Arthur Goldstein is a New York City high school teacher. He is currently teaching by distance learning. He noted that Governor Cuomo wants to work with Bill Gates to make distance learning a major feature in the public schools, and Goldstein is outraged.

He writes:

It doesn’t take a genius to know that remote learning is a pale echo of the real thing. I’ve been trying to reach my kids for six weeks online. I’m getting better at it, but I’d be delusional if I were to tell you that it’s a substitute for face to face in the same room. Andrew Cuomo says otherwise, and his snake oil salesmanship is right up there with Donald Trump’s.

Cuomo is the man who, a few years back, mustered the audacity to label himself a student lobbyist. This, of course, was when he was pushing the evaluation system that’s become the bane of teacher existence. He specifically emphasized it would be used to fire teachers, both buying and selling the stereotype of teachers sitting around doing nothing while students failed the almighty state tests.

Cuomo’s evaluation system is a tremendous nuisance for both teachers and supervisors. While NYC finally has fewer observations than before, the checklists we receive, not to mention the intrusive interruptions of our practice, are not helpful to working teachers. I’d guess 25-40% of city supervisors are out of their frigging minds, failed teachers who couldn’t wait to escape the classrooms. (How frequently have supervisors who couldn’t teach told us whatever they heard at their last DOE meeting? You must do it like this, like that, and there’s no other possible way to do it.)

Nonetheless, we’re stuck with it. Of course Cuomo didn’t love it, having called it “baloney” when not enough teachers were fired for his discerning taste.With Cuomo, it’s all about appearances or money. In fact, the first time he ran for governor, he made a big deal of taking on the unions. This made him the very first Democrat for whom I declined to vote. Of course, when the imperative became looking like he opposed Trump, Cuomo became our BFF.

I wasn’t persuaded. I remember him standing with Eva Moskowitz in Albany, and I remember all the suitcases full of cash they pushed his way. Of course I understand what quid pro Cuomo is, and this was a simple transaction for him. When the geniuses in Albany unanimously named Bill Gates acolyte MaryEllen Elia Commissioner of Education, I saw Cuomos fingerprints all over it.

Working teachers know Bill Gates. Having appointed himself an education expert by virtue of having all that money. Gates has foisted failure after failure upon the United States of America. Common Core? That’s Gates. Junk science evaluation? That’s Gates too. School closings? Gates again. Gates opens his mouth, and inanities spew in every direction. Nonetheless, he has all that money, so like Michael Bloomberg, he’s an education expert. Never mind that none of his programs have worked.

Money is quite important to Andrew Cuomo, so he wants to partner with both Bloomberg and Gates.

Here’s what this teacher knows about online learning–it’s better than nothing, but a cheap imitation of the real thing. When I’m in a real classroom, I can see what every student is doing. I can offer assistance to every kid based on his or her work. I don’t have students hiding behind icons, where they could be asleep, playing with video games, watching a movie, or having their smart girlfriend do the work so they can pursue more important priorities.

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