Sunday, October 25, 2015

NY Education Commissioner Calls Teacher Evaluation System "Random"

At a recent meeting in Albany, New York State education commissioner MaryEllen Elia called the state’s teacher evaluation law “random" and could not explain just how her department determines so-called “college and career readiness.”

Welcome to New York, where Andrew Cuomo has stacked the bullshit so high it can be seen and smelled from outer space.   

It should reassure no one, however, that Elia—who Cuomo handpicked to enforce his asinine education laws—can give no good reasons why high-stakes tests should not cease and desist; for the profitizers of public education have thrown empirical evidence overboard in dragging us to the depths of their hubris and greed.

In the name of “equality”—but at the expense of justice—more schools must be closed and more teachers must be fired. It is the only way Cuomo’s donors can feel better about themselves and their portfolios. Students are to be siphoned and sorted by standardized tests, the only data that matters to the Lobbyist for the Students, even though he recently called the tests “meaningless.”

So what if no one wants to become a teacher in a few years? Computers will give the weakest children a more “personalized” education anyway and can be evaluated via less random updates to their operating systems.

As for the Holy Grail of education deform—“college and career readiness”—should we not be concerned when children are ready for colleges and careers, but choose neither? What then? Have their teachers failed them? Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, education means something beyond financial success?

On the other hand, should we not be concerned that the careers of thousands of middle class workers hang in the balance, all because a few ass clowns in Albany are convinced that being ready for life means getting a 1630 on the SAT?

Public education is under assault by a confluence of affluence and ignorance. And though leaders like Obama and Cuomo have feigned concern by rolling out comical committees and “testing action plans”, nothing will change until these leaders and their lackeys are rolled out of office for enabling the false philanthropy of education deform.

And with the Opt Out movement poised to gain even more traction in 2016, possibly reaching 500,000 test refusals, the chances of this happening may be less random than we think.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Cuomo to Sign “Cilantro on Shit” Standards into Law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is sick of the Common Core. So much so, he’s formed another panel to “reboot” the controversial standards, and has even recruited former banker Dick Parsons to once again lead the charge.

Though the panel has yet to meet, their report is in—and it’s not pretty for New York schools.  

According to sources close to the panel, Cuomo will include virtually all of the panel’s recommendations in this year’s state budget—a budget which he fully expects most legislators will not even read. 

Dubbed the “Cilantro on Shit” standards (Cuomo has nothing against cilantro, though he may yet change the name), the new Cuomo standards include the following:
COS2.09: Parents, teachers and students must not question the standards. Those who do shall be told, “It is what it is.” 
COS4.04: Anyone who calls the standards “Cuomo Core 3.0” will be subject to arrest and deportation from the state.
COS4.7: Parents whose children refuse to take Cilantro on Shit tests—for any reason—must pay $500 per child for each test day missed.
COS9.11: Since teachers are likely to have their own children refuse Cilantro on Shit tests, as of 2016, any person employed in the State of New York as a teacher may no longer have kids.

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Karen Magee issued the following statement in response to Cuomo’s latest education reforms:
NYSUT would like to thank Governor Cuomo for fucking us over once again. Now that the standards are law, educators will take them even more seriously. And though working teachers have a lot more to lose than me, including their careers and pensions, NYSUT will not stand in the way of the standards; rather, NYSUT will work tirelessly to ignore members who call on the Union to lead New York’s kids and communities out of the morass of high stakes tests. NYSUT also encourages everyone to dance the Nae Nae, since we believe it is the only way to reclaim the promise of public education.
At press time, Cuomo's office has declined to comment on this story. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

NYSUT Shamelessly Ignores its Own Resolutions

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to castrate teachers unions later this year, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) continues to give its own members reasons to celebrate if and when the hammer comes down on organized labor.

After all, given the option by the Court, most working teachers will choose not to feed dues dollars to an organization that doesn't know how to bite.

Look no further for evidence of NYSUT’s inaction than its reaction to resolutions passed in May at the Union’s annual Representative Assembly (RA). NYSUT delegates from around the state descended on Buffalo to unanimously approve two resolutions meant to shelter kids and communities from harmful Cuomo Core tests.

The first resolution opposes the bogus benchmarks used by New York to determine “college and career readiness”—while the second asks NYSUT members to “have their own children refuse to take the Grade 3-8 assessments.”

Whether in New York City or Buffalo, Washington or Rochester, NYSUT spends thousands of dollars each year on the RA, not to mention the professional and personal time delegates sacrifice to get there.

Evidently, NYSUT prefers burning this time and money, as Union leadership has done zero since the RA to either “oppose” or “refuse” tests which are choking the lives and livelihoods of New Yorkers. The Union’s vision of opposition has so far consisted of lamely-worded Friday afternoon emails and yes, a request for members to dance the Nae Nae.

NYSUT leadership is obligated to aggressively push all resolutions passed at the RA, even those opposed by the likes of Randi Weingarten and Andrew Cuomo.

Furthermore, the failure to give voice to these resolutions voids everything else voted on at the RA, including the Union’s officers and board of directors.

For if RA resolutions are meaningless, then RA elections are also meaningless.

Besides, why should NYSUT members respect their leaders if their leaders won’t respect NYSUT resolutions?  

Will it require a resolution not to pass anymore meaningless resolutions before leadership listens to rank-and-file educators?

Will NYSUT even be able to fund the RA if the Supreme Court makes dues optional? If not, where will NYSUT hold future elections? Will there even be elections? Will they occur remotely, a proposal which was ironically voted down at this year’s RA?

Maybe the Supreme Court is just what NYSUT needs to inject passion and democracy into its veins. Public education faces existential threats—and teachers unions must stop passing empty resolutions if they expect to save themselves and our schools.       

Leadership must act, before we are all swept off the stage.


A Union Made Meme