Education

I am a life-long public servant and proud union member who dedicates his life to teaching. Educating students in our public schools and at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) is rewarding, as is, serving as the Executive Director of Sachem Professional Development Inc. (SPDI), a non-profit professional development school for teachers. These have all been rewarding and enlightening experiences, and over the years, I’ve heard the stories of hundreds of parents and students. Listening to them has shaped my worldview and sensitized me to many issues. It has given me a deeper understanding of their struggles, fears, hopes, and aspirations. In each of these roles, I have also seen the power of education to transform lives, which is why I am convinced that education in general and ensuring educational equity, in particular, should be a national priority.

Educators often receive and are required to carry out mandates that we had no voice in determining – mandates that teachers know are inappropriate and are bound to fail the real needs of our students. What is frustrating is that the problems in education did not just sneak upon us. From A Nation at Risk (Reagan) to No Child Left Behind (Bush) and Race to the Top (Obama), educators have watched curriculum get slashed, high stakes testing increase, funds redirected to corporations, our jobs increase in frustration, and our students suffer. Yet career politicians keep getting elected, but these crucial issues remain unresolved educators and students.

The focus of education needs to be about preparing students for their future. The cutting-edge innovations we see today in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, autonomous technologies, advanced manufacturing, and genomics will be commonplace tomorrow. We must prepare students to embrace their future, and it’s our responsibility to make sure they have the skills to meet these challenges successfully – those in front of us and those just over the horizon. Shaping what the future of education should look like will not be easy, but this work must start now.

I am seeking a Congressional seat because the voice of educators is underrepresented. I am seeking a Congressional seat because our educational system and our children’s future should be a priority, and at this time, it’s not. I am seeking a seat in Congress because the voices of educators are marginalized and ignored. I am running for Congress because education is too essential for me not to try and make education a national priority.

Suffolk needs a teacher’s voice in Congress to change our federal education laws – those that call for mandated high stakes, standardized, annual testing for grades 3 through 8 that harm our children and undermine learning. Education is the process of gaining knowledge, nurturing critical thinking skills, and encouraging creativity. Untethering educators and students from the yearly pressure of preparing for mandated tests are needed for this to occur. We cannot wait! We need everyone, parents, teachers, and administrators, to realize that the time has come for change. A transformation of schools is required so that students will no longer view classrooms as test-prep workshops but as welcoming curiosity shops. This is why I strongly support:

  • Repealing federal education laws that call for mandated high stakes, standardized, annual testing for grades 3 through 8.
  • Smaller class size.
  • Raising the level of student accountability.
  • Restoring remedial services, not just services through special education.
  • The expansion of STEM and arts education
  • Localized curriculum writing that includes a syllabus with a scope and sequence.
  • Schools where teachers test their students on the skills taught.
  • Mandated accommodations for developmental and cognitive challenged students.
  • Increased funding of public libraries.
  • Research-based Education policy.
  • Funding Early Child Education

We all must come together and agree that ensuring educational equity should be a national priority so that the power of education to transform lives is not commonplace in only a few select districts in Suffolk County, but all. This is why I will advocate for:

  • Disentangling property values from school district funding
  • Elimination of student loan debt
  • Revising the diploma system to include vocational and business training in addition to traditional academic diplomas.
  • Fair, professional compensation for all teachers
  • Increased funding for all our nation’s community colleges, including our own SCCC.
  • Increased funding of public libraries.
  • Funding Early Child Education

To ensure our future, we must make education a priority. We need an educator in Congress to make our voice heard for the foundation of a democratic republic is based on an educated and engaged citizenry.

 
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