Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Above: Delegates elected NYSUT officers (L-R) Ron Gross, Second Vice President; Jaime L. Ciffone, Executive Vice President; Melinda Person, President; and Philippe Abraham, Secretary-Treasurer. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.
The Representative Assembly elected NYSUT Officers and members of the NYSUT Board. Former NYSUT Executive Director and Political Director Melinda Person was elected president, and Jaime L. Ciffone, an educator of 21 years, was elected executive vice president. NYSUT Second Vice President Ron Gross and Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham were both re-elected for three-year terms.
LUT RA Delegates with outgoing NYSUT President, Andy Pallotta. (L-R) Fred Gladstone, Donna DiPalo, John Lipani, Lee Gardner, Andy Pallotta, John Caulfield, Stephen Austin, Lisa Poggioli.
During the RA, NYSUT presented several awards to acknowledge excellence amongst members of the union. LUT members Allison Hinke, Brian Maloney and Scott Martino were entered into the NYSUT Life Line Honor Roll for their exceptional work in saving the life of a student at Division Avenue High School who was having a seizure and a cardiac event.
At the RA 6 resolutions were approved as well as a special order of business calling for an end to over-testing. This resolution has evolved into a push this spring not just to reform standardized testing, but also to decouple its use in teacher evaluations. In fact, newly elected NYSUT President, Melinda Person, has started her tenure in her position with reform to our state’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) law as a legislative priority.
"We believe we used to have a better teacher evaluation system before these reforms," Person said in a recent interview. "So, we want to go back to where best practices ruled the day."
There are signs in Albany right now that the state congress would be open to making some changes during this current legislative session that would return decisions regarding the manner of professional performance review of teachers and principals back to local districts. If enacted, a bill currently in the State Senate, S. 6880, would pause the APPR process for the current school year, restore local control of teacher and principal evaluations and remove the requirement that the state tests be used in evaluations.
"The high stakes nature of attaching the test to teacher evaluation has not only changed what we’re teaching, but how we’re teaching," Person said. "Our members know a better way. They should be given the professional autonomy to teach in a way they know students learn best."