[ Fighting for you ]

On May 16: Vote for pro-education, pro-student candidates


s we head toward another school budget season, it is once again essential that NYSUT members support school district budgets and NYSUT-endorsed board of education candidates.

In last year’s hotly contested races, NYSUT activists turned out big, making over 127,000 phone calls, sending more than 350,000 pieces of mail and knocking on over 5,600 doors in their communities.

As a result of this collective action, we saw 99 percent of school budgets pass and 86 percent of our endorsed pro-student, pro-education school board candidates win. That included 60 NYSUT members elected to school boards in every corner of the state.

three column statistical red and blue infographic breakdown of legislation topics (99 percent of budgets passed, 86 percent of pro-education, pro-student, endorsed candidates won, 60 NYSUT members were elected or re-elected) in New York public schools in 2022

We need to continue that momentum in this year’s elections as well.

“We have seen public education under attack nationwide and here in New York,” said NYSUT president Andy Pallotta. “From book bans to some politicians trying to dictate curriculum, powerful forces with deep pockets are using our students and educators as political pawns. But together, we are also powerful. And we want the best public schools for our students and professional respect for our educators.”

What’s at stake this year

We are fighting for strong, well-funded public schools that are safe and welcoming environments, because students’ learning conditions are our members’ working conditions. We are fighting to make sure educators are paid fairly and treated with professional respect. We are fighting to ensure divisive policies enacted elsewhere in the country never see the light of day in New York state, and so much more.

We need the help of all NYSUT members to achieve these goals.

In most districts across the state, May 16 is the day to vote on school budgets and board members. Make sure to get out and vote. This is one of the best ways to support strong public schools now and into the future. Get your friends, neighbors and family to vote yes as well. The people who are against our public schools — who vilify educators; think that our schools should be the frontlines of the culture wars; that we should focus on petty divisions rather than uniting to educate our children — they will turn out to vote “No.” We need to make sure we are turning up to vote “Yes.”

What you and your fellow NYSUT members can do

Learn who your local union is supporting for the school board and how you can help. Knock on doors. Make phone calls. Post on social media.

Let your neighbors know that strong, pro-public education, pro-student school boards are vital. Many board races hinge on just a handful of votes, so every voter matters.

Visit PublicSchoolsUniteUs.org to see what a pragmatic and positive vision of public education looks like: One that supports all students and educators and makes our public schools the centers of our communities.

When students thrive, communities across the state thrive. There is still much work to be done, but by voting for strong local budgets and leaders who support and believe in public education, we can realize this vision together.