THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF
THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
VOL. XXXXII, NO. 3. OCTOBER 5, 2004
NEA/NEW YORK/NYSUT MERGER?
By PCT President Morty RosenfeldThis will be the year when we know if there is to be a merger between our state union NEA/New York and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the larger of the two state organizations.
While the two organizations have been holding on-again, off-again talks for years, in recent months, they have taken on a new seriousness and substance. As a member of NEA/New York’s Merger Advisory Committee, I have watched the deal take shape to the point where all that appears to be separating the parties is reconciling how to merge their staffs and the finances of their operations, no mean feat but certainly doable if both sides keep focused on the importance of the goal of a one united education union in New York, able to speak to the public, Governor and legislature with one loud voice.
As any thoughtful person might suspect, the new organization emerging from the talks looks a lot more like NYSUT than NEA/New York. 500,000 members gives their negotiators a bit more clout than the 40,000 behind our team. From my perspective, most of the issues the mergers teams have had to struggle with are of little consequence to the vast majority of our members. To my mind, issues like shall officers be elected by convention delegates by secret ballot or by a public vote have been used by people with personal and political grudges to keep us apart and fighting with each other. I’ve never understood how attempting to rip off each other’s members strengthened any of us in the long run. Does it make a difference to any of you whether at our state convention we have delegates casting votes on the basis of our local membership or only on the basis of those present to vote? Is any of this arcane, bureaucratic union bull of interest to any of you? I doubt it. It certainly pales in importance to working together to defeat the charter school movement or the stupidity of the so-called No Child Left Behind Act, or winning full federal funding for special education.
We should know if a deal is to be made by November. Assuming that principles of merger are worked out, the real work is going to begin. The merger agreement will have to be ratified by the conventions of each organization in April. For NEA/New York this has historically been a problem in that a small, but bitterly determined minority has been able to muster enough support to frustrate the overwhelming majority who are willing to embrace the future, end the internecine struggles that have brought glee to our enemies and build the one big union many of us have dreamed about for years. It takes a two thirds vote to bring about a merger. Your delegates to the NEA/New York Convention have already begun to work on that vote.
TIME TO TEACH?
By Parkway Classroom Teacher Arlene Friedman
As an experienced elementary school teacher who derives great satisfaction from the development of the diversely talented children in our district, I feel that it is important to note a classroom practice that has become increasingly problematic for teachers and students. In the age of multiple services being offered to many students for a variety of reasons, the classroom teacher is left with a very fragmented school day. Students leave the classroom for O.T., P.T., ESL, resource room, AIS-math or AIS-ELA, remedial math, remedial reading, speech, and so forth. This leaves little time to teach the class as a whole or even in groups. Like my colleagues, I want to do what I do best, TEACH! There is clearly a legitimate need for students to receive this wide variety of special services. However, to do the best job possible, teachers need their students to be in class on a more structured basis.
Typically, the interruptions start early and continue throughout the day. On a recent day, after the students arrived at 9:15 and completed the usual early morning activities of unpacking, attendance, lunch count, notes and pledge, I began the ELA block of time. By 9:25, two students had to leave for speech. While they were out of the room, I continued to read a chapter of a novel to the class. The two students later returned and were asked to read the chapter they missed for reading homework. At 10:30, another child went to O.T., while the ELA continued. The class went to gym from 10:55-11:40. The student who went to O.T. returned while the class was at gym. He was shown the work he missed and then joined his classmates at gym.
After lunch, I commenced a math lesson relating to mirror image, line of symmetry with a pattern block design. The students were working with the pattern blocking when two students had to go to resource room from 1:35-2:15. Math instruction was put on hold until the students returned to the classroom. Another scheduled disruption will occur at 2:30-3:00 for AIS. (This program is about to commence. A group of 4-5 students will be designated for push in or pull out). At 3:15, I say goodbye to my class, hoping that tomorrow there will be fewer interruptions and more time to TEACH, knowing, however, that tomorrow may even bring less precious time.
Touted as the centerpiece of his accomplishments in the area of education, the so-called No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has accomplished what knowledgeable people new it would. It has taken several New York districts like Scarsdale in Westchester County and Greenbush in Rensselaer County near Albany, high performing districts that offer academic programs as good as any in the state and nation, and declared them failures, accusing them of not achieving adequate yearly progress. Scarsdale makes the hit-list apparently because its sophisticated parent community doesn’t want their children tested and tested, preferring that they spend their time learning things. As a result, from the time they conducted a boycott of the tests a few years ago, a significant number of parents have not permitted their children to take the tests required by the NCLB, thereby offending the law’s requirement that schools test at least 95% of each of the different groups of students the law identifies. Will Plainview-Old Bethpage be the next high performing district to fail the Bush test of excellence?
NEA/NEW YORK SCHOLARSHIP
Each year our state union, NEA/New York, awards two $2000 scholarships to the children or grandchildren of members who are graduating high school seniors. PCT members who have eligible family members and are interested in applying for the scholarship are asked to request further information and an application from the PCT Office.FLORIDA RELIEF
The Florida Education Association is requesting assistance for their members from the devastation of this hurricane season. Many of our colleagues are homeless with all of their possessions ruined by the series of storms.
If you would like to help teachers and educational support professionals of Florida, please send your contribution to the Florida Education Association at
FEA Hurricane Charley Relief Fund
213 S. Adams St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
SRC REP TRAINING
On Thursday, September 30, the PCT held the second workshop of the year for its SRC Reps. For about 2½ hours, SRC Reps immersed themselves in the complicated subjects of tenure, seniority and leaves of absence.
This session was one of ten planned for the year, the first having been held over two days in August. The aim of the program is to train the next generation of PCT leaders to ensure that the proud history of our union continues.
On October 23, SRC reps will participate in a workshop on the process of negotiations and the role of SRC Reps in it. These sessions are open to all SRC Reps and their alternates.
DATA CORRECTION FORMS
In about a week, each PCT member will receive a Data Correction Form from the Welfare Fund. On it will be all of the data currently on file in the PCT computer for each individual. This information is essential to the speedy and accurate processing of all Welfare Fund claims. It is additionally necessary to generate information we need when we attempt to purchase benefits from insurance carriers whose actuaries need data on which to base their quotations.
When you receive your form, please examine it for the accuracy of the information about you. Please use a red pen to make any corrections and return the corrected form to the PCT Office. If all of the information is accurate, there is no need to return the form.
Please be sure to include your current e-mail address if we do not have one for you. More and more, we are using e-mail to better inform and service our members and to control our costs.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING COURSE NOV. 3 & 4
The PCT will offer a Safe Driver Course on Wednesday and Thursday, November 3 and 4 from 4 to 7 PM in the Choral Room of the Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School.
Participation in the course provides one with a 10 % discount on auto liability insurance and can be used to remove up to 3 points from one’s drivers license.
Members interested in participating in the PCT Safe Driver Course should send a check for $30 made payable to PCT to the PCT Office.PCT PARTY
PLAN TO BE THERE
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 27
4:00 PM TO 7:00 PM
NORTH RITZ CLUB IN SYOSSET
CONTINUOUS FINGER FOODS
WINE, BEER AND SODA
MUSIC AND DANCING
FOR THE UNHEARD OF PRICE OF $15
SEE YOUR SRC REP TODAY
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