Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ENGEL AND BOWMAN ON EDUCATION (Updated: It looks like Bowman won and so did AOC!)

I understand the UFT basically endorses Democrats who are incumbents as a matter of form. One would have to be in prison to lose a UFT nod if already in office. However, occasionally a candidate comes along who checks all the boxes on education and is hard to oppose. This election that candidate is former Bronx Middle School Principal Jamaal Bowman in New York's 16th Congressional District.

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.

For example:
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. 
Or this:

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. 

Diane Ravitch is on board with Bowman as is Leonie Haimson with the NYC Kids Pac she belongs to. 

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, 

Cassie Prugh
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.


Eric said...

A. It doesnt matter
B. Who cares
C. Dues well spent

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how he feels about teachers in the ATR pool.

waitingforsupport said...

Uft backed means I must do the opposite. They taught me well.

Anonymous said...

Why does the deranged left always practice censorship when they can't win an argument with logic? Pathetic and weak. And now unfortunately this very sick group is going way Beyond censorship. These crazies will burn your whole city down.

Anonymous said...

Since I am Zionist (even if I do not support Bibi-Likud), Bowman is a bit of a worry, but Engel is a dinosaur. Dems control House so
I think Zoe Lofgen (CA) will assume his Chairmanship. OK.
But look at that district--- it is not anything close to what AOC has...
Next Mayor of NYC needs to be black or Hispanic--- but able and smart please. DeBlasio should resign.
Anyway--- Bowman might upset but not likely. Think Scarsdale and Rye. (I did not see Nadler and Schumer endorsements on this...?)
TY, Neal

Shelley said...

The phrase "All politics is local" may be making a come back. If the people in the 16th get out the vote and toss the incumbent in favor of the progressive upstart the headline in The Newspaper of Record will proclaim a shift to AOC. The conservative tabloids will do the socialist scare. The UFT will endorse either incumbent next go around. The phrase, often attributed to Tip O'Neill is down to two things: winning primaries, then working the back rooms to bring it on home. Eliot Engel's fate may be decided by the come back of the phrase that may reflect more than a shift to the New-New-Left of the fake-left and to more socialism, it may be a political engagement at the grassroots, a green deal and the green shoots that have sprung up over the graves of so many, so may victims of the pandemic in the Bronx. The rich, the Catholics, the Jewish constituency, folk up in the high Rye, and in what they still think of, in the unwoke Liberal and Neo-Liberal and Neocon neighborhoods, where the NYC author, Thomas Pynchon named his villain, the Arch-Plutocrat, Scarsdale Vibe, as "non-partisan democratic" Scarsdale, may be in for a reckoning now that the pandemic has exposed how the other half's vote may count and that war and business as usual are not local.

Anonymous said...

Bowman was a member of the Independence Party and wasn't a Democrat until 2018. If this is the great hope of the left, they may find him lacking in the end. I very much doubt Scaresdale is going to vote for Bowman. This district covers part of the Bronx and Southern Westchester. It should be a fascinating race. No surprise the UFT is with the corporate Democrat. It is who they are.

Anonymous said...

American Prospect:

House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel’s three-decade tenure in Congress may be coming to an end.

According to new polling from Data for Progress, middle school principal and progressive congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman has cracked open a 10-point lead in his primary bid to unseat Eliot Engel, the 16-term incumbent in New York’s 16th district. In a survey conducted between June 11 and June 15, Bowman showed a commanding advantage, holding a 41-31 margin over Engel, with 27 percent undecided.

That surprisingly decisive advantage adds even more momentum to Bowman’s campaign, which in recent weeks has been designated as “surging” by various news outlets, including this one. It’s also a sign of remarkable strength at this stage of an election cycle. Two years ago, no public poll showed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez within 30 points of establishment Congressman Joe Crowley, until Election Night. But Bowman is well ahead in the only poll released thus far in the race’s final stretch.

Anonymous said...

UFT on wrong side as usual.

Bronx ATR said...

Bowman has aggressively campaigned the electorate that votes. (I’ve had at least fifteen robo calls from him.) Engel was recently unknowingly over heard on TV requesting to speak at rally and being turned away. He pressed the issue and said he wouldn’t care except its an election year. It’s been played incessantly since and Bowman jumped all over it. I don’t know enough about Bowman as a principal - if Engel was smart he’d investigate and publicize any negative findings of Bowman’s tenure as principal. Without that, Bowman wins BIG in November. People want positive change, not the status quo. I can’t think of anything that Engel has done - he only seems to appear during an election year. If Randi is endorsing Engel, I’ll volunteer for Bowman (as long as he wasn’t a Leadership Academy Principal).

James Eterno said...

Well said Bronx ATR.

oren said...

Ok, it is June 17. A student has done zero remote learning because he has a baby on the way. How is that my fault? How is that an excuse?

James Eterno said...

Hey Oren, You made a comment on a student grade. This post is about this specific election. Please move it to a more appropriate post. I will put it up.

Anonymous said...

My admin is leading a "morning mindfullness" every morning. It is a little rediclous. It can be equated to leading a morning prayer session (especially since meditation is in fact a Buddhist form of prayer). They have a captive audience and force everyone to sit through it at their morning meetings. It is done every day without any choice. Everyone hates it but everyone is scared to speak up. When people have said something, we are told basically that meditations helps everyone and they know what's best. The admin is the only one who wants this.

We used to have a morning yoga program for the students but we were told we could not continue it, it was not helpful but meditation is okay?

How and who could I report this too? I don't want this to continue over the summer or next year.