Archives for category: Cuomo, Andrew

When the union-busting Wall Street crowd gathers with Governor Cuomo at their pretentious “Camp Philos,” there won’t be any public. School parents or teachers there. The few willing and able to fork over $1,000 were told they were not welcome. So Cuomo and his buddies want to “reform” public schools without the voices of those who matter most: Students, patents, and teachers.

The New York State United Teachers plans to picket their exclusive gabfest. Message: our public schools are not for sale.

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Picket in the Pines! Put the PUBLIC back in public education!

Sunday, May 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Lake Placid, NY.
Register online: http://www.cvent.com/d/h4qslh
RSVP via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/234136926786807

WHY:

Education Reform Now, a union-bashing “reform” group run by Wall Street hedge fund managers, is hosting a retreat at Lake Placid May 4-6. The hedge-funders’ deep-pocket Political Action Committee – Democrats for Education Reform – also will hobnob at the $1,000-a-head “Camp Philos.”

These groups promote non-union charter schools, overreliance on standardized tests and Common Core, student-data collection, vouchers, merit pay, test-based teacher evaluations, privatization, and removing teacher unions from almost any role in shaping curriculum or determining working conditions.

ACT:

Picket in the pines to put the “public” back in public education! For too long, so-called “reformers” have drowned out the voices of parents and teachers. These hedge-fund propagandists have contributed to New York State’s Common Core mess, the (failed) In-Bloom push for student data, and the spread of corporate charters that undermine public schools serving all kids.

WHEN:

Sunday, May 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE:

Meet at the Comfort Inn
2125 Saranac Ave
Lake Placid, N.Y. 12946

REGISTER ONLINE:

Register online at http://www.cvent.com/d/h4qslh.

The deadline to register is Wednesday, April 30.

Based on participation and need, buses from NYSUT Regional Offices will be made available.

SPREAD THE WORD:

Promote via Twitter. Use the hashtag #picketinthepines.

RSVP via the official Facebook event – and share with your friends!

TENTATIVE PROGRAM:

1-2 p.m.
Lunch

2-3:30 p.m.
Presentation by Sabrina Stevens of Integrity in Education

3-4 p.m.
Picket Sign-In and Sign Making

4-5 p.m.
Picketing at the Whiteface Lodge where Education Reform Now and DFER are meeting

See you there!

Picket in the Pines:

Valerie Strauss clearly explains who were the losers in the bruising battle between the billionaires and de Blasio: students with disabilities.

I am late posting this article because it appeared about the time I started dealing with health issues (a bad fall that took out the ACL in my left knee).

It deserves wide reading because it is an accurate portrait of the money and power behind the charter school movement. I commend the writers, Javier C. Hernandez and Susanne Craig for getting the story that took place behind closed doors in Albany and executive suites in Manhattan. It is the best investigative report that I have seen in the “New York Times” on the money fueling the charter movement.

it answers a few basic questions? Why did Governor Cuomo take the lead in fighting to “save” charter schools after Mayor Bill de Blasio approved 14 out of 17 new charters? How did it happen that Eva Moskowitz bused thousands of students and parents to Albany on the very same day that Mayor de Blasio had scheduled a rally to support pre-kindergarten funding? Which billionaires and millionaires put up more than $5 million to create and air attack ads on television against de Blasio? Who masterminded the deal that gave charter schools preferred status over public schools in New York City? Who arranged that they could not be charged rent, that they could expand and push public school kids out of their buildings, and that the city had to pay their rent if they opened in private space?

Spoiler alert:

The deal in the legislature “gave New York City charter schools some of the most sweeping protections in the nation, including a right to space inside public buildings. And interviews with state and city officials as well as education leaders make it clear that far from being a mere cheerleader, the governor was a potent force at every turn, seizing on missteps by the mayor, a fellow Democrat, and driving legislation from start to finish.”

Money was always a potent factor in the backroom dealings:

“A lot was riding on the debate for Mr. Cuomo. A number of his largest financial backers, some of the biggest names on Wall Street, also happened to be staunch supporters of charter schools. According to campaign finance records, Mr. Cuomo’s re-election campaign has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from charter school supporters, including William A. Ackman, Carl C. Icahn, Bruce Kovner and Daniel Nir.

Kenneth G. Langone, a founder of Home Depot who sits on a prominent charter school board, gave $50,000 to Mr. Cuomo’s campaign last year. He said that when the governor asked him to lead a group of Republicans supporting his re-election, he agreed because of Mr. Cuomo’s support for charter schools.

“Every time I am with the governor, I talk to him about charter schools,” Mr. Langone said in an interview. “He gets it.”

And more is on the way, not only for Cuomo, who not only delivered for the billionaires who love charters, but for Eva Moskowitz, who will not only get a 8 new charters–not just the 5 that de Blasio originally approved–but lots of extra money, which will not be used to pay rent:

“Daniel S. Loeb, the founder of the hedge fund Third Point and the chairman of Success Academy’s board, began leaning on Wall Street executives for donations. Later this month, he will host a fund-raiser for Success Academy at Cipriani in Midtown Manhattan; tickets run as high as $100,000 a table.”

Moskowitz claims that her schools don’t spend any more than real public schools, so it remains to be seen how she pans to spend the millions that Dan Loeb will raise for her schools in a single night.

And the sweetest part of the deal for Moskowitz’s Success Academy 4 in Harlem is that her elementary school can now expand to a middle school and take more space away from PS 149, which was once considered the host school. First, she can evict the kids with severe disabilities (her own charter has none), then, thanks to Governor Cuomo, she can evict all the other students and take the entire school away, if she wishes. Sort of like a parasite that grows and grows.

Parent leaders from across Néw York City are rallying tomorrow at 4 pm to protest Governor Cuomo’s deal to give more space, more money, and free rent to the charters that enroll 6% of the children in the city’s schools. This giveaway to billionaire-funded charters occurs at the same time that many public are overcrowded, and class size is at its highest point in 15 years.

BREAKING:

Rally at NY Public Library and March On Governor Cuomo’s Office Tomorrow to Draw Hundreds of Outraged Parents from All Over City

Elected Parent Leaders from Citywide and Community Education Councils Across five boroughs Unite Against Gov. Cuomo’s Attacks on Public Education and Demand Fair Treatment of Public School Students

In an unprecedented show of unity, elected parent leaders and public education advocates from all five boroughs will gather to say all kids matter and to protest the selling off of public school buildings by Governor Cuomo and the State Senate leaders to the charter school lobby, by giving preferential rights and funding to the 6% of New York City students in charter schools while the needs of 1.1 million public school students remain unmet.

WHEN: Thursday, April 10, at 4 PM.

WHERE: Steps of the NY Public Library, Fifth Ave. at 41st Street. Following the rally participants will march to the Governor’s Office at 633 Third Avenue at 40th Street.

VISUALS: Parents, advocates, and students holding balloons, signs and flashing fake money.

WHO: Council Education Chair Danny Dromm, State Senator Bill Perkins, NAACP Head Hazel Dukes, former Council Education Chair Robert Jackson, other Council Members, parents, advocates and students, led by Community Education Councils and Citywide Councils from all five boroughs, elected by parents to represent their 1.1 million public school children.

WHAT: Community Education Council members, parents, advocates, and students, educators and elected officials protest how Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are creating a two-tiered education system, in which the charter school lobby will now be given veto power over New York City’s public school buildings, and any new or expanding charter will be provided free on-demand public school space or private accommodations paid for by the city. Meanwhile, public school students – a majority of whom sit in overcrowded classrooms, buildings and trailers – have no such rights, and still wait for the equitable funding from the State as promised by the state’s highest court in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision.

Co-sponsored by Citywide and Community Education Councils; Alliance for Quality Education (AQE); Brooklyn New School PAC; Change the Stakes; Class Size Matters; ICOPE (Independent Commission on Public Education); MORE; New York Communities for Change (NYCC); New York Lawyers for Public Interest; NYCORE; NYCpublic.org; ParentVoicesNY; Parent Leaders of Upper Eastside Schools (PLUS); Partnership for Student Advocacy; Teachers Unite; Time Out from Testing, WAGPOPS (list in formation)

Jonathan Pelto writes here that yesterday was a very bad day for public education in Connecticut.

The State Board of Education voted to hand out $80-100 million over five years to privately managed charters, most known for excluding the neediest kids.

And they voted full steam ahead on Common Core, pet project of the corporate elite, guaranteed to increase testing and costs of hardware, software, and materials with no known benefit to children.

Pelto concludes:

“But whatever his reasoning, it is worth repeating again and again… Dannel “Dan” Malloy has become the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the country.”

New Yorkers would disagree. We accord that title to Andrew Cuomo

EduShyster volunteers to join the mighty and the very rich at Camp Philos, where our self-anointed thought leaders will figure out how to hasten the privatization of public schools and how to get rid of those expensive veteran teachers, while encouraging more young people to spend a year or two as “teachers” before finding their real career.

Is that a real Paypal button? If it is, I am donating to send our very own thought leader.

Wouldn’t it be funny if most of those who signed up were opposed to privatization and union-busting and teacher-bashing?

I am reminded of a long story or short novel by Joseph Conrad in which the protagonist is encouraged by the authorities to join a small band of anarchists who are planning an act of violence. He joins, blends in, and—spoiler alert!–belatedly discovers that all of them are double agents, like him.

If only that were true at Camp Philos, but alas, we know the agenda of these guys: They represent the Status Quo and the 1%. In Cuomo’s case, he represents Wall Street and the 3% of children in charters. He just brokered a state budget deal to cut the tax rate on banks and to shower money on privately managed charters, at the expense of the 97%.

Carol Burris here describes how Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature pulled a fast trick on the parents of the state.

Kathleen M. Cashin and Bruce S. Cooper are on the faculty of Fordham University. Dr. Cashin, an experienced educator, is also a member of the New York State Board of Regents. She is regularly in the minority on votes that increase the pressure for high-stakes testing. Dr. Cooper is a scholar who has written about school finance for many years. In this essay, they criticize the state’s pressure to raise test scores while sacrificing the social and emotional supports that students need to succeed in school. Schools across the state, restricted by Governor Cuomo’s 2% tax limit, must cut somewhere, and they are forced to cut such necessary services to students as social workers, psychologists, counselors, as well as the arts and athletics. These demands and the sacrifices they require will prove harmful to students, in the short run and the long run. A cardinal rule of medicine, derived from the Hippocratic Oath, is: “First, do no harm.” If it were the rule in education, the Regents and the State Commissioner would be judged to have done significant harm to the students in their care, whose well-being they willfully ignore in pursuit of ever higher scores on standardized tests.

Sacrificing Psychologists, Counselors,

& Social Workers—and Athletics & the Arts—to Test Preparation

Kathleen M. Cashin Bruce S. Cooper

To increase funds for the preparation of students for state tests, sadly, New York public schools and their districts have reduced the number of professionals for critical student services; these include guidance counselors, psychologists, and social workers, while removing often athletic coaches, arts and music staff. But how can we expect our children to flourish in schools socially, psychologically, and inter-personally if these students have fewer trained school professionals to turn to, should they need help, comfort, or support?

Thus, we are cutting the most important services for children, those that help them to develop as healthy, happy human beings, all because we are obsessed with spending more funds, hoping to raise test score results through test prep. As one school principal recently commented, “Just forget it if you are seeking a job as a school guidance counselor, as these jobs are few and far between!”

For example, New York State recorded a decline from 7,126 guidance counselors in local public schools in 2009, to 6,622 in school year 2011-12, a drop of 7%, even though the enrollments (and needs) had risen. Likewise, social workers in the state employed in public schools dropped by 6%, from 3,270 to 3,050 during the same time period. And nurses working in public schools in New York declined by 3%, from 3,662 to 3,544 during this time.

As another administrator recalls, when he was a student at a major N.Y.C. public high school, his guidance counselor frequently called him into her office and asked:

“How are you adjusting to school?” She would regularly check on my grades, attendance, and my adjustment to various subjects and classes. This attention and private time meant so much to me, and I remember her fondly to this day, as she helped me to become the person and professional that I became.

Even teachers of art, music, drama, and physical education – and other areas that often go “untested” by the state — are disappearing, again reducing children’s engagement, joy, expression, physical fitness, creativity, and affirmation. What have we as a society accomplished by turning schools into “test mills” where fewer kids are happy; and schools are now spending eight months each year prepping for state tests?

Funding for the music and art in schools in New York City, for example, has plummeted by 81 percent since 2006, from about $10 million for supplies, dipping down to just $2 million in 2012. Cultural partnership funding — to build bridges between N.Y.C. public schools and it important cultural institutions — likewise, has been reduced by 50 percent, from $26 million to only $13 million.

Results

Now, attention and time devoted to the “whole child” are now much less likely because teachers working alone in their classrooms are assuming more and more responsibility. And we see less staff who are trained and hired to help students — socially and emotionally — with a reduction in social workers, guidance counselors, athletic coaches, and school psychologists.

As a consequence, what are the effects of this drop in guidance counselors, now fewer in number in many schools, on children’s growth, stability, school attendance, as well the impact on levels of bad behaviors, such as physical bullying, and cyber-bullying? Those staff, specifically trained to address these students’ needs and problems, have diminished and thus are no longer around — or have so many students to serve, that they are not able to counsel students fully for college and career readiness.

We have data on the reduction in nonteaching staff, and on the rise of bad, anti-social behavior and depression among school kids; thus, we are believe that the drop in counselors and athletic-arts-music staff relates to the rising despair of students, who may have no one to whom to turn: fewer coaches, counselors, and psychologists in their schools.

Hence, we are making demands that students now become college and career prepared, while reducing (or overburdening) the very staff members who are trained to help these students. These critical questions must be answered at the federal, state, and local levels:

1. What is the level of relationship between loss of staff and the rise in student bullying and cyber-bullying?

2. What are the effects of reductions in available psychological and guidance personnel upon the levels of: (a) student suicide, (b) self-mutilation, and (c) truancy and dropout?

3. And how has the increase in gang membership — and combat among gangs –affected students’ feelings of school safety, school climate, and productivity?

Thus, overall, why are we letting our schools become less humane, supportive, and communal. And how are some students taking steps to join or create more gangs for fellowship and a sense of safety in numbers—or trying in other ways to create their own “safety nets”? Unsafe schools may then become breeding grounds, where frightened children look for protection in neighborhood gangs.

In effect, students are creating their own victimhood by these actions:

Looking to gangs for protection from other gangs;

• Missing coping mechanisms developed through counseling, guidance, and teacher relationships;

• Losing chances to learn life and life-coping skills in schools, along with other students and professional staff;

• Reducing available parental involvement and support in helping their own children learn to cope, practice, and succeed in school – and life; and,

• Losing real opportunities to practice social and personal skills at school and home.

We must recognize that caring for and supporting the socio-emotional needs of children are as important in the long-run as simply test-prepping our children’s way to a higher score on English, math, science, and social studies examinations.

Research and experience together show that children can learn, retain, and focus better when they are feeling and functioning as safe, happy, well-adjusted young people. Society has a real responsibility once again to make schools safe-havens for all children, physically and socially. For are we not truly our brothers and sisters’ keepers?

______________

Kathleen M. Cashin, Ed.D., is a member of the N.Y. State Board Regents and a clinical professor at Fordham University.

Bruce S. Cooper, Ph.D., is professor at Fordham University, Graduate School of Education, N.Y.C.

Contact:

Dr. Bruce S. Cooper

175 Riverside Dr. Apt. #2F

New York, NY 10024

Tel: 917 843-2281

Email: bruce.cooper@mac.com

Wow! How cool is this? You, me, and all of us are invited to join today’s thought leaders of education “reform” (aka, privatization and segregation) at a philophers” retreat.

I wish I were a thought leader in education, but apparently my thoughts don’t lead in the right direction (e.g., handing public money over to privately managed schools with no transparency or accountability, smashing unions, demoralizing teachers, eliminating pensions, making test scores the goal of education, firing teachers who can’t raise test scores higher and higher every year, stuff like that, which these days makes you a thought leader).

The meeting is billed as a three-day retreat, “a philosopher’s camp on education reform.” I wonder if the philosophers there will talk about Horace Mann or John Dewey or William James or William Torrey Harris or Sidney Hook? Somehow, I doubt they will. I kind of doubt that they ever heard of any of our eminent philosophers of education.

You too can attend for only $1,000. If you want to be a VIP, it will cost you $2,500.

Two other things: the meeting will be held at the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid. Is there a coded message here?

And for the benefit of the assembled philosophers, they might want to be reminded that they have a spelling error on the invitation. It is James Russell Lowell that once attended a meeting at that lodge, not James Russell Lowes. Do they know the difference? But when you are a thought leader in education, why bother with details?

Emergency meeting on Thursday on behalf of the 97% of New York State students who are not in charter schools:

Anyone who can make it tomorrow should do so. The state budget is hitting crunch time, with the Charter lobby spending millions on behalf of privatization and the 3% in charters, while firmly controlling both the Governor and the State Senate. Support must be given to Speaker Silver and the Assembly Dems to hold fast for the 97% of our kids in public schools and for public education, and to allow Mayor de Blasio to determine his own education policies.

The Senate/Cuomo proposal would force the DOE (and all local public school boards throughout the state) to provide public space for EVERY charter authorized at the state level, or else pay the charter’s rent in private space; a colocation policy that would be worse than anything Bloomberg ever sought. Additionally, the charter lobby boondoggle bill would give Charters more upfront money (aka tuition), and give Albany control of our NYC public school buildings and budget, while sending 25 cents of every new state education dollar to the 3 out of 100 kids in charters. Meanwhile, the City and State public schools are looking at 2009 funding levels which the courts said were $2 billion short – back then. Outrageous.

Please join New York Communities for Change, Public School Parents, Elected Officials, Educators, Community Members.

Thursday, March 27
12 noon
Tweed Courthouse – 52 Chambers

Noah

noah eliot gotbaum
community education council district 3 (cec3)
noah@gotbaum.com
twitter: @noahegotbaum

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