I write to you today about the critical election for New York State Governor next month. I believe that the outcome of this election will have a major impact on all aspects of our lives as teachers and school employees.
We have seen firsthand 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 has been a governor who incites communities to doubt school professionals and prefers to blame teachers instead of providing badly needed resources and support. Many believe that Cuomo has done the most substantial damage to our public 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. 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 Port Jefferson Station Teachers’ Association Executive Council voted unanimously to endorse the Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones Education Platform. Many members have voiced their concerns regarding the anti-union and anti-public education positions of both Cuomo and Astorino. This frustration may lead many to NOT cast a vote for governor in this upcoming election. 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 Hawkin/Jones also sends a message to Cuomo that we refuse to let him win by default or inaction.
I encourage you to visit their website at http://www.howiehawkins.org/
platform to learn more about Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones. If you agree that we must have leaders in Albany who truly understand the needs and challenges of public schools today, I ask that you investigate for yourself and compare and contrast the candidates’ views on education and spread the word regarding your findings to friends, colleagues and family members.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
VOTE HOWIE HAWKINS/BRIAN JONES AND GREEN PARTY FOR GOVERNOR
Beth Domino, President of Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association says it as well as can be said.