread out over four years of college attendance.
The deadline for applications this year is February 19, 1999. If you have a child who is a graduating senior in a public high school, you may which to have him/her apply for this scholarship. Children of PCT members have won a scholarship in each year since the inception of the program.
If you want a scholarship application, simply call the PCT Office.
TRACT TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE
On Monday, December 7, 1998, The Nassau TRACT Teacher Center will hold its second annual Technology Conference at the Huntington Hilton from 7:45 AM to 3:00 PM. PCT members may wish to attend this conference where they will be able to take workshops, visit vendors and share ideas with colleagues. The promotional materials for the conference promise an opportunity to "learn about the newest technologies and find out how they are contributing to the education of our students, how they can improve learning, how they can enhance teaching and how they can prepare our students for the 21st century world of work."
There is no charge for the conference, and breakfast and lunch are included. Those who attended last years praised it highly.
If you overlooked the flyer in your mailbox, there is still time to get one from your TRACT Building Ambassador.
Kennedy - M. Pavlovich
PMS - S. Ferrara
MMS - D. Zaretsky
K-Center - A. Isaacson
Stratford - J. Levy
Pkwy - S. Bennardo
OB - J. Candal
Remember to file your conference request form early so as not to be closed out.
Secondary school teachers are invited to apply for a fellowship being offered by the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. The museums Mandel Teacher Fellowship Program is an effort to develop a national corps of leaders in Holocaust education. Up to 25 educators are selected annually for the five-day, all-expense-paid training experience. The next program is August 1-6, 1999. History, social studies, English teachers and media specialists are encouraged to apply. Contact Barbara Casana at 202-314-7888. Additional information is also available at the museums web site @ushmm.org.
DOING SOMETHING EXCITING?
If youre doing something in your classroom that you think the rest of Plainview-Old Bethpage and beyond would like to see, the PCT Web Page may be your vehicle.
Simply write a piece about your program and send it to the PCT Office. Feel free to send some pictures to illustrate your work. If you prefer, you can e-mail text and pictures to us at
DATA CORRECTION SHEETS
Following this edition of the Pledge, PCT members will be receiving Data Correction Sheets in their mailboxes. These forms display all of the data for each member that is on file on the PCT computer. This information is essential for handling members Welfare Fund claims, union representation of members interests and negotiations.
It is essential that members check these sheets for accuracy. If you find inaccuracies on your sheet, please make all necessary corrections in red and return the form to the PCT Office via inter-office mail. If your Data Correction sheet is accurate, there is no need to return it to the PCT Office.
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