Volume XXXVIII, No. 4 December 1, 2000
SOME IMPORTANT MATTERS
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
In the last edition of the Pledge, dated just before the election, I wrote,
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 of the Electoral College without a victory in the popular vote.
I wish I had been wrong. As I write this column, we still dont know who will be the next President of the United States. One way or another, however, there is much to be happy about in terms of our unions participation in this election period.
Most education unions do political action. Many endorse candidates; some make political action contributions to endorsed candidates. The really good ones, however, organize their membership to come out and work for the candidates they have voted to endorse.
The PCT is one of the really good ones! In this political season, a little more than one third of our membership volunteered to participate in our phone bank operation, many of them doing political work for the first time. That translated into over twelve thousand phone calls on behalf of PCT endorsed candidates.
The success of this organizing effort is largely due to the extraordinary work of our SRC Reps who effectively communicated the importance of this political activity to the members in their buildings and organized the schedule for the phone bank.
Working along with other unions in the state, we did our job in turning out the vote for Gore/Lieberman and Hillary Clinton. Her victory was large and owed much to the political work of the states unionists. We should take considerable pride in the contribution we made to her victory.
Our Candidate for the Assembly, Gary Burke unfortunately did not win. We can take heart, however, in the knowledge that we supported a fine candidate who worked extraordinarily hard but who even with our help could not overcome the registration advantage Republicans have in the 14th Assembly District. It may just be impossible to elect a Democrat in the 14th.
THE NEW REGIME
On Saturday November 18, 2000, Superintendent of Schools Martin Brooks conducted a workshop for the Board of Education the purpose of which was twofold - to give the Board and public an overview of the Constructivist philosophy, the lens through which he appears to form his opinions on educational matters and to give the Board a preliminary overview of what he believes he and his management team have learned about our district thus far.
While Dr. Brooks report is essentially positive about the major programs of our schools, it is replete with calls to assess this program and that. In fact, at one point in the document he becomes somewhat self-conscious about all of the assessing he is calling for and pens the following tortured metaphor. "With all the...evaluative work that needs to be done, Im not sure when these programs will be assessed. Ill work with Pat Sullivan-Kriss to triage [emphasis added] the districts program evaluations."
Are we in need of emergency assessment? And why are educators who are committed to a philosophy that posits that all knowledge is personal and relative preoccupied with the measurement of programmatic outcomes? How does one harmonize Constructivism and the Enlightenment? Im sure there will be much more to come.
I have sent a copy of Dr. Brooks report to each building SRC for members wishing to read it. It is too large a document to make copies for everyone. I have also put on the agenda a discussion of the report for the December meeting of the PCT Executive Board.
TRACT SATELLITE CENTER
The PCT and the POB School District have agreed to establish a satellite teacher center in a large room adjacent to the library of the POB Middle School. It is hoped that the center will be up and running for the start of the new year.
A meeting of the Satellite Center Policy Board (Morty Rosenfeld, Judi Alexanderson, Vicki Ahlsen, Dr. Martin Brooks and Dr. Ed Metzendorf) was held to select a facilitator for our new center. The Board is pleased to announce the selection of Frank Saladino. Members who wish to share their ideas for the center can contact Frank at Kennedy High School.
LONG TERM CARE
One of the many benefits of PCT membership is the ability to buy long term care insurance, either for oneself or members of ones family, at a substantial yearly savings. Through our group buying power, we are able to save members between ten and fifteen percent on their yearly long term care premiums.
Long term care insurance provides benefits in the unfortunate event that a person requires care in a nursing home or home health assistance. Looked at another way, it can be seen as an asset protection against the threat of prolonged catastrophic illness that can wipe out peoples lifetime savings.
As part of the PCT Long Term Care Program, members are entitled to a private consultation with Mr. Ken Bloom, the insurance professional who handles our program. Ken can help you analyze your need for long term care insurance and help you select the right policy from the right company to suit your needs.
If you are interested in exploring the need for PCT Long Term Care Insurance, please complete the coupon below and return it to the PCT Office. Mr. Bloom will then contact you.
Each year the PCT awards a two thousand dollar scholarship to a graduating senior of Kennedy High School who has demonstrated a commitment of working for the welfare of others. The award is given to commemorate the union leadership of Paul Rubin, former President of the PCT and a pioneer in the teacher/labor movement.
In an attempt to increase the applicant pool for the Rubin Scholarship, the PCT recently mailed a brochure announcing the award to the parents of every senior in our high schools graduating class. This will be followed up with a distribution to the students themselves after the new year.
PCT members working at the Kennedy High School who work with students who appear to qualify for the Rubin Scholarship are asked to encourage these students to apply.
NEA/NEW YORK SCHOLARSHIP
NEA/New York, the PCTs state organization, awards scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors whose parent is a member of the state union. The scholarship is for two thousand dollars, paid out at five hundred dollars per year for four years.
To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:
1- Be a graduating senior
2- Be in the upper quarter of ones graduating class
3- Be accepted to an accredited post- secondary education program
4-Be a full-time student (12 credits minimum)
5- Maintain a 3.0 grade point average
Members wishing an application for the NEA/New York Scholarship should contact the PCT Office.
Once again, as the holiday season approaches, the pupils at PS 4K in Brooklyn need our help. PS 4K is a special needs elementary school for children with autism, PDD, ADHD and other developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, not only are these students handicapped, they are impoverished as well. Many of them do not have basic items such as warm coats for the winter or sneakers that fit; the types of holiday gifts that our students typically receive are a luxury to these children. PS 4K does not have a big operating budget and is not able to offer many services or specials like music to its students so the kids must stay in the same room for nearly the entire school day. Some toys, games or books would really be appreciated and put to good use.
If you would like to help the children of PS 4K have a happy holiday season, contact Jane Weinkrantz at 937-6380. She is coordinating donations of new toys and clothes for the students of PS 4K.To speak to a staff member at PS 4K, contact guidance counselor Beth Levine at her home (860)210-1268.
return to pobct homepage