THE PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXVI, No. 16 May 15, 1997
THE NEED TO HIRE AFFIRMATIVELY
by Morty Rosenfeld
No one who teaches in our schools is unaware of the glaring tendency of our students to engage in racial and ethnic stereotypes of groups with which they are unfamiliar. One need only spend five minutes walking the corridors of our high school to hear the most outrageous epithets hurled.
It is in no way surprising that this should be the case. Upper middle class enclaves like Plainview-Old Bethpage are rather typical in this regard, in large part for a very simple reason. Our students have almost no exposure to people different from themselves. They have very limited experience of people whose race, ethnicity or religious belief differs from their own.
If we are to be true to our often stated belief that we are educating students to be equipped for the twenty-first century, we must disabuse them of the notion that Plainview-Old Bethpage is America. Surely one of the central issues this generation of Americans will have to come to terms with is the changing face of America.
What better way for us to blow away from the minds of our youth the stereotypes born of ignorance than to present them with minority adults in the classroom, competent caring people whose very presence gives the lie to the bigoted propaganda our students experience all too often. A student who learns from a great Black teacher, a youngster inspired by a Latino coach, a young person who gets to experience the humanity of an Asian - these students are changed for the remainder of their lives. They are forced to question the stereotypes. Once questioned, they evaporate.
There is a clause in our contract that obliges the District to seek out qualified minority applicants. It's time for the District to take it seriously. To do otherwise is to severely short change our student body.
As this edition of the Pledge goes to press, the PCT and the District are discussing the possibilities of a local retirement incentive instead of the recently enacted legislative incentive that the district does not wish to take. The discussion of a local incentive was initiated by the District.
Where these discussions are headed is difficult to determine. The Board of Education seems interested, but interest and putting an incentive in place may be two different things. As soon as there is something definitive to report, the union will do so. Members who have specific questions are encouraged to call them in to the PCT Office.
ALEXANDERSON NAMED WOMAN OF THE YEAR
The Title IX has announced the naming of PCT Secretary Judith Alexanderson as Woman of the Year. This honor is bestowed on people who have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of furthering gender equity in the schools and workplace.
The award will be presented at a reception on June 4, 1997 at 1:30 PM in the library at Kennedy High School. Members who do not have a teaching assignment at that time are welcome to attend.
By now members have received a letter from PCT President Morty Rosenfeld informing them of the endorsement by the PCT PAC Committee and the PCT Executive Board of Evy Rothman and Eric Schultz for re-election to the Board of Education. Additionally, both bodies voted to support the district's 1997-98 budget.
In the race for a seat on the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, an endorsement awaits meetings scheduled with the candidates on Tuesday, May 13, 1997.
In the meantime, members should be aware that PCT PAC has a fundraising drive underway. Teacher members and public librarians are expected to contribute $10. The suggested contribution for clericals is $5.
Members are also asked to volunteer for the PCT Phone Bank which will be in operation from Sunday, May18th through Tuesday, May 20 from 3:00PM to 9:00 PM.
ON THE PASSING OF SOMEONE ELSE
The Union was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of its most valuable members -- Someone Else. Someone's passing created a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else had been with us for many years and for every one of those years Someone did more than a normal person's share of the work. Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results. Whenever there was something to do or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list -- "Let Someone Else do it!"
It was common knowledge that Someone Else would make up the difference. Someone Else sometimes appeared to be super-human; but a person can only do so much. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now, Someone Else is gone. We wonder what we are going to do.
Someone Else did leave a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow? Who is going to do all the things that Someone Else did?
When your building reps ask you to volunteer for the PCT Phone Bank, don't tell them that Someone Else will do it. It's your turn.
Almost from the time the first computer entered a classroom in Plainview, the PCT has advanced the need to provide training for teachers and clericals in the use of this new technology. We have always maintained that the best way to accomplish this is to have peer teaching, colleague training colleague in a non-threatening environment in which staff do not have to fell that they is being evaluated every time they ask a question.
We appear to have finally broken through on this issue. Dr. Cavanna has assured us that some of our technologically savvy people will be freed up next year to assist their colleagues with the massive infusion of technology that is underway in our district. The PCT will be working with Central Administration over the closing weeks of the year to work out the details of this very important undertaking. The goal, perhaps not completely accomplishable the first year, is to have at least one staff person in each building spending a significant part of the day helping colleagues adjust to the use of the new instructional technologies. Watch the Pledge for further details.
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ELEMENTARY REPORT CARD
COMMITTEE TO BE FORMED
At the last meeting of the PCT Executive Board, Elementary reps raised the issue of the need to
revamp the elementary report card. Changes in the curriculum and the way we teach it require
that we have a new report card.
The Executive Board voted to establish a Elementary Report Card Committee to begin work in
the fall on designing a new report card. Members wishing to volunteer for this committee are
asked to inform their SRC Reps as soon as possible.
This year's PCT End of Year party at which we honor our retirees will be held on Wednesday,
May 28, 1997 from 3to 7 PM at Redheads in Levittown.
This year's party was scheduled earlier in an attempt to avoid conflicts with individual and
building parties that compete for attendance in June.
A sit down dinner, an open wine and beer bar and good company should make this party one
that every member will want to attend.