ALBANY, N.Y.—The New York State United Teachers and United Federation of Teachers plan to file a lawsuit to prevent the state from letting some charter schools certify their own teachers.
The State University of New York Board of Trustees’ charter-school committee voted Oct. 11 to let the schools it oversees to train and certify teachers without going through the standard state process, on the grounds that this would help charters overcome a shortage of teachers. “Their argument was bogus. The SUNY charter institute is clearly just bought and paid for,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the Daily News. The United University Professions union said the new rules would be “far less stringent” than the state’s procedures for licensing teachers, as they would let charters hire instructors who hadn’t taken the state teacher-certification exam and had done only 40 hours of student teaching—and SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute board could waive any prerequisite. “So a B.A. or master’s degree isn’t really required, and the Institute gets to choose who gets in without definitive standards,” said UUP Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler. “This is deceptive, and totally antithetical to prevailing standards and practices in the education profession.”
HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut’s largest teachers’ union and three towns filed a lawsuit Oct. 11 asking the courts to bar Gov. Dannel P. Malloy from cutting $557 million in state aid to schools and sustain funding at last year’s level. “We have taken this action to prevent our schools from being stripped of critical resources, because that will do irreparable harm to our students,” Connecticut Education Association President Sheila Cohen said during a news conference outside the Hartford Superior Court building. The CEA and the towns of Brooklyn, Plainfield, and Torrington contend that the governor does not have the authority to slash education funding because the state does not yet have a new two-year budget. Gov. Malloy called the suit premature, saying the funds normally aren’t awarded until the end of October. CEA director Donald Williams responded that Torrington, a city of 35,000, recently received a payment about one-sixth of the $7-8 million it usually gets at this time of the year. “These cuts are real, and the damage that is rolling out as we speak is catastrophic,” he told the Associated Press. Legislative leaders are continuing discussions on the budget. It was due July 1.