By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

  I suspect that most of you were as depressed as I with the result of the presidential election, depressed but not surprised.  Many of us realized from the time John Kerry became the Democratic Party nominee that the primary process had yielded a candidate without broad appeal beyond the party faithful, a verbose, somewhat condescending, patrician man constitutionally unable to connect with red-state Americans and completely unprepared to contend with and counter attack an opponent who launched a nuclear assault on his character and record. 

  By the end of the campaign, Kerry was represented and came to be seen as a weak, ultra-liberal flip-flopper whose patriotism, values and morality were questionable and whose ability to protect the homeland could not be trusted.  While we hoped Americans would dislike Bush more than they disliked Kerry, we regretted that we didnít have a candidate with a vision that could unite Americans by speaking to  their goodness rather than their fears, a candidate  with a moral vision that saw health care as an inalienable right rather than a commodity, who saw stewardship of the environment as a call of conscience and who saw patriotism as including concern for the way the rest of the world sees us. We didnít, and we lost.

  We canít give up, however.  Demonizing our fellow citizens who voted for Bush will accomplish nothing but the further polarization of the American people.  What we must do instead is to work with other progressive forces to find a voice with which to speak to what I still believe is the essentially good nature of the American people.  Where our opposition skillfully speaks to our fears and through them to our baser thoughts and emotions, we must be more skillful, more eloquent, more determined to help our countrymen see that our best days have always come when we broadened our freedoms, included more citizens, protected the vulnerable and desired to be good citizens of the world.  



   NEA/ New York and the New York Sate United Teachers (NYSUT) have agreed on a set of principles to guide the creation of a single state education union, the so-called  merger that has proved to be so elusive.  While there is still much work to be done to put the two unions together, the fact that the leaders of both organizations have been able to agree to a multi-year, step by step process of building toward a final merger in September, 2008 is promising. Below is the merger calendar that has been agreed to:

April 2005 - NEA/ New York and NYSUT Conventions vote on Principles of Merger

April 2006 - NEA/ New York and NUSUT Conventions vote on new constitution and bylaws 

September 2006 - New Organization comes into being and governance transition begins - The boards of directors merged.  

April to July 2008, Transition completed.  Two organizations are now one.

 For NEA/ New York , getting the Principles of Merger passed our convention will require a two thirds vote of the convention delegates, 

something  that has proven difficult to do in the past.  NEA/New York Board of Directors Morty Rosenfeld and Judi Alexanderson will be working

hard over the months ahead to help to build the necessary support for the merger.


   The PCT and the Superintendent have agreed to the composition of a Middle School Committee made up of teachers, parents and administrators and charged with an examination of the districtís middle school program.  The committee will be co-chaired by Deputy Superintendent Pat Kriss and PCT Vice-President Vicki Ahlsen.  Other PCT members appointed by the Executive Board to the committee are:


                        Kathy Abbene

                        Chris Bianco

                        Louise Cataldo

                        Lorraine Charletta

                        Dave Gestwick

                        Peggy Grosso

                        Linda Markowicz

                        Christina Moran

                        Barbara Nizewitz

                        Greg Scesney

                        Karey Yanch

  The work of this committee could  have a significant impact on the middle school program.  PCT members with thoughts about how our middle school program might be improved, should be in touch with a representative from the committee.

  The Executive Board also made the following committee appointments at its November meeting:




Jackie Berrol               Judi Nelson

Eileen Leavitt              Diane Panetta

Nikki Guerin                Jeanine Knee

Ed Broad                     Ellen Adges

Ramona Schoen           Nancy Klein

  The charge of this committee will be to make policy recommendations to the PCT Executive Board for improvements to the districtís special education program.



  The Executive Board also completed its appointments to the Title IX Committee.  The Committee is set to resume its meeting calendar.  Those appointed are:

             Sheri Novak                Karen Triola

Christine Visbal           Lynn Davis

Diane Sandler              Arda Guvenel

Michele Schaefer         Stacey Ortenberg

Linda Markowicz         Fran Tillona

Anna Hipshman            Judy Rilling

Jana Guskin                  Terri Scheer

Karen Bezzina 



   Prompted by a motion brought by the Kennedy High School SRC, the PCT Executive Board has adopted a  policy calling upon the school district to ban the use of cell phones by students in our schools because of the disruption they cause.   Citing their concerns about students using their cell phones to snap inappropriate pictures, cheat on exams and generally interrupt the smooth running of their classes, secondary members of the Board were adamant in their view that there are no appropriate uses for student cell phones and that parents interrupting classes to remind students of appointments is simply inappropriate.  The vote of the Executive Board on this issue was unanimous.


   The Welfare Fund recently distributed Open Enrollment Forms to all members.  This form is to be used by members wishing to add family dental or excess major medical coverage beginning in January, 2005.  For those wishing to make a change in their coverage,  forms must be returned to the Welfare Fund Office no later than December 15, 2004 .  Misplace your form, simply call the Welfare Fund Office.


   Did you know that since last January 7700 visits have been made to the PCT Web Page with 25000 hits to its front page?  From its first year when it had less than 2000 hits for the whole year, readership of our unionís web page has continued to grow as people both in and outside of the school community read it regularly for information and ideas about education and our school district.

   Did you know that you can download and print dental and excess medical claims from the membersí area of our site?  You no longer have to remember to find your building rep to get a form.  They are available to you at home, at your convenience.

   Did you know that you can read the latest edition of the Pledge, usually before it appears in hard copy in your workplace?

   If you havenít visited our web page lately, you owe it to yourself to do so.



   By now each PCT member should have received a flyer announcing our unionís new relationship with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.  If you are buying or selling a home, no matter where in the United States ,  as a PCT member you can take advantage of a number of ways to save money and precious time.  The professionals at Prudential Douglas Elliman will help you with all of the arrangements.  See the announcement of benefit flyer for deatils.  Our contact person for this benefit is Janet Manno-Wurtzler who can be reached at 631-549-7480,  Ext. 228.      


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