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Port Jefferson teachers' local backs Teachout over Cuomo ahead of primary

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, who is waging an uphill primary battle against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, received the endorsement of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association on Monday.

Teachout stood with more than 100 teachers outside Comsewogue High School at a Monday news conference, telling them she would repeal the controversial Common Core standards that rely heavily on testing and would "reinvest in public education."

"I believe that New York State needs to have the best public education in the country and to do that we need to be trusting our teachers," Teachout said. "We've seen a disaster in the last four years with high-stakes testing and Common Core. We're destroying some of the best parts of public education. Testing does not work."

Teachout, a Fordham law professor, told the crowd of teachers that she previously worked as a special education teacher's aide and questioned how much time Cuomo spent visiting classrooms during his time as governor.

A Cuomo campaign spokesman did not immediately respond for comment.

The group's endorsement comes after the 600,000-member New York State United Teachers union decided to stay out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary when issuing its list of state and federal election endorsements last month.

Beth Ziff-Dimino, president of the 300-member Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, said the group still wanted its voice heard, and wanted to send a message to Cuomo that they oppose linking teacher evaluations to standardized test scores.

"She stands behind teachers, students and taxpayers," Ziff-Domino said. "She believes in public education as a foundation for democracy and for that we strongly endorse her candidacy."

Teachout is scheduled to host an "education rally" in Hauppauge on Thursday with other local Common Core opposition groups, including Long Island Opt Out and Lace to the Top.


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