THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF
THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
VOL. XXXXIII, NO. 2 SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
THE YEAR AHEAD
PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
I know from the e-mails that I received following the opening of school festivities, that you are expecting some acerbic prose from me on the keynote address by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. I donít like to disappoint my readers, but I also donít like to kick people when theyíre down. To be fair, Dr. Heidi appeared to misread her audience, presuming that they had a basic knowledge of curriculum mapping when, in fact, most knew nothing of the subject, a condition that remained unchanged at the end of her presentation.
To those familiar with the concept of mapping, her presentation raised concerns, as the examples of actual maps she showed were produced by individual teachers and comprised ultra-detailed computer lesson plans, a very different product from the one described to POB teachers to gain their interest in mapping. We will be exploring those differences with Central Administration in the days ahead.
We will also be returning to the academic standards work we began last year. Each of the sub-committees formed last year will have one more meeting prior to a presentation to the Board of Education, probably in December. It seems clear that recommendations will be made for incremental improvements. It is also clear that thinking and working on the academic standards of the district is an ongoing process.
This will also be a negotiating year for all of our units in the school district. Indications are that the Board of Education is looking forward to a full round of negotiations instead of the roll-over contracts of the past few years. What they have in mind by this shift in position remains to be seen, but we will be ready to meet the challenge. Much of the preparatory work for negotiations was done last year. With some minor modifications of the package of demands we put together then, we will be ready.
This will hopefully be the year that we ratify a constitution for a new state education union built from the merger of the New York State United Teachers and NEA/New York. On September 23, Judi Alexanderson and I will be attending a meeting of the Board of Directors of NEA/New York which will consider the draft constitution. If the board approves it as expected, it will go to the convention in April for ratification. Upon its ratification, the new organization will open for business in September 2006.
Finally, I will be asking the membership this year to think about the organizational structure of the PCT as it is provided for in our constitution, seeking to determine whether we need to change the way our union is governed in light of our changed environment. Do we have an organizational structure that promotes efficient use of our limited resources, one that fosters the development of future leaders? Building on some of the changes we made last year, I have put before the Officers and Head SRC Reps my own thoughts on how we might improve the governance of the PCT. The Executive Board will be brought into the discussion next, with governance the subject of our October SRC training and Executive Board meeting. Should there be broad support among officers and building leaders, then and only then will a proposal will be brought to the membership for a thorough discussion and vote.
This is but some of what our union will be working on this year, there always being more to do than we have the time to accomplish. I close by taking this opportunity to wish you a stimulating and rewarding year.
BOND ISSUECOMMITTEE FORMED
Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Education has authorized the formation of a Bond Issue Committee to look at the capital project needs of the district and determine whether the Board should seek to raise the money to complete these capital projects by asking the voters to authorize the sale of bonds. Capital projects comprise repairs and additions to the physical plant of the school district. The committee is made up of representatives of all of the major constituencies of the POB community. The PCT has eight (8) representatives, PCT President Morty Rosenfeld, Vice-Presidents Cindy Feldman and Lillian Feigenbaum, Secretary Judi Alexanderson, CUPCT Vice-President Lucy Pedone and Head and Assistant SRC Reps Maureen Egglinger, Kathy Abbene and Kevin Dugan.
It is no secret to our membership that many of our facilities require significant repairs. It is also clear that the development of the property purchased by Charles Wang on Old Country Road is going to require a further expansion of the physical capacity of the district.
How to meet these needs while being mindful of a growing taxpayer rebellion on Long Island (forty-seven budgets were defeated in the last cycle), much of it sparked by the incendiary coverage of school matters by Newsday, will be the very difficult task of this committee. The PCT delegation will also be attempting to have the committee develop recommendations for a plan for on-going attention to the districtís capital need. Watch the Pledge for developments.
PCT UNDERTAKESORGANIZING CAMPAIGN
Currently, the PCT represents only approximately a quarter of the employees of the POB Public Library. Over twenty years ago when the library union was first formed, while a majority of the employees wanted to join a union, the management of the library convinced The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that there should be two bargaining units, thereby dividing the employees in such a way as to segregate the union and anti-union employees into two groups and ensuring that one unit would be non-union.
Over the years, the management of the library has exploited that PERB decision to the fullest, confronting the union employees in hard bargaining and then giving the non-union employees everything gained in the union contract and then some.
Working with our PCT colleagues at the library, we have begun an organizing drive to bring all of the employees of the library into the PCT and thus end managementís playing off one group against the other and making for a workplace environment where neither group of employees is treated with dignity and respect.
Begun in August, our campaign has already produced some promising results as a significant number of people have signed cards requesting the PCT to be their bargaining agent. Watch the Pledge for the progress of this campaign.
E-MAIL POLITICAL ACTION
While the Bush administration appears to be mired in the reaction to their mismanagement of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, that doesnít mean that their attempt to privatize Social Security is forgotten. Thatís why the officers of the PCT are asking our membership to remind our representatives in Congress of our opposition to their scheme.
Members are asked to go to the PCT WebPage at pobct.org where they will find in the Features section a link entitled Saving Social Security. Clicking on it takes one to a sample letter and e-mail links to the Long Island Congressional delegation. Members are asked to copy and paste the letter to our two senators and their Congressperson. It simply takes a minute or two to make a contribution toward saving the best government program the US ever invented.
GULF RELIEF COLLECTION
On opening day it was announced that the district is organizing a Red Cross collection drive for the relief of those who suffered from Hurricane Katrina. SRC Reps are asking members to make donations to this effort. Checks should be made payable to the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.
We are also talking with members of other POB groups about an effort for the district to adopt a severely damaged school district in the Gulf and aid in their recovery. Details to follow.
This summer, members of the PCT were saddened to learn of the passing of special education teacher Bette Massari after her long struggle with cancer. Bette began her career in Plainview in 1971. She taught resource room, self-contained and collaborative classes. Her interest in art led her to teach an art class to special education students as well. Bette also had a teaching certificate in English.
Students and colleagues will remember her gentle and unassuming manner and her kind smile, which made all those who came in contact with her feel comfortable immediately. Her students benefited from her devoted attention and care. She truly was their advocate. Any teacher who ever shared a student with Bette would characterize her as a dedicated professional and a compassionate human being. All who worked with Bette Massari will sincerely miss her.
We were also saddened to learn as this edition of the Pledge was being put to bed, of the death of former CUPCT President and PCT Vice-President Marie Kushy. Marie was the fiery leader of the Clerical Unit during the late 70's and 80's. An impassioned advocate for the plight of working women, Marie not only bargained good contracts but raised the consciousness of a generation of women workers who had been conditioned to think of themselves as deserving less than men performing comparable work. In that spirit, she led the fight within NEA/New York to increase the representation of Educational Support Professionals in our state and national union. Working people have lost a very good friend.