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New York's largest teachers union is suing the state over changes to the teacher evaluation law.

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When John King, New York's top-ranking education official, left his post for a federal position, many New Yorkers breathed a sigh of a relief. That relief is short-lived, now that King is succeeding U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The teachers union and its allies will protest outside New York’s annual Business Council meeting in Lake George on Wednesday.  The union is upset over a speech to be given by former CNN anchor and now charter school advocate Campbell Brown.

Karen Magee: Why Do The Rich Need More Tax Credits?

May 21, 2015

Two recent events — one political, one cultural — offer a glimpse into two worlds.

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  Less than a month after it was enacted, Governor Cuomo’s new teacher evaluation plan seems to be in jeopardy, with the Regents Chancellor calling for a year’s delay and a key Senator saying the legislature needs to revisit the issue.

When Cuomo convinced the legislature to approve a new teacher evaluation system that relies more on standardized tests, his administration said that the State Board of Regents would have very limited power to make any changes including compliance with a November deadline to come up with new performance reviews.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature approved some significant changes to the state’s education system and how teachers are evaluated going forward. But, before all that can be implemented, the new system faces a big test, literally, later this month.

With education in flux across New York thanks to the Common Core, there's a mixed reaction to Governor Andrew Cuomo's provisions for it in the freshly finished budget.  

$1.6 billion has been allocated for education in a spending plan that includes several reforms. The budget negotiations are only the latest fault line between the governor, legislative leaders and the powerful teachers’ union.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature are considering a  commission to design a new teacher evaluation plan, in order to break an impasse over the state budget. But even some lawmakers admit that the compromise is just kicking the can down the road.

Cuomo has demanded that education policy changes be passed along with the state budget, or he’ll hold up school aid increases.

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  One of the most polarizing issues in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget is an education tax credit that would allow donors of up to $1 million to public and private schools to receive a tax benefit. Opponents say it benefits the rich, supporter say it helps poor children.  

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The New York State United Teachers union is criticizing charter schools for taking children out of the classroom to rally at the New York state Capitol later this week.

NYSUT wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state education officials expressing concern about Success Academy Charter Schools' plans to bring some 8,000 students, parents and teachers to Albany for Wednesday's pro-charter rally. Cuomo has called for an increase in the number of authorized charter schools.

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Hundreds of teachers are rallied at the State Capitol late Monday, saying they are calling out Cuomo for what they say is his anti public school agenda.

The teachers, including New York State United Teachers Union Vice President Andy Pallotta say Governor Cuomo has declared a “war” on students, parents, and teachers, and is advancing a “test and punish” agenda.

“The has no respect for public education, ” Pallotta shouted, as the crowd cheered.

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Teachers have been holding rallies all around the state protesting Governor Cuomo’s education proposals, and hundreds are expected to converge on the Capitol late Monday to protest over reliance on standardized tests,   and other issues.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state Education Department should investigate the results of teacher evaluations to see whether the process is skewed to favor teachers.

The administration sent a letter to acting Education Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin on Sunday. That followed a Newsday report that said the portion of teacher evaluations controlled by districts is weighted in most Long Island districts toward ensuring teachers score high enough to get favorable evaluations.

With less than two months before the state budget is due, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and education groups remain at odds, with the state teachers union calling the fight a “war,” and Cuomo calling the teachers and their allies a bloated bureaucracy.

Karen DeWitt

Hundreds of school children, parents and union organizers and leaders came to the Capitol to rally for more money for New York’s schools. The event was part of what’s become known as the Moral Monday movement.

Ark Charter School

  Education will be a big issue in 2015, with lines already drawn between teachers at public schools, and Governor Andrew Cuomo and the charter school movement.

Before the New Year even began, the state’s largest teachers union was already making its displeasure with Governor Andrew Cuomo known, by protesting outside the governor’s mansion.

New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee says teachers are angry over what they see as Governor Cuomo’s increasingly negative view of their union, and the public education system in general.  

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Teachers union members and pro-charter school advocates demonstrated outside the governor’s mansion on New Year’s Eve, as inside, Governor Andrew Cuomo and his partner Sandra Lee greeted guests who won a lottery to attend an annual open house, one day before the governor is to begin his second term.

Around 100 teachers from several regions of the state gathered in the biting cold to protest what they believe is Governor Cuomo’s unfair stance against teachers and the union that represents them. They even wrote a song, that in part, labels the governor “clueless.”

Karen Magee: Tearing Off The Gag

Oct 23, 2014

Every spring, New York students must sit for hours on end, filling in bubbles on standardized tests that purport to measure their progress in English Language Arts, science and math.

Teacher tenure is one of the most misunderstood concepts in education. Misinformation and outright lies are spread by those who want to take away rights from teachers and destroy teacher unions.

NYSUT Not Ready To Reverse No Confidence Vote

Jul 19, 2014
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The president of the New York State Teachers Union says members aren’t yet ready to rescind a vote of no confidence in state Education Commissioner John King, despite improved relations in recent months.

A tentative agreement has been reached by New York Governor Cuomo and the legislature to put off the effects of the controversial Common Core tests on teachers for another two years.

Karen Magee: Tax Cap Undermines Democratic Ideals

May 19, 2014

School budget voting is supposed to remind us of our nation’s democratic ideals.

You know: Community members vote each May on their local school budgets and determine which candidates are best suited to serve on local school boards. 

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There is a big change at New York State’s largest teachers union. Members of New York State United Teachers elected new leadership after months of unrest over the state’s flawed roll out of the new Common Core standards.

NYSUT/NYSTRS WAMC Composite Photo by Dave Lucas

The Common Core controversy has claimed another victim: New York State United Teachers president Dick Iannuzzi, who lost his seat over the weekend. The vote is remarkable for many reasons.

Over the weekend, NYSUT convention-goers elected Karen Magee, the 11-year head of the Harrison teachers union in Westchester County, to a three-year term as president of the New York State United Teachers. She unseated Richard Iannuzzi, who served since 2005, and was just the second NYSUT president in the union’s history.

New York State United Teachers has voted in a new president. According to local media reports, Karen Magee, president of the Harrison Association of Teachers in Westchester was voted in early Sunday morning.

Magee will replace Richard Iannuzzi, who has served as NYSUT's president since 2005

On Saturday, the union, in a voice vote, approved a symbolic resolution calling for the “immediate” removal of New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr., who has been criticized for the state’s implementation of the Common Core.

Richard Iannuzzi: When Will They Ever Learn?

Feb 18, 2014

As I reflect on and celebrate Pete Seeger’s life, I’m reminded that in the great tradition of American folk music, the lyrics, for the most part, remain constant while their applicability often evolves with the changing times.  The revising and honing of folk songs keep them relevant, and serve as catalysts for social change from one generation to the next.

There’s continued dissatisfaction over the state’s implementation of the new Common Core standards, which parents, students and teachers have complained has led to too much testing. There’s disagreement, though, in the state legislature over how to fix it.

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Striving to maintain an open dialog on Common Core, the state Education Department is reportedly working on developing a new format  for Commissioner John King's town hall-style discussions, which he cancelled after one in Poughkeepsie erupted in anger and frustration.  

Mark Scheerer

Now that New York’s public schools have sent students – and report cards — home for the summer, New York education reformers have issued the state a "report card" of their own... with two plusses, four minuses and an "incomplete."

I've heard it said that if a single person raises an issue, one should listen politely.

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