There’s new leadership atop the state’s largest teacher’s union. Over the weekend, NYSUT, (New York State United Teachers), named Karen Magee as its new president. She and her slate of officers were elected at the annual assembly by the association’s delegates.
Magee is currently head of the teacher’s union in Harrison, in Westchester County. She replaces Richard Iannuzzi, who has been president of the statewide union since 2005.
Contested elections are relatively rare in NYSUT. Iannuzzi was only the second president in the union’s 42 year history.
Media reports indicate that the change in union leadership may have been partly due to the perception that Iannuzzi wasn’t aggressive enough in battling Governor Cuomo and his administration over some parts of the new Common Core standards.
Also over the weekend, NYSUT took a “no confidence” vote in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King and called for his immediate ouster by the Board of Regents. A state education spokesman is quoted by Newsday as calling it “union politics as usual” and he said King remains focused on improving New York’s schools.
NYSUT also formally withdrew its support for the Common Core standards as they are being implemented in New York State and supported the rights of parents to have their children “opt out” of high-stakes testing.