Calling on candidates and policymakers to act upon lessons learned from homeschool and virtual learning model used in COVID pandemic, UJP calls for significant reform in State Education approach

For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Albany, NY – Upstate Jobs Party (UJP), a non profit 501(c)-4 independent organization, today called for a rethinking in the way education is approached and delivered in New York State, calling the current model an outdated system that does not prepare students for the workplace equitably.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant challenges in our education system and UJP outlined key areas for reform.  

UJP Founder and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Babinec said, “For far too long, New York’s education system has been a victim of a bloated bureaucracy that handcuffs teachers and short-changes students.  This pandemic has shown us that some students can thrive in a virtual setting, while others struggle mightily; but the bottom line is that the system is not helping our teachers innovate or our students to succeed.  Let’s give our schools, teachers, and students the tools they truly need to succeed in the 21st Century.”

UJP posted its proposed reform focus on Thursday, highlighting key areas for improvement:

  • A flawed “college or bust” approach to teaching – with current curriculum so heavily focused on testing and college prep, our students lack exposure to opportunities to acquire skills that directly translate to current and future workforce needs – ranging from plumbing to software coding.
  • Too Much Administration & Bureaucracy – despite New York State spending more per student than 48 other states,in addition to our top heavy state level oversight, we still see far too many local and county districts struggling to meet curriculum needs while they support multiple six figure-earning administrators.
  • No Room for Our Teachers or Schools to Innovate – this bloated bureaucracy chokes out opportunities for innovation as formulas, mandates and cumbersome processes drive deployment of lesser technology and tools.
  • Access to broadband and technology – the pandemic has exposed a gaping divide in access to broadband and technology in the state, hurting students from lower incomes or in rural areas; this lack of access is unfairly holding back our students from their constitutionally-guaranteed right to an equitable education.

UJP Chair John Bullis said, “Having spent the vast majority of my career in education, the systemic flaws highlighted by this pandemic are heartbreaking.  We simply cannot consider a traditional return to business as usual in education in the Fall, unless our only goal is continuing to fail our students.  Embracing career-focused learning, streamlining the bureaucracy, and making sure our students, teachers, and schools can succeed in the 21st Century should be New York State’s top educational priorities going forward.”

UJP will be seeking candidates to support this fall that embrace an overhaul to our educational system to improves outcomes for students across the state. The full UJP education reform post can be found at the UJP website here.

About Upstate Jobs

UJP is focused on building priorities around stemming the outflow of our young talent, getting government out of the way of investors and entrepreneurs, and fully reforming New York State government. In 2017, UJP supported independent candidate Ben Walsh, who successfully upset the political establishment by winning election as Syracuse Mayor on the UJP line. In 2018, UJP supported the candidacy of three state legislative candidates – all of whom were successfully elected.  In local races in 2019, UJP supported seven candidates for local and County offices, with all but one being elected. Volunteers interested in joining the effort to create more jobs in Upstate NY, keep our best and brightest talent from leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and build a strong economy throughout the region are encouraged to visit to learn more.