A merger at last! One great union
speaking for education workers throughout the state.
Merger has been a dream of PCT members since 1982 when our delegates to
Having one powerful voice, however, won’t count for very much if we
don’t use it to speak truth to the powerful.
We need to use that voice to agitate for a new commissioner of education,
a learned person who knows the difference between higher, legitimate academic
standards and scores on commercially prepared tests.
We need a commissioner and state education department to work with us to
close what E.D. Hirsch refers to as the “knowledge deficit,” the tragic end
result of a system of education run by people who do not understand that
children cannot develop academic skills in an intellectual vacuum but only by
building their knowledge and using what they have learned to learn more.
For too long we have acted as though there was a serious debate
between educators teaching students what educated people are expected to and
need know and those who believe it doesn’t matter if kids know the times
tables or the vocabulary necessary to pick up a serious newspaper and be able to
understand everything they read. There
is no serious debate. No one
has the right to inflict ignorance on a generation of children.
We need to speak with one powerful voice about the necessity to end the
use of the highly regressive property tax to fund education.
The current tax scheme leaves too many “property poor” districts with
inferior school systems through no fault of their own.
Property taxes are a malignancy that erodes the public’s support for
its schools and pits taxpayers and school employees against each other even
though both struggle to pay the taxes to support the schools in their
communities. The mighty roar of more
than half million members of the merged union must reverberate through the
corridors of power in
Above all else, we must develop an agenda to fix the public schools and
use our voice to advocate for it. While
there are many districts that need vastly increased financial resources to meet
the needs of their students, there is more to fixing the public schools than
money. It’s bad enough that
the public’s confidence in our schools is waning. Worse, and related to the
former condition, is our lack of confidence that we know what we are doing. Why
else are we constantly changing what and how we teach?
I submit that educating
I am encouraged that now that we will be in one big union, that union may advance such an agenda. The new leadership of NYSUT has already begun to up its profile in progressive ways. They are clearly talking about issues like the achievement gap with a passion that seems refreshingly new. I’m excited about joining with them in our struggle to save public education.
to pct homepage
return to pct homepage