Support the CTU’s Sarah Chambers

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In 2014 at the UCORE conference in Chicago, I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Sarah Chambers in a workshop.  Since then Chambers, like so many other teachers from the rank and file caucuses who make up UCORE, has been busy continuing to fight back against ed deform and for the schools her students deserve.  Very few teachers have fought as ferociously and vocally as Chambers.  As Michelle Gunderson put it in her post on Living in Dialogue, “If you are fortunate, every once in a while you will meet someone who breathes the fire of justice. In my life Sarah Chambers, a special education teacher from Maria Saucedo School in Chicago, fills that role.”

Unfortunately Chambers is under attack from her school district, Chicago Public Schools.  CPS has suspended and is seeking to fire Chambers because of her role in vocally defending students.  Please check out Gunderson’s piece above, Dr. Lois Weiner’s post titled A Teacher Who’s Dangerous- To Chicago’s Power Elites, and then sign this petition to support Sarah Chambers.

You can see Chambers eviscerate the Common Core at the 2014 AFT Convention in this video.

PJSTA Election Results- Katie Kleinpeter Voted New PJSTA President

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PJSTA President-elect Katie Kleinpeter.

For the first time since 2009 there will be a new PJSTA President.  Katie Kleinpeter will succeed the soon to be retired Beth Dimino on June 1st.  Listed below are the winners of today’s election:

  • PJSTA President- Katie Kleinpeter
  • PJSTA 1st Vice-President- Brian St. Pierre
  • PJSTA 2nd Vice-President- Dave Anzini
  • PJSTA 3rd Vice-President- Matt Carrera
  • PJSTA Secretary- Erica Marsh
  • PJSTA Treasurer- Maurizio Milana
  • PJSTA Webmaster- Brian St. Pierre
  • PJSTA Portal Editor- Maurizio Milana

Building Elections

Boyle Road Elementary

  • Senior Building Representative- Sue Hirner
    • Building Representative- Ann Popielaski
    • Building Representative- Nicole Taormina

Clinton Avenue Elementary

  • Senior Building Representative- Michelle Sowa
    • Building Representative- Liza Carolan
    • Building Representative- Barbara Boncimino

Norwood Avenue Elementary

  • Senior Building Representative- Erica Gunning
    • Building Representative-Laurie Tilmont
    • Building Representative- Carole Anne DeVine

Terryville Road Elementary 

  • Senior Building Representative- Gail Ports
    • Building Representative- Debra Rosenquist
    • Building Representative- Kathleen Masone
    • Building Representative- Ann Sutter

JFK Middle School

  • Senior Building Representative- Debbie Reilly
    • Building Representative- Katy Dornicik
    • Building Representative- Sue Niver
    • Building Representative- Kelly Vallette
    • Building Representative- Marty Sobel
    • Building Representative- Carole Stacy
    • Building Representative- Kristin Surdi

Comsewogue High School

  • Senior Building Representative- Bo Frimmer
    • Building Representative- Angela Azzara
    • Building Representative- Mike Bonura
    • Building Representative- Matt Brown
    • Building Representative- Shane Goldberg
    • Building Representative- Margaret Kinane
    • Building Representative- Karen Verdisco
    • Building Representative- Vincent Verdisco

A big thank you to all members who ran in today’s elections along with the Building Election Coordinators and the Election Chairperson, Sue Niver, for making today’s elections a success.  All newly elected positions will begin on June 1, 2017.

 

Reminder: PJSTA Elections Tomorrow!

A reminder to PJSTA members that elections for our local take place tomorrow, Wednesday, April 5th.  We are fortunate enough to have some contested elections within our local, so you’ll want to be sure that you are on time to vote.  All voting must take place prior to first period as per the PJSTA Voting Guidelines.  Tomorrow we will be electing the following positions…

  • PJSTA President
  • PJSTA 1st Vice-President
  • PJSTA 2nd Vice-President
  • PJSTA 3rd Vice-President
  • PJSTA Secretary
  • PJSTA Treasurer
  • PJSTA Webmaster
  • PJSTA Portal Editor
  • One senior building representative in all schools
  • Building representatives for all schools

Check back tomorrow evening for the election winners.  The new term begins on June 1, 2017.

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PJSTA Live- Episode 3- Ed Reform 2.0

Our third episode of PJSTA Live deals with Ed Reform 2.0.  We were joined by two guests, Alison McDowell and Jia Lee.  McDowell, a parent and a public education activist, blogs at Wrench in the Gears where she takes a skeptical look at digital curriculum in public schools.  Additionally she has been involved in United Opt Out and has presented her findings regarding digital curriculum at various locations across the country.  Lee is well known in public education and teacher union circles.  She has been a conscientious objector for several years, ran against Michael Mulgrew for UFT President last year, and has been a dedicated member of the Movement of Rank and file Educators.  She has worked tirelessly to organize teachers in the fight against school privatization.

You can access McDowell’s blog post “Digital Curriculum: Questions Parents Should Be Asking” here.

You can access the slideshow used by McDowell by clicking here.

Click here to access the Students Not Scores website where details around McDowell’s appearance on Long Island will be updated soon.

Students Not Scores Hosts “Beyond Opt-Out” Today at JFK

Here is the video of the panel discussion at the Students Not Scores “Going Beyond Opt-Out” conference today in Port Jefferson Station. The panel was followed by different workshops and a group discussion to round out the day.

Click here to view the News 12 coverage of the event.

Click here to see Newsday‘s coverage.

John Flanagan Signs Letter in Support of DeVos

A note from PJSTA President Beth Dimino…

NYSUT Members…

Here’s a reminder that I believe is pertinent at this time. Last August there was a NYSUT President’s endorsement conference to decide who NYSUT would endorse in the November elections. Well, even though I knew it was a farce, I went to that meeting to represent my members. The Long Island Presidents were tasked with deciding whether or not Flanagan and Marcellino should get a NYSUT endorsement. Not only did we as a group demand that these men not get the endorsement, we had other candidates that NYSUT could have endorsed. Our recommendations went to the NYSUT Board of Directors. Andy Pallotta brought John Flanagan to that Board of Directors meeting to try and convince the Board of Directors to overturn what the LI Presidents decided. 

NYSUT leadership has their own agenda completely devoid of the needs or wants of rank and file.

As the Executive Vice President of NYSUT, Pallotta, has gotten us Tier 5/6, 50% of our APPR determined by student’s scores on the NYS Assessments, and Flanagan and Marcellino. Pallotta has unfettered access to ALL Vote Cope Funds. 

NYSUT should be spending Cope dollars on a meaningful campaign educating membership on why and how they can effectively fight against Devos and Flanagan. But, they’re not. 

Donating any money at all to Vote Cope is counter productive and is in direct opposition to your own best interests. 

I am asking you all to consider doing the following tomorrow:

Call your business office and reduce your Cope contribution to $0 until NYSUT Leadership changes… tell everyone you know to do the same!

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John Flanagan laughing it up with John King
In a clear sign of where he stands on issues of public education, New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who represents portions of the Comsewogue School District, has signed a letter to Lamar Alexander in support of Betsy DeVos.  The letter, signed by “state-level elected leaders” from all 50 states, applauds Donal Trump for the nomination of DeVos and calls her “an advocate and ally for all children”.  Flanagan, who once complained to Comsewogue that beth Dimino should speak to him in a more deferential tone, was the only New York State legislator to sign the letter.   You can click here to read the entire letter.

Trump Fires Shot Across the Bow to Teachers

“…an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge”

-Trump’s Inauguration Speech

Comsewogue BOE Adopts Resolution to Oppose Betsy DeVos

Last night, at their regularly scheduled meeting, the Comsewogue Board of Education unanimously adopted the resolution below.  We thank them for their advocacy for our students and the broader public education world.

Whereas, the Board of Education of the Comsewogue Union Free School District has been elected by the residents of the Comsewogue Union Free School District to determine policy and approve programming for the students of the district, within the confines of both federal and state statutes governing education, and

 

Whereas, this Board of Education, on many occasions, has expressed its displeasure with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act, as well as the implementation of the Common Core and Annual Professional Performance Review and the high stakes testing which accompany these mandates, and

 

Whereas, the Board of Education envisions the inauguration of Donald Trump as the President of the United States, on January 20, 2017, as an opportunity for a renewal and re-visioning of public education in the United States of America in a way which creates opportunities for students of all ages to learn in a way which is beneficial and in a way which recognizes the whole student, and

 

Whereas, the Board of Education wants all of our students, regardless of ability, background, race, or gender, to feel secure, focusing on the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and relational growth of our students, and

 

Whereas, President-Elect Trump has called for the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education of the United States, a candidate apparently lacking any credentials as an educator, experience in the administration and management of public schools, demonstrating a pre-disposition towards and long-history of support for charter schools and school voucher programs, which by their very nature eviscerate free and appropriate public education for specific economic, social and racial groups, and

 

Whereas, Ms. DeVos has been at the forefront of the establishment of the Detroit charter school initiative, by all accounts an abject failure which hurt students and enriched the coffers of private companies, therefore be it

 

Resolved, that the Comsewogue Board of Education hereby, based on this record, opposes the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, and until such time as the incoming Trump administration presents a formal vision for the future of public education in the United States of America

 

and will continue to oppose such a nomination, and calls upon the incoming United States Senate to stand firm by opposing this nominee and affirming this serious need, and be it further

 

Resolved, that the Board of Education invites the president-elect, the nominee for secretary of education or representatives of the incoming education team to meet with them to conduct a forthright and meaningful discussion about the future of public education and their strategies to affect the necessary changes.

PJSTA Live- Episode 2- Betsy DeVos

Check out our December episode of PJSTA Live where I was joined by Carol Burris, Marla Kilfoyle, and Michelle Gunderson.  We talked about the appointment of Betsy DeVos but also dove into a more deeper discussion on how we build resistance not only to DeVos but to privatization in general.  We discussed the need, as unions, to do the all important work of site based organizing within our schools to build the foundation for the work that we have in front of us.

Watch the episode whenever you get a chance… on the couch, on the treadmill, in your faculty rooms at lunch time, or even listen to it in the car.  Please share far and wide within your circles, and be sure to make suggestions for our future episodes.

PJSTA Live- Episode 2 Coming Next Week!

Last month we shared with you the debut of our YouTube broadcast PJSTA Live.  This month we are excited to be bringing you our second episode.  We’ll record that episode next week and share it with our millions of many viewers.

For Episode 2 we will be covering Donald Trump’s nominee for United States Secretary of Education, the conservative billionaire Betsy DeVos.  Democracy Now! recently was dubbed DeVos, who has never held any job at any level, “Public (School) Enemy No. 1”.

For this episode we will be joined by three guests…

  • Carol Burris– a former high school principal in Rockville Centre who is now the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education
  • Marla Kilfoyle– a teacher in Oceanside who is also the Executive Director of the Badass Teachers Association
  • Michelle Gunderson– a teacher in Chicago who also serves as a Vice President for the Chicago Teachers Union

If you have questions for our guests or if you have suggested guests or topics for future episodes please submit them here or by tweeting us using the hashtag #PJSTAlive