Archives for category: New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 28, 2014

More information contact:

Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com

Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com

NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) – http://www.nysape.org

Parents and Educators Erupt in Anger Against Governor Cuomo’s
Vow to “Break” Our Public School System

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.”

Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County Public School parent and founding member of NYSAPE, “The governor’s anti-public school and anti-parent rant has only confirmed what many parents have suspected for quite some time. This governor has no respect for our public schools, parents, or teachers. He is a bully, plain and simple.”

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.

According to Marla Kilfoyle, a Long Island parent and educator and one of the leaders of the national organization known as the BATs, “Governor Cuomo’s continued war on the teaching profession and public education is a direct assault on children and their families. He continues to cut funding, disrespect parents, insult teachers, and hurt our children. Enough is enough!”

“Once again, Cuomo has put hedge fund managers, corporate interests and his charter school cronies above public school students and their families. Truth be told, parents see the devastating impact of the Common Core on our children every single day around our own dinner tables. We know that Common Core is failing our students and Cuomo is failing New York’s children,” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent.

Lisa Rudley, a Westchester public school parent and Education Director of the Autism Action Network commented, “In his rant, Governor Cuomo calls public educators ‘the only remaining public monopoly.’ Would the governor consider firefighters and police officers a monopoly? Will he call for competition and sanctions based upon unreliable metrics for health care workers and other public service professionals? If so, it appears that his real goal is to dismantle our public schools to garner more support from his financial backers.”

“Governor Cuomo’s assertion that competition leads to better schools is ludicrous,” noted Ulster County public school parent, Bianca Tanis. “If he thinks that the answer to a lack of adequate funding for our schools is charter schools, competition, and test-based ranking and sorting, he is calling for a Hunger Games regime that will disadvantage all students, but especially those most vulnerable – our special needs students and children living in poverty.”

Before going to the polls next Tuesday, New Yorkers can see the education positions of all four gubernatorial candidates, including Governor Cuomo, on NYSAPE’s website.

###

__

Carl Paladino, a multimillionaire in Buffalo who ran on the Republican ticket for governor against Andrew Cuomo in the last election, got elected to the Buffalo, New York, school board.

 

He supports charter schools. He also invests in them.  He makes money investing in charter schools. “If I didn’t, I’d be a frigging idiot,” he said.

 

Conflict of interest?

 

PS: Sorry to say that the Buffalo newspaper removed this story from the Internet, although it still appears on Google.

This is a great story about the stupidity of the New York state teacher evaluation model (a value-added model), which is inaccurate and causes untold grief to teachers who are wrongly labeled. It arrived as a comment on the blog. This teacher is fighting back!

 

 

 

Sheri G. Lederman, Ed.D., a top performing fourth-grade teacher in Great Neck, today filed a lawsuit against the New York State Education Department, to invalidate a rating of “ineffective.” Judge Richard Platkin of the New York State Supreme Court, Albany County, directed the Education Department to show cause on January 16, 2015, why the rating of Dr. Lederman, whose student’s generally outperform state assessments by over 200%, should not be declared arbitrary and capricious and why the Education Department should not be enjoined from using its so-called growth model for evaluating teachers unless the model is modified to rationally evaluate teacher performance.

 

The lawsuit which was filed today in Albany explains that Dr. Lederman has been teaching 4th grade in Great Neck for 17 years. In those 17 years, students in her classes have consistently substantially outperformed state averages in English Language Arts exams and 4th grade math exams. For the past two years, when the percentage of students across the state of students meeting or exceeding standards is only about 31%, approximately 68% of Dr. Lederman’s students have historically met or exceeded state standards.

 

Dr. Lederman’s lawsuit challenges the rationality of the statistical model presently being implemented by the Education Department which purports to predict what scores theoretically similar students should achieve and then rates teachers on whether they can show that they have caused growth in their students compared to so-called similar students predicted by a computer model.

 

The lawsuit alleges that the New York State Growth Measures (or Student Growth Model or State Provided Growth Model or Value Added Model), as presently being implemented by Respondents, actually punishes excellence in education through a statistical black box which no rational educator or fact finder could see as fair, accurate or reliable.

 

For More information please contact Bruce H. Lederman, Esq, 516 551 0446

The New York State School Boards Association is supposed to be the voice of the state’s local school boards, but some of those school boards believe that their association has become a voice for the New York State Education Department.

 

School boards in the Lower Hudson Valley are leading the charge, claiming that the NYSSBA is not representing them when it advocates for Common Core or for test-based evaluations of teachers and principals.

 

The NYSSBA is holding its annual conference right now in New York City, and a number of resolutions will be voted up or down.

 

Most people think of Long Island as the center of the resistance to Common Core because it has a large contingent of parent activists and a large number of students who opted out of state testing. But the “Lohud” (Lower Hudson Valley) school boards and parents are equally resistant to the state and federal mandates coming from Race to the Top. One even stopped paying dues to the state school boards association.

 

 

Gary Stern writes:

 

 

“Critics in the Lower Hudson Valley are calling out the School Boards Association for embracing the Common Core, the new teacher-evaluation system and other state-mandated reforms. Some say the group has become too cozy with the state Education Department at a time when many school board members and educators in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties are resistant to the state’s agenda.

 
“They don’t seem to be representing us or our region,” Pleasantville Board of Education President Shane McGaffey said. “It feels like they’ve become a mouthpiece for the state as opposed to their members.”

 
The Pleasantville school board took the unusual action this month of halting its dues payments to NYSSBA. Board members from other districts are watching to see how the School Boards Association responds.

 
NYSSBA is set to hold its 95th annual convention from Sunday to Tuesday at the Sheraton in Times Square. Delegates will vote on several resolutions that Timothy Kremer, NYSSBA’s executive director, said are “surprisingly controversial because, I think, the words ‘Common Core’ are in the resolutions.”
One resolution, in particular, that has galvanized critics supports the controversial teacher-evaluation system, including the use of student test scores to grade teachers. The Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents has called for the system to be killed, saying it is irreparably flawed, but NYSSBA’s official “rationale” for the resolution chides opponets who have “fought relentlessly to roll back” the system.

 
A school board member from the New Paltz School District, Steve Greenfield, has written several tough criticisms of NYSSBA that have been widely shared through social media. He has tried to focus attention on NYSSBA’s acceptance of a $250,000 grant from the state Education Department to provide training to school board members on implementing the current reforms.

 
“NYSSBA is supposed to be our lobby before government bodies,” Greenfield said. “It’s an incredibly important organization. But they are accepting money and curriculum from the very agency they are supposed to be lobbying.”
The School Boards Association, based in Latham, outside Albany, represents 658 school boards or 93 percent of those in the state. It has a budget of about $9 million, 60 percent of which comes from school board dues, and a paid staff of 56 people.

 

 

Even critics say that it is a steep challenge for NYSSBA to represent urban, suburban and rural districts that often have different priorities. And it’s well known that criticism of the state’s reform agenda is more concentrated in the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island than elsewhere in New York.
Kremer, the group’s executive director since 1998, acknowledged that the Westchester/Rockland area is “ground zero” for opposition to programs tied to the Common Core. He said he is in regular touch with local school board members and educators about their concerns. In fact, he plans to visit the Pleasantville school board on Nov. 18.

 
“We’re trying to say ‘Look guys, we want to hear from you and we want to be open,’ ” Kremer said. “To some extent, they want to work with us.”

 
Kremer emphasized that NYSSBA’s resolutions are not fixed positions but starting points based on surveys of members and months of reviews. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the resolution on teacher evaluations gets rejected by delegates.

 
“If it gets voted down, our official position will be that we no longer support the use of student performance data in (evaluations),” he said. “People somehow think a resolution is our position. It is not.”

 
But some board members in the Lower Hudson Valley want NYSSBA to take a more critical initial stance.

 
“They’ve glossed over our fears and trepidations,” said Lawrence Boes, another Pleasantville board member. “There is a general feeling that we’re whining, that we’re these wealthy school districts that should acquiesce to the desires of the state Education Department.”

 
Frank Hariton, president of the Ardsley Board of Education, said he expects his board to review NYSSBA’s performance after the convention.

 

“We think the state is diluting the great stuff we did before,” he said. “I think that the state Education Department has become almost a subsidiary of Pearson (Inc.) and that NYSSBA is becoming an apologist for SED. I find it to be terrible.”
Members of other local school boards had similar concerns but said they would wait for the outcome of the convention before criticizing NYSSBA.

 
Of the general tenor in the region, Susan Elion Wollin, president of the Westchester Putnam School Boards Association, which is independent of NYSSBA, said: “It would be fair to say that Westchester Putnam members would enjoy the opportunity to have a deeper conversation with NYSSBA about issues we feel are important to us.”

 
Kremer said that the state’s school reforms are written into state law, and that NYSSBA’s role is to help school boards implement policies effectively.

 
“Whatever one thinks of the Common Core, as we sit here today, it is the law in New York state,” he said. “Our job is to make sure that school boards we represent have the information they need to make smart local decisions.”

 
One resolution on tap for the convention calls for more state funding for professional development tied to the Common Core. Another supports new teacher certification exams aligned with the Common Core.

 
Kremer said NYSSBA accepted a state grant to provide training because “Everyone has been trained in the reforms except for board members.” NYSSBA is using the grant to hold seven workshops around the state featuring speakers who support the Common Core.

I just watched the gubernatorial debate in New York. It included four candidates and is the only debate that will be held as Cuomo did not want to give his opponents any free air time. So there was Governor Cuomo, running on three lines (democrat, Working Families Party, Women’s Equality Party); His Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, running on three lines (Republican, Conservative, and Stop Common Core); Howie Hawkins, Green Party; and Michael McDermott, a Libertarian Party.

There were two education questions.

One was, what’s your position on Common Core? All four candidates opposed it. The Libertarian said his nine-year-old daughter can’t understand her homework, and neither can he. He said something along the lines of, “8+6=14, but why ask her to add 8+2+7-4-3?”

Cuomo insisted he had nothing to do with adopting Common Core and blamed it on the Board of Regents. He said he doesn’t appoint them, the Legislature does.

Then came a question on charter schools. Howie Hawkins opposed any expansion of them and said we must fully fund our public schools. Astorino said he was a product of public schools, his children attend public schools, and his wife teaches special education. He didn’t say where he stands on charters. McDermott denounced charters and said they undermine local control, which he strongly favors. Cuomo said nothing about charter schools and talked about taxes and other subjects. He changed the subject instead of acknowledging his fervent support for charter schools. Cuomo did not take credit for passing legislation that requires New York City to give free public space to charters or to pay their rent in private space.

The takeaway? None of the candidates supports Common Core (not even Cuomo, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of the standards until recently and has insisted on making test scores the basis of educators’ evaluations), and charters (which enroll 3% of the state’s students, received no endorsement, even from their biggest cheerleader, Governor Cuomo.

With his campaign chest of $45 million, Cuomo has a big lead over his challengers. But the Governor would not publicly endorse Common Core or charters. He left a sour taste, as there can be no doubt that his current rhetoric is campaign mode and that he will revert to supporting Common Core, high-stakes testing, teacher-bashing, and charters after he is re-elected.k

Alan Singer sees a pattern:

Andrew Cuomo gets large campaign contributions from hedge fund managers, and Andrew Cuomo becomes a charter cheerleader. This, despite the fact that charters enroll only 3% of New York state’s children. At the beginning of his term as Governor, he promised to be the students’ lobbyist. Who knew that he intended to be the lobbyist for the 3% while ignoring the vast majority of children, who are enrolled in public schools?

Singer notes some fascinating details about Cuomo’s support for charter schools:

“It is probably just a coincidence. Could charter school dollars pouring into Andrew Cuomo’s reelection campaign at the same time that new charter agreements are approved by New York State really be “Quid Pro Cuomo”? Readers and voters have to decide for themselves.

“One month before Election Day, the State University of New York Charter School Committee gave its approval for seventeen new charter schools in New York City, including fourteen new Success Academy charter schools. This will eventually give the politically connected network headed by its contentious chief executive, Eva Moskowitz, a total of fifty charter schools in the city with over 16,000 students. Three new charter schools were also approved for a group called Achievement First.

“According to Joseph Belluck, the committee chairman, “parents in the communities where these schools are do not care about the politics of this issue. They want their kids to have good schools, and they want their kids to have a good education.” That may be true. However, it is Belluck’s job to know about the political issues, especially about the influence of political contributions, and take them into account before these decisions are made. But again, maybe he did.

“Belluck, a partner in the Manhattan law firm, was appointed to the SUNY Board of Trustees in June 2010. Before founding his law firm in 2002 he was counsel to the New York State Attorney General. Belluck is a major Democratic Party contributor. According to the website Little Sis, between 2004 and 2012 he gave $134,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign and about $200,000 to other Democratic Party candidates and committees.

“According to at least one website, in 2010, Belluck donated over $50,000 to Cuomo’s successful gubernatorial campaign. New York Press reported that Belluck donated $21,900 to Cuomo in 2008, $34,000 in 2009, and $60,000 in 2012. The Albany-Times Union called Belluck Cuomo’s second largest donor. Belluck is so politically connected that his law firm includes Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson. Sampson, by the way, was indicted in 2013 by a federal grand jury. He pleaded not guilty to charges that he stole money from the sale of foreclosed homes. The charges are still pending.”

Rick Bobrick is a veteran teacher in New York. He is sick of the punitive high-stakes testing that he is compelled to administer. This regime is child abuse. He is a conscientious objector. He thinks that teachers should have the same right to opt out that parents and children have. He knows if he refuses to give the tests, he puts at risk his job, his income, and his pension. He asks a simple question: why not a law protecting the rights of teachers to refuse to do what they know is wrong? Why not give teachers the right to be conscientious objectors?

Here is his letter:

I teach 8th grade science in a small city school district located in the Mid-Hudson Valley. I am in my 35th year in the classroom, the last 13 of which I have been required to administer punitive, high-stakes tests in math, ELA, and science. Last spring I hit the wall and I have decided that, in all good conscience, I no longer want to participate in this detrimental practice. However, like most teachers, I am unwilling to risk losing my income, or my pension, or my even my reputation, in order to take a principled stand against this new wave of failed reform. On the other hand, why should I have to risk anything in order to stand against what I know is wrong?

No teacher or administrator should be required to ignore their moral and professional compass out of fear of violating NY state law. No teacher or administrator should have to comply with educational policies more harmful than helpful to children. No teacher or administrator should be forced to remain complicit to policies that are tantamount to educational malpractice at best – and child abuse at their worst. No public school educator should ever submit to inaction out of fear of jeopardizing their professional standing, personal well-being, or their family security. The fear, the veiled threats, and the de-facto intimidation are all very real concerns for many NY public school professionals. There is something deeply wrong with a system in which teachers and principals are afraid to act in the best interest of children.

My proposed solution to this professional dilemma is to try to establish legal protections for any NY educator who no longer wishes to comply with New York’s RTTT commitment. Following the advice of my local NYSUT representative, I have drafted a resolution that would establish a ‘Conscientious Objector’ status for any NY teacher or administrator who wants to abstain from the malpractice of high-stakes testing. I have never been politically connected, nor a particularly strong supporter of our union. All I ever wanted to do was to teach science and provide my students with the best learning opportunities possible.

I will be working with a group of like-minded citizens to convince lawmakers to support this initiative. If this proposal is submitted as a bill and passed into law it would provide legal protection for any teacher or administrator who wants to opt out of the testing debacle. As has been seen over the past two years, parents can ‘refuse the test’ without fear of legal consequences. Nearly 60,000 students across New York State sat out the 2014 round of Pearson testing, supported by parents who wanted nothing to do with tests designed to fail students and intimidate their teachers. It is my strong belief that teachers and administrators should have the same right of refusal, a legally protected right to, ‘refuse to test’. Passage of this resolution into law may be viewed by some as a long shot; if successful it would open a very messy can of worms for Governor Cuomo, the Board of Regents, John King, and the State Education Department.

Regardless of the end result, the message this sends to our political leaders could open some eyes and help bring this federal testing regime to an end, sooner rather than later; one more nail in the coffin of New York’s Regents Reform Agenda. At the very least it would let parents, boards of education, and the media get a better handle on just how much opposition there is from the educators who are being forced by the power of state and federal law to pursue education policies and practices that we know are inflicting harm to our students. Teachers whose voices are being silenced by fear of professional retribution, would be muzzled no longer. To sit back and continue to be a part of this testing madness, in my view, makes us part of the problem – ‘refusing to test’ makes us part of the solution.

If we do nothing, this whole mess will eventually die a slow death by a thousand cuts, collapsing under its own weight – but not after a generation of students has been short-changed by the educational blinders of the Common Core and damaged by the pressures of punitive, test-based reform and all the negative labels that come with it. Parents, college professors, and others will be pointing fingers and asking very serious questions as they try to make sense of what happened to our collective professional voice if the majority of us remain complicit through inaction. The ‘Nuremburg Defense’ doesn’t cut it for me. Burris, Farley, Naison, Lee and a small handful of other strong voices from within the trenches of New York’s schools are not enough. We have a choice to make, nearly half a million strong: defiance or compliance?

If adopted, the Conscientious Objector legislation will make it possible for the majority of NY educators to speak out against the misguided attempts of reformers; changing fearful whispers into strong and meaningful action. By granting the right of refusal, this proposed resolution would also help to restore our status as professional educators whose judgment and trust are valued by the communities we serve. Teachers, coaches, supervisors, principals, and parents, please keep your ears to the legislative track and when the time comes lend your support at the local and state level. Together we can make this happen and bring the joy of learning back to our children’s classrooms.

Rick Bobrick

This is an important message from a local school board member–Damon Buffum– to the New York Board of Regents. To commend him for his straight talk and thoughtfulness, I add him to our honor roll as a champion of American education.

-

From: Damon Buffum (dbuffum)
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2014 11:27 AM
To: Norwood; Regent Bendit; Regent Bennett; Regent Bottar; Regent Brown; Regent Cashin; Regent Cea; Regent Cottrell; Regent Dawson; Regent Finn; Regent Phillips; Regent Rosa; Regent Tallon; Regent Tiles; Regent Tisch; Regent Young
Cc: Damon Buffum (dbuffum) (dbuffum@cisco.com)

Subject: Times Union article Re: Common Core Divides State’s Regents Board

Hello New York State Board of Regents -

My name is Damon Buffum and I’m a Board of Education member in the Fairport Central School District (Monroe County). I’m also a District Resident, father, grandfather and high tech Engineering Manager with Cisco Systems. The comments in this email are my own and don’t represent the opinions or policy of the Fairport BoE or Cisco Systems.

I wanted to comment on the recent article in the Albany Times Union regarding education policy and the views of the state Regents. First, thanks for your efforts. I know from my experience on the Fairport BoE, the time commitment to education in New York is immense and I can only imagine the time and dedication required to fulfill your roll on the state Regents Board. The main purpose of the note however, is to strongly support the views that Regent Rosa expresses in her comments in this article. She states, “They are using false information to create a crisis, to take the state test and turn it on its head to make sure the suburbs experience what the urban centers experience: failure”. I couldn’t agree more. In representing the Fairport education system I can firmly state that we have no crisis in the Fairport education system.

It’s disturbing to me to listen to Governor Cuomo, Commissioner King and the Board of Regents decry, universally, that New York schools are failing our children, that we spend more money than any other state and that our state government is providing more funding to public education that ever before. All of these statements have context, but are ultimately not true. I believe that you understand this. I do consider it a fact that we have certain districts that are in crisis, but I’ve also done personal analysis and know that there is a DIRECT link of education performance (whatever academic metric you chose) and student poverty. This is not a vague connection, but a direct connection. To divert attention away from this link to poverty and broadly paint this as a nationwide or statewide education failure is both misleading and incorrect. Using our sparse and valuable resources to attack this problem through inappropriate curriculum for early grades, over testing and data collection, high stakes testing, curriculum changes and the need for increased (overwhelming) investment in technology, new text books, teacher development is irresponsible and wasteful. I won’t go into the associated, unquantified, costs to these reform policies, but I have a firm belief that these are moving New York education in the wrong direction and will ultimately cost our state dearly in terms of an educated workforce and a healthy economy. We sadly do have a crisis in many urban and rural communities. We have a poverty crisis, a social structure crisis, a health crisis and economic opportunity crisis. These are the FUNDAMENTAL issues that have to be recognized and dealt with. A child spends roughly 17% of their time in schools. The best teachers, curriculum and tests won’t fix a problem if 83% of a child’s time is being impacted by other areas that are in crisis. This is where Governor Cuomo should be focused. Schools and teachers can do amazing things, but the children have to be safe, fed, healthy and ready to learn.

In my home district, the Common Core and associated testing (3-8 state testing, field testing, SLO testing) have caused an immense distortion of our child-centric focus and ensuring the education of the whole child. I understand that the CCSS are only standards and not curriculum or a test, but it’s naïve to think that the immense quantity of time and impact of these tests to do not have a direct link to the curriculum, funding, focus and morale of our education system. I’ve personally toured every building in our District and spoken with administrators, staff and students. We have a 95% graduation rate, our kids have a healthy education experience that includes the arts, history, the sciences, athletics, robotics, community service, diversity and inclusion. We are proud of our kids and our schools. Again, for me personally, I consider the New York state reform agenda to be a direct attack on the education community we have.

I know that I haven’t told you anything that you haven’t heard or known already. However, I am asking you to get real here. Let’s recognize the REAL problems that we have in New York and start attacking those. We need to stop proclaiming ALL education systems as failures and support the best of what we have while addressing the gaps. We need to support these activities with funding – and giving support and then taking it away through the GEA is absurd. The current Common Core implementation in New York is creating chaos. We have our Superintendents divided in terms of impact, the states teachers union initiating a lawsuit around a testing gag order, multiple Districts adopting declarations against high stakes testing, tens of thousands of students and parents opting out of state tests, schools being closed and we have total political dysfunction. Our kids are paying the price for this as they only experience their education a single time. We entrust you with our state education policy. Please put our schools and kids first (above a political or corporate agenda) and put education back in the hands of educators.

Regards –

Damon Buffum

http://m.timesunion.com/local/article/Common-Core-divides-state-s-Regents-board-5067470.php

Perdido Street blogger asks why it is impossible to find out who contributed to the lobbying group Families for Excellent Schools, which spent $6 million this year to prevent Mayor Bill de Blasio from regulating the charter school sector and won a law that forces the city to pay the rent of charters not located on public school grounds.

 

The blogger quotes extensively from the business magazine Crain’s New York, which described how this lobbying group exploited loopholes to avoid complying with state laws that require disclosure of donors to political action committees. “Group is visible,” the article’s title says, “but not its donors.”

 

Why do they hide their names and faces? We know why Perdido Street blogger has no name: he or she would be fired for speaking candidly, although tenure might be an obstacle.

 

But why do Wall Street hedge fund managers hide their identity? Why are they ashamed to let the world know that they are the “Families for Excellent Schools,” that they—whose children attend elite schools—are pretending to be parents in New York City’s poorest communities? Why pretend that impoverished families raised $6 million to attack Bill de Blasio, even as he was fighting to raise the minimum wage, expand universal pre-kindergarten, and preserve public education? Why pretend that the poor families who have been hoodwinked into supporting the privatization of public education are paying for the destruction of public education and the enrichment of investors and charter entrepreneurs?

 

Perdido Street blogger writes:

 

Just as Campbell Brown refuses to reveal who the donors for her anti-tenure group are even as she spends the money she gets from them on her anti-tenure campaign, Families For Excellent Schools spends millions lobbying politicians and millions more on pro-charter ads without revealing where that money is coming from.

 

This is life in Andrew Cuomo’s New York, where he raised millions through his Committee To Save New York PAC, then had that PAC spend that money on ads touting his political agenda, all without having to reveal who was donating to the Committee To Save New York PAC.

 

When the law changed and he would have been forced to reveal that donor base, he shut down the Committee To Save New York instead.

 

The criminals are running the state, folks – they own it, they’re throwing their dirty money around and buying whatever they want and whomever they want whenever they want and there’s NOTHING you can do it about it.

 

Andrew Cuomo’s New York – a cesspool of corruption.

 

 

 

 

New York State’s Education Department has warned teachers that they can be fired and lose their teaching license if they discuss the Common Core tests they graded. The New York State United Teachers has filed a federal challenge to this restriction of teachers’ First Amendment rights. This is an integral aspect of the secrecy that surrounds the Common Core tests. Teachers are not allowed to know what their own students got right or wrong. They are not allowed to discover what their students learned or failed to learn. And if they graded the tests, they can be fired for talking about what they saw.

John Ogozolak, a teacher in upstate New York wrote me to say:

“The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday of behalf of five teachers who are challenging “confidentiality agreements” they were made to sign prior to grading state exams in 2014. The gag orders threaten teachers with punishment for even mentioning what they saw on the exams and restrict the teachers’ rights to talk freely in public as citizens. The punishment could include the revoking of teaching licenses and even criminal prosecution. According to a NYSUT press release,

“The suit charges SED’s rules unconstitutionally make teachers’ speech conditional on government approval while establishing a ‘system to police the free exchange of ideas and opinions regarding its compulsory and costly testing regime.'”

“It’s all somewhat amazing, really. Yes, I guess I’ve been somewhat naive all these years. Who would have ever thought it would come to this in our great country? Citizens in Hong Kong have been fighting all week for their rights and look what is happening in our own backyards, courtesy of the apparatchiks at the NYS Education Department. I guess the testmongers there believe that their bureacratic process of creating useless exams as well as the proprietary rights of the billionaires who are their corporate overlords trump our individual First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Who will be able to speak out for our students?

“And, what lesson does this crackdown really send to our kids? It certainly has a chilling effect on the rights to free speech in our public schools. My nominees for the 2014 Education Hall of Shame: NYS Commissioner of Education John B. King and all his enablers on the Board of Regents and at the NYS Education Department and as well as all those spineless lawmakers who are letting them get away with this power grab. Of course, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo is already there to welcome you to the Hall of Shame.

“I’m imagining a protest involving thousands of teachers and parents across New York State who for just a few minutes some morning at the start of the school day put black electrical tape over their mouths to draw attention to this outrage. And, wouldn’t it be great if our friends in the media world join us, too, in making that point? I’m wondering if the New York Times, those self-proclaimed protectors of the First Amendment, would have to cover that story then? If only…… “

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114,353 other followers