Don’t blame teachers, unions

Pat Copertino is on a mission: to promote a growing understanding among union members, and the public as whole, that teachers and unions are not to blame for the economic downturn, for joblessness, for budget cuts.

Walking down 6th avenue to Times Square — and me trying not to step off curbs into oncoming traffic while taking notes — Pat talked about the apprehension her local is experiencing as members wait to see how budget cuts in school districts will affect them.

Pat is a curriculum specialist and executive vice president of BOCES Educators of Eastern Suffolk, which serves 51 school districts on eastern Long Island. ┬áThe 1,400 members — 600 teachers and 800 SRPs — of her local have collaborated extensively with administrators to help BOCES provide programs to budget-strapped school districts at a lower cost. Now, they’re waiting to see what the school districts do with their budgets. It’s all about the “trickle-down effect,” she said.

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