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Education

NYSUT ready to defend public education

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WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
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New York's powerful teachers union passed a resolution to combat federal education policy under President-Elect Donald Trump. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) is gearing up to mobilize 'in defense of public education'.  

“We’ll lead the resistance you know and any effort to attack public education, workers’ rights, and immigrant rights,” said Karen Magee, President of NYSUT.

In a WBFO News interview, Magee said the union will be joining forces with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.  NYSUT passed a resolution to fight back and protect school children and public education. The union will participate in a national Day of Action on January 19th.

NYSUT is also taking a tough stance against Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education.

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Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
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Students at a Cheektowaga Central School.

“I mean we are talking about a woman who basically has no public education experience. Didn’t attend public schools. Didn’t teach in the public schools. Didn’t send her children to public schools. She is not a public school parent,” remarked Magee.

The nomination has been sparking controversy from public educators because DeVos, who comes from a high-powered wealthy family, used her family's billions pushing for charter schools and a voucher system in Michigan.

“Well in Detroit they under performed compared to the regular public schools, so what is the real goal here. I looked at the charter piece, because I am analytical. I went through every piece of what she stands for, so then I moved to the piece about vouchers – well in New York we constantly have the voucher fight and when we start to look at siphoning off of taxpayer money from the public schools so that individuals can have choice where they send their children, whether it’s private – I support a parent’s right to choose, but not on the backs of all the taxpayers," responded Magee.                   

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Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
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Students at Allendale School in West Seneca.

At next month's Day of Action NYSUT will advocate for several issues including fully funded community schools, limited standardized testing and protecting undocumented students who now feel threatened by Trump's proposed immigration policies.