Fight For Fairness Friday!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Fight Back Friday to remind us all why we fight.

Here’s the voice of Liz Mahoney, a Moriah Central Teachers Association member, fighting for more state aid so five-year-olds can have kindergarten and the high-poverty school district can provide opportunities for all ages. I’m sorry the video is so bad, thanks to the glare for the window, but it’s her words that matter.

That was Tuesday. Lawmakers are crafting the state budget now. Make sure they hear from you by going to NYSUT’s Member Action Center. Find the letter that says “Support More Funding for New York’s Classrooms.”

Also, 22 southern tier school districts are invited to rally tomorrow — Saturday — at Elmira Heights. The Elmira Heights Teachers Association is also sponsoring the event, said Carol Cady, president of the local. Cady said she was inspired by the Parade For Public Education in Albany Tuesday and she hopes tomorrow’s event builds on it. “The lawmakers are all saying a budget will get passed early. We have to get the message out about how our schools need state aid,” she said. So far she’s heard from locals ranging from Bath to Waverly and Watkins Glen they will be there. Here’s a poster they designed for the event.

We speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. I met Diane Cornell over two days in 2008. Here’s a link to an article that ran in May 2008. Diane is one of thousands who work for The Resource Center Inc. in southwestern New York, which provides care for severely disabled adults. (Meet Frank in the article, Diane spent three years teaching him to talk.) Diane is now the acting president of the NYSUT local there.

Her employer is a private, non-profit agency. In his 30-day amendments, Gov. Cuomo proposed $120 million cut in funding for services to New Yorkers with disabilities in private, non-profit agencies. If this cut goes through, it also yanks $120 million in federal funding. You can help through the Member Action Center. Find the letter that says “Support Funding for People with Disabilities.”

I don’t quite get this cost-cutting measure. If these cuts go through, then I fear overcrowding and understaffing will follow. Why can’t we just close a few loopholes and reform the tax code?

Diane lives a day’s car ride away from Albany. She’s traveling Monday for a Tuesday appointment to lobby lawmakers. I’ll get more stories then.  Please join me in supporting her efforts. Go to the MAC to contact your lawmaker today.

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