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NYSUT Announces New Advancing Racial Justice Initiatives In Its Education Agenda

Published Friday, February 26, 2021 3:00 pm
by NYSUT News
NYSUT Announces New Advancing Racial Justice Initiatives In Its Education Agenda

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has announced a new State Legislative Agenda intended to promote Racial and Social Justice in education, calling for funding in the upcoming state budget to help improve school climates, foster implicit bias training programs for Educators and diversify the Education Workforce. 

The announcement was made during NYSUT’s Black History Month Celebration and conversation with New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Dr. Lester Young, Jr. on diversifying the education workforce earlier this week. 

NYSUT’s Advancing Racial Justice in Education Agenda builds on the Union’s ongoing social justice work both in education and in communities across the state and will help carry forward important conversations around diversity and racial justice held during Black History Month celebrations.   

“Social justice work is Union work and as a Union of Educators from diverse communities across New York, we know we can play a significant role in bringing about important social change,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Whether it’s fighting for greater equity in school funding or seeking new ways to diversify the Education Workforce, there is work that can and should be done this legislative session to move us toward a more just Public Education System.” 

“I’m always heartened to see a renewed focus on racial equity each year during Black History Month, but these are the kinds of conversations that we need to have year-round,” said NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham, who leads the Union’s social justice work. “Organized Labor has an important platform for effecting social change and bringing about greater racial justice.  With state support, we can accelerate long-term social justice efforts across New York.” 

The Union’s Advancing Racial Justice in Education Agenda includes: 

Addressing School Climate - NYSUT is requesting $2 million in the state budget to replicate statewide a Union-created Positive Learning Collaborative (PLC) partnership in New York City that aims to improve overall school climate, reduce school suspensions and improve academic outcomes.  More information on the United Federation of Teachers’ PLC, run in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, can be found here.  The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is also seeking $2 million to expand its New York City-specific program.  

Addressing Implicit Bias - $1 million in the state budget would help expand a NYSUT-led Implicit Bias Training to an additional 20,000 Educators statewide in the coming year.  More information on the Union’s training program can be found here

Addressing The Teacher Shortage - As NYSUT has detailed through its Take a Look at Teaching Initiative, New York faces a Teacher shortage, with enrollment in Teacher Preparation Programs declining by 53% from 2009 to 2017 and nearly a third of the Teaching Workforce approaching retirement age.  All students benefit from a diverse Educator Workforce.

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