Hawkins and Jones Say Education is a Basic Human Right
The Green Party gubernatorial team of Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones said today that education is a basic human right. They support expanding public education from early childhood through college and support statewide universal full day Pre-K and Kindergarten with certified and unionized educators.
"We will continue to stand with teachers and public school advocates to 1) oppose the corporate takeover and privatization of education and 2) expand education funding to meet our children's needs and so that teachers can teach," said Howie Hawkins.
The Green candidates support fully funding public schools by eliminating the property tax cap and the Gap Elimination Adjustment and increasing state aid to schools. They support a simpler need-based state school aid formula and an end to competitive grants for funding. The cumulative shortfall on Foundation Aid is now over $9 billion.
Hawkins and Jones want to reduce race and class segregation in New York schools, which are the most segregated in the nation.
"Policies supported by the Democratic and Republican parties in this state are creating a dual school system: separate and unequal. Cuomo's high-stakes testing regime is failing the underfunded schools and teachers of low-income children in order to privatize the schools as charters and downgrade the teaching profession. This agenda won't do anything to improve education for our students who have the greatest needs. It just punishes them for having those needs," said Hawkins.
The Green candidates want to replace Common Core-linked high-stakes testing of students, teachers, and schools with a qualitative assessments of students and teachers, designed by educators for educational objectives instead of the convenience and profit of testing vendors.
"Our children are not standardized and their brilliance cannot be quantified. We want schools that nurture all of their gifts and abilities, not just their ability to read to and to write. We want assessments written by educators, not corporate contractors. We want to end the role of using testing to punish schools, students or teachers," said Brian Jones, who taught in the NYC school system for 9 years.
"We support community (parent, teacher, student) control of schools, with adequate resources to write their own curricula. We need schools that respect, nurture, and support the cultures and languages in our communities. We want classrooms that promote wonder, make-believe, humor, joy, genuine inquiry, and fun in all of our schools for all of our children. The more we recruit their intrinsic interest in learning, the better the results will be, however we measure them," added Jones.
The Green candidates also urged voters to vote down the Smart Schools Bond Act, which would authorize $2 billion in new state debt to pay for computers, internet connectivity, and high-tech building security in public schools.
"This bond act from Google and Pearson is all about putting students online for high-stakes testing linked to Common Core. If we are going into debt for the schools, let's build more schools and classrooms in order to reduce overcrowding and class sizes and make sure students have a good connection with a teacher first," said Hawkins
Hawkins and Jones have previously called for the resignation of New York's Education Commissioner, John King. "As Cuomo's main accomplice in the corporate takeover of our schools, we think it's time to show him the door," said Jones.