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December 21, 2009

PSC, UUP, NYSUT Leaders Reject Regents’ Proposed “Reforms”
This Fall, the New York State Board of Regents proposed sweeping changes to teacher preparation that, if enacted, could affect thousands of PSC and UUP members who teach in departments of education, and, of course, future teachers. Schools of education are already subject to national accreditation and the Regents’ proposals are largely untested and, in many respects, clearly unwise,” said PSC First Vice President Steve London, who has worked on the union’s position, which was informed by extensive discussions with the education faculty. Last week, PSC President Barbara Bowen, UUP President Phil Smith and NYUST First Vice President Maria Neira wrote Education Commissioner David Steiner rebutting the proposals.

“The proposal would have been strengthened by involving faculty in these discussions,” Bowen, Smith, and Neira wrote before arguing each point in detail. (See the letter here). “Improving teacher effectiveness must go beyond a singular focus on teacher preparation…The climate and culture of successful schools and their relevance to effective teaching must also be part of this policy discussion,” they concluded, and urged the Regents to meet with education faculty and union representatives.

RF Contract Endorsed by EC, DA
The contract between the CUNY Research Foundation and the PSC, covering employees who work in the RF central office was passed by the union’s Executive Council and Delegate Assembly, paving the way for ratification by RF members in January. Details about the tentative four-year deal, reached just minutes before the RF workers’ strike deadline on Tuesday, 12/8, are on the PSC website

PSC Presses Albany on Next Year’s Budget
This week, PSC leaders continue to meet with State Legislature leadership in preparation for governor’s 2011 budget, to be presented in January. The PSC is pressing lawmakers’ to support a budget that does not target public higher education, after disproportionate cuts were enacted this fall.  More details about the cuts, as well as the union’s win keeping public higher education workers out of the new, inferior pension tier, are available on the PSC website.

DA Report
The PSC Delegate Assembly—the union’s policy-making body—met last Thursday. Delegates passed a statement about CUNY’s proposed community college, resolutions to bring to NYSUT’s Representative Assembly meeting in April, and discussed a resolution about the war in Afghanistan.

The union’s position is that “the PSC cannot support CUNY’s proposal for a new community college in its current form.” The resolution called for the proposal to address: liberal arts education; permanent, tenured or tenure-track faculty; a 70/30 full-time/part-time ratio; faculty governance; academic departments and elected department chairs; academic freedom; adherence to the union contract; open admissions and access; and the possibility of unequal resources. The PSC will urge the NYS Department of Education to withhold approval until these issues are satisfactorily resolved. The full resolution will be available on the PSC website this week.

Delegates passed a NYSUT resolution that cites the history of disproportionate budget cuts to public higher education, urges legislators to support alternatives to budget cuts, and calls for a discussion of withholding endorsement of any elected official or candidate who does not support full funding for public higher education in the 2011 budget.

Lastly, delegates held a wide-ranging discussion on the position labor unions should take on the conduct of the war in Afghanistan; after rich debate, a resolution for NYSUT was referred to the Executive Council for refinement.

Happy Holidays from the PSC

The PSC office will be closed Thursday and Friday for Christmas. The officers and staff of the PSC wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.