Tag Archives: Vote

News for Kingston High School Parents

If you are a parent/guardian of a Kingston High School student and would like to receive information such as what is included below, join the Kingston High School Parents Association (KHS PA).

I am the president of the KHS PA and I am shamelessly promoting membership because getting parents connected and helping parents to be informed is very important to me.  There are no membership fees for the KHS PA and meeting attendance is not required although talking with other parents is the fun part!  To join just fill out the form below and you will be put on the email distribution list.


News and reminders for KHS PA members:

  • Check out KHS merchandise designed by the KHS Graphic Arts Club – click here for an order form.  Order deadlines are May 4, 2015 or May 18, 2015.
  • Scholarship announcements from KHS-TV:  **Attention Seniors!  The Anita Williams Peck Public Speaking Scholarship is now available.  The first place prize is $3500 and the second place prize is $2500.  If you are interested, there will be an information meeting in room 205 during 9th period.  There will also be a meeting on Monday (5/4) during 9th period.  These meetings will give you all the details and information you need to prepare a speech.  See Ms. Still or Ms. Scorca if you have any questions. **Attention students!  There are some new scholarships available.  Please go to the guidance office for applications.
  • Are you registered to vote in the upcoming Board of Education/Budget vote on May 19, 2015?  If not, the last day to register is Tuesday May 5, 2015.
  • Coffee and Conversation with BOE and Superintendent – Tuesday May 5, 2015 7:30-8:30am  Quick Chek Albany Ave
  • KHS BLT meeting - Thursday May 7, 2015
  • SUNY Ulster will be at KHS on May 8, 2015 to do onsite registration.  Click here to make an appointment.
  • Registration for the June 6 SAT and June 13 ACT at KHS is DUE by May 8.  If you have any questions, check the Guidance page on the KHS webpage or talk to your student’s guidance counselor.
  • KHS Yearbooks can still be purchased online until May 22, 2015.  Click here and enter school id 11812715.  After May 22 yearbooks can be purchased at KHS.
  • KHS Football Fundraising Auction – May 8, 2015 6-9pm Mariner’s Harbor  Click here for ticket information and items being auctioned.
  • If you will be hosting a prom or graduation party, please be mindful of not only the safety issues outlined in this letter (drinking and driving) but also of the potential legal consequences if alcohol were to be imbibed by minors at the party.
  • Final KHS PA meeting of the year – Tuesday May 26, 2015 6:30pm room 107



Keep in place the StopCommonCore ballot line name

If you signed a petition last July 2014 for the new StopCommonCore ballot line or voted on the StopCommonCore ballot line in November to help it become a party, please check out this petition.

It has recently come to light that the Stop Common Core party/ballot line is, or will be, changed to the “reform party”.

This is being done without the advice and consent of the parents of NY state who went out and pounded the pavement to gather the signatures to make a petition a party.

These parents did so on the promise that this party would be all about saving their children from the educational takeover called the common core.

We The People, of NY State, hereby demand an immediate cease and desist of all efforts to change the Stop Common Core Party to anything other than it’s promised intention of being the non partisan political voice if the children of NY State.

From my perspective as one of the people who helped collection signatures for the ballot line, the StopCommonCore ballot line was created to draw attention to the problems with Common Core. The people who signed the petitions and voted on the ballot line did not necessarily agree on other issues but were united in their desire to get rid of Common Core. This ‘party’ does not represent other issues and therefore should not be repurposed. The focus should stay on getting rid of Common Core and when Common Core is gone, the party can then go away as well. If you agree, please sign the petition.

Cease and Desist StopCommonCore Ballot Line

Do you value New York’s public schools?

Do you value New York’s public schools?  It seems that Governor Cuomo does not.  Many have felt that this was his opinion for quite awhile but he has recently stated it and the outrage has poured forth.

The reactions below are in response to the following comments from Governor Cuomo:

Cuomo, during a meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board, said better teachers and competition from charter schools are the best ways to revamp an underachieving and entrenched public education system.

“I believe these kinds of changes are probably the single best thing that I can do as governor that’s going to matter long-term,” he said, “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies — and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”  – Daily News, October 27, 2014


NYS Allies for Public Education – press release – October 28, 2014

In comments to the Daily News editorial board [http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cuomo-vows-bust-school-monopoly-re-elected-article-1.1989478], Governor Andrew Cuomo infuriated the members of NYS Allies for Public Education, an organization that consists of over fifty parent and educator advocacy groups across New York State. The Governor vowed to “break” the state’s public school system, which he called “one of the only remaining public monopolies.” He said he would do this by expanding charter schools, competition, and imposing tougher teacher evaluations along with punitive sanctions: “The teachers don’t want to do the evaluations and they don’t want to do rigorous evaluations.” He condescended to parents by implying that the only reason parents erupted in protest was that teachers got “parents upset last year about this entire Common Core agenda.”

Nancy Cauthen, a New York City public school parent, pointed out, “Despite previous statements in which Cuomo absolved himself from the responsibility for imposing fundamentally flawed Common Core standards, curriculum, and high-stakes exams, and tried to blame this entirely on the State Education Department, it is clear that he continues to believe in this damaging agenda.  As several polls recently showed, the majority of New Yorkers are opposed to the Common Core; and yet he continues to defend it and reveals he will push it even harder in a second term.  The governor has revealed himself to be completely out of touch with what parents and communities want for our schools.


My (Jolyn’s) personal response – October 28, 2014:

Please friends, do NOT vote for Governor Cuomo on November 4! I am NOT pushing to get rid of Common Core because I have been hood-winked by teachers who are simply upset about a teacher appraisal system. Common Core is bad for students. Destruction of our public education system is also bad for students. If Governor Cuomo is re-elected, the battle against Common Core will be even harder because Cuomo supports it and our school system will be in even more jeopardy. Also please join me in refusing the state tests for students in grades 3-8.

In this article (http://www.nydailynews.com/…/cuomo-vows-bust-school-monopol…) Cuomo says he intends to BUST the public school ‘monopoly’ if reelected. Remember, they are doing this by falsely showing that schools are dysfunctional based on flawed state test scores. So, the answer is REFUSE THE TESTS!
Please distribute 50 of the flyers below this week.


From AQENY – press release AQE, Leading Education Advocates, Superintendents, Respond to Gov. Cuomo’s Attack on Public Schools :

“Gov. Cuomo has laid clear plans to expand his frontal assault on our public schools through high stakes testing, starving our public schools and privatization,” said Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “It’s not that shocking when you look at the enormous pile of cash he has raked in from the Wall Street billionaires who are investing in charter schools. He is rewarding his financial backers at a devastating cost to our children.”

“Governor Cuomo’s public school bashing hurts students and families, especially in low-income immigrant communities hardest hit by the inequality that has grown under his tenure. Instead of addressing overcrowding, the loss of vital resources, high dropout rates among Latinos, or record-high inequality between school districts, he’s stuck on tired talking points that are divisive and benefit a small few,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road Action Fund.


From gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino – An Open Letter to New York State teachers

I have heard your concerns over charter schools, and I agree that accountability within them is a must. I have supported charter schools in New York’s inner cities, but I recognize that better public schools must ultimately be the answer to New York’s education challenges. Governor Cuomo has taken millions of dollars from charter school backers and has no interest in accountability.

As a parent, first and foremost, I am committed to getting rid of Common Core in New York, and as governor, I will pull New York from the program. No K-12 teachers were involved in writing the developmentally inappropriate experimental standards; they were conceived in secrecy and never tested, and the math and English content experts on the validation committee both refused to endorse the standards saying they were of “poor quality.”  We’ll replace it with better standards set by New York education experts with input from teachers and parents.  And through the same approach, we’ll develop proper assessments for our students, teachers, and schools, of which testing will only be one piece of the puzzle. Our teachers are not test-giving automatons and our children are not guinea pigs.  Each deserve better, and they’ll get it under my administration.

Click to read the full Open Letter to New York State teachers from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.


Working Families Party which endorsed Governor Cuomo over Zephyr Teachout

The Working Families Party released a statement Wednesday criticizing Andrew Cuomo, the party’s candidate for governor, for his comments comparing the state’s public school system to a “public monopoly.”

“Governor Cuomo is wrong on this one,” the W.F.P.’s state director Bill Lipton said in a statement to Capital. – Capital New York October 29, 2014

Cuomo’s campaign response at the end of the Capital New York article shows his typical arrogance:

UPDATE: “This is all political blather,” said Peter Kauffmann, a spokesman for Cuomo’s campaign.

I hope that everyone remembers this on Tuesday when you walk into the voting booth!

Candidates for New York State Assembly

New York State Assembly candidates from Assembly Districts 101, 102, 103 and 104 participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce this morning.  I found the discussion to be very informative and hope that the Chamber hosts a similar event for its members next year.

The video below captures the views of the various candidates for NYS assembly representing portions of Ulster County regarding Common Core. I agree with some of the views and disagree with others but watch and see what you think.

***YOUTUBE–CAMPAIGN 2014— NYS Assembly candidates from Assembly Districts 101, 102, 103 and 104 attend a breakfast in Ulster County and share their views on Common Core.– October 21, 2014 – click for video

The candidates who participated were:

I have linked each of their names to the campaign website that I found for the candidate.

Copies of the League of Women Voters of New York State 2014 Voters Guide were distributed at the Chamber breakfast (the League helped with the panel).  The Voters Guide includes information on the state level races (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller) as well as the three proposals that will be on the ballot.

I am going to end with some personal thoughts on the various candidates so stop reading now if you don’t want to hear my personal opinions.

I wanted to stand up and cheer many times during the breakfast as the different candidates spoke but everyone in the audience was being good and delaying applause so we could hear lots of questions and responses. Kevin Roberts, Sakima Green-Brown, Claudia Tenney and Peter Lopez were all very much in line with my personal views regarding Common Core and the need to get rid of it. Frank Skartados’ comment that he initially supported getting rid of Common Core but now thinks it can be fixed was disappointing. I knew that Kevin Cahill believes that the actions of the state legislature are in the right direction for fixing Common Core so was not surprised by his comments.

Sakima Green-Brown was the only candidate in attendance whom I was totally unfamiliar with.  I was very impressed by her stand regarding Common core and education in general. She has served as president of her school board and is now working as a parent advocate. Actually I liked what she said about every issue discussed not just education.  Assembly district 104 only includes a small portion of Ulster County, the towns of Lloyd and Marlboro, but I encourage all residents of those towns to check out Sakima Green-Brown’s platform.

Kevin Roberts made many statements that make me want to vote for him as the next Assemblyman for District 103 in addition to his stand against Common Core.  He stated that he has not voted to increase taxes in the county legislature and will not vote for tax increases in the state legislature.  Albany must work together for real property tax reform.  There is not going to be a Republican and a Democratic solution – must be bi-partisan and he has worked for bi-partisan solutions at the county level.  Start-up New York might look great on paper but someone (us) has to pick up the cost for those who move in and are not paying the taxes.  He will not support fracking in the state assembly.  New York needs to have 3 kinds of diplomas, STEM opportunities, full funding for special education.

New York Gubernatorial Televised Debate – Wednesday October 22, 2014 8pm

If you want to see a televised debate between Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino, your one chance is tomorrow night Wednesday October 22, 2014 at 8pm.  Howie Hawkins and Michael McDermott will also participate in the debate.

Check below for your local television market and channel. Please join the conversation on Twitter using #nygov or follow along on robastorino.com.

Register to vote by October 10, 2014

Your voice matters

Are you registered to vote?

Have you moved recently?  Has it been a long time since you voted?  If you answered yes to either of these questions then you might need to register before you can vote on November 4, 2014.

The deadline to register to vote is October 10, 2014.  You can pick up a voter registration form at the Board of Elections on Wall Street in Kingston or you can register online at New York State Board of Elections Register to Vote.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is October 28, 2014 and the absentee ballot must be postmarked by November 3, 2014.  The absentee ballot may also be delivered in-person on November 4 to the board of elections on Wall Street by someone other than the voter.  Absentee ballots may be obtained at the Board of Elections on Wall Street in Kingston or online at New York State Board of Elections Absentee Voting.



November 4, 2014 Voter update

I have posted a variety of information related to the upcoming election on November 4, 2014 in past weeks.  I thought I would pull some of the information together in one place to make it easier to access.  This is definitely not all-inclusive and it is also not intended to be totally unbiased.  I definitely have personal opinions although I will try to refrain from stating too many of them here.  Also my focus is on where candidates stand with regards to education since the state of education in New York State is my primary concern at this time.

New York State Governor:  

  • Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor include:  Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo/Kathy Hochul (Democractic party, Working Families party, Independence party, Women’s Equality party), Rob Astorino/Chris Moss (Republican party, Conservative party, StopCommonCore party), Howie Hawkins/Brain Jones (Green party), Michael McDermott/Chris Edes (Libertarian party), Steven Cohn/Bobby Kalotee (Sapient party)
  • There are a variety of reports regarding debate discussions between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino but no debates have been confirmed.
  • I wrote a blog post in early September regarding various gubernatorial candidate’s stands on educational issues – click here – which included a scorecard from New York Allies for Public Education.  You can also check the ‘Governor Cuomo’ and ‘Rob Astorino’ tags in the right sidebar here for additional blog posts that I have written related to these two candidates including this one with video of Rob Astorino’s visit to Kingston on September 24, 2014.

New York State Senator – 46th Senate District:

  • Incumbent New York State Senator Cecelia Tkaczyk and George Amedore are facing off again (they challenged each other in 2012 as well) for representation of the 46th senate district which includes the City of Kingston and the towns of Esopus, Hurley, Kingston, Lloyd, Marbletown, Saugerties, Ulster and Woodstock within Ulster County.
  • Debates are being held between Senator Tkaczyk and George Amedore.  I attended one sponsored by the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce on September 23 and here is the video of the hour long debate.  Common Core and education funding were discussed briefly by both candidates.
  • George Amedore is on the StopCommonCore party line.  Senator Tkaczyk collected signatures for the Women’s Equality party line but ran into a challenge with some of the signatures so will not be on the party line.

New York State Assembly – Assembly District 103:

  • Incumbent Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Kevin Roberts are running for the seat in the 103rd Assembly District which covers most of the Kingston City School District.
  • I have not heard any debates yet between the two candidates but here is a little Common Core related information.  Kevin Roberts supports full repeal of Common Core in New York State per his campaign materials and personal conversations with him.  From a conversation with Assemblyman Cahill at a lobby day back in June, I know that he stated there were problems with Common Core but feels that the actions of the Democratic legislative majority are adequate to deal with any issues and the bill A8844 to halt Common Core that was presented by Assemblymen Ra and Graf had ‘problems’ and there was no way it could pass.  Here are posts about the Ra/Graf bill if you are not familiar with it – here and here.

U.S. Congress – New York State’s 19th Congressional District:

  • Incumbent U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson and Sean Eldridge are running for New York’s 19th Congressional District which includes all of Ulster County.
  • U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson and Sean Eldridge will hold a debate locally next Monday October 6, 2014 at Miller Middle School.  Doors open at 6pm I have been told but having a hard time finding exact info.  This article has some details but the name of the school is wrong – the event is definitely at Miller (since we don’t have a ‘Lake Katrine Middle School’ in Kingston).
  • I have had personal contact with Congressman Gibson and know that he is opposed to high-stakes testing and Common Core.  I am not familiar with Mr. Eldridge’s educational stands and look forward to hearing his thoughts at the debate next week.

New Parties on Ballot:

  • There are two new parties on the November 4 ballot – the StopCommonCore party and the Women’s Equality party.  You can read details here.

Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014:

  • A referendum will be on the November 4 ballot asking the New York State voters to approve a 2 billion dollar bond act for school technology.  You can read details of the bond act here as well as the thoughts of those for and against the bond act.

Are you ready to vote?

If you have never voted, have not voted in a long time or have recently moved, you will need to register to vote.  You can pick up a voter registration form at the Board of Elections on Wall Street in Kingston or you can register online at New York State Board of Elections Register to Vote.  In order to vote in the November 4, 2014 election, you need to be registered by October 10, 2014.

Post updated on 10/6/14 – Kevin Roberts supports full repeal of Common Core but is not on the StopCommonCore ballot line.

Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino visits Kingston, New York

Check out gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s visit to Kingston last Wednesday.

Jolyn with Rob Astorino
Jolyn with Rob Astorino
Jolyn with U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson
Jolyn with U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson

Various local people were introduced by the Ulster County Republican committee chair (including me – I was sure surprised!) and then Congressman Chris Gibson spoke at about 6 minutes into the video to introduce Rob Astorino. Congressman Gibson spoke about Common Core and the Safe Act as well as introducing Rob Astorino so be sure to listen to Congressman Gibson’s remarks as well as Rob Astorino’s comments which start at 12:30 minutes into the video.

Congressman Gibson and Rob Astorino are both opposed to the Common Core Standards that are currently being used in New York State and Rob Astorino has a plan to get rid of Common Core when he becomes governor of New York State.

Astorino/Moss education plan

Moreland Commission and corruption charges against Cuomo

If you have not heard about the corruption charges against Governor Cuomo, please watch this video and become informed.  This is not just a campaign ploy even though the charges have been stressed by gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout.  Creating an independent commission to investigate corruption and then disbanding it when it starts investigating you is wrong!  If these charges are true, Governor Cuomo is NOT the man I want governing New York State for another four years!

Here are a few links to newspaper articles if you want to read more on the topic:

Janos Martin, former special counsel to Moreland Commission, blasts Andrew Cuomo while endorsing Zephyr Teachout – nydailynews.com, September 2, 2014

Janos Marton, who worked on the commission for most of its brief time in existence, penned a scathing opinion piece for the progressive online site Daily Kos that denounced Cuomo’s interference with the panel.

It was the harshest on-the-record attack yet from someone tied to the commission.

“The Commission’s neutering, then disbandment is more significant than most people realize, and the level of the governor’s interference more pervasive than press accounts suggest,” he wrote.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/moreland-commission-special-counsel-blasts-andrew-cuomo-article-1.1930106#ixzz3DUSuaGs9

Cuomo’s Office Hobbled Ethics Inquiries by Moreland Commission – NYTimes.com, July 23, 2014

The commission developed a list of promising targets, including a lawmaker suspected of using campaign funds to support a girlfriend in another state and pay tanning-salon bills. The panel also highlighted activities that it saw as politically odious but perfectly legal, like exploiting a loophole to bundle enormous campaign contributions.

But a three-month examination by The New York Times found that the governor’s office deeply compromised the panel’s work, objecting whenever the commission focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.

Federal Investigation Looks at Cuomo and Moreland Commission Referrals – online.wsj.com, August 7, 2014

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s prosecutors are now conducting a three-tiered investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

First, they are exploring whether they can take up cases the Moreland Commission was investigating.

Second, they are investigating whether the Cuomo administration interfered in the commission’s work, and why the commission was disbanded.

Finally, prosecutors have indicated they want to know whether the governor’s office pressured several commissioners to issue statements in recent weeks disputing the notion the administration had interfered in its investigations, these people said.

Rob Astorino’s Education Plan for New York State

Rob Astorino is running for Governor of New York State and he has vowed to Stop Common Core if elected as Governor.  His 15 point education plan presents what he will replace Common Core with as well as his vision for education over all in New York State.

This bold plan will replace Common Core with high standards achieved at the local level, with the input of parents and teachers, and it will make the governor’s office directly responsible for school improvements through an executive-appointed State Education Commissioner.”

Astorino’s plan also calls for, among other things, increased vocational training and greater availability of science, technology, engineering and math programs. It also would reduce reliance on “high stakes assessments,” and increase “life skills training,” such as nutritional and financial literacy instruction.  – Daily News, September 2, 2014

The 15 points are:

Astorino’s plan:

1 – Replace Common Core and with standards and curriculum developed by in-state educators with input from parents.

2 – Develop more accurate measures of student, teacher and school performance, reducing reliance on high stakes assessments.

3 – Reform Board of Regents by creating an elected 13-member board.

4-  The governor appoints education commissioner who must be confirmed by the Board of Regents with a majority vote.

5 – Increase availability of vocational training in schools for careers in home economics, carpentry, mechanics, electrical, etc.

6 – Increase coordination between community colleges, local school districts and local industry.

7 -Increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in schools.

8- Create three new diplomas: Career and Technical Education (CTE); STEM Regents; Academic Regents.

9 – Ensure full funding for special education services.

10 – Increase life skills training in schools, such as nutritional literacy instruction in middle school and financial literacy instruction in high school.

11 – Provide more school choices for parents of children in schools determined to be failing, including more charter school availability and vouchers for private or religious school.

12 – Pass the Education Investment Tax Credit to encourage more private donations to public and private schools.

13 – A new marketing campaign to encourage greater parental involvement in their child’s education.

14 – Combat chronic absenteeism.

15 – Begin foreign language instruction in elementary school.

Daily News, September 2, 2014

and the full plan can be read here.