Karen Magee, an elementary and special education teacher from Westchester County was elected president of the New York State United Teachers and it’s 600,000 members over the weekend.
Magee becomes the first female president of NYSUT, succeeding Richard Iannuzzi, who served in the same role since 2005. Magee was elected to a three-year term.
“Our team stands for change and our work begins now,” Magee said. “That includes taking on the tough fights and communicating clearly with decision makers at every level. We will be the voice they cannot ignore. We will defend public education and public service. Period.”
According to NYSUT’s website, Magee is a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors and its Policy Council. She is an elected representative to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System. For more than a decade, Magee has served as an officer of the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body, AFL-CIO and was the first woman to receive the WPCLB Labor Award.
Over the weekend, the state’s largest union also issued a vote of “no confidence” in John King, calling for his removal as education commissioner.
In a unanimous vote, NYSUT also withdrew their support for the Common Core Learning Standards as interpreted and implemented in New York state and, in a separate resolution, supported the rights of parents and guardians to opt their children out of high-stakes tests.
“There is a revolution under way. Parents and teachers, standing together on behalf of what’s best for students, have made it clear that ‘enough is enough,’” then-NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said. “We have had it with top-down decision-making that ignores the voices of parents and teachers, and we’ve had it with a broken ideology that values obsessive testing and data collection over teaching and learning and meeting the needs of the whole child.”
The recently approved state budget puts into law a series of recommendations to immediately improve the implementation of the Common Core in New York, including banning standardized “bubble tests” for young children, protecting students from high stakes testing based on unfair results, ensuring instructional time is used for teaching and learning and not over-testing, and protecting the privacy of students.