Volume XXXVIII, No. 9 May 7, 2001



By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

    For the past few years, as I’ve watched the teaching staff grow in response to increasing enrollment and programs, I’ve been struck by how much more difficult it appears to be for many of our new hires to get the hang of working in Plainview-Old Bethpage than it was for my generation of teachers. I have the distinct impression that they are under a great deal more pressure, suffer from many more anxieties concerning what their supervisors, students and parents will think about them and have an unrealistic foreboding about not being granted tenure that stifles their creativity and paralyzes their spontaneity. None of this should be!

    In the current organization model of American schools, it essentially falls to administrators or supervisors to help new teachers get acclimated to their work environment. This is a job for which they often appear to have no interest and just as often less talent. This state of affairs has led the officers and SRC Reps of the PCT to become more actively engaged in helping new teachers learn what they need to know. Because union work is essentially a part-time job, we clearly have been less helpful than we would like.

    That has led us to start thinking about creating a mentor/intern program for the district. While we have to have one in place by 2004, the need to help new members is with us now. Interestingly enough, Dr. Brooks has been thinking similarly. We have had two preliminary discussions trying to flesh out points of agreement as to what a mentor program should or should not have. We are scheduled to meet again in June.

    I’m sure you have thoughts about how we might do a better job of helping new teachers adjust to the culture and demands of teaching in Plainview-Old Bethpage. I would appreciate it if you would share them with the union. If you would write them down and send them to me, or if it’s easier to talk on the phone or share your ideas with a SRC Rep, please help us create the best mentor program that we can.


    If you are finishing course work this semester and have enough credits to move a lane, don’t forget to notify the Personnel Office and arrange to send them a transcript. While members have until October 10, 2001 to do so, experiences suggest that it is best to make these arrangements while the subject is fresh in our minds.  


    Represented by delegates Morty Rosenfeld, Judi Alexanderson, Cindy Feldman, Vicki Ahlsen, Lillian Feigenbaum, Cathy Regan, Tom Syrett and Joe Marcal, the PCT was once again the major contributor to the business of the NEA/New York Convention held in Buffalo the last weekend in April.

    Some four hundred delegates from local unions across the state assembled to chart the policy of our state organization for the coming year. The priority resolution for the PCT delegation was our proposal for a law to reward school districts that reduce the number of administrative positions on their tables of organization. While the delegates were surprised by the novelty of our proposal, as their questions were answered, they became enthusiastic supporters. In the end, our resolution was decisively passed. So too were PCT positions on Sweat-Free Schools, reform of the so-called Rockefeller Drug Laws, improvement of the cost of living formulas for the retirement systems and union leadership training programs.

    The PCT also proposed changes to the constitution and bylaws of NEA/New York that would have permitted our state organization to organize workers in "educationally related" fields. Along with the officers of NEA/New York our delegates sought this change to build the membership base of our organization. Each year we get requests from groups like nurses, hospital house staff, people working for publishers of educational materials, all wanting to belong to the NEA. Under the current constitution, we have to tell them we can’t organize them. The result is that they don’t get to belong to the organization they believe would best represent them, and we don’t get the benefit of the economies scale that come from a growing membership.

    Although the convention did not pass our proposed amendments, our work did stimulate the Board of Directors of NEA/New York to pass a motion calling for the establishment of a committee to study broadening our current membership categories.

    As happens most years, PCT delegates led the business of the NEA/New York Convention.


    This is the final reminder that if you are planning to retire, and if you want to be assured of being paid for your accumulated sick leave in the first payroll in July, you must submit a letter of resignation effective June 30, 2001 to the Personnel Office. Your letter should say that you are resigning for purposes of retirement.


    One of the most important contributions members can make to the agenda of the PCT is to serve on one or more of our committees. It is committees that work with the officers of our union to formulate the policy positions of our organization on many issues that face us. 

    Now, for example, we have five major committees working on important matters. Attending to the issue of the call for a zero period at the Mattlin Middle School, we have a committee working with administration and parents to try to balance the music programs at our two middle schools without a significant cost.

    There is also a Save Schools Committee and subcommittees working to implement the legislation passed last year that requires public schools in New York to have uniform codes of conduct and plans for how to permit teachers to remove disruptive students from class.

    We also have a High School Committee looking into the possibility of creating a ten period day, trying to see how we might accomplish this within the parameters of the present seven hour day.

    To attempt to meet the needs for our members to provide quality child care for their families, we have put together a committee to study the feasability of having a union run child care facility.

    Finally, we have recently recruited an Educational Policies Committee that will be looking at restructuring the elementary school work day.

    Watch the Pledge for the reports of these committees.


    As this edition of the Pledge goes to press, the officers of our union have taken a decision to recommend to the PCT Executive Board that our union support the district’s proposed school budget, even though they continue to believe that the priorities of this budget are often not appropriate to the real needs of our students and staff. "With an estimated tax increase of five dollars and seventy-eight cents ($5.78)," said PCT President Morty Rosenfeld, one would think that more would be done to reduce class size, particularly at the secondary level. We continue to hope that the five teachers in reserve in this budget will be used to deal with at least some of the difficult class size situations in the district."

    The referendum on the proposed budget will be held on May 15, 2001.


    With the announced retirement from the Board of Education of Lisa Leblang, and with only one candidate, David Kralstein, having submitted a petition to run, there will not be a contested election for Board of Education this year. The seats on the Board that were up for election will therefore be filled by Kralstein, Cathy Shapp and Alicia Kabak.


    The May issue of The Advocate, the newspaper of our state organization, NEA, New York, will contain a ballot for a special election for delegate to the NEA Convention to be held in Los Angeles in July. PCT Vice-President Cindy Feldman is a candidate in this election. Every member of our union needs to vote for Cindy.

    If Cindy is elected a state delegate, the PCT will be able to save the costs that we would otherwise incur to send her. Please don’t forget. Mail the ballot back as soon as it arrives. VOTE for Cindy Feldman.


    The officers of the PCT have presented their proposed 2001-02 budget for the PCT to the Executive Board of our union. SRC Reps have been asked to take the budget back to the buildings for discussion and comment. Our practice has been to allow the budget to circulate for a month prior to adoption by the Executive Board at the last meeting of the school year in June.

    The PCT budget includes the monies that are needed to pay our per capita membership in the National Education Association and NEA/New York. It additionally includes the money needed to maintain the PCT office.

    A new item in this year’s budget is a line for a union subsidized party in the fall to honor retirees and to just get together and have a good time. The response to last year’s party was so positive that the PCT Executive Board directed the officers to plan for another.


    One of the most frequently overlooked clauses in the contract between the district and the PCT is found on page twenty-five (25). It begins with, "Teacher assignments shall be developed cooperatively between the teacher and his/her immediate supervisor."

    Have you had this discussion with your immediate supervisor? If not, you are not using our contract to your advantage. It is much easier to influence a teaching program before it is written down than it is later when too many supervisors feel compelled to defend what they have decided to do.

    Let your supervisor know about what you are interested in doing. It’s a poor policy to just settle for what one is given. People who do, often fail to enjoy their work as much as they might. We have a right to enjoy what we do. Exercise it!


C.W. Post credits wanted for the coming school year. Please contact Frank Buck at POBMS 349-4767 or at home 579-5370.


    Adelphi credits for sale. Contact Joe Sidito at 349-7205.


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