Are Progressive Victories a Fluke? Public Education Issues and Last Night’s Primary Results

The Alliance for Quality Education, for which Cynthia Nixon has been a spokesperson for the past 17 years, put out the following statement regarding education issues and progressive electoral outcomes in yesterday’s New York State Democratic primary.

Are Progressive VIctories a Fluke or the New Norm?

In a press conference today Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that his primary victory yesterday was a “clear and powerful” message and that the victories of progressive challengers in New York Congressional primaries in June was a “fluke.”

“Andrew Cuomo won with a large majority of primary voters, but it is fair to ask what it was that is ‘clear and powerful’ about his victory. Clearly having $25 million to spend, which is no doubt a record shattering amount for a New York State gubernatorial primary, is a powerful testament to the influence of big money in state politics–especially in statewide races,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“But to call wins by progressives in June a ‘fluke” runs in the face of wins by six progressive challengers to the Independent Democratic Conference–Democrats who were aligned with both Cuomo and the Senate Republicans. Cuomo supported all of the I.D.C. members, but they were nonetheless defeated by progressives in a stunning progressive wave which road on the wake of both Cynthia Nixon’s and Jumaane Williams’ campaigns.

The near total wipeout of the I.D.C, as well as the defeat of Senator Martin Dilan by Democratic Socialist Julia Salazar, is a resounding statement that progressive victories in legislative and congressional districts, upstate and downstate, is much more the new norm in 2018 in New York than it is a fluke.”

What does the election mean for school funding and charter schools?

Fairness and equality in educational opportunity was a signature issue in Cynthia Nixon’s campaign and a central contrast with Andrew Cuomo’s track record. Another major difference was their posture on charter schools–whose Wall Street backers are among Cuomo’s top donors.

“The issue of full and fair funding for public schools was a central motivator for the progressive Democrats who were victorious over the I.D.C. challengers and a defining issue in each of these races. Robert Jackson is the original Mr. CFE (Campaign for Fiscal Equity). Alessandra Biaggi, John Liu, Rachel May, Jessica Ramos and Zellnor Myrie each made the failure of the I.D.C. to support fully funding Foundation Aid a core part of the message of their successful campaigns,” Easton said.

“Hedge fund managers backing charter schools invested heavily in the I.D.C. candidates and in Senator Dilan and they took a major beating. While big money resoundingly won the day in the gubernatorial race, Cynthia Nixon’s education agenda prevailed in the dramatic victories of insurgents in the Senate primaries. Andrew Cuomo has made blocking full foundation aid funding a central tenet of his governorship and he has consistently carried the water of his Wall Street charter school donors. That worked when he could orchestrate with the Senate Republicans and the I.D.C, but for the first time Governor Cuomo will have to face progressive majorities in both houses. There is no fluke in that.”

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