NYC Kids PAC Endorses Bill de Blasio for Mayor, Letitia James for Public Advocate and Scott Stringer for Comptroller
Dear New Yorkers:
Mayor: We endorse Bill de Blasio for Mayor. De Blasio has run a courageous campaign and has been outspoken on many of the issues parents care about including privatization, co-locations, testing and the need for more parent input in our public schools.
This was not an easy decision for us to make, as John Liu’s responses to our survey were the best of all the Democratic candidates, and his record as a City Comptroller has been exemplary. Yet Liu’s candidacy at this point appears to be a long shot, and we believe that electing a Mayor who will reverse the downward spiral that the Bloomberg administration has taken our schools is absolutely vital.
All the Mayoral candidates who responded to our survey deserve credit for providing us with thoughtful and revealing responses. We urge parents and others who care about education to take a look. We want to praise the other frontrunners, including Bill Thompson for being willing to give up the mayoral majority on the Board of Education, and Chris Quinn, for supporting checks and balances to mayoral control through the City Council, as well as some of their other positive stances on the issues that matter.
But the positions Quinn has taken in the past in going along with the damaging Bloomberg agenda, and Thompson’s relative quiescence over the last twelve years rules them out in our eyes. Bill de Blasio, we hope and believe, will stop the rampant privatization of our schools and the overemphasis on testing, will listen more closely to the concerns of parents and communities, and will push for new investments in expanding preK, improving classroom conditions and alleviating school overcrowding.
He has pledged to charge charter schools for the space and services they now receive for free, and to take personal student information out of inBloom Inc. and refrain from sharing it with third parties without parental consent. We hope he takes a second, hard look at the governance issue before mayoral control comes up for a vote in 2015, because no matter how benign, no mayor — indeed, no public official — should have the unchecked power that the state has given the NYC mayor in running our schools. In the meantime, we are confident that Bill de Blasio will take public education in a far better direction than Bloomberg has during the last 12 years.
Public Advocate: We endorse Letitia James without reservations. In the City Council, Tish James has battled for more transparency in contracting, and has supported public school parents during divisive co-location battles in her district. She has also highlighted and advocated for children as young as five who have been repeatedly suspended and pushed out of charter schools. Her responses to our survey were terrific and show great understanding of the issues.
We are concerned that both Reshma Saujani and Daniel Squadron are too closely linked to the wealthy hedge fund community who want to privatize our public schools – and neither one filled out our surveys, despite repeated requests. Cathy Guerriero deserves praise for her advocacy and her progressive positions on education issues, and we hope she runs for public office again in the future. But Letitia James wins our wholehearted support, not only because of her strong stances, but also because of her track record as a public official for standing up for what is right, both in her community and citywide. We believe that Letitia James will make an excellent Public Advocate.
City Comptroller: We endorse Scott Stringer, because of his laudable record as Manhattan Borough President. Stringer has released a series of excellent reports on school overcrowding and technology, and frequently meets with parents and constituents and listens to our concerns. He has a very able and hard-working policy staff, and deserves credit for appointing and retaining Patrick Sullivan, the best representative on the Panel for Educational Policy that could be imagined. Stringer has allowed Sullivan to argue vociferously with the DOE policies, and vote independently, according to his conscience and his brains. Despite repeated requests to his campaign, Spitzer did not respond to our survey.
While Stringer’s positions on school governance are not as strong as we would like, he has a history of working well with parents, has pushed hard to get more schools built both in his borough and citywide, and has put forward some excellent plans for what he would do as Comptroller, including developing a real needs analysis of school capacity to alleviate overcrowding and reduce class size – something the Bloomberg administration has refused to do in 12 years. He also intends to conduct cost-benefit studies of the outsourcing of city contracts, a practice that has been abused by this administration. We believe that Scott Stringer would make an admirable City Comptroller.
NYC Kids Political Action Committee is run by volunteer parents who currently or have had children attending NYC public schools. The decision to endorse is based on the candidate survey, candidates’ track record, specific plans and proposals put forth by the candidates and the potential impact on the election. In developing the survey we solicited input from more than 2,000 constituents.
No matter whom you support, please make sure to vote next Tuesday, September 10.
Shino, Mario, Isaac, Lisa, Leonie, Andy, Karen and Tesa for NYC Kids PAC