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[Photos provided by www.NYSUT.org and www.NewYorkCharters.org ]

SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Aug. 1, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) sent a letter to Ralph Rossi II, the executive deputy director and general counsel for Charter Schools Institute, in regards to the institute’s new charter school teacher-certification proposal.

The letter clearly stated that NYSUT is against the lowered qualifications for charter schools that the State University of New York (SUNY) is trying to implement. This proposal would allow SUNY-authorized charter schools to have their own teacher certification program as opposed to the “rigorous New York State standards,” Carl Korn, the chief press officer of NYSUT, said.

According to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute’s website, “Guided by the Board of Trustees’ rigorous standards, the Institute provides ongoing oversight of schools that centers on progress made by schools in improving student achievement, while also reviewing their organizational and fiscal performance; the Institute’s oversight serves as a catalyst for improvement, informs the public of each school’s performance, and protects the health and safety of students enrolled in each school.”

The Institute also points out that they “recommend renewal of only those charter schools that have shown they can improve student performance and operate in a fiscally and organizationally sound manner.”

Korn remarked, “New York’s teachers are among the best educated, most highly prepared in the country. These proposed regulations are a travesty. They would lower the standards for teachers by allowing charter networks to bypass the rigorous certification process. We see it as the ‘anybody we want to certify’ approach for charter schools and that is very dangerous for students.”

That being said, New York state union teachers are also among the highest paid in the country, earning an average of $77,628 a year and become tenured after a multi-year evaluation process that requires a vote from the governing committee of the school.

The three main concerns that NYSUT has with the proposed charter teacher eligibilities are the lack of qualifications for these new charter teachers. The different certification process creates a two tier educational system in New York. The children in public schools are educated by teachers who have met the New York state union qualifications and with this new proposal, the children in charters would be educated by teachers who only meet the charter SUNY charter standards, creating a second tier of educators.

The SUNY Charter Network has proposed that teachers with fewer than 30 hours of classroom instruction and only a few weeks of field experience are well equipped to educate. NYSUT recognizes that New York has a rigorous process for becoming a certified teacher, but there are many flexible paths in which to do so.

“If charter networks are having difficulty attracting and retaining qualified teachers, they should look at paying those teachers more, treating them like professionals, and letting them teach. Not setting up their own certification process where anyone can become a teacher,” Korn said.

It is important to note that the charter school teachers certified under this new process via SUNY Charter School Institute would not be union members, paying union dues, or required to follow the same guidelines of union teachers.

Korn said that as of right now, no charter schools have reached out to them specifically to comment one way or the other.

Currently, NYSUT and SUNY are in a 45 day comment period which ends September 8. In this period, SUNY Trustees are able to comment on the matter and change anything about the proposal.

“We expect the SUNY Trustees to take this matter seriously and reject these draft regulations as harmful to students and harmful to the teacher,” Korn said, speaking for NYSUT as a whole.

TeachNY is a SUNY initiative that seeks to raise standards for teachers and to further professionalize teaching standards in New York State by raising the aspirational standards for teaching. For TeachNY, SUNY and NYSUT were on the same page.

Jolene DiBrango, NYSUT executive vice president, stated in her letter, “the pending draft regulations are completely counter to the spirit and letter of the resolution which was adopted in June.”

That resolution is TeachNY.

“On one hand, SUNY is calling for even more rigorous and even more professional standards for teachers and on the other hand, they want to lower the standards for charter networks and that doesn’t make any sense,” Korn said.

If the regulations for the new charter school certifications are approved and adopted without change, they would go into effect in September.

Attempts to contact Ralph Rossi and SUNY Charter School Institute were not successful.

Published in Education
Thursday, 20 July 2017 13:32

Memorial Golf Tourney Celebrates Four Years

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local memorial golf tourney returned to the McGregor Links Country Club to once again honor the memory of the late course superintendent, Mark Printsky.

The fourth annual Mark Printsky Memorial Golf Tourney took place at McGregor Links on July 15, with 40 local golfers taking part in the tourney itself, and around 75 people being in attendance overall. The tourney is held each year to raise money in honor of the late Mark Printsky, the longtime course superintendent for McGregor who passed away suddenly in 2014 after 32 years of service. Money raised at the event goes towards the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship fund at Mark’s Alma matter, SUNY Cobleskill.

In 2014, Mark’s wife Mary Beth Printsky found him passed on their bed. Despite her efforts with CPR, Mark tragically and suddenly passed away, leaving friends and family stunned and mourning. Around 6-8 weeks after his passing, those same friends and family came together to organize a memorial golf tourney in Mark’s name, and they were happily able to get it set up at his former place of employment, McGregor Links. Initially, the funds raised by the event went to Mary Beth herself, with subsequent annual tourneys raising money for the scholarship fund.

“I didn’t want him to be forgotten,” Mary Beth Printsky said about continuing the tourney and establishing the fund in the last few years.

As the course superintendent, Mark Printsky was responsible for managing all of the upkeep duties at McGregor Links. As his wife put it, his work keeping the greens in top condition was one of the main reasons that people remembered and returned to course over the years.

“In a way, he was the heart of the golf course,” Mary Beth Printsky said. “He was the reason people came to play.”

Over the course of three years, the tourney has raised around $6,000 for the scholarship fund. Funds were raised this year through entrance fees, raffles, mulligan sales, and other methods. Saratoga Eagle Sales & Services donated beverages to the event. A plaque dedicated to Mark and his time with the club was also set up at the event. Mary Beth Printsky herself designed the plaque.

“It just gave me so much joy,” Mary Beth Printsky said about this year’s event. “It was a real labor of love.”

This year’s event saw returning Cobleskill senior Patrick Murray of Buzzards Bay, Mass., graciously accept the fund’s first scholarship, valued at $500. Once over $10,000 is raised for the fund, the amounts granted to each student will increase, according to Mary Beth Printsky. To qualify for the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship, one must be a returning student in the Grass Management Studies Program.

Mary Beth Printsky expressed gratitude to many individuals involved in helping in the tourney come to fruition. This included the owners of McGregor Links, Blake Crocitto and Bill Ahl, for providing the venue for the event and giving her a lifetime membership to the club, and Annemarie Kissane, McGregor’s assistant pro who helped her improved her golf game.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Former Accounts Clerk for Saratoga Springs Mary Zlotnick, who was fired after a hearing officer ruled in December that Zlotnick had violated three of the five subordination charges the city had lodged against her after she accused the city’s assistant assessor of helping a Malta businesswoman solicit fees from condominium residents in the city in exchange for reduced assessments, and then alerted several newspapers and media outlets of her accusation. 

Published in News

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