NYSUT Member Benefits - Winter 2018 MB E-Direct Newsletter
I am proud to present to you the Winter 2018 issue of the NYSUT Member Benefits MB E-Direct electronic newsletter. I hope that you will find the content useful and ask that you pass this publication along to as many of your NYSUT contacts and members as possible.
Each issue of this electronic publication is put together with great thought and effort as we strive to ensure that we offer helpful information and tips to our members -- an added benefit of NYSUT membership provided at no cost to NYSUT members. We want all NYSUT members to know that membership in this labor union provides access to a variety of Member Benefits-endorsed programs & services available exclusively to them and their families.
Click the following link to view this issue of MB E-Direct -- http://online.fliphtml5.com/pwms/isqi/
This publication includes a number of embedded links that will allow you to learn more about our various endorsed programs & services.
One of our goals at NYSUT Member Benefits is to reach the maximum number of members, and we have seen that we are most successful with this goal when people like you share our materials with your colleagues and friends. We continue to increase the number of members who are aware of the endorsed programs & services that we offer but still have great potential for growth in this area.
We are also pleased that the number of members who participate in our endorsed programs & services continues to grow each year; with your help in forwarding this email and e-newsletter link to your membership, we are confident that this growth will continue in the future as well. Thank you.
-- Lynette A. Metz
Director, NYSUT Member Benefits Trust
CEO, NYSUT Member Benefits Corporation
Good Morning,As you may know, the New York State Commissioner of Education released an APPR survey on Tuesday that took everyone by surprise.
We have spent time carefully examining the survey and believe it may lead to unreliable and invalid data due to the way it has been constructed. As a result, we released the following statement Tuesday evening to the press:
“The state has had at least six years to listen to the voices of teachers and parents who are angry and frustrated with this broken teacher evaluation system. We don't need any more surveys or delays. This is the year to fix it. Evaluations must be returned to local control with no state mandates.”
We will not be sharing a link to the survey through the Member or Leader Briefings or encouraging our members to participate in it. I will be communicating this to the Commissioner.
NYSUT continues to advocate for an APPR fix this year. We want a system that restores trust, helps develop teachers and is free of state mandates. Returning APPR to local control is the only answer. Please take this opportunity to share this with message with local presidents again.
Executive Vice President
New York State United Teachers
800 Troy-Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Stay the Course
A ‘bullheaded group’ inspired by students is hard to stop
By John Rosales
It was three days before Thursday’s regular 7 p.m. board meeting in the Selah School District (SSD) of Washington state. People in this close-knit community near Yakima can set their watches by the long-standing gathering.
On that Monday morning in April, members of the Selah Education Support Personnel (SESP) and Selah Educational Office Personnel (SEOP) posted fliers on bulletin boards at five schools and the administration office announcing their Rally for Respect starting at 5:30 p.m. on the day of the meeting.
“They Can Run But They Can’t Hide,” the fliers read.
Tensions were already high. For 18 months, both unions and SSD had been bargaining a joint contract. Notices of the rally strained negotiations further since it called for protesters to assemble just outside the board room building.
“We wanted board members to see all the support we had as they entered the parking lot,” says Cindy Huntamer, SEOP president. “We made signs and buttons…ordered pizza and sodas.”
But when it came time for the 7 p.m. meeting, the board room was deserted. School administrators had changed the meeting’s start time. It had already taken place—at 7 a.m.
Solidarity Wins the Day
District officials had apparently ignored a Washington state law requiring state agencies to provide 20 days notice to change a regularly scheduled meeting of this type.
“[They] claimed the decision was made the week before, but they didn’t announce it until the day before,” says Huntamer, a federal programs secretary at the district’s early learning center.
“We found out by email,” Huntamer adds. “We were not pleased over the sudden change or that the meeting was now at a time when most people are at work.”
Unfazed, some members attended the early part of the meeting before checking in at work. Similarly, union officials decided to proceed with the demonstration.
“We’re a pretty bullheaded group,” says Butch Thompson, the district’s lead custodian and a former SESP president. “We had strong community support for that rally, so we decided to see it through.”
Despite knowing the board meeting was cancelled, more than 50 determined education support professionals (ESPs), teachers, parents, students, and community members appeared later in the day—closer to the rally’s planned start time. They carried signs, chanted, and passed out leaflets as planned.
“That rally was one example of how the community got behind us,” says Thompson, chair of the bargaining committee. Within weeks of the rally, a three-year agreement was reached.
“They had a large cash reserve and just didn’t want to give any of it to us,” Thompson says. “They (district negotiators) were more willing to talk after they saw what was happening.”
Great Letter sent in Solidarity from the AFL-CIO to Ms. O'Donnell
Dear Ms. O'Donnell:
We write in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the BOCES TA and share their frustration of the pace of bargaining for a fair new contract.
Over 1,000 days is too long to wait for a new contract. SW BOCES is an integral part of our community and the BTA services some of the most vulnerable students in Westchester County. The BTA is being faced with increasing demands and decreasing benefits.
We urge you to respect your teachers and staff. We also call on you to respect the collective bargaining process, end the delays, and come to the table in good faith to resolve the remaining contract issues.
The Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO
Attached is a flyer announcing a forum scheduled for Monday, September 25 at the Mahopac Public Library. The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters in Putnam County. NYSUT Regional Political Organizer, Mike Grubiak, will be on the panel.
The League of Women Voters has publicly stated their support for a convention. We ask that you attend to show your support of Mike and the importance to VOTE NO on the Constitutional convention!
the BTA Political Action Team!
SEPTEMBER 2017 ISSUE - APPR/TEACHER EVALUATION
AUGUST 30, 2017NYSUT: Return teacher evals to local control
Author: By Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT UnitedNo more tinkering or fixing.
It's time to scrap the state's Annual Professional Performance Review law entirely — and return control to local school districts and teachers unions to develop their own evaluation plans.
"Using student test scores derived from a broken testing system to measure teachers is not only grossly unfair, it's inaccurate," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. "This must change now."
As the new school year begins and we enter the third year of a four-year moratorium on the use of state grades 3–8 tests in teacher evaluation, NYSUT wants policymakers to develop a new state system that allows school districts and local unions to decide how to evaluate teachers.
The new system should:
The resolutions note the current APPR law has created significant anxiety and controversy at the local level, over-emphasizing state standardized tests and sparking the largest opt-out movement in the nation. They also point out that the current data-driven law has been invalidated by both the courts and national researchers.
"NYSUT's legal team has already won court and arbitration battles exposing the fatal flaws of APPR and confirming the need to change this obnoxious evaluation system," one resolution states. "No other profession is subject to such a demeaning process of evaluation."
NYSUT's campaign will first get the word out to the Regents and the State Education Department, which are working this fall to devise recommendations for a new system. The federal government no longer requires the use of state standardized tests in teacher evaluations, so this gives states considerably more leeway to devise their own systems.
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has promised to take a slow and deliberative approach on APPR, with a workgroup including teams of teachers and administrators.
She likened the process to diffusing a bomb: "This is going to be very careful work. Like in the movies when you see a bomb is there and somebody has a clipper and they're trying to decide whether to go red or green," she said.
NYSUT urges the Regents to develop a legislative proposal for the 2018 session to get rid of the current APPR and bring back a locally negotiated teacher evaluation system that focuses on strengthening professional practice.
NYSUT wants the Regents and Legislature to allow districts to develop an evaluation system that meets their needs.
"We're not against evaluations," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango, the union's liaison with the Regents and SED. "But the time has come to reduce test anxiety for students and create a meaningful evaluation process that actually supports teachers and students."
Join the fight to get rid of the current APPR
Go to NYSUT's Member Action Center, mac.nysut.org, and sign a petition pledging to join educators and parents in the fight to end the current APPR.
Dear Certified Staff Members,
The BOCES Teachers Association Benefits Trust is committed to providing the best benefits possible to our members. We continuously review all the factors which affect our union members and the Trust's financial status. Unfortunately, the significant increase in member premiums, as well as no change in BOCES contribution since 2011, has greatly impacted our ability to continue all benefits at the present rate. Without a new contract, there can be no increase in contribution to the fund. In order to safeguard the trusts ability to continue, we have made changes to the following benefits:
Due to the ever increasing dental expenses, as of July 1, 2017, the Delta Dental Plan yearly maximum of $1,800 has been decreased to the old rate of $1,500 per family member per year. We must stress the importance of using a (PPO) dentist as they have contracted rates with Delta Dental. Also, there will be an increase in the co-pay to $50 (Single) and $100 (Family) per year. Please see the attached brochure for specific details or visit our website bocesta.net. Details can be found under the benefits tab.
Additionally, we must terminate the Davis Vision Plan. The benefit has been extremely underutilized (20% usage). Given our financial situation, it is imperative that we preserve those benefits that best assist our members and their families. If you have not yet taken advantage of this benefit, or are eligible to again, we urge you to do so BEFORE the plans termination date of September 30, 2017. For specific details visit our website bocesta.net. Details can be found under the benefits tab.
If you have any questions regarding the Delta Dental or Davis Vision Plans, please visit bocesta.net or call 914-923-3450.
Benefits Trust Chairperson