by Amanda Mayr
I’ve attended numerous NYSUT functions since I started my role as an HCT leader. These conferences usually include workshops, lectures, group activities, time to collaborate on new initiatives, and free pens. The Representative Assembly that I attended from April 8-9th in Rochester was nothing like past NYSUT conferences.
Two thousand NYSUT members gathered at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center to vote on resolutions that will have an impact on our profession and our students. The first part of the event featured speeches from the NYSUT executive officers. Karen, Andy, Carolina, and Martin all spoke about the progress we have made as a union just in the last year. They reminded us to continue our work as activists and to fight for the future of our profession. Tom DiNapoli and Eric Schneiderman, two pro-public education NY politicians, delivered speeches that were encouraging and uplifting. The speaker who made the biggest impression on me at the conference was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Even though I am not Hillary’s strongest supporter, I valued the opportunity to listen to her live.
While the speeches were entertaining and uplifting, the true learning experience for me came during the small group meetings to discuss the resolutions. It was fascinating to be a part of the thoughtful discussions that ensued when analyzing the pros and cons of the resolutions. These resolutions covered important issues relating to standardized testing, APPR, the Fight for 15, Vote Cope, as well as the labor conflicts impacting NYSUT members at New York University and in Chicago.
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the NYSUT Representative Assembly. I gained a new perspective about our union and the great lengths that members all around the state go to in order to support and improve public education. And I also got some free pens.