April 14, 2014

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UUP takes edTPA debate to AFT stage

uupdate 4-14-14

VPA Jamie Dangler outlines UUP’s stand on New York's edTPA teacher certification requirement at AFT's National Higher Education Issues Conference.

As a panelist in a discussion on teacher preparation, Dangler explained the premature and botched implementation of the new student teacher performance assessment in New York State and related it to increasing efforts to privatize and deprofessionalize the work of teacher educators.

But UUP’s push to remove the edTPA as a requirement for initial teacher certification is picking up steam, she said. Bills that would delay the implementation of the edTPA have been introduced in the state Assembly and Senate.

UUP officers and Executive Board members held prominent roles at the annual conference April 11-13 in Baltimore. The conference's theme was "Reclaiming the promise of higher education."

UUP President Fred Kowal, VPP Philippe Abraham, and Secretary Eileen Landy took part in the event, as did UUPers Idalia Torres, Anne Wiegard and Beth Wilson.

Officers, Exec Board members in action

Kowal, Abraham and Wiegard moderated panel discussions at the conference.

Kowal led a plenary session panel discussion on MOOCs (Massive Open Online courses) and their potential impact on higher education.

“With the emergence of technology exemplified by online learning, private for-profit corporations have become major forces in higher education,” he said. “These privateers present a real danger.”

Abraham moderated a workshop exploring how the roles of professional staff can be elevated nationwide.

“Professionals need to take stock of what they are doing currently to raise their profile to emphasize how valuable they are to every aspect of the academy,” he said.

Wiegard helped lead a forum on addressing problems facing the growing ranks of contingents.

Landy, Torres, and Wilson participated in discussions on a variety of issues relevant for UUP members, SUNY campuses, and students—including corporate interests in the expansion of online education, student debt, and contingent faculty needs.

Thank you, Randi

UUP’s leaders thanked AFT President Randi Weingarten during the convention’s opening plenary, lauding her for her strong support for SUNY Downstate Medical Center and teacher education issues.

Kowal commended Weingarten for her help to protect jobs and vital health care services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Weingarten has been outspoken in her support for UUP’s efforts—which included giving an impassioned speech during a March rally at the Brooklyn hospital.

Working with a coalition of faith, community and labor leaders, and with AFT’s support, UUP pressed legislators to reject a state budget proposal that would have allowed private corporations to operate SUNY’s state-run public hospitals.

“We would not have been as successful without your help,” Kowal said.

“We will fight to keep Downstate open, public, and allow it to thrive,” Weingarten said.

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