Tuesday, September 6, 2016

NYC Kids PAC endorses Gustavo Rivera, Robert Jackson, Debbie Medina and Robert Carroll for the State Legislature in Tuesday’s Primaries

NYC Kids PAC, composed of parent leaders and public school advocates from throughout the city, endorsed four outstanding candidates running for the NY State Legislature in the Democratic primaries to be held next Tuesday, September 13.  Based on their exceptional records and their responses to our candidate survey (http://nyckidspac.org/current-candidate-surveys/2016-primary-surveys/), the Kids PAC board urged voters who care about education to cast their ballots for incumbent Gustavo Rivera in the Bronx,  Robert Jackson in Manhattan, and Debbie Medina in Brooklyn, all running for the NY State Senate. Finally, they also endorsed Robert Carroll from Brooklyn, running to replace retiring Jim Brennan in the State Assembly.

 “Gustavo Rivera has an exceptional record of standing up for our children and resisting the hedge-fund backed charter school onslaught which is diverting hundreds of millions of dollars and taking precious space from our public schools,” said Shino Tanikawa, President of NYC Kids PAC.  “His responses to our survey were also exceptionally thoughtful on school funding, equity, and campaign finance reform. In contrast, his opponent, Fernando Cabrera, failed to respond to our survey and supports tuition tax credits for private schools, which would create huge tax breaks for billionaires and further imperil our already underfunded public schools.”  Senator Rivera represents District 33, which includes parts of Kingsbridge Heights, East Tremont, Crotona Park, Fordham, Belmont, Van Nest, Claremont, High Bridge and Morris Park in the Bronx.

“Robert Jackson is a hero to many parents, not just in his district but throughout the city, for his stellar record on public education,” said Karen Sprowal, one of his constituents and a board member of NYC Kids PAC.  “He led the CFE lawsuit as President of the school board in Washington Heights and Inwood, resulting in the Court of Appeals decision that the state had illegally underfunded NYC public schools.  He went on to chair the City Council Education Committee, and has been fighting with parents every step of the way for our kids to obtain their constitutional right to a sound basic education.  His responses to our survey also showed a profound understanding of problems related to privatization, the Common Core standards, high-stakes testing and school overcrowding.”

“Though his opponent, Marisol Alcantara, had many good responses to our survey, she favors the continued expansion of charter schools, and has been supported by the IDC, the caucus that deprived the Democrats of control of the State Senate by voting with the Republicans.  Meanwhile, Micah Lasher, who is also running for this seat, refused to complete our survey and has a long history of supporting charter school expansion and high stakes testing, first as the chief lobbyist for the NYC Department of Education under Bloomberg and Klein, and then as the founding director of StudentsFirstNY.  StudentsFirstNY is relentlessly pro-charter and pro-corporate reform, though Lasher has scrubbed his affiliation with the organization from his campaign biography and his Linked-In profile.  That’s why we enthusiastically support Robert Jackson as the best candidate by far for anyone who cares about protecting and strengthening our public schools,” added Karen. District 31 includes parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights in Manhattan.

 “Debbie Medina has a long history of decades of grassroots community activism for social justice in District 18, which covers parts of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. In recent years, Medina has stood up for neighborhood public schools and joined the community in a fight against Success Academy’s co-location in MS 50. As the responses to our survey make clear, Medina is a strong advocate of public education and supports smaller classes, reducing the role of high stakes testing in public education, and stopping the expansion of charter schools. Medina is also committed to keeping big money out of politics to ensure that our neighborhood public schools are sufficiently and equitably funded. Meanwhile, incumbent Martin Dilan failed to complete our survey and has done little for the schools in the district,” explained Brooke Parker, a Greenpoint resident and Kids PAC board member. 

“Though all three candidates for Jim Brennan’s Assembly seat had good answers to our survey, Robert Carroll’s was the best, scoring 100% on governance, privatization and charters, parent empowerment, testing, standards, resources and more,” said Naila Rosario, a long time parent leader in the district and a Kids PAC board member.  “He also has a progressive record as an activist on Community Board 7 and we’re confident that he will do a great job in the Assembly, advocating for our public schools.” District 44 covers parts of Park Slope, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood and Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn.

In addition to endorsing these candidates, NYC Kids PAC members are also volunteering for their campaigns and urge other parents to do the same.  As NYC Kids PAC President Shino Tanikawa pointed out, “State elections are very important.  Many damaging educational policies originate at the state level.  It is critical to have allies in the NY Senate and Assembly who will fight with us to protect NYC children and their public schools.”  

Links to the candidates’ surveys and Kids PAC endorsements are here: www.nyckidspac.org

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