Archives for category: Cuomo

Governor Cuomo announced his commission to revise the Common Core standards and it includes not a single parent leader of the opt out movement. The reason for the commission was to respond to the opt out movement, but no one on the commission speaks for the parents and guardians of the 220,000 students who did not take the test.

If you look at the members of the commission, you will see MaryEllen Elia, the state commissioner, plus the chair of the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Committee. The commission will be chaired by Richard Parsons, a respected banker. The commission includes some educators, but they all have day jobs.

Read the responsibilities of the commission. It is supposed to review the standards and the tests, among many other assignments. Here is the title of the press release:

Task Force to Perform Comprehensive Review of Learning Standards, Instructional Guidance and Curricula, and Tests to Improve Implementation and Reduce Testing Anxiety

Does anyone seriously believe that this commission has the expertise or the time to do what they are supposed to do?

Can anyone explain why there is no one on the commission to speak for the parents who opted their children out of the state testing?

Daniel S. Katz, who is a professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, has created a helpful overview of the education mess in New York. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and Katz has written a useful scorecard of events and players.

How did  Governor Cuomo take charge of education when he has no constitutional authority to do so?

Why did new State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia make threats to parents who opted out, then back down?

Will the state figure out how to quell the parent opt out rebellion?

What is the Governor’s latest gambit?

Why is the Governor creating a new Common Core commission when he had a Common Core commission just a year or so ago and packed it with Common Core supporters?

Why do politicians keep meddling in education when they don’t know what they are doing?

The players keep changing and changing their minds. Stay tuned.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul went to the New York State Fair and encountered a large group of educators wearing T-shirts saying “Call Out Cuomo Tour.” She sat down and had a public talk with Beth Chetney, a teacher of ninth grade English for 24 years in the Baldwinsville Central School District. Chetney tried to explain why teachers were frustrated and angry. She said the teacher evaluations based on the tests were unfair, the tests themselves are “asinine,” and her own son opted out of the tests. Cuomo himself, said Chetney, was part of the problem because he has targeted teachers and disrespects them.

Hochul assured Chetney that Governor Cuomo really cares about teachers and quality education

“It’s easy to pull out these sound bites that sound the most contentious,” Hochul said. “But I’ve sat in rooms with him, and heard his real concern for teachers and the students. And I don’t think that gets covered….

“I’m here to tell that you he has a true commitment to supporting the profession and making sure that New York state regains its position as No. 1 in the nation in education,” Hochul said.

It is a beautiful sunny day on eastern Long Island, a perfect day for Governor Andrew Cuomo to mingle with the rich and powerful hedge fund managers and moguls who underwrote his campaign. He is raising money for yet another campaign, only months after his re-election. If you can afford to pay $5,000, you too might join the fun and share the canapés. The hedge funders have been his most reliable allies, and he repaid them by giving free rein to the charter industry, especially in New York City, where Mayor de Blasio had threatened to curtail their expansion. Cuomo derailed de Blasio’s plans, showing his disdain for mayoral control of the schools when the mayor doesn’t agree with him.

Ah, but what is this? Uninvited guests! The Hedge Clippers, labor activists who object to Cuomo’s love-the-rich policies and charter schools. You can read about it in the Wall Street Journal.

Busloads of labor activists and liberal operatives are headed Saturday to a place where they won’t be welcome: A fundraiser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a sprawling estate in the Hamptons.
Mr. Cuomo has become the primary target of the group calling itself the Hedge Clippers that protests the governor’s policies and his ties to the wealthy.

Their rise comes as Mr. Cuomo contends with a growing rift within the Democratic Party between his centrist approach and the liberal base, much of which doesn’t like his cultivation of support from Republicans and many in business.

The target of the Hedge Clippers this weekend is a $5,000-a-person East Hampton event in honor of the governor hosted by Daniel Loeb, a top hedge-fund manager based in New York City. Mr. Loeb is also a political fundraiser who, like Mr. Cuomo, has sparred with teachers unions and championed charter schools.

The showdown has tony communities in the Hamptons slightly amused and slightly on edge.

“Dan Loeb is thick-skinned and relishes a fight,” said Euan Rellie, an investment banker who summers in the Hamptons and is a friend of Mr. Loeb’s. “But no successful business person wants to be seen as a remote billionaire living with pitchforks at the hedges. Who would want that?”

The activists plan to fly aerial banners over the grounds of the Loeb mansion as Mr. Cuomo’s donors nibble canapés and sip cocktails on the lawn.

To be sure, Mr. Cuomo is hardly the only politician to be met with protesters at some of his events. But the Hedge Clippers are trained largely on one politician, and their pockets are deep.

Funded by the American Federation of Teachers, the group has been galvanizing liberal activists in Albany, Washington, D.C., and New York City since February.

“The larger point is the governor of New York should listen to everybody, not just the billionaires in the Hamptons,” said Michael Kink, a former state Senate aide who now runs a union-backed activist group and said he planned to attend the protest.

Multiple hedge-fund managers who declined to speak for attribution said they appreciated Mr. Cuomo’s opposition to new taxes and saw him as a politician interested in compromise.

They said they believed that charter schools were a better alternative to some of the city’s troubled schools. Many hedge funders identify as libertarians, said people in their industry, and don’t support a particular party.

This just in from Zephyr Teachout, the upstart who ran against Andrew Cuomo as a total unknown with no money yet won 1/3 of the vote, sweeping many upstate counties. She played David to his Goliath and stunned the media. Cuomo refused to meet her, shake her hand, or acknowledge her when she ran against him.

Right now, as public education is under attack in Albany, I have an idea about what we can do: recruit teachers to run for public office at every level.

I’m doing an 18-day, 17-event tour to find candidates and talk about how we can wake up some sleeping politicians in New York politics. (Event list below).

Public education is the heart and soul of democracy. I’d love it if teachers could stay in the classroom, but they may need to bring some lesson plans into the broader public.

For this tour, I’m collaborating with the Working Families Party and NYSUT on their project to build a pipeline of great candidates.

We want to build a pipeline of power and joy to take on Pearson and the privatizers.

We can also get a message to lawmakers right now. This year Governor Cuomo and the Republican Senate went on an all-out attack on public schools. As I write this, they are trying to pass a tax giveaway to wealthy New Yorkers clothed as “Parental Choice.” We want to be ready with a slate of pro-education, anti-corruption candidates so if lawmakers feel like joining the giveaway, they realize they might get a challenger!

Also, if we’re going to get more women to run for office (which we desperately need in New York), we should target professions where women are heavily represented.

I’m starting today in Syracuse, and then traveling to Auburn, Woodbury, Kingston, Elmira, Warwick, Ithaca and the Rockaways, among other places. (Yes, Greenwich Connecticut is on there–I’m interviewing Pussy Riot, extraordinarily courageous political women).

The final event is a great honor, and focused on the central role of labor in democracy. I’m the keynote speaker at the North Country Salute to Labor on June 18th in Altona—prior keynotes have included Attorneys General Spitzer and Schneiderman, Senators Gillibrand, Clinton, Schumer, and Comptroller DeNapoli.

Lets flood the future of new york politics with hope and hard work!

Zephyr Teachout


1. June 2nd, 5 PM – Why Educators Should Run, Syracuse

Syracuse Regional Office 4983 Brittonfield Parkway, East Syracuse

With: Mayor Stephanie Miner, Common Council Member Pamela Hunter, Jesse Lenney, moderated by Ian Phillips. Organized by NYSUT and WFP.

2. June 2nd, 7:30 PM- Cayuga Democratic Women

Auburn Public Theater, 8 Exchange St, Auburn, NY 13021

3. June 4th, 7 PM, Manhattan Young Democrats, Engendering Progress Awards

Goldbar, 389 Broome Street

4. June 5, 1 PM, Pro-Internet and I Vote: How Can the Net Build Political Power in 2016?

Personal Democracy Forum

Kimmel Center

With: David Segal, Jesse Tolkan, Craig Aaron

5. June 5th, 4:30 PM, The Politics of Joy, Personal Democracy Forum, Manhattan

Closing Keynote, Skirball Center, NYU

6. June 7th, 12 PM, Conversation with Pussy Riot

Moderating a Discussion with internationally renowned political activists, Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova and Maria (Masha) Alekhina

Greenwich International Film Festival

1:30pm, BowTie Cinema, Greenwich, CT

7. June 8th, 6pm – Why She Ran, Kingston

Kingston Public Library, 55 Franklin Street Kingston 12401

With: Jen Metzger, Nina Dawson. Organized by WFP.

8. June 9th, 6:30pm – Why Educators Should Run, Woodbury

Nassau NYSUT Regional Office – 1000 Woodbury Road, Suite 214 Woodbury

With: Emily Abbott, moderated by Jeff Friedman

9. June 10th, 6:30pm – Why Educators Should Run, Hauppague

Suffolk Regional Office – 150 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, Suite 306 Hauppague

10. June 13th, 12pm – Why Educators Should Run, Elmira

NYSUT office, 100 West Church Street. Suite 200

11-12. June 13th, 4pm – Tompkins County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Forum on Corruption, and Tompkins County Democratic Committee Spring Wine and Cheese Reception

4 PM: Focus on Corruption, Ithaca Town Hall

6 PM: Reception Remarks, DeWitt Auditorium

13. June 14th, 1PM – Warwick Democratic Committee

Keynote Speaker

Landmark Inn, 526 NY-94, Warwick

14. June 15th, 6:30 PM – Lennox Hill Democrats

LHDC Annual Reception

6 East 44th Street

15. June 16th, 6 PM — Rockaway Wildfire

Organizing meeting

Location TBD

16. June 17th, 5pm – Why Educators Should Run, Albany

NYSUT HQ Auditorium, 800 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham

With: Phil Leber, moderated by Randy Gunther

17. June 18th, North Country Salute to Labor

5:30 PM

Keynote Speaker

Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall

47 Woods Falls Road

Altona, NY 12910

Governor Andrew Cuomo has consistently complained that public schools cost too much. So one of his first actions when he was elected was to persuade the legislature to pass a 2% cap on budget increases. That would save the taxpayers money but it handicapped the schools that saw inflation in their costs. To make matters worse, Cuomo inserted into the law a provision that it would take a 60% majority to raise school taxes more than 2%. A simple majority–the democratic way of deciding elections–was not enough. He insisted that any tax increase to benefit the schools (anything beyond 2%) required a super-majority.

In the recent election, 99% of districts passed their school budgets, with the typical increase being 1.9%, thus avoiding Cuomo’s cap. Eighteen districts sought an increase larger than 2%. The increase was approved in 12 of the 18 districts.

So, here is where Andrew Cuomo will meet his Waterloo. The public cares about their public schools. The schools belong to them. They teach the children of the community. The parents and local merchants know the teachers and the staff and the principal. Unlike Andrew Cuomo, they don’t see the local public schools as their enemy.

Stephanie Santagada, a high school English teacher, wrote this little essay and dedicated it to Governor Andrew Cuomo:

“There is a man in Albany, who I surmise, by his clamorous paroxysms, has an extreme aversion to educators. He sees teachers as curs, or likens them to mangy dogs. Methinks he suffers from a rare form of psychopathology in which he absconds with our dignity by enacting laws counterintuitive to the orthodoxy of educational leadership. We have given him sufferance for far too long. He’s currently taking a circuitous path to DC, but he will no doubt soon find himself in litigious waters. The time has come to bowdlerize his posits, send him many furlongs away, and maroon him there, maybe Cuba?

She added:

I’m not supposed to say this, but all these insanely hard words appeared on the 4,6, and 8th grade tests last week.

Peter Greene has an insight: Governor Andrew Cuomo declared his love for charter schools, which enroll about 91,000 students. Will he now become a champion for parents and students who opt out of testing? They numbered somewhere between 170,000 and 200,000. That’s twice as many students as are enrolled in charter schools.

Peter Greene thinks the Governor should show them twice as much love.

In the midst of a story about a teacher who walked 150 miles to deliver a letter to Governor Cuomo, there was mention of a statement about the opt outs by the State Education Department.

Basically the SED said that the opt outs will not derail its determination to rate teachers based on test scores.

The State Education Department released a statement saying, “We are confident the Department will be able to generate a representative sample of students who took the test, generate valid scores for anyone who took the test, and calculate valid State-provided growth scores to be used in teacher evaluations.”

The SED did not say how it will generate valid ratings for teachers whose students opted out, especially in districts where the majority of students did so; nor did it say how it would generation valid ratings for the 70% teachers who don’t teach the tested subjects. Even if only 10% opted out, how will the SED know if they were high-scoring students or low-scoring students? The SED will succeed in making a process of dubious value even less valid. The SED is determined to do the wrong thing with or without adequate data.

Read More at:

The ever perceptive Peter Greene watched the Cuomo Teacher-Demolition Derby from afar and found it a disgraceful spectacle. 

He couldn’t decide which was worse: Cuomo’s lust to crush the teachers, who stood by watching him coming with an axe in hand, or the Assembly Democrats, who wailed that they voted for Cuomo’s plan with a heavy heart but did it anyway. As someone tweeted earlier today, “Probably they had a heavy heart because they had no spine.”

Greene writes, for starters:

This has truly been the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. An unpopular proposal that guts teaching as a profession and kicks public education in the teeth, sails through the NY legislature.

Yes, “sails through.” There’s nothing else to call a budget that is approved 92-54.

NY Democrats tried to make it look like less of a total victory-in-a-walk for public education opponent Andrew Cuomo by making sad pouty faces and issuing various meaningless mouth noises while going ahead and voting for the damn thing. “Ohh, woes and sadderations,” they cried as they took turns walking to the podium to give Cuomo exactly the tools he wanted for helping to put an end to teaching as a profession in New York state.

I am not sure what Democrats hoped to accomplish by taking to the podium and twitter to say how deeply, tragically burdened they were. I mean, I guess you’d like to know that people who club baby seals feel a little bit bad about it, but it really doesn’t make a lot of difference to the baby seal, who is in fact still dead.

Maybe the lesson here is that the craziest person in the room controls the conversation. The person who’s willing to ram the car right into the sheer rock face gets to navigate the trip, and Cuomo has displayed repeatedly that he really doesn’t care what has to be smashed up. If the world isn’t going to go on his way, it doesn’t need to go on for anybody.

But if teachers needed reason #2,416 to understand that Democrats simply aren’t friends to public education, there it was, biting its quivering lip and sniffling, “I feel really bad about this” as it tied up education and fired it out of a cannon so that it could land directly under a bus that had been dropped off the Empire State Building.

Hell, even Campbell Brown must be a little gobsmacked, as Cuomo’s budgetary bludgeoning of tenure and job security rules has made her lawsuit unnecessary. The Big Standardized Tests results will continue their reign of teacher evaluation, dropping random and baseless scores onto the heads of New York educators like the feces of so many flying pigs. And all new teachers need to do to get their (soon-to-be-meaningless) tenure is get the random VAM dice to throw up snake-eyes four times in a row. Meanwhile, school districts can go out back to the magic money trees to find the financing for hiring the “outside evaluators” who will provide the cherry on top of the VAM sauce.


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