Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Firing Squad in Utah and Public Education Death Sentence in New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) Hawks Charter Schools as "Future Fix" (my label)

Nine Hedge Fund  Billionaires Behind Cuomo in More Ways Than One
(and they have the mega bucks to prove it)

In his State of the State address in January, Gov. Cuomo told the NYS legislature point blank: “Don’t tell me that if we only had more money [for education], it would change. We have been putting more money into this system every year for a decade and it hasn’t changed and 250,000 failing children will condemn the failing schools by this system.”

Putting his money, or lack thereof, where his mouth is, Mr. Cuomo banked his gubernatorial legacy on a budget that would again fail to meet the state’s public-school funding requirements, instead increasing the privatization of New York’s education system and weakening New York State’s once powerful teachers’ union, the NYSUT. 

His education reform proposal would tie 50 percent of teacher evaluations to student test scores, based on a controversial practice called Value-Added Modeling, and thus by come accounts, drastically weaken teachers’ opportunity for tenure, and expedite the firing of teachers, making room for a hundred more charter schools that promote state takeover of “failing” (or poor) school districts — a tactic that has been used to expand charter school growth without the consent of elected school boards across the country. 

In his 2014 re-election bid, Mr. Cuomo declared that as governor he would work to enact long-term measures to “break” public education, which he called “one of the only remaining public monopolies.” His pledge will be put to the test when the state legislature votes on his budget proposal by the end of March.

The consensus that New York public schools do not require more funding is curious, given the landmark 2006 Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling and subsequent statewide resolution ordering the state to correct its inequitable school-funding formula to provide every student their constitutional right to “sound basic education.” Back in 2007, Governor Eliot Spitzer and the New York State Legislature enacted a statewide resolution, creating one statewide school aid formula based on student poverty concentration and district wealth and promising to add $5.5 billion in schools’s operating aid over four years. 

Yet in 2009, after two years of more equitable funding, the state froze school aid, citing the financial crisis. Over the next two years, New York State actually cut school funding, including $2.1 billion in classroom cuts.

Now here we are today with what? Oh, yeah the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say... 9 billionaires bent on running the show or the whole shebang as it were, thus:

For example, Zakiyah Ansari, a parent and public schools advocate with the labor-backed Alliance for Quality Education, called such reasoning shameful, “Why do Cuomo and these hedge funders say money doesn’t matter? I’m sure it matters in Scarsdale. I’m sure it matters where the Waltons send their kids. They don’t send their kids to schools with overcrowded classrooms, over-testing, no art, no music, no sports programs, etc. Does money only ‘not matter’ when it comes to black and brown kids?”

But the coalition to remake New York’s education system isn’t hearing it. A few years ago, such blunt threats against public schools, the state’s formidable teachers’ union, NYSUT, not to mention the majority of Cuomo’s own party, would have been unthinkable.

Over the last year, a dark-money charter-school advocacy group, Families for Excellent Schools, smashed almost all lobbying records in Albany and a Super PAC, New Yorkers’ for a balanced Albany poured $4.3 million into six Senate races, helping tip the Senate Republican in a state with six times as many registered Democrats as Republicans. Thus, with the infusion of five business-friendly senators, Governor Cuomo’s radical education reform bill is suddenly a real political possibility.

Clearly, the governor’s ambitions are not focused on New York State any longer.

A recent Quinnipiac poll, for example, indicates Cuomo’s education proposal has lowered his overall approval rating to its lowest in office, with only 28 percent in support of and 63 percent against his massive reform plan.

Continue at story link here from The Nation >>> good stuff for those of us who follow this assault on public education and their Unions, whether by Scott Walker in Wisconsin or now by Andrew Cuomo in New York State. As they say: same old, same old.   

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