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Overall, last night’s election results offered mixed results from wherever you stand on the political spectrum. But through the lens of the impact on teachers and students in New York State, there is reason to celebrate.
Most of NYSUT’S endorsed candidates in the State Senate and Assembly won, and so, for the first time in years, we have reason to feel optimistic about how Albany will respond to the needs of public education in New York during the next legislative session.
Sadly, Baldwin reading teacher Christine Pellegrino, who we helped elect 18 months ago in a special election, and who had quickly established herself as a dynamic fighter within the Assembly, did not win her bid for reelection. But as we look at former teachers called to politics, Monica Martinez, a former teacher from Brentwood, narrowly defeated Dean Murray in the third Senate District. Much of the credit for that victory goes to volunteers, including close to 100 NYSUT members who knocked on doors for her this past Saturday.
We want to express our tremendous gratitude to all the SWRTA members who volunteered their personal time this election cycle (making phone calls, sorting and distributing cards, canvasing) to help elect candidates who will protect public education.
If (when) things go our way in the coming year, we will all have you to thank.
SWRTA Corresponding Secretary
Here are the NYSUT endorsed candidates for the 2018 general election. These are the candidates who we believe will best represent our values and will protect public education. See the image below or click here for a .pdf version.
If you need to double check any of your voter info (which districts you’re in, where you vote, etc), you can get that by clicking here.
If you needed a single piece of evidence to show just why this year’s election is so important, it was provided yesterday by State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (Smithtown). On Monday, in an interview with WNYC, Flanagan referred to NYSUT as a “force of evil” for our support of candidates who support our values (specifically, against APPR and against charter school expansion).
EVIL? This is US he’s talking about. You, Me, everyone we work with. Even within the messy, impolite, world of political races, this is a new low. But for the moment, let’s put aside just how un-democratic a statement like this is. Let’s also temporarily put aside how, regardless of the election, this comment adds more fuel to anti-teacher and anti-union sentiment that causes us so much harm.
We need to focus on what Flanagan’s comments mean for this November. Flanagan has made it clear how he views us and what we can expect in the next year’s legislative session. Unless we can get more pro-education candidates elected in the Senate, we can count on a continuation of APPR and who knows what other damage might be on the way.
This is why every single one of you reading this need not only to vote for NYSUT endorsed candidates, but to do everything you can to help make sure that others do too. That includes talking to your family, your friends, and your neighbors, etc. It also means we need people to make phone calls.
Please check your emails for details on phone banks
In the last post, we talked about why this election is so important. Not only do we need each of you to make sure you get out and vote, but there are few other important things you can do to make sure that we come out on the winning side on November 6th.
- If you have grown children, make sure they are registered to vote. Click here for a link you can send them.
- If you have children away at college (or any family members who will be out of town on 11/6), click here to get them an absentee ballot.
- Click here to double check your own voter details (polling place, election districts, etc.) Or click here to find election district info for any address.
- Put it in your calendar – now. Planning out the time you’re going to vote (i.e. before school, after school, after dinner, etc) makes it much more likely that it will happen.
- Check out the list of NYSUT endorsed candidates (Don’t worry, we’ll send this out again – in a more condensed form – closer to Election Day)
- Help get out the vote. SWRTA will be helping out with phone banks on Monday, October 15th from 3:00 to 7 pm. You can come right after your building meetings.
Not only are phone banks way less stressful and much more fun than you probably think, they are also incredibly effective:
In the Con-Con election, 60% of NYSUT members voted overall. That’s pretty impressive, since it’s about double the general population. But what’s really amazing is that number rose to 87% among members who were directly contacted!
So please, click here to let us know that you’ll join us on the 15th . You can stay for as little or as long as you’re able.
2018 Phone Banks
223 Roanoke Ave, Riverhead
While every election is important, this year’s in particular will have a tremendous impact on public education here in New York. After putting up with years of broken promises, it actually looks like we have the opportunity to help put in place a number of legislators who share our values and will represent us and our students in Albany.
As just one example, last Spring a bill was before the Assembly and Senate that would have drastically changed APPR, allowing districts and unions to work together to create fair evaluation systems, rather than having to rely on invalid test scores and byzantine, state-approved rubrics. The Governor had announced plans to sign it, but it was blocked by a handful of Senators who were acting on their own agenda. Issues regarding charter schools, school funding, the tax cap, etc. have also failed to be addressed.
The APPR bill (as well as bills related to these other issues) will likely arise again and we want to make sure things go as they should.
It is critical that we have a very strong turnout to support NYSUT endorsed candidates. These are people who will help to make sure that the interests of public education are heard. It’s important to note that our endorsements include both incumbents and challengers and includes Independents, Republicans, and Democrats; what they have in common is that they share our values.
As you probably know, teachers tend to vote in slightly higher numbers compared to the general population. This is great, but it’s not enough. In addition to casting your own ballot, there are a few things you can do to help insure victory on November 6th. Click here for some ideas.