On Thursday, the Executive Assembly of the EWTA met. Part of our agenda was a discussion of the upcoming elections. As you already know, NYSUT has decided to withhold any endorsement for Governor, leaving locals the ability to act as they see fit.
We have all seen the damage that Cuomo has done to our school district by imposing an undemocratic property tax cap that has made it impossible for critical programs to continue, an over-emphasis on testing, the narrowing of curriculum and finally the intrusion of the common core, which has done more to frustrate creative and talented teachers than improve instruction. Cuomo is a governor who incites communities to doubt school professionals and prefers to blame teachers instead of providing needed resources and support. Many believe that Cuomo has done more damage to our public school system than any governor before him.
Challenging the Governor is Westchester County Executive Republican candidate Rob Astorino. While some have taken notice of Mr. Astorino’s anti-common core platform, a simple scratch beneath the surface reveals a candidate who puts all his faith in charter schools and would further decimate schools through a reduction of state aid and making the property tax cap permanent. Equally alarming is Astorino’s opposition to teacher tenure, as well as, his vow to eliminate the Triborough Amendment.
Fortunately, there is an alternative this year to both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Astorino. Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins and his running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Brian Jones have produced an education platform that is completely in sync with what we believe and know to be sound education policy.
Hawkins and Jones believe that:
· New York needs to opt out of Race to the Top and the Common Core Standards.
· Schools need to return to meaningful teaching and learning and move away from the over-emphasis on testing.
· Schools should be allowed to develop authentic assessments that are organic to the learning process.
· Zero-tolerance discipline policies are the wrong way to produce responsible and productive citizens.
· The state-mandated anti-democratic tax cap must be eliminated.
· The State should provide equitable funding for all schools so there can be a reduction of class size and the restoration of music, art, health, and all other vital programs that have been taken away from this generation of students.
In light of these pro-public education initiatives, the EWTA Executive Council voted unanimously to endorse the Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones.
Many of you have expressed concerns regarding the anti-union and anti-public education positions of both Cuomo and Astorino. This frustration may lead you to not cast a vote for governor in this upcoming election. WE NEED YOUR VOTE! VOTE YOUR JOB!
A vote for Hawkins/Jones represents a vote for education and faith in the job that each of us perform each day in the classroom.
A vote for Hawkins/Jones also sends a message to Cuomo that we refuse to let him win by default or inaction.
We encourage you to visit their website at http://www.howiehawkins.org/platform to learn more about Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones.
We must have leaders in Albany who truly understand the needs and challenges of public schools today. VOTE YOUR JOB! and spread the word to friends, colleagues and family members.
On November 4th, 2014 I will cast my votes based solely upon my job – and the voting record the candidates have with regard to public education. I am asking you to do the same. I will vote for candidates who may not support the social issues I feel are important. I have made this choice because the issues we, as public educators, feel strongly about: APPR, Student Testing, Tax Cap, Vouchers, Charter Schools, Triborough, Collective Bargaining Rights, Pensions and Tenure are all being discussed/decided at the legislative level. WE MUST SUPPORT THOSE CANDIDATES THAT SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION!
Meryl Fordin, writes to keep you informed of the happenings in the EWTA as well as in public education; the mundane to the insane.