ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the statewide union representing some 600,000 educators—announced their support of a state legislative agenda that promotes racial justice. NYSUT leadership is calling for implicit bias training and greater diversity in the workforce.
“Social justice work is union work, and as a union of educators from diverse communities across New York, we know we can play a significant role in bringing about important social change,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Whether it’s fighting for greater equity in school funding or seeking new ways to diversify the education workforce, there is work that can and should be done this legislative session to move us toward a more just public education system.”
NYSUT’s “Advancing Racial Justice in Education Agenda” includes adding $1 million to the state budget to expand implicit bias training to 20,000 more educators in 2021. To combat staffing shortages, it calls for another million for local, “grow your own” programs to support aspiring teachers, building an “educator pipeline” of new hires that reflect student populations.
The agenda calls for funding to be restored to the Teacher-Mentor and Teachers of Tomorrow programs. It also pushes to preserve $18 million in the executive budget for the My Brother’s Keeper grant program, which helps retain teachers from underrepresented communities of color.
Building these educational priorities into the state budget will help improve school climates, NYSUT said during its Black History Month Celebration. Dr. Lester Young, Jr., Chancellor of the Board of Regents, discussed these social justice issues as part of the Wednesday event.
“I’m always heartened to see a renewed focus on racial equity each year during Black History Month, but these are the kinds of conversations that we need to have year-round,” said NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham, who leads the union’s social justice work. “Organized labor has an important platform for effecting social change and bringing about greater racial justice. With state support, we can accelerate long-term social justice efforts across New York.”