Who Will NYSUT Endorse for Governor? Cuomo? Astorino? No One? A Yet to Be Named Working Families Party Candidate?

“Unless there is some significant change, I can’t imagine our teachers would even consider endorsing the governor,” [NYSUT President Karen] Magee said in a phone interview Monday.

Could the union back Astorino? “The field is open as to who we endorse,” she said, adding that she does not know enough about Astorino’s education policies.

In the 2010 election, NYSUT sat on the sidelines in the governor’s race.

At last weekend’s annual NYSUT convention the 2300 delegates jeered every time Cuomo’s name was mentioned. While the governor is unpopular among NYSUT members his polling is positive.

Governor Andrew Cuomo leads Westchester County Executive, Rob Astorino, the only declared Republican candidate for governor 61% to 26% … By a 64% to 28% voters say Cuomo is an “effective governor.”

The 600,000 members of NYSUT may have no faith in the governor, may actually despise him, may not trust him, and may feel he is solely concerned with his own advancement, willing to trade anything to benefit himself; jumping on the charter school band wagon for crass political advantage, to deprive his Republican opponent of charter school hedge fund dollars.

On the other hand he is the governor, he is the “big dog” in the state and all legislation requires his approval. If NYSUT wants a moratorium on the impact of test scores on APPR (teacher evaluation) the governor must be on board. Sitting on the table are the Dream Act, Women’s Equality and Medical Marijuana legislation and perhaps the beginnings of a major adjustment in the property tax cap: every piece of legislation ends on the governor’s desk.

At this point the governor is 35% points ahead of the only declared Republican candidate and he hasn’t even begun to run, he has a deep political war chest.

The campaign will probably be interesting if the Working Families Party (WFP) decides to run a candidate in the primary or in the general election – a candidate to the left of Cuomo who could attract liberal voters. A WFP candidate would require Cuomo to run further to the left and leave the voters in the middle up for grabs. Teachers might have an option, and, Cuomo might decide he needs a NYSUT endorsement, all speculation.

The only elected who spoke at the NYSUT Conference was the senior Senator from New York State – Charles Schumer who ran against Alfonse D’Amato for the US Senate in 1999 – he began with 3% in the early polling. D’Amato decided to run a campaign attacking teachers – Schumer never backed off, he defended teachers, and never backed away one iota. In every speech he regales the audience with his commitment to public education – he lists the schools he attended (PS 197, JHS 234 and Madison High School), he reminds us of his teachers by name, and that his daughters also went to public schools. His teachers did something right!

In 2012 I worked in President Obama’s re-election campaign – as with most teachers I disagreed with almost all his education ideas – yet – did I want Romney in the White House? Did I want a president who opposed public schools? Who supported vouchers? Who wanted to privatize Social Security? No, I worked for Obama because while I disagreed with his educational agenda he was far better than his Republican counterparts.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Chuck Schumers

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2 responses to “Who Will NYSUT Endorse for Governor? Cuomo? Astorino? No One? A Yet to Be Named Working Families Party Candidate?

  1. If they endorse a Working Families candidate, it will have long range negative impacts on unionism in this city. They should not be tempted by anticipated gains in the short term. Gov Cuomo was reared in a family that valued NYC public education. He knows full well at this point that Public and Charter Schools can co-exits. Its up to the UFT to improvise and come up with a sensible set of conractual guidelines that are especially designed to recognize the uniqueness of both work places. The strategy of uniform contracts system wide is a dinosaur. Our schools are diverse, and emerging. A Uion contract be it for Teachers or Administrators must be flexible in design and in purpose. Im sure that our present Gov would embrace such thought, and principles.

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  2. I don’t really care who the union endorses, The union endorsed Bill Thompson and we see how that ended. I’m voting for the green party candidate. I won’t vote for Cuomo after the charter school bill. I have two children in public school and their school is wonderful. We parents work hard to give them art and music. We raised money to redo the science lab. Now we’ll probably lose space to a Success school, thanks to the governor. I know he’ll be re-elected, but I hope he wins by a very narrow margin. He decided that all the people who voted for BdB because they wanted change don’t matter. Our votes, our voices meant nothing to him. I want all kids to have excellent schools, but not on the backs of my kids. They count too.

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