Andrew Pallotta | WAMC

Andrew Pallotta

Andrew Pallotta: On Election Day, Make Your Voice Heard!

Oct 29, 2020

Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day. Do you have a plan to vote?

There’s an old saying that goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, New York’s public educators sure have been squeezing a lot of lemons lately.

The next few weeks are shaping up to be the most challenging and unique back-to-school season we’ve seen in a century.

Andrew Pallotta: Education - An Avenue To Equality

Jun 29, 2020

Our hearts were broken this spring by the killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, racial and economic inequalities within our nation were already laid bare. And with his death, the need for change took on new urgency. We at NYSUT were heartened that New York State lawmakers responded quickly to widespread calls for change by instituting criminal justice reforms in June.

Andrew Pallotta: Navigating Uncharted Waters

Apr 23, 2020

As the coronavirus threat continues, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Our lives and our communities are at a standstill. People are losing their jobs at unprecedented rates. And, of course, our friends and neighbors are becoming ill and some have passed away. None of us have lived through anything like this.

Andrew Pallotta: A Worthy Investment

Mar 5, 2020

We’ve seen the numbers, and numbers don’t lie. By a mind boggling 92 percent, New York State voters favor raising taxes on ultra-millionaires and billionaires to boost state coffers. The change could raise more than $12 billion in revenue as the state grapples with a $6.1 billion dollar budget deficit.

We are beginning a season of renewal. It’s the start of the New Year and the start of the new state legislative session. In his State of the State address earlier this month, the governor shared his economic vision for the year ahead. And in his budget proposal last week, he offered his plan for funding those priorities. 

Andrew Pallotta: Fully Fund NYS Schools

Dec 27, 2019

Students don’t get a do-over when it comes to their education. They only have one chance to prepare for future success -- whether that means entering college or the work force.

One of the most important things unions do for their members is fight to protect and preserve their professions.  As educators that also means fighting to protect the people we serve — the students we help to inspire, motivate and nurture every day.

Now that October is here, fall has truly arrived. And in school districts across the state, students are gearing up for Halloween, whether they’re picking out costumes for trick or treating, or making plans for Halloween dances and parties.

Another school year is under way. We’re off to a great start.

For students and parents, routines have been set or renewed. New locker combinations have been figured out. The tears at the bus stop have died down.  And new schedules are beginning to feel routine.

Andrew Pallotta: New Commissioner Offers A Fresh Start

Aug 19, 2019

We got unexpected news last month. New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia submitted her resignation to the state board of regents. She will leave her post at the end of August. We wish her well in her future endeavors.

Summertime means barbecues, sunny days and relaxing visits to the beach. But for education professionals, summer is much more. July and August means professional development, sometimes second jobs and for those teaching summer school, lessons plans and paper grading.

One year ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision in a long-awaited case called Janus v. AFSCME. 

Ask any educator and they’ll tell you — it takes more than teachers to make a school run smoothly. It takes dedicated teaching aides and assistants, who provide help in everything from math, to reading, to science. It takes bus drivers, who safely transport students to school, and back home again. And it takes cafeteria workers, secretaries and custodians.

Andrew Pallotta: It’s Time To Correct The State Tests

May 2, 2019

The month of May brings the first real hints of spring. It also signals the start of the grade 3-8 New York State English Language Arts assessments. Unfortunately, this testing period has been faulty at best, and disastrous at worst. Many of the same testing problems educators faced in past years, reoccurred. After another year of student tears, teacher frustration and parent angst, we’re again left wondering — why is this still happening?

Teachers play important roles in a child’s life. From teachers, students learn how to write their first sentences — or how to master long division, or write up a science lab. From the moment students enter the classroom, to the day they walk across the stage to accept their diploma, educators help provide them with the skills they need for success.

I’m a proud graduate of New York State’s public education system. My early days were spent in Brooklyn public schools, and I earned college degrees from Kingsborough Community College and the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. These experiences helped me become the man I am today and, for that, I’m grateful.

Andrew Pallotta: On Property Taxes, We Need Cuts Not Caps

Feb 12, 2019

When I listen to politicians in Albany debate property taxes, I am reminded of a famous quote from T.S. Eliot, who said, “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.” The rush to make New York’s flawed and undemocratic property tax cap permanent is an example of something that started with the best of intentions, but has led to the cruelest of outcomes. 

For many of us, the holiday season and the New Year are opportunities to reflect on the blessings we’ve enjoyed over the past year. For educators and working families, this has been a particularly good year, with much to be grateful for.

When you think about New York State’s public education system, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, it’s a teacher standing in front of a chalk board.

When our nation’s founders established the United States of America, they made voting the centerpiece of our democracy.

The recent cover of Time magazine put words and statistics to what New York teachers have been feeling for years.

Driving on the Northway recently, I came up behind a blue sedan – American-made, by the way.

On the rear bumper was a red, white and blue sticker. It read: “The Labor Movement: The folks who brought you the weekend.”

Andrew Pallotta: After Janus, Hope And Optimism

Jul 27, 2018

Late last month, the conservative right wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court did what most expected, ruling 5 to 4 against public sector unions in Janus v. AFSCME.

“The state must end its obsession with standardized testing.  Students are suffering.”

“I stand with parents.  I hear their frustration with testing and will do something about it.”

 “I support teachers.  I love teachers.  We will pass a law this session ushering in a fairer evaluation system that doesn’t rely on flawed state tests.”

Andrew Pallotta: Fix The Broken Teacher Evaluation System

May 25, 2018

New York’s teacher evaluation system is broken – and now is the time to fix it.

Parents and educators remain angry and frustrated.  They are demanding an end to the state’s flawed evaluation system – a system which over-emphasizes standardized testing and which misuses tests to rank and sort teachers.  They want more local control, and a return to the days when schools could focus on teaching and learning … not endless test preparation.

Andrew Pallotta: A National Lesson In Unionism

Apr 19, 2018

You can hear it building: A movement growing from a quiet whisper to a full roar.

In West Virginia and Oklahoma --- and in Kentucky and Arizona – teachers are finding their voices. They are standing with their unions to use that collective voice to improve their lives and their communities.

With the deadline for passing a State Budget right around the corner, our lawmakers are cramming like a student studying for finals. 

Andrew Pallotta: Janus Case An Attack On All Workers

Feb 27, 2018

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that may forever change the ability of working people to successfully fight for better pay, good health insurance, job security and a secure retirement.