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Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins said today that Republic Rob Astorino's plan to run on a Stop Common Core ballot line is a "bait-and-switch diversion designed to channel legitimate concerns over Common Core behind the Republican agenda of underfunding and privatizing public education."
“This is bumpersticker sloganeering at its worst,” Hawkins said. “Voters shouldn't fall for this ploy to siphon off votes to the Republican column.”
Hawkins called on media and civic organizations to sponsor a gubernatorial debate focused solely on education as one in a series of debates.
“We know what Astorino is against. But what is he for?” asked Brian Jones, Hawkins' Lt. Governor running mate. “Astorino said he will release his ideas on curriculum reform in the fall. My state union federation, NYSUT, will make its endorsement in August. It's clear Astorino doesn't care what we educators think.”
Hawkins said that a debate focused on education would show that both Governor Cuomo and Astorino would underfund public schools, especially in property-poor inner city and rural communities. He said the high-stakes testing linked to Common Core is designed to fail public schools in disadvantaged communities and convert then into privately-managed charter schools.
“I want to fully fund public schools. We need to end the property tax cap and the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which has balanced the state budget on the backs of our children by cutting state aid to schools for the last five years. We need to stop competitive grants for school funding, which puts the poorer school districts at a further disadvantage. New York schools are the most segregated in the nation. Many are overcrowded. Class sizes are growing. That's hurting children's education. Politicians are blaming teachers instead of themselves for these conditions. Now a lawsuit seeks to take away New York teachers' due process rights under tenure rules. These issues, as well as Common Core, need a full debate,” Hawkins said.
“The biggest problem with Common Core is that it is linked to high-stakes tests that can be used to hold students back, deny diplomas, fire teachers, and close schools,” Hawkins said. “This test-and-punish regime needs to be replaced with a support-and-improve approach. We need qualitative assessments of students and teachers, not simplistic standardized tests designed more for the convenience of testing technology vendors than for educational objectives.”
“We need standards, but educators should design them, not private contractors with lucrative contracts. All the outsourcing for curriculum design and testing for Common Core is wasting public school resources,” Hawkins added.
On Thursday, July 4, 2014, Howie Hawkins attended the Manlius, NY Independent Day parade. Hawkins is pictured at right with local teachers, Peter and Emily and their twins.
Howie Hawkins statement on July 4 and the Meaning of Democracy
On July 4, politicians declare their love for the American Revolution and democracy, while doing their best to oppose it both at home and abroad.
Because economic power translates into political power, the extreme concentration of wealth in the top 1% undermines democracy. Both main parties have colluded over the last four decades to transfer wealth to their super-rich donors, while ensuring that no meaningful reforms take place to our electoral system. The U.S. leads the industrial nations in income inequality because our electoral system is the least democratic.
The sacred texts of Jews, Christians, and Muslims all call for a Jubilee every 50 years to redistribute wealth and forgive debts, not just for moral reasons, but to make the economy function again. America needs a Jubilee.
Cuomo had $33 million in his campaign war chest on January 15, 2014. Only 4273 people contributed to Cuomo by Jan. 15, 2014 in the three years since he took office in Jan. 2011.Read more
In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, we support full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, characteristics, and expression. We were one of the first groups to campaign for same-sex marriage. The Green Party Mayor and Deputy Mayor of New Paltz began performing same-sex marriages in 2004 soon after they were elected, leading eventually to state legalization.Read more
NYC Pride March!
Represent the Hawkins/Jones campaign at the NYC Pride March in Manhattan this Sunday! Wear your campaign t-shirts and festive Green attire as we spread a message of equality, equity and justice for all!
Sunday June 29, 2014 12:30pm - 3:30pm
Meet at the South Side of Union Square, under the George Washington Statue
Google map and directions
Green Party Defends Teacher Tenure Against Legal Challenge
The Green Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor today spoke out strongly against a lawsuit to be filed by a former CNN anchor seeking to overturn tenure in New YorkState.
"The attack on teacher tenure is about scapegoating teachers for the conditions of our schools," remarked Brian Jones, a former NYC school teacher running for Lieutenant Governor. "Why aren't they filing suit against Cuomo for shortchanging local schools for funding by $9 billion? Or over the fact that New YorkState has the most segregated schools in the country, worse than it was 50 years ago?"
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, points out that teacher tenure was enacted nationwide more than a century ago to protect academic freedom and to stop the firing of teachers based on political and partisan changes in local school boards and principals.
"Tenure establishes and preserves a highly qualified teacher workforce in our schools. Teacher turnover is a huge problem -- especially in high-needs schools. Removing tenure does nothing to stop the revolving door. Tenure and seniority help to create a stable (i.e., not revolving) community of adults in schools, which is what children and families want," noted Howie Hawkins.
"Tenure prevents high teacher turnover and protects New Yorkers against the politics of personal bias, favoritism, and cronyism in our schools. Tenure means due process for disciplinary action. Teachers don't hire themselves and they don't control the disciplinary process," added Hawkins.
New York has a 3- to 4-year probationary periods for new teachers and a new evaluation system, which established an expedited process allowing schools to hold teachers accountable based on teacher evaluation results.
The Green Party pointed out that the Democratic Party and Governor Cuomo have been leading the fight in New York against teachers. Nationally, in 2010 President Barack Obama praised the firing of 93 teachers in Central Falls, Rhode Island. When 7,000 teachers were fired in the wake of a devastating flood in Louisiana, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina."
"Like we recently saw with the tenure lawsuit in California, the New York plaintiffs are elite private schoolers bankrolled by millionaires, who want to argue that workers are the problem," Jones added.
“The education policies coming from the leadership of both major parties in the recent state budget – from underfunding public schools and promoting charter schools to modifying but not ending the high-stakes testing regime – are pro-privatization and anti-public schools. They are promoting a dual school system, separate and unequal. We need to address the root causes of low-performing students and schools in poverty, segregation, and underfunding schools in low-income communities,” said Hawkins.
The lawsuit is being filed by the Partnership for Educational Justice led by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown. Her husband, Dan Senor, sits on the board of the New York affiliate of StudentsFirst, an education lobbying group founded by Michelle Rhee, the controversial former Washington, DC, chancellor who is a leader of the charter school movement.
Cuomo has been a strong proponent of privatization of education, including charter schools. Cuomo has received significant funding from hedge funds that find charter schools incentives to be highly profitable investments.
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Hawkins, when he’s not running for some public office or another, is a blue collar unionist and unreconstructed socialist. His running mate, Brian Jones, is a former public school teacher. Whereas Teachout’s campaign embodies the spirit of the 2006 Democratic primary wave in many ways, Hawkins and Jones lay a greater claim to the legacy of Occupy Wall Street.
Jones Slams Success Academy Charter School Expansion Plans
(NYC) Brian Jones, the Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor, took aim at the recent announcement by the SuccessAcademy that it would seek to expand the size of its network of charter schools over the next few years. SuccessAcademy is headed by former New York City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz.
“Success Academy is throwing its money and political weight around, bypassing popular support for the idea that well-heeled charter schools should pay their fair share,” said Jones, alluding to a new law brokered earlier this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo that requires New York City to provide charter schools with free classroom space or pay them to find their own space. The measure won support after a Wall Street funded public relations blitz from charter school advocates and Cuomo campaign donors.Read more