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*Brian Jones statement of candidacy for the Green Party nomination for Lt.
GovernorMy name is Brian Jones. I am a long-time educator, activist and
parent here in New York City, and I am announcing my intention to seek the
Green Party's nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of the
State of New York.I am joining with Howie Hawkins, whom I hope the Green
Party will nominate to run for Governor of the State of New York, in
proposing a campaign that would challenge the policies and priorities of
our current state government, of the Democratic AND Republican parties, of
Governor Andrew Cuomo, and of the millionaires who support him.I taught
elementary school in New York City's public schools for nine years. I
received a masters degree in Elementary Education from the City College of
New York in Harlem, and I am currently studying for a doctorate in urban
education at the City University of New York Graduate Center. As a teacher
and a student, I have been personally invested in New York's public
education system.Governor Cuomo, like the leadership of the Democratic
Party, has virtually abandoned any commitment to public education. They
promote free market schemes and privatization for our schools. I want to
participate in a campaign this year that will highlight for New York's
voters the connections between Governor Cuomo and the charter school
movement, which feeds like a vampire on public money and resources.As an
educator, I organized against charter school co-locations and against
school closings and budget cuts. At some point, you have to step back from
all these battles and notice the pattern -- the public sector and
its unions are under attack. I have been a member of the United Federation
of Teachers for the past decade. I helped to found a new social justice
caucus in that union called the Movement of Rank and File Educators. I am
not only a union member and supporter, I am personally involved in the
effort to rebuild the strength of our unions from the bottom up. I want to
participate in an election campaign that will give union members someone to
vote for, someone who actually wants to expand the public sector and who
actually supports unions!A new study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA
finds that New York State's schools are the MOST segregated in the nation.
This isn't surprising, since New York also has the greatest gap between
rich and poor in the nation -- racism and poverty have always been terrible
twins in America. We have to invest in ALL of our schools, not just some of
them. We want schools that are safe, humane, child-centered places where
young people are treated like intelligent human beings. That means we have
to end the racist zero tolerance discipline policies and the policing of
school hallways that, for thousands of mostly black and brown students, is
the first step into what is often called a school to prison pipeline. We
need to end Stop and Frisk in the schools, just like we need to end it in
the streets. Changing the culture of our schools means making
the curriculum culturally relevant, and allowing our students to be
critically minded and outspoken, allowing them to speak their languages and
have those languages respected, valued, and nurtured.I agree with Howie
Hawkins that New York needs to withdraw from the Common Core State
Standards and from President Obama's Race to the Top Initiative. The Common
Core Standards were funded by Bill Gates, and formulated in closed door
meetings without the input of educators. By setting our students up to
fail, they perpetuate the "failure" narrative that profiteers require to
sell their wares. In this way, the Common Core standards represent an
attempt to facilitate the free market restructuring of public education.
The public nature of education is important to defend because quality
education should be a human right, not a luxury for those who can afford
it.New York State has squandered tens of millions of dollars contracting
the production of more standardized tests for more grades and subjects so
that every classroom can be measured. We're busy paying for music tests but
we haven't even made sure that every student has a music teacher. At the
state level, we must STOP the drive to quantify every outcome in education
and the preposterous attempt to measure the precise contribution every
educator makes to a student's test scores. We need tools for teaching,
learning and assessment that are organic to the process of teaching and
learning, and tools of accountability that allow the people closest to the
process to evaluate needs and to suggest ways to improve. Instead of a tool
of assessment, standardized tests have increasingly become about punishment
and union-busting. The millions we squander on tests, on data systems and
on data analysts could work miracles if we spent them on our students and
our classrooms.And speaking of millions, I live in one of the richest
cities in the world -- probably one of the richest cities in all of world
history for that matter. But this extreme wealth is piled up alongside
excruciating poverty. I want to be a part of a campaign that emphatically
stands on the side of working people and the poor. If we're not
talking about redistributing wealth and resources to those who need them
most, then we're not saying anything.For my entire adult life, I have been
a socialist. I dream of fundamentally restructuring our society, and I
don't plan on giving up that dream or apologizing for it. The ideals of
socialism are what guide my actions. To me that means economic democracy
and economic freedom as the foundation of real political democracy and
political freedom. I don't want to live in a society where children aren't
sure whether or not they will be able to eat each day, or don't know where
they're going to sleep. I don't want to live in a society where people have
to go into crushing debt just to get an education or to see a doctor. I
believe that we can solve these problems, but doing so will require
profound changes. I believe we will never get those changes without
power.Our power doesn't come from wealth, but from organizing. In the year
2000 I voted for Ralph Nader, not because I thought he would be President,
but because his campaign gave tremendous encouragement, strength, and
support to grassroots movements for change. Nader helped us to build our
power. I have been registered to vote with the Green Party ever since.
Today, I hope to be the Green Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New
York, because I know that millions of working people in this state are fed
up with the Democratic Party in general and with Cuomo in
particular. Together, I hope that we can create a campaign that supports
and strengthens organizing and organizations, a grassroots campaign funded
by ordinary people up against Cuomo and the millionaires. That kind of
campaign will give voters a REAL choice in November, and I would be honored
to be a part of it.Thank you.- Brian JonesHowie Hawkins endorsement of
Brian Jones for Green Party candidate for Lt. GovernorI am excited that
Brian Jones has stepped up to run as the Green Party candidate for
Lieutenant Governor.Brian would not just balance the Green Party ticket. He
will multiply it.To be sure, balance is good. He's downstate; I'm upstate.
He's a Teacher; I'm a Teamster. He's black; I'm white. He's younger; I'm
older. Multiplication is even better. Brian brings a record of effective
and significant organizing, speaking, and acting on the issue that I
am hearing the most about from voters as I campaign around the state:
public education. Governor Cuomo's education policies are openly advancing
the privatization of public education sought by the hedge funders and
corporate contractors who seek to profit from education spending. Cuomo is
doing what the hedge funders who invest in charter schools are paying him
to do with their over $1 million in campaign contributions to Governor
1%. But the people who want to fight back and vote for an alternative are
growing every day. Students are being denied a sound basic education by the
corporate privatization agenda. Parents are angry at the
high-stakes testing linked to Common Core-poratization, which is really
about privatization and profits, not quality education. Teachers are up in
arms at the attacks on their wages, benefits, working conditions, unions,
and very standing as professional educators.Taxpayers all across the state
want an alternative to the Cuomo's rich man's budgets that lavish tax
breaks on the rich while so many school districts face fiscal distress.
Dozens of districts are headed for outright insolvency and takeover by a
state-appointed control board even as their property taxes still go up and
school funding, staffing, and programs still go down Brian is a leader in
the movement for quality public schools and resistance to the corporate
reform agenda. He believes that quality education should be a human right,
not a just a luxury for those who can afford it.Brian helped organize the
Movement of Rank and File Educators, the social justice caucus of the
United Federation of Teachers. He has had op-eds on education policy
printed in the New York Times, the Indypendent, and other publications. He
has appeared on Democracy Now!, MSNBC, and New York City media speaking to
these issues. He co-narrated the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind
Waiting for Superman. He contributed to the book, Education and Capitalism:
Struggles for Learning and Liberation. Brian has also lent his voice to
several audiobooks, including The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That
Changed the World and Howard Zinn’s one-man play, Marx in Soho. Brian is
the recipient of a 2012 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship. In short, Brian
is not just better on the issues. He is better qualified and more
accomplished than anybody the Democrats or Republicans are capable of
finding to run for Lieutenant Governor on their tickets.Please nominate
Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor at the Green Party convention
on Saturday May 17 in Troy.-Howie HawkinsCandidate for the Green Party
nomination for New York Governor*
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