Why I am Voting Green Party for Governor

As we roll through the spring towards next November’s elections we are starting to hear a lot from the gubernatorial candidates when it comes to public education.  Let’s look a little bit closer at our options now.

We are all familiar with Governor Cuomo’s litany of attacks on public schools, the children who they serve, the teachers who work in them, and the labor unions who represent those teachers.  It would take course correction that is unprecedented in modern politics for Cuomo to earn my vote in November.  The man who brought us the tax cap and who foisted school deform upon New York at an alarming rate has been quite possibly the worst education governor that we have ever had in the Empire State.  Don’t forget this is the man who is on the take from Wall Street, DFER, and charter school operators.  He is also the man who declared that schools who perform poorly on standardized tests should receive the death penalty.  While NYSUT may not want to publish anything against Cuomo and may secretly hope that he gets the AFL-CIO endorsement, the PJSTA is happy to report that we will, under no circumstances, be encouraging our members to vote for him.

That brings us to Rob Astorino.  Mr. Astorino achieved some well deserved praise when he opted his children out of the state tests this year.  Kudos to him.  Of course that’s not the only issue that matters in public education.  When speaking of charter schools Mr. Astorino has said, “And for you charter school parents whose classrooms are being shut down, I’ll have your back. We need more charter schools in New York, not fewer.”  In other words, like Cuomo, he will continue to support our tax dollars being siphoned off to be used to fund what amount to exclusive private schools.  The last thing our schools need is a continued loss of funds as politicians kowtow to the powerful charter school operators.   No thanks Mr. Astorino.  I won’t make the mistake of giving him my vote either.

That brings us to the increasingly popular third party options.  Last week we learned that Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, a Teamster, named Brian Jones of the MORE Caucus as his running mate.  Perhaps you remember when we previously posted this video of Jones…

Below is the Green Party’s education platform.  It has certainly earned my vote…

Education

Introduction: The purpose of education is to produce critically thinking, civically engaged responsible adults committed to building and maintaining a just sustainable, democracy. All children in New York State deserve a quality public education preK-? (grade 16, beyond) that fosters critical thought and creativity. Learning is a lifelong and life-affirming process and all people, regardless of age, should have equal access to education.

The Green Party of New York State supports the following policies:

Equity for All Students

  • All schools should receive the same amount of services and resources regardless of the socio-economic class of the community.

  • Public schools should not be funded by outside sources such as corporations.

  • Every school shall be fully staffed with a nurse, a social worker, and services available to parents.

  • Every school shall have afterschool and weekend programs.

  • Each child, regardless of economic status, must be offered free breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Improve Our Students’ Learning Conditions

  • Funding must be made available for Creative Arts (Music, Art, Drama, Digital Arts), Physical Education, Technology, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Science, Math, and electives.

  • Every school shall be equipped with working computers, interactive boards, internet, heat, air conditioning, and have a fully-staffed library and media center.

  • Class size limits should be reduced by at least 10%, with no exceptions.

Fair Student Assessment

  • Standardized tests should be only one tool used for assessing student learning and growth. Portfolios, written assignments, verbal presentations, digital presentations, and projects shall all be available options.

Academic Freedom and Support

  • Educators shall be responsible for decisions regarding the methods and materials used for the instruction of their students.

  • When any new, significant education policy is agreed upon for implementation in the classrooms, it shall be:

    • Limited to one per academic year.

    • Administered with a minimum of two years professional development.

    • Continuously reviewed by a jointly agreed upon panel of experts for effectiveness.

Special Educators

  • Professional educators working with special education students should be assigned reasonable caseloads that will allow for all mandated services and paperwork, to be completed during the work day.

  • Educators working with special education students shall be able to safely report any inconsistencies between the mandated services included in a student IEP and the services that the student is actually receiving.

Paraprofessionals, Physical Therapists, and Occupational Therapists

  • Salaries for all paraprofessionals, physical therapists and occupational therapists should be increased to levels closer to teachers.

  • All paraprofessionals, physical therapists, and occupational therapists shall be offered the same job protections as teachers.

Guidance Counselors

  • There should be one guidance counselor in every school.

  • The state recommended ratio of 250 students to one counselor should be lowered to 200:1.

Fairness and Due Process in Evaluating Educators

  • Eliminate the use of test scores for teacher evaluations and reduce the amount of evaluation paperwork.

  • Observations of teachers should not be conducted by principals, but by fellow teachers, department chairs, and experts in the field of the teacher being observed.

  • All employees shall have the right to respond to accusations and demonstrate that they are inaccurate or unfair.

  • Restore the principle of innocent until proven guilty in all investigations. An independent arbitrator, jointly selected and paid for by the school district and union local, shall judge all grievances and removals.

  • There shall be a clear and explicit path to tenure, stating what is expected from new teachers in order to receive it. All denials must include a written explanation and be eligible for appeal before an independent arbitrator.

Administrator Conduct

  • Any administrator that is found to be routinely violating the contract at their school shall be automatically removed and face charges for permanent removal.

Governance of New York City Schools

  • End centralized mayoral control of New York City public schools.

  • School board members should be publicly elected, not appointed.

  • High schools teachers must have the right to elect the chairs of their own departments.

  • Prohibit the sale of public school land and buildings to private real estate developers.

Charter Schools

  • End public subsidies and tax breaks for charter schools.

  • Ban the co-location of charter schools in public school buildings.

School Funding

  • Stop the testing of students and evaluation of teachers for the purpose of funding schools or closing schools.

  • Federal and state funding of schools should be based solely on need.

Military Recruitment

  • Prohibit military recruitment and access to student records in public schools and public colleges.

Higher Education

  • Allow City University faculty to continue to elect their own department chairs.

  • Restore free tuition at CUNY and SUNY, for all low-income students who graduate from public schools.

  • Provide tuition-free education at SUNY, CUNY, and community colleges for students who perform 250 hours of community service per year, or 125 hours per year for students in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics); and who stay in New York for at least five years after graduation.

  • Establish a Debt Jubilee for indebted students.

  •  
This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Why I am Voting Green Party for Governor

  1. Pingback: NYSUT Refuses to Oppose Cuomo But You Still Can! | The official website of the PJSTA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s