Hawkins Condemns Cuomo’s Attack on Schools. Stands With Teachers, Parents, Students
“Education is Not a Game”
NY Times Story on LIPA Cover-Up Shows Cuomo: Has Pattern of Coverups and Can’t be Trusted
(Syracuse, NY) — “The battle for the future of our schools is on. On one side are powerful and wealthy figures who see our public schools as a potential source of profit. On the other side are parents, teachers, and students who are fighting to defend and improve our public schools. We, Brian Jones our Lt. Governor candidate and I stand solidly with our state’s teachers, students and parent,” said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor.
After Governor Cuomo’s recent description of schools as the “last public monopoly,” Hawkins said that this is just the latest episode in Cuomo’s ongoing attacks on public education and teachers.
“Andrew Cuomo is turning New York’s schools into the Hunger Games. He pushes a game of competitive grants, charter schools, and high-stakes testing. This type of competition leaves a lot of losers. But our children’s education is not a game.”
“What is Cuomo going to attack after he breaks the schools and teachers? Break up the police and fire departments? Have competing companies to deliver drinking water?” asked Hawkins.
Hawkins noted that under Cuomo funding for education has fallen to the lowest percentage of the state budget in 65 years, with a $9 billion cumulative shortfall from what the courts have ordered. He has also enacted tax caps to undermine the ability of local schools districts to make up for the state’s funding shortfall.
Cuomo has also led a drive to privatize the schools, favoring charter schools and promoting high stakes testing, both of which increase profits for his campaign contributors. Last week he vowed to challenge public school teachers by supporting stricter teacher evaluations and competition from charter schools.
“A governor who treats public education as some corporate entity, who shows no support for public education doesn’t deserve a second term. The remarks made clear that Cuomo is an enemy of our public education system. And that he wants to break it,” added Hawkins.
“Cuomo claims to want competition in the education market, but he doesn’t really want a free market—he’s rigging the game. He’s underfunding the public schools at a 65-year low as a percentage of the budget. He’s providing extra subsidies to privately managed public schools. He is not for competition; he’s favoring the charters. His real agenda is about undermining public education to privatize it.”
“This whole idea of competition is wrongheaded anyway. Education should be a human right. New York’s constitution says every child should be provided a sound education; that’s not to be outsourced to corporations and investors, yet that is his goal. ”
Hawkins wants assessments written by educators, not corporate contractors. “We want to end the role of using testing to punish schools, students or teachers. 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,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins said that Cuomo’s deeply disturbing comment on education is part of a pattern of increasingly erratic behavior by Cuomo in the closing days of the campaign, starting with his mishandling of the Ebola epidemic. Yesterday he dismissed the Moreland Commission scandal as “political baloney.”
Cuomo also has shown a clear pattern of cover-ups, where he hides or alters information from the public for his own political needs. He shut down his second Moreland Commission once it began asking questions about the massive campaign contributions he was receiving. He altered a federal hydrocracking study he commissioned to downplay fracking’s threat to the water supply. And today the NY Times reports in an expose that Cuomo hid from the public the role his administration played in leaving the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) short staffed, which contributed to its disastrous performance in Hurricane Sandy. He also blocked their efforts to communicate with the public during the Sandy emergency. He used the report to privatize LIPA.
“Cuomo has a Nixonian compulsion for cover-ups. He can’t be trusted to tell New Yorkers the truth,” Hawkins said.
“There is a reason why Cuomo’s nickname is the Prince of Darkness. He is the top dog in the culture of corruption that dominates the State Capitol. He deceives the public, he bullies_—his administration has been one of the most secretive in history, evading the Freedom of Information law. And he trades political favors, at taxpayer expense, in exchange for massive donations,” added Hawkins.
“One has to wonder why a party like the Working Families Party wants people to vote for a candidate who attacks workers and public education, opposes making the rich pay their fair share of taxes, waffles on fracking, doesn’t support universal single payer health care, and covers up information critical to the public to suit his political goals.”
Hawkins has been endorsed by a wide range of teachers union and educators, include Diane Ravitch; Nassau County’s East Williston Teachers’ Association; northern Westchester County’s Lakeland Federation of Teachers; Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, Valley Central Teachers Association, Buffalo Teachers Federation, The Plainview-Old Bethpage Congress of Teachers.; New York Badass Teacher Association, United Opt Out Independent Community of Educators, Independent Commission on Public Education (ICOPE), and Coalition for Public Education.
Video: April, 2014 Howie Hawkins on Education – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCVr0LqzsAY
July 2014 – An Open Letter from Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones for Lt. Governor to NY Teachers