THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXVIII, No. 3 October 30, 2000
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
As I write this, the polls are indicating an extraordinarily tight race for the Presidency. Some pundits are even suggesting one candidate might win a majority in the Electoral College without a victory in the popular vote. So much is at stake for the membership of the PCT in this election.
I know that some idealistic members are drawn to the candidacy of Ralph Nader. I know that in recent years there are more Republicans in our ranks than has historically been the case. Green, Democrat or Republican, I also know that one of the best ways to defend your job and the conditions under which you work is by voting for candidates who support your interests.
To my mind, Ralph Nader is better on issues of the environment, corporate greed, union rights, universal health care, Social Security and most others. He has been an outstanding advocate for the poor, the powerless and the forgotten in our society. But he stands no chance to win, and the cost of voting for him may be enormous. It could well mean the election of George W. Bush. Democrat, Green or Republican, that would be a disaster for working people, especially those working in public education.
Stop and consider what a Bush Presidency might mean to you as a public employee working in education. Heres what George W. Bush stands for on a number of issues of vital importance to us.
Reducing Class Size - Under Governor Bush the number of waivers on statutory class size limitations have almost doubled. In his first campaign for governor, Bush proposed freeing school districts from class size limitations. (Dallas Morning News, 10/16/94)
Teacher Salaries - Though he boasts that he is responsible for an average $8000 increase in the pay of Texas teachers, the facts are a little bit different. None of his budgets before he became a candidate for the Presidency contained any money for the improvement of teacher salaries. "In truth, teacher leaders and some Democratic lawmakers say [Bush] had little input on those raises other than signing the legislation." (Dallas Morning News, 4/20/00)
Vouchers - Bush supports one of the greatest threats to public education, the use of public dollars for tuition vouchers that may be used in private or parochial schools. "Weve got to figure out how to encourage the spread of vouchers so as to improve public schools..."(Washington Post, 4/25/99)
School Construction and Modernization - Bush has said, "I dont believe the federal government should be building classrooms across the country." (Bush Speech, 3/31/00)
Social Security - Bush supports privatizing Social Security. A retirees benefits would rise or fall with stock market conditions. If adopted, his proposals would end the Social Security program as we have known it. He also says he is open to raising the retirement age for collecting Social Security.
Health Care - Bush opposes government efforts to provide health care for all of our citizens. Under his proposals, somehow the insurance companies and the states will solve the problem of millions of uninsured citizens.
Prescription Drugs For Retirees - Bush opposes providing prescription drugs for retirees through the Medicare Program.
Union Rights - Bush believes union workers undermine the economy and brags that Texas is a right-to-work state with low unionization of the workforce. He supports the so-called Paycheck Protection Act which would hamper the ability of unions to do political action.
Can any of these Bush positions be good for you and your family? Can you feel secure with a president who is fighting to enact legislation to implement these views?
Al Gore is not the most scintillating politician to come our way, but he is very smart and he does support those things which are important to us as people working in public education.
Al Gore opposes vouchers. The Clinton/Gore administration has put smaller class size on the political agenda of the nation and put federal funds behind the effort to reduce class size. Gore understands the need for the federal government to help localities with the tremendous job of modernizing our schools and building the extra classrooms necessary to accommodate the national increase in enrollment. Al Gore believes in protecting the Social Security and Medicare systems and providing help to seniors through the Medicare program with the purchase of prescription drugs. He will not work for legislation that will weaken unions by making it more difficult to represent the interests of their members. He is a good and decent man with a long history of outstanding public service. He has been a loyal friend of both national education unions. Our self-interest lies in electing him President of the United States.
In the race for the U.S. Senate, I ask you to do the same analysis. Which candidate stands for the interests of public education workers. If you do the reckoning, it seems clear to me that Hillary Clinton is the candidate that would serve us best. Rick Lazio supports vouchers, teacher testing and merit pay. In Congress, he voted against increasing funds for teacher training and reducing class size. On union issues, he has a 34% AFL/CIO voting record.
Hillary Clinton has spent much of her adult life working for the improvement of education and extending the rights of children to fair and decent conditions. She has been a passionate advocate for universal health coverage. She can be counted on to protect Social Security from those who want to privatize it and end it. She will work on the issues important to us.
I ask you to do this sort of analysis for all the candidates on the ballot in your locality. I ask you to vote for what is objectively good for all our members. So much of our lives is consumed by work. How important, then, that we use our votes to protect the quality of our work-lives.
PCT AND BOARD HOLD FIRST MEETING OF THE YEAR
The contract between the PCT and the Board of Education obligates the parties to meet on a bi-monthly basis to discuss issues of mutual concern. This clause has been very useful over the years in that it affords labor and management an opportunity to come together in a less formal atmosphere.
On October 25, 2000, the PCT and the Board held their first meeting of the year. The officers of the PCT raised three issues: the need to cut the districts administrative costs to finance class size reduction; the need to expand the clerical staff in light of the growth of the student body and teaching staff; and the need of the District to undertake a childcare program for the staff and to permit members whose home districts do not have full day kindergarten to attend school here.
The officers of the PCT were very pleased with the cordiality of this meeting and the willingness of the Board to engage us on these issues. While no promises were sought or made on either side, there was a good exchange of ideas and information.
On October 12, 2000, several generations of PCT members and invited guests gathered at the Woodbury Country Club to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of our union. Unlike most other education unions in the state, the PCT has over four hundred retired members who not only maintain their affiliation with our organization but play a part in its life. The party was also held to welcome over sixty new members to our ranks and, finally, to honor those who retired last year. The response from the members has been more positive than any PCT function in memory. Some have even said that we should do another one at Christmas.
ONCE AGAIN PCT 100%
Again this year, the PCT has very quickly signed up one hundred percent of the new teachers and clericals in the district to union membership. Congratulations to all of the SRC Reps and officers who had a hand in the process.
TRACT TEACHER CENTER
Plainview-Old Bethpage is one of the component districts in the Nassau TRACT Teacher Center. Two of our officers, Judi Alexanderson and Vicki Ahlsen sit on the policy board of this organization which provides teachers with forums for the exchange of ideas, in-service courses, educational equipment and other services. The center is housed in Mineola High School, although we hope to have a satellite teacher center up and running in the not too distant future.
TRACT also provides outreach programs to parents, recognizing that parents play a central role in the education of their children. This year, for example, on Monday November 13, 2000 between the hours of 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM, at the Student Center of Adelphi University, Garden City, TRACT and Adelphi will hold a Parent University, the purpose of which is to bring parents and teachers together in a safe non-judgmental atmosphere to share common concerns, ideas and strategies focusing on student needs. The featured speaker for the evening is the noted psychologist Dr. Maryanne Driscoll.
PCT members wishing to attend are asked to complete and return the coupon below with a check for $10 made payable to Nassau TRACT.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Please return this registration form by Oct. 31
to the Nassau TRACT Teacher Center
10 Armstrong Road, Garden City Park, NY11040
Parent University - Monday, November 13, 2000
Adelphi University - Student Center
Your Name ____________________________
School Name __________________________
City _______________State____ Zip_______
Day (Work) Phone ______________________
Home Phone ___________________________
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Adelphi credits available. Call Lori Charletta at 631-979-7451.
Condo - Pompano Beach. FL. 1/1. 1 block from ocean/intercoastal. Top Floor (8th). Beautiful view, near everything. Maintenance only $120 per month. Furnished. Asking $62,500. Contact PCT Retirees Bob or Roberta Kane at 954-946-3388.
Berkshires. Luxury country retreat on 3 secluded acres. Great views. Master BR with jacuzzi, 2 BRs + loft. Fireplace and all amenities. Available seasonal, weekly or weekends. Call Elissa Gold at 516-766-1410.
return to pobct homepage