Friday, June 23, 2017
I hope this message finds you excited and ready for the start of a long summer vacation with lots of friends and family! It's hard to believe that another school year has come and gone, but what a great school year it has been for the children and the teachers of Plainedge. Beyond providing the children of Plainedge with a top notch education, our union has been involved in many activities and events that have made a positive impact on the entire community.
During the fall, we once again raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer research and participated in the Making Strides Walk at Jones Beach. We also launched our new PFT website (www.plainedgeteachers.org) which increased our communication capabilities and has allowed us to keep the membership better informed about events occurring both inside and outside of Plainedge. Throughout the winter, we raised awareness on the importance of public education by wearing "Red for Public Ed", and helped the Plainedge PTA continue to push the "Opt-Out" movement which has proven to be a powerful force in reforming the toxic testing agenda imposed on public schools. As the warmer weather of spring approached, our Take Action Plainedge (TAP) committee took the initiative to help fill the shelves at two local food pantries, while the Wizards basketball event raised over ten thousand dollars for the PFT and PTA college scholarship funds. At the 18th annual We Make a Difference Awards Ceremony, we rolled out the red carpet and honored over 170 well deserving students who make Plainedge a more enjoyable experience for all. While these events were going on, we also found the time to help out our sisters and brothers in Lawrence by participating in a fair contract rally along with many other unions from Long Island. It has definitely been a busy year, but I'm truly proud and honored to lead such a dedicated group of professionals whose positive impact in our society goes well beyond the classroom.
I have no doubt that next year we will continue to work just as hard improving the lives of children and advocating for public education. Along with all the difficulties of our job and charitable work, we will face many challenges next year that seek to take away our benefits, weaken unions, and potentially destroy public education. One of our first challenges next year will be to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear by getting everyone we know to vote NO on the proposed Constitutional Convention. Beyond these local challenges, we will see cases come before the Supreme Court that are intent on disabling a union's ability to collect dues and collectively bargain for its members. We will also continue to be subject to increased bullying from the federal government in favor of expanding the public charter school industry. It is imperative that we keep up the pressure on our elected officials to put limits on charter school numbers and increase the accountability of these schools to educate their students properly. Even with all these challenges, I'm confident that by maintaining a strong union we will continue to be victorious in our never ending battle to protect public education from those who would seek to destroy it.
On behalf of the entire PFT leadership team, I wish you a very safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer vacation. Enjoy the rest...you've earned it!!