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Education advocate Diane Ravitch endorses Hawkins for governor

Diane Ravitch signs a copy of her book

Diane Ravitch signs a copy of her book in this 2013 photo. Credit: Ed Betz

ALBANY — Nationally known education advocate and liberal leader Diane Ravitch endorsed Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins on Friday.

Ravitch  had worked for presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and is an education historian, policy analyst and author. The Democrat called it her first “protest vote.”

She criticized Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for failing to stop the Common Core in schools, failing to curb corruption in Albany, and for failing to order a ban on drilling for natural gas in an upstate shale preserve, which environmentalists consider a public health threat.

Ravitch was once considered a potential challenger to Cuomo for the liberal Working Families Party. Instead, she supported Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor, who lost to Cuomo in a contentious floor fight for the important minor party endorsement in May.

Hawkins has been seeking to attract Teachout’s supporters since she lost the Democratic primary to Cuomo. In the rematch, she won a surprising 34 percent of the vote to Cuomo’s 62 percent. Teachout hasn’t made any endorsement for the general election.

“I voted for Zephyr Teachout in the Democratic primary for three reasons: Her position on education, on public integrity, and on the environment.,” Ravitch said on her blog Friday. “These are the reasons I will cast my ballot in November for the Green Party.”

Ravitch and Hawkins oppose the federal Common Core that seeks to raise standards in public schools and fracking.

The Common Core is a federal system designed to raise academic standards, but which has been criticized in New York for a faulty launch.

On Friday, Cuomo dismissed talk of a liberal backlash against him. He told public radio's “Capitol Pressroom” that the opposition is from teachers unions opposed to his move for teacher evaluations and from public employee unions who sought bigger raises in negotiations with Cuomo.

Cuomo supports the Common Core but said it's rollout was flawed. He helped pass measures to minimize the negative impact of the Common Core on students and in teacher evaluations. He said he needs more time to study fracking before he makes a decision on whether to expand the drilling. And Cuomo said he achieved important ethics measures in his term.



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