A coalition of some 14 NYC advocacy groups (including: Change The Stakes, Class Size Matters, Coalition for Public Education (CPE), Community Education Council 14, El Puente, Independent Commission on Public Education (ICOPE), La Fuente, Local 32BJ, Metallic Lathers & Reinforcing Ironworkers-Local 46, NYC Kids PAC, NYC Parents Union, Parents To Improve School Transportation (PIST), Transit Forward and TWU Local 100) had a NYC mayoral forum on education moderated by Juan Gonzalez (NY Daily News and Democracy Now!) and tried to nail down all candidates for mayor to very specific promises regarding our schools. A bold move--get them on record! Tell them you will hold them to it later.
Quinn and Weiner didn't bother to show. Neither did the Republican candidates Catsimitidis, Lhota, and McDonald. I should note that Quinn has a pretty bad record about showing up to public forums. It is almost as if she has no interest in meeting the public! Now I expect a disdain for voters and for education from the Republicans, but Quinn should know better! As a latecomer in the race I am willing to cut Weiner a little slack...he is still getting his campaign up and running now that he is rising to the occasion of running for mayor (he will NEVER escape the jokes!). But bottom line is it looks bad when 17 organizations get together to hold a forum on one of the most important issues to parents in NYC and a candidate doesn't show. Shame on Quinn, Weiner and ALL the Republicans.
Regarding those who bothered to show, here is how the coalition ranked the candidates based on the promises they were willing to publicly make on education related issues on the spot:
An informal calculation made at the forum shows these results: Liu and Gronowicz got perfect scores of 100%, Salgado 87%, Albanese 73%, de Blasio 60%, Carrion 50%, and Thompson 33%.
Just so everyone knows the players (since it has become a crowded field) here are the party affiliations of the invited candidates, whether they attended or not:
Sal Albanese (D), Adolfo Carrion (I), John Catsimatidis (R), Bill DeBlasio (D), Anthony Gronowicz (G), Joseph Lhota (R), John Liu (D), George McDonald (R), Christine Quinn (D), Erick Salgado (D), William Thompson (D), and Anthony Weiner (D).
I have met Albanese, de Blasio, Liu, Thompson and Weiner and can comment on them. My wife has met Quinn and I can pass on her comments there. The others I have not met.
The highlight...: All the candidates promised to commit to specific class size reduction goals by the end of their first term, and if necessary, to raise revenue to meet them. All the candidates also promised to stop sharing personal student information with inBloom and other corporations, without full parental notification and consent.
The most contentious issues -- predictably -- related to Mayoral control, governance and parent empowerment. Only Liu, Gronowicz and Salgado agreed to give up three of their appointments on the Panel for Education Policy to representatives who would be elected by parents, though Thompson said he would give up two of his seats. DeBlasio and Thompson also opposed giving Community Education Councils the authority to approve co-locations and school closings, though they said they would listen to CECs for advisory input. (DeBlasio explains his position at about 31 min. in on the video.)
Another contentious issue related to require charter schools that are housed in DOE facilities to pay rent; Albanese, Carrion and Thompson said they would not require this.
You can find video of the forum here: http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2013/06/last-nights-parent-led-mayoral-forum.html
A preliminary compilation of the answers each ATTENDING candidate gave for pubic consumption (and on which the above rankings are based) on the forum's questionnaire can be found here (PDF). No partial credit to those who didn't attend!
I first became aware of Yetta Kurland when she last ran for City Council because she focused on the closing of St. Vincent's Hospital, a huge mistake that has put New Yorkers' lives in danger because it reduces hospital coverage and it also puts additional financial burden on other hospitals which now have to take up the slack left in the wake of St. Vincent's closing.
Bloomberg doesn't seem to get that closing hospitals is a bad idea for New York. Yetta Kurland DOES get that and that was how I first became aware of her. She gets the complexities of hospital coverage in a city and how closing a hospital negatively impacts all other nearby hospitals.
Now she is running again and I heartily endorse her. Here is her latest campaign video:
Yetta Kurland has been endorsed by District Council 37, TWU Local 100, Amalgamated Transit Union International, CWA Local 1180, Metallic Lathers & Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 46, New York City Board of Education Employees Local 372 (DC37 AFSCME), New York Metro Area Postal Union, APWU, AFL-CIO, The Chelsea-Midtown Democratic Club, The Women’s Democratic Club of NYC, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and many others.
An interesting sounding event covering a controversial issue:
A discussion about euthanasia and the value of suffering toward the end of life:
Thursday, June 20, 2013
New York University
Kimmel Center, Room 914
60 Washington Square South
New York, NY
Dr. Margaret SOMERVILLE
Professor at McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law,
Dr. Daniel SULMASY
Professor of Medicine and Ethics, Divinity School
University of Chicago
This conference is open to the public and free of charge.
Find us on FACEBOOK.
An issue I have had to deal with very unwillingly. It is best to be prepared.
My wife trains at and teaches at a Karate and Self-Defense Dojo dedicated to self-defense for women and LGBTQ individuals. Unless my wife is celebrating one of her many kata ceremonies, I am actually not allowed there! It is a protected and protective environment for women and LGBTQ. The Dojo is called the Center for Anti-Violence Education (a great name and great idea)!
The Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE) develops and implements comprehensive violence prevention programs for individuals and organizations. Through a combination of education, physical empowerment, and leadership development, CAE provides underserved communities throughout the New York metropolitan area with skills to break cycles of violence.
I should emphasize that when there were a series of sexual assaults in Brooklyn, it was the Center for Anti-Violence Education that responded with free self-defense classes for ANY school or community center that wanted it. They have become the go-to people in NYC when women or LGBTQ are threatened. My wife is one of the self-defense trainers.
They are making new efforts to reach more and more communities, but they need more funds to cover their costs. From their most recent email:
Our series of free LGBTQ self-defense classes made it into the news! Watch this video! and check out all our clips in the CAE press room. Donate to CAE today and your gift will be matched! Every dollar helps us continue to provide free programming around the city.
And please support out work by helping us meet a $10,000 challenge grant. Click here to have your gift matched dollar for dollar. A $25 gift becomes a $50 gift! Donate by June 30 to help us reach this goal.
With your support we will continue our work across the city to end violence and to help keep us all safer, stronger and more resilient!
A video from a past year:
They rely on fundraising to help women and LGBTQ individuals get self-defense training even if they can't afford it. They will help ANY woman or LGBTQ individual regardless of means, which means they need our help to keep going. They just had their big annual fundraiser, their "Punch-a-thon" where they do 1000 punches to raise money. Both Joy and Jacob did all 1000 punches and have a fundraising site to help the Center for Anti-Violence Education.
Please join me in donating to Joy and Jacob's fundraising site to help women and LGBTQ folks fight against violence.
For NYC folks more info below... read more »
This month's meeting of Central Brooklyn Liberal Eating (no longer affiliated with Eating Liberally) will be Tuesday, May 14th at 7:30 PM at Ghenet Ethiopian restaurant on 4th Ave.
348 Douglass Street Brooklyn (corner of 4th Ave)
Great food and lots of juicy Albany scandals to talk about as well as mayor's race.
Hope to see you there!