ALBANY – The major New York City teachers union considered challenging Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s attempt to create a Stop Common Core ballot line, but decided against it.
“We challenge petitions all the time -- especially in an election year – about all sorts of things,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which filed a general objection to the Astorino campaign’s effort but ultimately didn’t proceed.
State law allows candidates for office to hold multiple spots on the election ballot.
It takes 15,000 valid signatures from New York voters to create a new line on statewide ballots. But once those signatures are filed with the state Board of Elections, anyone can file an objection within three days. Six days after that, the objector has to lay out specifics -- what they object to, and why they object to it.
The deadline to turn in the signatures was Aug. 19. Astorino’s campaign turned in the Stop Common Core party petitions a week before that, and two employees of the teachers union filed a general objection three days later.
Mulgrew said the teachers union takes issue with Astorino taking an educational issue like Common Core -- tougher education standards being rolled out in New York and much of the country -- and using it “for clear political purposes.”
But the union ultimately decided against moving forward with the challenge; the deadline to file specifics was Thursday.
Interesting to see that UFT leadership started to go ahead with the challenge to the "Stop Common Core" ballot line, then pulled back.
Clearly they didn't pull back because they've had a sudden epiphany on Common Core - Mulgrew says the UFT loves Common Core and thinks Astorino is politicizing an issue that shouldn't be politicized.
So what made them pull back?
Did they think the challenge would ultimately be unsuccessful?
Could be - Astorino filed well over the 15,000 signatures needed for the ballot line.
Did they decide they didn't want to be the face of the pro-Common Core fight in the election battle?
I'm skeptical of that - Mulgrew was quite vociferous over his Common Core support at the AFT Convention in July.
Are they worried about the growing parent revolt over Common Core in the state and decided it was best not to do Cuomo's pro-Common Core dirty work for him?
I'm skeptical of that too.
The AFT/UFT/NYSUT leadership doesn't care what anybody outside of Bill Gates and their corporate buddies think about anything.
Not their rank and file members, not parents, not students.
Did the UFT leadership decide that helping a weakened Cuomo by going after Astorino's anti-Common Core line doesn't help them much at this point?
Cuomo's Democratic Primary opponent Zephyr Teachout has been endorsed by PEF, NOW and the Sierra Club in the last few days.
There is clear opposition to Cuomo from the left bubbling up, there is clear opposition within the rank and file to Cuomo too, and while the UFT leadership still supports Cuomo behind the scenes (please note the work they did for him during the Working Families Party convention in May), political expediency may dictate that going out on a public limb for him at this time doesn't help the leadership much.
In any case, the UFT decided no to challenge the "Stop Common Core" ballot line.
And so it stands.