click on a picture to enlarge
This afternoon, approximately 50 members of the PJSTA stood with nearly 1,000 people total at a rally outside of Senator John Flanagan’s office. Joining their teachers today were many Comsewogue parents and students, along with Superintendent Joe Rella and other district administrators.
Senator Flanagan is not just a representative of a portion of the Comsewogue School District, but also the chairman of the New York State Senate’s Education Committee. We have detailed Senator Flanagan’s failings many times before on this site. To recap, he has known ties to ALEC and accepted large amounts of out of state money last year from Michelle Rhee’s group, Students
Last First. Along with others such as Andrew Cuomo and Merryl Tisch, he has been at the forefront of the movement to privatize public education in New York, using his position in the Senate to push legislation through the Senate that has inflicted great damage upon New York students.
The Patch has PJSTA President Beth Dimino calling Flanagan’s reforms child abuse. Flanagan attempts to deflect criticism in the article, citing his role as a parent of students who are through school already. But Flanagan’s actions tell the whole story. While 1,000 voters stood angrily in front of his office demanding to be heard, Flanagan cowardly hid in his office, refusing to come to the phone or come outside to address concerned constituents. But perhaps that’s because he and fellow coward John King are giving districts four minutes each (and not a second more!) to share their experience with the Common Core and high stakes testing at a forum at Ward Melville High School on November 12th.
Following the rally approximately 20 members of the PJSTA, along a member of the Port Jefferson Teachers Association decided that if Senator Flanagan wasn’t going to come out to hear them they would go in to visit him. Dimino very calmly shared with one of Mr. Flanagan’s aides a few of the concerns that we have after being told that Flanagan was “in a meeting.” It’s pretty laughable that as 1,000 constituents were rallying outside Flanagan’s office he had a meeting that was more pressing. Towards the end of the conversation the aide seemed to pretend that he knows nothing about the money that Flanagan received from Rhee. But let’s be clear, Rhee’s Sacramento based Students First group contributed $10,300 to Flanagan last November, topping the list of Flanagan’s “Top Contributors”.
Below is the video of the exchange (Thank you Michele Smith of the PJTA!)…