Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Will NYSUT and UFT Leadership Endorse King Andrew?

It's good that NY will help students pay for school. It's certainly an improvement over students not being able to afford school. Personally, though, I don't trust Andrew Cuomo as far as I can throw him. I understand that he's not being openly hostile to teachers at the moment. Despite that, this is a man without convictions, a man with no moral center, a man who puts his finger up to the wind and goes whichever way blows toward the Presidency.

Andrew Cuomo, having watched the results of the 2016 Presidential election, has decided the way to go is becoming Bernie Sanders Lite. And lite he is, given that he ran for the Governorship on a platform of going after unions. He's taken all sorts of money from charter school enthusiasts, and had no problem speaking at one of the Moskowitz Academy rallies. He's imposed junk science ratings on every teacher in New York. He's introduced Tier 6 to government employees. He's imposed a tax cap that means municipalities can't raise their school budgets by more than 2% without a super majority, and bribes residents with a tax refund for failing to invest in their schools. He's also failed to comply with the CFE ruling to give sufficient funds to city schools.

Nonetheless, that's not what he wishes to be known for. Right now, he wants to make tuition free for a lot of students, and I believe he actually stood with Sanders somewhere. Of course, it's not precisely a free ride. You have to be in school full time and complete it within a prescribed time frame. And you have to live in New York for as long as you receive the scholarship. Cuomo has now relaxed those rules a little. If you're in the military, or if you face extreme hardship, you get a break. Of course, if you do have to pay the money back, it's interest free. That's a better deal than I got.

All in all it's a definite improvement. It will help a lot of kids who I serve. So you take this, along with the "moratorium" that Cuomo's imposed on certain 4-8 state tests, and you could conclude that he's a new man. Of course, you'd need to disregard Tier 6, APPR, CFE, the budgets, and the state reg that NYC has to pay rent for charters whether or not it approves them. You'd have to assume he isn't still bought and paid for by "Families for Excellent Schools" and all the various astroturf orgs that hate us and everything we stand for.

I'm afraid I can't make that assumption. What really bothers me is that UFT and NYSUT leadership will perhaps make it anyway and endorse him next election cycle. I think that would be a mistake. Just because a self-important, self-serving, disingenuous, morally bankrupt politician makes a few moves toward evident lucidity doesn't mean that he's changed.

Even before Cuomo started pretending not to hate us, we kind of gave in to him. Who can forget our failure to support Zephyr Teachout in the Working Families Primary? Who can forget our failure to support her in the Democratic Primary? And who can forget our failure to oppose Cuomo in the general? I was not a fan of his GOP opponent, who had pretty words for us but opposed the Triborough Amendment that kept our contracts in force after they expired. I did, however, vote for Green Howie Hawkins both times Cuomo ran.

All in all, the man is a loathsome reptile. He will turn on us at any moment he deems convenient. It would be an enormous mistake for us to ignore that. 
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