Thursday, March 28, 2013

Students First and Governor 1%--Perfect Together

A new piece at Gotham Schools makes plain what was already obvious to many--there's precious little difference between stone-cold opportunist Andrew Cuomo and the GOP. Otherwise, why would he take a "principled stand" to kill the millionaire tax, while ripping off city children to the tune of a quarter billion dollars? And why would anyone need to sue the state to restore over 5 billion in aid promised to poor schools?

There are a few interesting points that jump out here. One, of course, is that Cuomo, self-proclaimed "student lobbyist" clearly doesn't give a damn about funding schools that most need it. The other is that Students First couldn't care less either. While it's true these folks give precious lip service to the lie they care about kids, it's money they really seem to be after. Privatizing places schools even farther from community control than they already are, and nothing will satisfy Emperor Bloomberg short of the wholesale sellout of public schools to his BFFs.

I'm a lifelong Democrat, and I could not vote for Andrew Cuomo. In fact, the UFT didn't endorse him either. Yet they're now perfectly willing to place their faith in his ability to have one of his stooges impose a junk science evaluation plan on working teachers. This boggles my mind. I'm absolutely persuaded this will result in the firing of good teachers, as such plans have already done in DC.

There are people worth having faith in, but I fail to see how Cuomo merits being one of them. When Bloomberg was screaming about LIFO, pushing for the right to fire anyone he felt like on any basis whatsoever, Cuomo took a stand against that. But I distinctly recall his saying that it wouldn't be necessary because of the upcoming evaluation system. The implication being, of course, that this evaluation system would cause teachers to be fired anyway. How does the UFT infer this as coming from someone who ought to be judging teachers?

I've watched years of trying to make reformy folks happy. First we got the 2005 contract, which severely reduced seniority rights, created the miserable ATR, and send teachers back to patrol hallways and bathrooms. The tabloids cheered this contract, and if that wasn't evidence it was a huge error, I don't know what was. Teachers cannot appeal letters in file anymore simply because they are patently false. I'm not precisely sure how that benefits us either, but what do I know?

Where are the real Democrats? If we can't differentiate between the Democrats and the GOP, who are we left with? If Democrats are not offering working people a working choice, working people are going to need to create their own. And with all due respect for union leadership, we're not going to accomplish that by making nice-nice to those who seek to destroy us.
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