Some Good News

Political Action Works
Once again, we’re very happy to bring you evidence of positive change that came about via political action.  We’ve reported on it numerous time over the past few years, and of course we saw it first hand during contract negotiations last Spring. The latest example concerns the Regents rules on opt-outing out of state tests.

Earlier this year, the Regents proposed new regulations that would have severely penalized districts with opt-out rates higher than 5%. NYSUT asked members to respond, and we did. As a result of this pressure, the “Regents rejected regulations that would have wrongly diverted federal Title I funds from students attending schools with a less than 95 percent participation rate… [and]  significantly improved upon the draft regulations and will now allow schools with high opt-out numbers to ‘leave’ state accountability lists if they are otherwise high-performing.”

Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to call or write a letter.

Grant Opportunity
RC22 (the local NYSUT Retirement Council) is offering grants of up to $500 for “the implementation of educational projects for which funding is not available through normal school districts channels.”  More information, along with an application, can be found by clicking here.

Fall Get Together
Every new school year is a reason to celebrate – but having a contract (and knowing we won’t be needing to picket) makes this year especially sweet. So let’s all celebrate together at Buffalo Wild Wings in Miller Place on Friday, October 5th. Appetizers are included, so it helps to get a head-count in advance. Please RSVP by clicking this link.

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Welcome New SWRTA Members

SWRTA is pleased to welcome the following new teachers to the Shoreham-Wading River Faculty:

High School

  • Jaquelyn Nicholes
  • Samantha Shepard (also @ MS)
  • Tara Ann Yoches (also @ MS)

Middle School

  • Jim Finnerty

Wading River

  • Kelly Kane

Miller Avenue

  • Cara Brown
  • Sandra Nicotra

We are also very pleased to announce that, due to an additional section of Kindergarten being added at Miller Avenue, Lauren Esposito will be re-joining the faculty.

new staff

The Year of the Teacher Strike

2018 may go down in history as the year of the teacher strike.  Strikes are not a new phenomenon, of course, but they have become a far less common tool in recent years, especially in the world of education.

But as conditions for teachers and students got worse and worse around the country, politicians and school boards began to see what happens when you push too far against public education:

Teachers push back, communities support them, and public education wins.

In the past eight months, teacher unions in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahama, Colorado, scored significant victories via strikes, and Seattle teachers pushed their district right to the brink.

Why were they so successful? A lot of the press about the strikes centered on just how low teacher salaries are in many places in the country (teachers losing their houses, having to get second jobs, etc.). And the fact is, people overwhelmingly have positive feelings about teachers and don’t want to see them suffering.  But it’s important to note that strikers were pushing for greater funding for schools overall, including things like more counselors and nurses.

And while strikes are a pretty extreme tool, the success of their efforts point to a bigger point, one we’ve made again and again. It sometimes seems that the forces against public education are so immutable that there is no point even trying, we have the power to make change happen when we are united.

BOE Endorsements

Here are the NYSUT endorsed candidates for Suffolk BOE races.

Please make sure you get out and vote on May 15th.

Italics Indicate NYSUT Member

Bayport Blue Point: Mathew Seery & William Holl

Brentwood: Eileen Felix, Julia Burgos & Cindy Calderon-Cifferi

Commack: Jared Behar

Connetquot: Mark Warshaw
Vote Yes on Proposition #1
Vote No on Proposition #3

Huntington: Tom DiGiaccomo, Christine Biernacki & Lynda D’Anna

Islip: Eric Buehler, Paul Austin & Tom Leggio

Kings Park: Kevin Johnston & Diane Nally

Longwood (Middle Island): Penni Blizzard-McGrath

Middle Country: Arlene Barresi, Daniel Hill, Karen Lessler & Kathleen Walsh
Vote Yes on Proposition #1

Northport: David Badanes, Victoria Buscareno & David Stein

Patchogue-Medford: Anthony O’Brien, Marc Negrin & Bernadette Smith
Vote Yes on Propositions  #1, #2, & #3

Port Jefferson: Tracy Zamek, Ryan Biedenkapp & Jason Kronberg

Riverhead: Brian Connelley & Sue Koukounas
**********ONLY VOTE FOR THESE 2 CANDIDATES

Rocky Point: Ed Casswell & Greg Amendola

Sayville: Carl Cangelosi, Keith Kolar & John Verdone

Smithtown: Mandi Kowalik

South Country: (Bellport) Regina Hunt

South Huntington: Michele DeGaetano, Linda LaCara & Edward Nitwewicz
Vote Yes on Propositions #1 & #2

Three Village: Bill Connors & Deanna Bavlnka

West Islip: Richard Antoniello & Steve Gellar