October 3, 2013 | 959 views
New leader takes reins of VSTA
Naglieri discusses challenges ahead for school districts, teachers' union
For the first time in nearly four decades, the Valley Stream Teachers Association is under new leadership. Patrick Naglieri is serving as the new president of VSTA, following the retirement of Richard Herrmann.
Naglieri has served as the organization’s vice president since 2000. He is a guidance counselor at Memorial Junior High School, but had been on leave for the past three years to serve as a labor relations specialist for New York State United Teachers.
VSTA represents teachers from the four Valley Stream school districts, among other employees. Naglieri, who first joined the ranks as a special education teacher at the Robert W. Carbonaro School in 1981, said he is enjoying his new role so far and wants to put his background in labor to good use.
Naglieri said he is concerned by a lot of the changes taking place in education, specifically new mandates that have recently been implemented by the state. He is particularly worried that the tax cap, which limits the amount school districts can raise taxes, will have a negative impact.
People move to communities like Valley Stream for good schools, Naglieri noted, and they want good programs, small class sizes and an abundance of extra-curricular activities. “Ultimately a tax cap is going to impact all of that in a negative way,” he said.
Additionally, when school districts are forced to layoff teachers because of financial constraints, that impacts the quality of education, he explained.
The new teacher evaluation system, known as APPR — Annual Professional Performance Review — is also flawed, Naglieri explained. He said it is unfair for teachers to be judged on student test results, when the tests have not been proven to accurately measure teacher performance. “As a union, we certainly want high standards,” he said. “We certainly want accountability. APPR does nothing to ensure that. It’s based on junk science.”
Naglieri said that the four Valley Stream school districts already had good systems in place for hiring teachers and making sure that only the good ones were allowed to stay.