THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXIX, No. 5 January 7, 2002
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
In my December web page TeacherTalk column (talk51), I issued a call to all constituents of our school community-- "... a call for the entire school community to face the unpleasant fact that our school districts academic standards are not what they should be and not what they once were. While it may be true as some suggest that they have declined everywhere, we can and should be responsible for our local standards, and we must return them to a level of which we can be proud." I wrote the article to begin a PCT campaign to unite teachers, educational support professionals, administrators and parents behind the seemingly radical idea that our society has supported public schools to teach children things which adult citizens are expected to know, much of which can be subsumed under the heading culture.
I believe it to be our ethical responsibility for our union to take the initiative to raise the standards of our school district. If we dont, history has shown us that nobody will. Significantly raising the standards may bring hardship to some, hardship which they lack the courage to endure. The thought of making our academic goals more rigorous and challenging is threatening to many, and some will probably resist.
Our self-interest, both immediate and long-term, lies in working to raise local academic standards. Most of us entered teaching to enjoy the way we earn our living, to feel that we are making a significant contribution to youth and through them to our society. It becomes harder and harder to appreciate that our work is worthwhile in an environment which too often confuses intellectual rigor with busy work and which reifies self-esteem to the point where self-approval rather than learning appears to be the goal of a Plainview-Old Bethpage childs education. It becomes harder to take pride in our work when we feel pressure to give As for at best mediocre work and when even very young students are emboldened to refuse to do their homework while their teachers are made to feel that they must be doing something wrong by administrators who permit inappropriate behavior to go unaddressed.
Its time for us to take the lead. Its time for us to engage the people we work for at every level of the district to demand that they actively support our efforts to build a learning environment in which teachers can set reasonable, high academic standards of achievement for themselves and their students. Its time for each of us to say, "ENOUGH!" to the ridiculous notion that there is something wrong with insisting that students learn difficult things, even though the learning may require some struggle and, dare I say, may not be immediately interesting and lead to a grade of A.
Let them resist. Its time for us to move ahead.
PCT ELECTIONS SET MARCH 12TH
The terms of the current officers of the PCT will expire on June 30, 2002. An election will be held on March 12, 2002 to fill the following positions:
Middle School Vice-President
High School Vice-President
NEA/NY Convention Delegate (1)
CUPCT (Clerical Unit)
SUPCT (Substitute Unit)
The PCT Constitution sets out a number of deadlines which must be met by candidates for union office. They are as follows:
Jan. 18 - Petitions due
Feb. 4 - 100 words for Pledge due
Feb. 11 - Mail absentee ballots and Pledge
March 5 - Postmark due
March 12 - Vote in building
PCT members interested in obtaining nominating petitions for PCT Office should call our union office at 349-1310.
PCT POLITICAL ACTION
December 12 saw the latest in a long list of PCT political action victories. Over 4000 phone calls were made by PCT volunteers on behalf of a referendum to expand the facilities at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library. Passage of the referendum by some 230 votes meant that the work of our members was crucial to its passage. This is especially true when we remember that approximately 250 PCT members and their families were eligible to vote in the election.
PCT President Morty Rosenfeld received the following letter of thanks from Rhoda Orenstein, Director of the POB Public Library:
Thank you for your support and cooperation enabling us to successfully get our bond referendum passed.
Please extend my sincere thanks to all the teachers and others who volunteered their time making telephone calls.
I am looking forward to continuing our amicable relationship.
LEGISLATIVE COCKTAIL PARTY SET FOR
JANUARY 31 7-10 PM
Each year, just before the start of the new session of the New York State Legislature, the Long Island Regional Council of NEA/New York, a body made up of representatives of the NEA local unions on Long Island, holds a cocktail party for members of the Long Island legislative delegation. This years party will be held at the Woodbury Country Club on Jericho Turnpike. This is one of the many opportunities we take to lobby the political agenda of NEA/New York and the PCT.
The legislative cocktail party is also an excellent opportunity for PCT members who would like to learn more about the political action work of our union and who would like to meet some of the people who make the laws that affect the work we do to have an opportunity to do so. The PCT Political Action Committee (PCT/PAC) will fund the attendance of up to thirty officers and members at this affair.
PCT members who wish to be part of the PCT delegation should notify the PCT Office.
RETIREMENT INCENTIVE RUMORSIts that time of year when rumors begin to circulate that New York State is about to offer the most fabulous retirement incentive yet. This years version of the rumor is the dreamiest we have ever heard. It has the state offering a ten percent service credit bonus to those who retire this year.
Here are the available facts. As of this date the only retirement incentive bill to be introduced is the same bill passed the last few years, one which offered retirees one additional month of service credit for each year they had worked. That bill also had a kicker in it that obligated public employers to be able to show that they would save a specific sum of money between the retirees salary and the replacement hired. In POB this formula wouldnt work and thus our members have been ineligible for it.
The PCT closely monitors the work of the legislature. If other bills are introduced, members will be informed. Remember, however, a bill must be passed by both houses of the legislature and be signed by the governor to become law.
Teacher members who have taken course work for salary credit this semester and who are eligible to change lanes are reminded that they must notify the Personnel Office by February that they will qualify to change lanes. The district will not make the change until it receives an official transcript, but, when it is made, it will take place retroactively.
Members who are thinking of starting a 403B account (tax sheltered annuity) or changing the amount of their contributions are reminded that all necessary paper work must be filed with the Business Office by January 15th.
PCT members who have changed their e-mail addresses recently are asked to send their new addresses to email@example.com. If you arent receiving announcements of PCT web page updates, we need your e-mail address.
Effective January 1, 2002, the carrier of PCT Life Insurance is the GE Financial Assurance Company. The coverage is exactly the same as it has been except that GE has guaranteed the premiums for a two year period. Also, PCT members can increase the amount of their coverage without a medical examination during the month of January. Forms for this purpose have been distributed. If you have misplaced yours and need one, call the PCT Office.
New PCT Life Insurance Booklets are being prepared and will be distributed as soon as possible.
The carrier of the Welfare Funds $40,000 life insurance has also been changed to GE Financial Assurance Company.
The Welfare Fund has also announced that its long term disability policy has been placed with First Reliance Standard Insurance Company. The benefit booklets for this policy is also being produced and will be distributed shortly.
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