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NEW ==> The January/February 2015 MemberShip

The January/February Membership is now online. For the latest news from the WGTA, please click here. You can also click here to read the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" article.


NEW ==> Message to WGTA Members

WGTA Members,

There has been a fast and furious assault on public education over the past few months. Please review the timeline below, taking note of the current and upcoming actions by NYSUT in response to these attacks. I once again encourage you to visit the NYSUT Member Action Center on the NYSUT.org website and download the MAC APP (mouse click on this link). There will be upcoming rallies and forums that I encourage you to attend. The time is now to join forces and push back against the negative propaganda and practices that are hurting our students in the name of reform. We do all we can for students each day, for their sake and our children's and grand children's sake, be active and vocal in your defense of public education.

John Mannion

The Last 30 Days

December 17: After the governor hinted he may not sign the moratorium bill, we used his own words against him in a press statement: http://www.nysut.org/news/2014/december/nysut-statement-on-governors-remarks
December 18: After the Malatras letter was released, we immediately tagged the governor as “clueless” in a press statement, and in social media. Numerous media interviews and press statement can be found here: http://www.nysut.org/news/2014/december/nysut-condemns-cuomo-letter-as-clueless #cluelessCuomo became a rallying cry.
December 23: Karen Magee appears on statewide radio and television to criticize the governor’s comments and rebut some of his more mis-informed comments. You can listen to the audio clip here: http://www.wcny.org/cpr122214/
December 29: After the governor vetoed the moratorium bill we reacted strongly. (Press release here: http://www.nysut.org/news/2014/december/nysut-slams-governor-for-vetoing-moratorium-bill)
December 31: Rally at the executive mansion. Coverage from at least 10 news organizations, including New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Gallery of photos at www.nysut.org and, of course, clips can be found through a Google news search and were sent to local leaders through the NYSUT Leader Briefing. During this time, we also blasted the King/Tisch letter in a number of radio, television and print interviews. In addition, we want to specifically note that, over this time frame, we strongly supported the NYSAPE letter. It’s responding to Malatras resulting in a great ride on social media. NYSUT constructed a special MAC blast urging our members to read it and share it.
New Year’s Day to January 7: Out of respect, we held fire for a few days following the passing of former Gov. Mario Cuomo. NYSUT supported East Greenbush TA President Sean Crall in his efforts to get out the message that Gov. Cuomo’s staff made Crall remove a “Respect Public Ed” pin. Here’s the clip which was widely shared on social media. http://nypost.com/2015/01/06/teacher-cuomo-staff-asked-me-to-remove-pro-union-button/
January 9: A new report ranked NY’s public education system 9th in the nation. This is a direct contradiction to the governor’s claim that schools are failing. Here’s our piece: http://www.nysut.org/news/2015/january/report-new-york-states-public-education-system-ranks-among-nations-best
January 10: A coalition partner, the Alliance for Quality Education, released a report showing that inequality and segregation have reached record levels under Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Report and Daily News link can be found here: http://www.nysut.org/news/2015/january/new-report-calls-out-gov-cuomo-for-record-setting-inequality-in-school-funding
January 10: Albany Times Union columnist Fred LeBrun supported NYSUT and teachers and attacked the Governor in this column, which ran in the Sunday Times Union (circulation 150,000). http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/LeBrun-A-disaster-dressed-up-as-reform-6006907.php?cmpid=twitter
January 11: Nearly 1,000 students, parents and teachers packed the Million Dollar Staircase at the state Capitol for a rally. Rev. William Barber and NAACP leaders scolded Cuomo for failing to properly fund public schools. Andy Pallotta pointedly told the governor – at the top of his lungs – to stop making excuses and fund public education. NYSUT coverage and numerous press clips can be found here: http://www.nysut.org/news/2015/january/moral-mondays-parents-students-and-educators-take-to-the-capitol-to-call-for-fairness
January 13: Karen Magee has a radio commentary that airs on 16 radio stations across New York. Here she takes on the governor in her monthly commentary: http://wamc.org/post/karen-magee-battle-public-education This got a nice ride on social media. Held an emergency Board of Directors call to Action
January 14: NYSUT offered a less-than-enthusiastic response to the governor’s circuit breaker proposal here: http://www.nysut.org/news/2015/january/tax-relief-plan-flawed-because-of-tax-cap-link
January 15: NYSUT launched a nearly $1 million ad campaign in advance of the Governor’s State of the State and budget. You can find the ad and coverage on the NYSUT web site and coverage via this link. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/nysut-putting-ad-calling-equitable-school-funding-blog-entry-1.2078223 In the coming days these activities will only become more intense. Stay tuned!


NEW ==> The December 2014 WGTA Cabinet Meeting Minutes

The December 2014 WGTA Cabinet Meeting Minutes are now online. Please click here to read the latest news from the WGTA.


NEW ==> Cuomo Continues Attacks on Public Education
by John Mannon

Governor Cuomo has delivered a toxic and resolute notice to Chancellor Tisch and outgoing Commissioner King. Using the latest test scores and attaching per pupil spending, he casts New York public education as a failing endeavor. Keep in mind that the Gap Elimination coupled with the Tax Cap Legislation, have left schools financially crippled and left middle class New Yorkers suffering from the slow economic growth. New York Corporations and those who lead them are doing quite well…in-fact so well that their wealth has expanded at a pace unseen since the ‘Rockefeller’ era. The letter pushes Cuomo’s long political agenda:

1. Merit pay

2. Elimination of Tenure and Seniority Protections

3. Changing APPR to become a greater hammer than teacher development model

4. Again revising 3020a (the legal term and process to fire a teacher) to ‘simplify’ the process

5. Creation and delivery of a teacher competency test (for everyone)

6. Expanding administrations ability to differentiate pay (attacking teacher contract provisions)

7. Increasing the probationary period for new hires and establishing a required renewable tenure cycle (say every several years)

8. Mayor control over low/underperforming districts

9. Invest and increase charter schools in NY

10. On-line course requirements for HS students

11. Merging school systems

12. Taking control of the Board of Regents

Cuomo further assails our profession by placing all those invested in public education as monopolizing blockers of true reform change.

The megalomaniacal governor, through this letter, drawn the proverbial battle lines. There is no longer a question as to his intentions.

We are certain to need our 600k NYSUT membership, 400 WGTA members, retirees, students, parents, and business to unite and remind our Governor that those directly connected to the education process have the answers to our maladies.

Please click here to read Cuomo's Letter to the Regents and King.


NEW ==> Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
By Lynn Davis
Reprinted from the June, 1999, The Member Ship (with major modifications)

When I started teaching in 1972, WGTA President Jim Ridgeway took me aside and strongly suggested I start investing for my retirement in a Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA). At the time, I didn’t know what a TSA was, nor was I thinking about retirement! Today, 42 years later and over 6 years into retirement, there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think of Jim and that valuable information he shared with me. While I did not retire a millionaire (starting salaries in 1972 were around $7,000), my wife and I are fiscally comfortable because of Jim’s advice.

I would like to pay that valuable information forward and share with you some of the insights that I have learned about retirement and money. This is especially useful information for beginning teachers because, with a little bit of planning, you might be able to retire as a millionaire!

To read the rest of the story, please click here.


An Open Letter

An Open Letter to Rob Astorino and All New York State Elected Leaders and Candidates - please click here.


General Membership Meeting Power Point Presentation

Please mouse click here to download WGTA President John Mannion's Power Point presentation
-- OR --
mouse click here to download a PDF version of his presentation.


President Mannion's Membership Article, "Stay Informed"

Stay Informed

Teachers have been hit with a perfect storm of decreased funding, larger class sizes, increased testing, new curricula, a labor intensive evaluation system, an attack on tenure and a multitude of other changes. Below are a few bits of information that may relate to us directly at West Genesee either on a local, state and/or national level.

Education is not a business. We do not have a bottom line. Education Reformers will continue to use the phrase “College and Career Readiness” to push their agenda. The alumni of West Genesee have proven that we have prepared them for their future, and prepared them well. Not a day goes by without hearing about the accomplishments and success of one of our graduates. However, under the guise of education reform, steps are being taken to weaken teachers’ rights, implement curriculum to profit from the tests and support materials that accompany it and push for privatization. A new industry is being created on the backs of public school students. Below are a few of the steps in the path to accomplish these pursuits

To read the rest of the story please click here.


NEW ==> SU Basketball Tickets

The following message was sent to WGTA President John Mannion.

If you were someone who expressed interest in a partial plan for Syracuse Basketball please reach out to Dan Bartlett with Syracuse Athletics and he will be able to accommodate you. You can reach him via office phone at 315-314-6756 or his email [preferred] drbartle@syr.edu

The partial plans that are available are listed below! Please keep in mind he will still be offering a TEACHERS DISCOUNT to 3 CONFERENCE GAMES this year. That will be sent out sometime in November! You can purchase any of these partial plans AND still purchase tickets to the discounted teacher’s offer! Thank you!

Classic Package – Option 1 - $110 Per Package Three Games – Virginia Tech [2/3], Boston College [1/20], and Pittsburgh [2/21] All former Big East Rivals who make their returns to the Carrier Dome during ACC Conference Play

Three Point Package – Option 2 - $110 Per Package Three Games – Florida State [1/11], Miami [1/24], and Virginia [3/2] Two Weekend games and Virginia is Senior Night!

Pick 6 Package – Option 3 - $175 Per Package Flexibility for 6 Games!
+ Pick 1 out of Louisville [2/18] or Pittsburgh [2/21]
+ Pick 2 out of St. Johns [12/6], Florida State [1/11], Wake [1/13], Boston College [1/20], Miami [1/24], Virginia Tech [2/3], or Virginia [3/2]
+ Pick 3 out of all remaining home non-conference games: Kennesaw [11/14], Hampton [11/16], Loyola [11/25] Holy Cross [11/28], Louisiana Tech [12/14], Colgate [12/22], Long Beach State [12/28], Cornell [12/31]


Blue Cross/Blue Shield Website

Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield website - programs explained, find a doctor or hospital, coupons, prizes and more. This website information was also added to our LINKS section..


Active and Retired Teachers
Take Action, Join Mac (Member Action Center).
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The West Genesee Teachers' Association, P.O. Box 417, Camillus, NY 13031-0417

This page was updated on January 16, 2015.

Webmaster: Lynn Davis