Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cuomo, Alas, Not Clueless at All

One of the brilliant ideas of Revive NYSUT was the hashtag #CluelessCuomo. I guess name-calling feels good. Certainly there was an awful lot of it directed at President George W. Bush. He was a buffoon, a moron, and he would never accomplish anything. Yet here we sit, in the still-smoldering debris of his education programs, and Barack Obama, no one's fool, has placed them on steroids and made them considerably worse.

Cuomo is no fool. He's ruthless, calculated and cunning. He has his goals and will stop at nothing to achieve them. He grew up in the shadow of his father Mario and watched him fall, likely as not a victim of his own principles and conscience. Andrew lets neither principle nor conscience get in his way, ever.

We can certainly argue that Cuomo's policies will not improve public education. Indeed, merit pay has been around for over a hundred years, and it has never worked anywhere. Sure, it feels good to say some teachers suck and shouldn't get a raise. The whole teacher-bashing thing has wide appeal, what with racism not half as chic as it once was. Hateful morons can't even indulge in gay-bashing anymore, so they need a target. Why not us? Works for Andrew Cuomo. Anything for a vote.

It's entirely possible Cuomo doesn't know that there is no scientific basis for the value-added nonsense he wishes to inflict on us. That appears to be the assumption of Revive NYSUT leaders. But really, that's of no importance whatsoever. Whether or not Andrew Cuomo knows his ideas are baseless doesn't matter one way or the other. The fact is he gets millions from donors who favor this stuff, and he couldn't care less if this stuff works for schools. It works for Andrew Cuomo, and that is the only thing in this universe that matters to him.

Cuomo's dad Mario, may he rest in peace, took a principled stand against capital punishment. It costs more to give someone the death penalty than life imprisonment. Most developed countries have discarded it as barbarism. If we make a mistake, like we did in this case, and the prisoner has already been executed, what do we do? Issue a posthumous apology?

Andrew, on the other hand, took a principled stand against a millionaire's tax. Perish forbid that anyone making tons of cash should have to fork over a few bucks to support public schools. That wasted money could have ended up in the Cuomo campaign coffers (and probably did, too). You won't see Andy risking his career on anything so trivial as people being killed for no reason.

Andy has no problem getting elected with 53% of the vote and demanding that districts who wish to support their children in school get 60% to do so. He has no problem withholding money from districts with a GEA that his unconscionable tax cap makes it impossible to make up for. He'll stand with demagogue Eva Moskowitz as she drags her kids like little pawns to Albany on a school day for a political rally. If you or I did that, we'd be facing dismissal if not prison time.

So you can call Cuomo many things. You can fight him in many ways. But if you opt for empty name-calling, it's abundantly clear someone is clueless.

That someone is not Andrew Cuomo.
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