Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cuomo Still Holding School Budgets Hostage over Teacher Evaluation Law

Stay classy, New York. 
In news more inevitable than Donald Trump dick jokes, school districts across New York State have soundly rebuked Governor Andrew Cuomo's latest teacher evaluation law (3012-d). Look no further for evidence of this than one year ago, when 250,000 parents refused to subject their children to tests designed to fire middle-class workers.

And though Cuomo and others would like you to believe that his bogus "Common Core Task Force" fixed everything, absolutely nothing has changed--including the law. Districts must still abide by the most pernicious aspects of Cuomo's plan. These include, for instance, having ass clowns in Albany instead of working educators determine whether or not students possess enough "college and career readiness" to keep their schools open or their teachers employed. Welcome to the idiocracy.  

Schools will also still administer the same tests Cuomo recently called "meaningless", along with yet another test that will be used to rate their teachers.  

Any district seeking to protect itself from the Lobbyist for the Student's asinine law will lose millions in funding. Immersed in his usual sleaze, Cuomo is offering bribes to imbibe his bile.

Districts who fail to strip teachers of more job security by July 1 can say goodbye to whatever aid Albany planned to provide them. Already faced with a crippling tax cap that inhibits help from within their own communities, superintendents everywhere must choose between a thousand cuts or decapitation.

Regardless, Cuomo is still determined to "break" public education; neither his laws nor his ego have lessened since last year. Add to this a devotion to deep-pocketed donors and the blurred lines between hubris, greed, and bad public policy once again come into focus.  

Heavy-hearted legislators who held their noses and voted for Cuomo's ludicrous law last year must breath the air of good sense if they expect to have any credibility on public education again.

It is immoral to tie lives to a law which no sane person can faithfully justify or defend.

Take the Board of Regents, for example, the unpaid group tasked with implementing the law. The outcry over Cuomo Core has swiftly put three Regents out to pasture, including chancellor Merryl Tisch--as complicit as Cuomo in the attacks on schools. Working the unworkable is the definition of absurdity, after all, especially on a volunteer's salary.      

Lawmakers must lighten their hearts and thicken their spines if they expect resistance to their malfeasance to end. They can start this process by listening to those who know our kids better than most: actual educators.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Beware the Ides of Testing

Great news, New York! Your kids will have the chance to take standardized tests even earlier next year! The New York Education Department (NYSED) has ruled that the Big Tests will now go down in March instead of the usual April. Note to white suburban moms: the tests will no longer interfere with soccer season!

And it's no coincidence that Governor Cuomo's annual budget will now be due after the tests instead of before. After all, Cuomo was hoisted by the petards of his budget last year when draconian changes to his teacher evaluation law (APPR) enflamed the Opt-Out movement. Since then, Cuomo has correctly yet bizarrely credited himself for the dramatic spike in test refusals, announcing that his asinine education laws "increased parental participation."    

With the winds of Opt-Out now at his back instead of his face, the Lobbyist for the Students will try to ram whatever other "reforms" he can down our throats without too much gagging. Cuomo and his slimy associates count on parents and teachers having short memories when it comes to education laws passed in the middle of the night.

New Yorkers have longer memories than Cuomo thinks, however, and will not soon forget last year's pernicious attacks on their kids and communities. Whether in March, April, or any other time of year, refusing Cuomo's abusive tests strikes at the heel of an education agenda that is bankrolled by billionaires.

Opt-Out must not relent until lawmakers do their jobs and bring the Test and Punish era to an inglorious end.