State News Roundup for October 1, 2011


photo courtesy of El-Wise Noisette and NYSUT

New York – Disaster Relief Efforts Ongoing in Flood-Ravaged Southern Tier

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi brought a message of solidarity and financial help to members in the flood-ravaged Southern Tier Monday [pictured above], and is sending a continued appeal to NYSUT sisters and brothers throughout the state about the need to help storm victims.

Iannuzzi offered encouragement and compassion to NYSUT members in the communities of Owego, Binghamton, Vestal and Johnson City, areas hard hit by floods from tropical storms Irene and Lee. Iannuzzi said he wanted to visit the ongoing disaster scene to better convey to locals around the state about how they can help. He had visited parts of the region in 2006 during severe floods.

His main suggestion Monday to those who want to do something: Contribute to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund.

“Seeing this allows us to really show to the rest of our sisters and brothers around the state the extent of the damage, so they will contribute to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund,” Iannuzzi said during his stop in Owego, Broome County, where an estimated 75 percent of residents suffered damage to homes or businesses from last month’s flooding.

Click here to read the full story and learn how you can contribute to the flood relief efforts in New York.

New York – Why We Sued the Regents

It takes something extremely important for NYSUT to sue the Board of Regents. It had happened only once in NYSUT’s 40 years’ existence. But in June, NYSUT was forced to sue the Regents again, concerning the regulations adopted by the Regents to implement Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) under Education Law §3012-c. On Aug. 24, the Albany County Supreme Court ruled largely for NYSUT in a lawsuit that should have been unnecessary, had the regulations followed the letter and intent of the law.

Education Law §3012-c was enacted in May 2010. The goal was to enhance student achievement through the APPR and an annual effectiveness rating for teachers and principals. Based on this annual review, deficiencies in a teacher’s performance are to be addressed through professional development and other measures. The Regents considered the APPR legislation essential to New York’s participation in the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) program. To this end, the Regents invited NYSUT to participate in the development of the law. As the representative of almost all of New York’s public school teachers, NYSUT did participate to ensure that the law would be good for school children and fair for teachers.

The law’s final language was built on three major premises: 1) the percentage of a teacher’s effectiveness rating based on student achievement on state standardized tests would be strictly limited; 2) a teacher’s composite effectiveness score would be based on multiple measures; and 3) the majority of these measures would be locally developed, through collective bargaining. Based largely on this new law, New York successfully competed for a RTTT grant, gaining nearly $700 million dollars in federal education aid.

To read the complete article by NYSUT General Counsel Richard E. Casagrande, click here.

Connecticut – Potential Educator Professional Standards Board for Connecticut

We won’t know what the proposal for a professional standards board for educators will look like until December — that’s the estimated release date for a final report from the Legislative Program Review and Investigations (PRI) Committee. The PRI Committee moved a step closer toward its final recommendations today, however, when it released the results of a study of professional standards boards for educators in other states and for other professions in Connecticut.

In Connecticut, educator standards and certification are currently set and overseen by the State Board and Department of Education. Educators serve on two advisory councils — one for teachers and one for administrators. However, the role of these councils is limited to developing codes of professional responsibility (i.e., ethics) and making recommendations on proposals affecting educators.

To continue to attract and retain highly effective teachers, Connecticut needs to give educators the same level of respect afforded teachers in other states. CEA hears regularly from members that they want a voice in decision-making. A standards board with a significant educator presence would know firsthand what it takes to deliver excellent teaching and learning.

Visit BlogCEA to read the complete article.

Wisconsin – State to Seek Relief at ‘First Possible Moment’

Wisconsin will apply for relief under federal No Child Left Behind mandates “at the first possible moment,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said today.

The White House will roll out a program for states to apply and be granted more freedom under the NCLB law. Evers said new state education accountability policy currently under design will be used to augment and replace NCLB mandates.

“Wisconsin is really well-positioned to move this initiative forward,” Evers said in a conference call with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Evers said the state’s Educator Effectiveness Design Team will soon present its findings to use multiple measures to evaluate educators and students. That team could wrap up its work in late October or early November, Evers said.

WEAC is one of the participants on the 30-member Educator Effectiveness Design Team.

Click through to get the full story at

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