Person

Andrew Pallotta

Organization:

New York State United Teachers

Andrew Pallotta is a teacher and the president of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the largest teachers union in New York State, representing 600,000 teachers. [1] NYSUT is a state-level member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest teachers union in the United States.

Since 2017, Pallotta has led NYSUT to oppose teacher evaluations and standardized tests. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pallotta has insisted schools not reopen without significant financial aid from the state and federal government, and should they reopen to do so in a strictly limited fashion that precludes normal five-day in-person instruction in most cases.

Career

Andrew Pallotta worked as an elementary school teacher in New York City for more than twenty years. He was elected to an executive post representing the Bronx for the United Federation of Teachers, the largest teachers Union in New York City and the local affiliate of New York State United Teachers. [2][3]

In May 2017, Pallotta was elected to a three-year term as president of NYSUT. When the results of the ballot were not disclosed to the public, journalist Mike Antonucci speculated that Pallotta either won the election by such a narrow margin that his legitimacy was in doubt, or he won by such an overwhelming margin that it indicated a narrowing of the NYSUT electorate. Further investigation revealed that the latter was likely the case. During the previous convention, NYSUT’s electorate represented 88% of its members, but the 2017 convention only represented 48% of its members who overwhelmingly came from New York City and therefore were likely to support Pallotta. [4]

In May 2020, Pallotta was reelected to a three-year term as NYSUT president in the union’s first online convention. [5]

New York State United Teachers

Andrew Pallotta led New York State United Teachers in a public relations campaign to support unions in the run-up to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Janus v. AFSCME. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that government unions did not have the right to charge non-union members representational fees. [6]

Pallotta led NYSUT to lobby for the passage of a bill that overhauled New York’s teacher evaluation system. Previously, Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPRs) factored teacher performance metrics into salary negotiations with local unions. With the passage of the new bill, APPRs were prohibited from using teacher performance as a metric, thereby leaving teacher pay entirely up to negotiations with unions. The bill also limited the range of teacher evaluations by removing student standardized test scores from the evaluation process. [7]

In 2018, Pallotta issued a statement that NYSUT would not support measures to arm teachers in schools. He stated the need for more school security, but claimed arming teachers would make schools more dangerous. [8]

Pallotta supported a strictly limited “reopening” of New York schools in the fall of 2020 with substantial additional government funding. [9] Referring to the superiority of in-person teaching, Pallotta advocated for following established methods to reopen with small class sizes and little person-to-person contact that can mitigate infection risks. [10] Pallotta later argued for using intensive COVID-19 testing in schools as part of the reopening process based on methods cultivated by the NFL Players Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the State of New York University (SUNY) system. [11]

In a February 2021 statement, Pallotta discussed New York’s ongoing budget problems which have prompted calls for cuts in education spending, especially after Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) granted a $1.5 billion payout to New York schools to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Pallotta asked for the federal government to give a “one-time bailout” to the New York government to cover budget shortfalls in the short term. As a long term solution to New York’s budget problems, Pallotta advocates for numerous new taxes on wealthy inhabitants, including a tax on second homes, wealth taxes on “ultra-millionaires” and billionaires, and an increase in the corporate tax rate. [12]

In March 2021, Pallotta endorsed New York not administering standardized testing this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [13] He also supports a waiver on federal testing for the year. [14]

Political Expenditure

NYSUT’s political expenditure increased considerably under Pallotta. The NYSUT PAC spent $7.1 million in the 2016 cycle before Pallotta became president, and then $12.7 million and $13.8 million in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles respectively. [15]

References

  1. “Andy Pallotta re-elected to second term as NYSUT president.” NYSUT. May 15, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.nysut.org/news/2020/may/media-release-ra-2020. ^
  2. “Andrew Pallotta.” AFT. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/andrew-pallotta. ^
  3. “Andrew Pallotta.” NYSUT. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.nysut.org/about/officers/andrew-pallotta. ^
  4. Antonucci, Mike. “Pallotta Elected NYSUT President; By How Much? Who Knows?” April 10, 2017. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.eiaonline.com/intercepts/2017/04/10/pallotta-elected-nysut-president-by-how-much-who-knows/. ^
  5. “Andy Pallotta re-elected to second term as NYSUT president.” NYSUT. May 15, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.nysut.org/news/2020/may/media-release-ra-2020. ^
  6. “Andy Pallotta re-elected to second term as NYSUT president.” NYSUT. May 15, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.nysut.org/news/2020/may/media-release-ra-2020. ^
  7. “APPR: What you need to know about new teacher evaluation legislation.” NYSUT. April 16, 2019. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.nysut.org/news/2019/april/appr-what-you-need-to-know. ^
  8. Dewitt, Karen. “NY Teacher Union President Against Arming Teachers.” WAMC. February 26, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.wamc.org/post/ny-teacher-union-president-against-arming-teachers. ^
  9. Pallotta, Andy. “A Matter of Will.” WAMC. February 2, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.wamc.org/post/andrew-pallotta-matter-will. ^
  10. Hoskin, Ned. “With everyone pulling together, these schools reopened safely.” NYSUT. March 23, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.nysut.org/news/2021/march/school-reopening. ^
  11. “NYSUT pushes for more COVID testing in schools.” News 10. March 4, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.news10.com/classroom-progress-report/nysut-pushes-for-more-covid-testing-in-schools/. ^
  12. “Andy Pallotta.” Twitter. March 23, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://twitter.com/AndyPallotta/status/1374441933666357251. ^
  13. “Andy Pallotta.” Twitter. March 23, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://twitter.com/AndyPallotta/status/1374441933666357251. ^
  14. “Andrew Pallotta.” Twitter. March 12, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://twitter.com/AndyPallotta/status/1370501512871481348. ^
  15. “New York State United Teachers PAC Profile.” Open Secrets. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/spending-section. ^
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