Bowman is backed by the Justice Democrats, the CSA, the New York Times, the Badass Teachers Association, The Sunrise Movement, The Working Families Party, AOC, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and others in a kind of a Who's Who of the progressive wing of the party. A quick look at Bowman's education plan shows there is much to like.
Instead of privatization, expanding charter schools, and shutting down public schools, let’s equitably invest in our public schools, pay our teachers a living wage, and fund full-time nurses, counselors, social workers in every school.
Instead of a test-and-punish regime that stigmatizes, labels, and ranks students, teachers, and schools, we should educate the whole child: nurturing their physical, cognitive, social, and creative development.
7. Raise teacher salaries to the living wage of at least $60,000 a year and support the rights of our educators to collective bargaining and to advocate for quality education for every student.
8. Support efforts to unionize in our schools. Support federal action to counter anti-unionization policies and practices, such as exist in so-called “right to work” states.
What about the UFT?
They are backing Eliot Engel, the incumbent. A reader who lives in the district sent this:
As we witness and participate in this moment of truly meaningful civic engagement, it is also the right moment to show that our voices matter. With the New York State Primary on June 23, it is critical for us to engage with candidates for public office to share our vision for our communities before we cast our votes.
Please join us this Wednesday, 6/17 at 4 PM for a virtual rally to get the vote out to send Congressman Engel back to DC to fight for all of us.
Long before becoming a Member of Congress, Eliot Engel was a member of the UFT and NYSUT and worked as a public school teacher in the Bronx. Eliot knows how important our public schools are and works every day to ensure our students in the Bronx and Westchester have the bright future they deserve.
Eliot has always been a teacher, an advocate and our ally in Congress. He has had our back and now he needs our help.
AFT National President Randi Weingarten as well as local leaders from the Bronx and Westchester will join the rally in support of Eliot. We have to build relationships with our future elected leaders if we want to enact meaningful change. Please, if you can, join us this Wednesday for a virtual rally in support of Eliot.
Thank you and stay safe,
UFT Political Director
PS: Breaking news! Hillary Clinton endorses Eliot Engel
I checked Engel's education record and, of course, he voted for No Child Left Behind with its test and punish program for schools that was a disaster. Its followup, the Every Child Succeeds Act, isn't much better and Engel was a yes vote. Check out his education platform for yourself here.
I think it is clear Bowman is the better candidate for public education. I have one concern left: Why aren't the teachers who worked for him coming out to support his candidacy in droves? Maybe they are and we just don't know about it. If my last principal, Linda Siegmund, was running for any elected office from City Council to President, I would be leading the charge as would most of the staff to campaign for her. However, it was a teacher from another school who spoke at Bowman's initial campaign rally.
Leonie sent me some links to Bowman's record on the Learning Environment Surveys but those surveys are often unreliable. Leonie also did find a tribute on Twitter and one on Facebook from two former teachers who worked for Bowman.
Is the UFT going to trot out teachers tomorrow to speak poorly about Bowman at the virtual rally? I sincerely hope not but if anyone is out there who knows teachers or others who worked for Bowman, could you please get some information out now. I think it would be helpful. One retiree said to me that Bowman looks good but was he decent to his teachers or did they say good riddance when he left? This retiree wanted to know before sending his ballot back.
As for the UFT, they will always support the Democratic incumbent unless he/she is in prison as I stated earlier. That said, I don't remember the Union rallying for Joe Crowley in 2018 before he lost to AOC but yes, they are supporting AOC now.
One more point: this piece is about a Democratic Party Primary. I ask for our right-wing readers to please stay out of this internal Democratic in house squabble. Thanks.
Update: June 24, 2020, from Buzzfeed:
Jamaal Bowman, a former educator and middle school principal from the Bronx, declared victory Wednesday over Rep. Eliot Engel, a 16-term member of Congress who represents New York’s 16th congressional district.
Another UFT defeat here but AOC, who the UFT endorsed this time, won big.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A resounding primary win by Democratic U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a fellow liberal’s lead over a longtime New York congressman signaled fresh momentum for progressive politics amid growing calls for economic and racial justice in the United States.