March 7, 2017
UUP joins NYSUT in Committee of 100 advocacy
When lawmakers ask UUP members this year for their top concerns about public higher education, the answer takes considerably longer than the question.
And that answer includes: the dissolution of the Affordable Care Act, which could affect SUNY medical schools and teaching hospitals. A U.S. Secretary of Education who knows nothing about public education. An administration in D.C. that wants to deregulate protections for undocumented, disabled and transgender students. An uncertain climate for federal funding of financial aid to students, and financial support to public higher education programs and services.
Reasons like these made it especially important this year for UUP members to band together with their NYSUT sisters and brothers in a show of strength March 7 at the annual NYSUT “Committee of 100” advocacy event.
New York needs to step up
“This is a very uncertain time for public education throughout the country, but we have laid the groundwork with many of our New York lawmakers to support us through such tough times, and we are hearing this message from them over and over this year: They know they will be called upon to support SUNY if federal support and the protection of federal regulations lags in the Trump administration,” said VPA Jamie Dangler, above, center. She and UUP MDO Tom Hoey joined dozens of members for the Committee of 100 meetings.
The traditional day of meetings with lawmakers has a turnout by NYSUT and its affiliates that has long since surpassed the 100 or so public education unionists whose participation years ago gave the event its name. Still, the message of solidarity remains the same.
So does the reminder to lawmakers that New York needs a strong public education system that starts in the K-12 years and continues all the way through college and even graduate or professional school.
EOP, EOC essential
That’s the point that Jo Schaffer, above, left, made during a meeting with the staff to Assembly Member Gary Finch, (R-Syracuse), as Schaffer spoke about the need to fund the SUNY academic support programs—which include the Educational Opportunity Program and the Educational Opportunity Centers. The Legislature restored recommended cuts last year for these two crucial services to low-income, high-achieving students.
“Last year when [funding] was restored, it was so effective – it really made a difference in these kids’ lives,” Schaffer said.
Hoey, above, left, also presented the higher ed perspective during a meeting with the staff of Assemblywoman Pat Patricia Fahy, (D-Albany), after NYSUT K-12 members spoke about the need for an increase in state funding to public school districts.
“With the Affordable Care Act likely to be repealed, we’re going to take a real hit to our hospitals,” Hoey said. Funding for all levels of public education, he noted, “is an investment in our future. This is the year to do it; the money is there.”
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