Fight Back Friday: privacy, ratios, caps & more

Hundreds of NYSUT members will lobby their lawmakers Tuesday. At 11:30 a.m., many of them will join a nurses effort to call for safe staffing and a safe patient handling task force. You can help support their efforts by joining them for a rally at the Capitol in Albany.
But the advocacy will go beyond the rally:
  • On privacy:  Call your lawmakers in their district offices and tell them how the privacy rights of principals and teachers with respect to their personnel records need to be protected. We all saw the media exploitation of teacher evaluations by the New York City tabloids.  Legislation should keep the media and general public from having access to teacher and principal evaluations and other personnel information. Publicizing internal evaluations destroys employee morale, disrupts the operation of public schools and distracts from the real work of education.
  • On the tax cap: Call your lawmakers and tell them how the current property tax cap law fails to allow for many expenses that are outside the control of the school district — like  weather-related costs, huge swings in energy costs, payments to charter schools and even changes in student enrollment. Tell them the law must be amended to remove from a school budget those costs that are outside of district control and to ensure that the cap is adjusted for growth in student enrollment. The current law is also unfair because it requires a 60% supermajority vote when a community might want to invest more in education.
  • On patient ratios: Call your lawmakers in their home offices to tell them the state Department of Health should establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratio plans in acute and long-term care facilities. It’s amazing that, right now, there is no such recognized safe standard provision required by law for these institutions.  In fact, staffing in many of our hospitals and health facilities has been cut to dangerously low levels. There is a clear connection between nurse staffing hours and the quality of patient care. The mortality rate in acute and long-term care settings decrease when the number of registered nurses-to-patients increases.  The same is true for injury and infection rates.
If you’d rather contact your lawmakers by computer, here’s an easy way through the Member Action Center.
Anything you do starting today and through next week will help support the volunteer lobbyists who make up the Committee of 100. Remember they will also ask state lawmakers  to speak up for SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the residents of central Brooklyn and Brooklyn’s 2.5 million residents by keeping the hospital open and public.
(The Committee of 1oo is a group of 600 or more of educators, support staff and retirees from schools, colleges and health care. They are either released for their jobs or they take personal days to come to Albany to advocate.)

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One Comment

  1. Scott Noren DDS May 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    To the NYSUT membership:

    Dear NYSUT members:

    I am Dr. Scott Noren, an Oral Surgeon in Ithaca, running for US Senate. I interviewed with John Costello recently at NYSUT HQ in Albany and am looking for the endorsement of local Associations and definitely, the NYSUT endorsement. Why should I be endorsed over the 2 year incumbent, Senator Gillibrand?
    I will try to be brief but thorough. My background is diverse, more so than hers. I have both a blue collar and white collar personal background; I have lived in the North and South during my time both in schooling and military training, I’m a veteran of 6 years (non-combat); have provided quality health care for over 20 years and this includes hospital and clinical settings; have a multiply disabled daughter in a public school special needs program for autism (she also has a seizure disorder and was 1 lb 4.2 ounces at birth). I have 4 unique children total and a devoted wife that is also my nurse at work.

    What will I do or prioritize differently than Ms. Gillibrand? I know that standardized tests would never cut it let alone for my special needs daughter, let alone for teacher evaluations as a cookie-cutter solution. I am staunchly for a more personalized evaluation system that gives greater flexibility to administrators to do their evaluations without having to adhere to a rigid, inflexible system. In fact, the core of many parts of my platform are to give more power to the workhorse part of our society and less power to the “I know what’s best” top dog administrators at the state and federal levels in the education system.

    From a funding standpoint, I think federal support for K-12 education, as well as through the first year of junior college needs to occur with a paradigm shift in thinking. This will include significant military budget cuts (greater than those proposed so far). One connection that is never made and certainly Senator Gillibrand has never made, is between the $1 Trillion student loan bubble and teachers in training and newly graduated. I have proposed major student loan reform that would include a 3% cap on all student loans, better and longer conditions of forbearance and deferment, and more opportunities for forgiveness. Countless numbers of teachers coming out of grad school could use lower interest rates as well as less penalties and getting rid of compounding interest during forbearance and deferments. Direct loans right now are at 8% or more and this for profit business needs trimming. Think of me as Senator Bernie Sanders on steroids!

    Please visit my web site, and seriously consider endorsing me and recommending that NYSUT endorse me on May 20th, this Sunday at their meeting. Email your contacts within NYSUT if you agree with most of my platform. I can be reached by email at this web site. I will be back on email Saturday evening after Sabbath. I represent what you can get with the absence of PAC money, Lobby money and only what will work best for teachers, students and staff. I thank you for the opportunity, and if you choose me, know you will have a workaholic US Senator!
    Scott Noren, DDS
    US Senate candidate, 2012 (I)

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