NYSUT Condemns Cuomo's Public School “Monopoly” Statement

Gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo gets hit for criticizing the current New York public schools system.

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), a 600,000-member-strong federation of teachers’ unions across New York State, issued an open letter Thursday to the state’s gubernatorial candidates in response to each candidate’s stance on the public school system.

The statement, signed by NYSUT President Karen Magee and NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, thanked Cuomo’s Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, for his October 29 letter, which expressed “respect for teachers and public education in New York State,” according to the NYSUT release.

NYSUT also expressed displeasure with Cuomo’s calling the current system a monopoly.

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“Governor Cuomo’s remarks disrespect teachers, parents and the democratically elected school boards who ensure local schools are the farthest thing possible from a ‘monopoly,’” NYSUT wrote. “NYSUT today calls upon elected leaders and candidates in all parties to reject gratuitous bashing of teachers and public schools; to stand with teachers and parents against over testing and to improve learning; and affirm respect for teachers as indispensable partners in advancing learning and strengthening schools.”

Read More: Westchester’s Karen Magee Breaks Gender Barrier In Union Election

According to an October 27 article in The New York Daily News, Cuomo has a different idea for school reform. He told the Daily News in an editorial meeting that competition from charter schools combined with a focus on hiring and retaining “better teachers” was the key to reforming and improving the state’s public education system.

“I believe these kinds of changes are probably the single best thing that I can do as governor that’s going to matter long-term,” he told the Daily News. “To break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies—and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”

The NYSUT thank you statement is a bit of good news for Astorino, who is trailing Cuomo in the polls. According to the latest results from Politico, Cuomo leads Astorino 54-33. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins trails both in the Politico poll with 9 percentage points.

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