Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Andrew Cuomo Is a Cynical Liar

It doesn't take a genius to know that remote learning is a pale echo of the real thing. I've been trying to reach my kids for six weeks online. I'm getting better at it, but I'd be delusional if I were to tell you that it's a substitute for face to face in the same room. Andrew Cuomo says otherwise, and his snake oil salesmanship is right up there with Donald Trump's.

Cuomo is the man who, a few years back, mustered the audacity to label himself a student lobbyist. This, of course, was when he was pushing the evaluation system that's become the bane of teacher existence. He specifically emphasized it would be used to fire teachers, both buying and selling the stereotype of teachers sitting around doing nothing while students failed the almighty state tests.

Cuomo's evaluation system is a tremendous nuisance for both teachers and supervisors. While NYC finally has fewer observations than before, the checklists we receive, not to mention the intrusive interruptions of our practice, are not helpful to working teachers. I'd guess 25-40% of city supervisors are out of their frigging minds, failed teachers who couldn't wait to escape the classrooms. (How frequently have supervisors who couldn't teach told us whatever they heard at their last DOE meeting? You must do it like this, like that, and there's no other possible way to do it.)

Nonetheless, we're stuck with it. Of course Cuomo didn't love it, having called it "baloney" when not enough teachers were fired for his discerning taste.With Cuomo, it's all about appearances or money. In fact, the first time he ran for governor, he made a big deal of taking on the unions. This made him the very first Democrat for whom I declined to vote. Of course, when the imperative became looking like he opposed Trump, Cuomo became our BFF.

I wasn't persuaded. I remember him standing with Eva Moskowitz in Albany, and I remember all the suitcases full of cash they pushed his way. Of course I understand what quid pro Cuomo is, and this was a simple transaction for him. When the geniuses in Albany unanimously named Bill Gates acolyte MaryEllen Elia Commissioner of Education, I saw Cuomo's fingerprints all over it.

Working teachers know Bill Gates. Having appointed himself an education expert by virtue of having all that money. Gates has foisted failure after failure upon the United States of America. Common Core? That's Gates. Junk science evaluation? That's Gates too. School closings? Gates again. Gates opens his mouth, and inanities spew in every direction. Nonetheless, he has all that money, so like Michael Bloomberg, he's an education expert. Never mind that none of his programs have worked.

Money is quite important to Andrew Cuomo, so he wants to partner with both Bloomberg and Gates.

Here's what this teacher knows about online learning--it's better than nothing, but a cheap imitation of the real thing. When I'm in a real classroom, I can see what every student is doing. I can offer assistance to every kid based on his or her work. I don't have students hiding behind icons, where they could be asleep, playing with video games, watching a movie, or having their smart girlfriend do the work so they can pursue more important priorities.

With Andrew Cuomo now suggesting that face to face education is obsolete, you'd better believe that it's all about the bottom line. The money saved by not supporting school buildings will go into tax cuts for Mike Bloomberg and Eva Moskowitz. Another thing you'd better believe is that children of Bill Gates, Andrew Cuomo, Mike Bloomberg and their ilk won't be attending cyber schools, which have a truly abysmal record.

Their kids went to, and go to elite private institutions with small class sizes, personalized instruction, far less focus on standardized tests, and all the things they want to deny us, the bootless and unhorsed. Cuomo is ready to embrace anything that takes him off the hook for his failure to support public education.

If Cuomo were really a student lobbyist, he'd stand for lower class sizes and the same personalized attention Bill Gates demands for his kids.

Instead, he examines inferior, inadequate, disproved nonsense. While it's better than nothing, and all we have right now, it's absolutely unsuitable wherever a choice exists. Real children need real teachers, and real quality doesn't even cross Andrew Cuomo's reptile mind as he relentlessly pursues schemes to keep Mike Bloomberg's tax bill as low as possible.
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