Teacher union-backed candidates form majorities on Big 3 suburban school boards
Christine Cavarello is a PTA mom, proud graduate of Kenmore East High School, and concerned about how changes in education affect children and their love of learning.
She’s on the steering committee of two local groups leading the opt-out movement to shift the focus of education from testing to learning.
In short, she’s the perfect candidate to win the endorsement of teachers – and she did.
She will join the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board on July 1.
Cavarello is one of 35 candidates out of 38 endorsed by teacher unions in Western New York who won election to a local school board last month, according to New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).
Candidates endorsed by teachers unions in Erie County’s three largest suburban districts – Ken-Ton, West Seneca and Williamsville – won by overwhelming margins. In the last five years, 75 percent of candidates with teacher endorsements won election in the three districts. That includes two elections where Williamsville candidates ran unopposed, so teachers made no endorsements.
So union-backed candidates form the majority on those big three district boards.
Local teachers’ unions have always endorsed candidates for School Board. But with high-profile fights about the future of education in New York State, new attention is being given to union-endorsed candidates.
Changes in education – from the shift to a more teacher-friendly chancellor and Board of Regents, to how the state handles Common Core standards, high-stakes testing and school and teacher accountability – will be felt at the local level. And each School Board must approve teacher evaluation plans and teacher contracts with their teachers.
Cavarello said the teachers union support was a big factor in her win.
“I think that says a lot about what’s going on – not only in the district, but education in general,” said Cavarello, a lifelong district resident. “I know teachers everywhere feel like they’re not really being listened to. Corporations, the governor and all these people who don’t know about education are telling us what we should be doing. We need to be listening to the teachers more because they’re the experts in the classroom.”
But teachers aren’t the only ones who have a stake.
“We think teachers are obviously incredibly important to the education process and Teacher union-backed candidates form majorities on Big 3 suburban school boards - City & Region - The Buffalo News: