For years it seemed as though our frustrations and concerns were falling upon deaf ears in Albany. State Ed would impose new and harmful reforms and our protests would disappear into a black hole somewhere. But they aren’t anymore. As Beth Dimino likes to say, “They have awoken the mommies” now and our voice has become a collective roar. All around us are signs that our elected officials are beginning to pay attention.
- John Flanagan, cowering in his office while counting his Rhee bucks for most of his term, now is saying that “there is potential for legislation on privacy.” Funny because he had no problems selling our children’s data to private corporations before getting blasted by the public for it.
- Andrew Cuomo is reportedly conducting polling to see how would be voters feel about the education reforms.
- New York State Senators are reportedly getting more calls about the Common Core implementation than any other issue.
- State legislators are feeling that they may need to curb the amount of testing taking place.
These are no small accomplishments for those of us who support public education. We should feel good about the seeds of change that we have sown. But we must be careful. We can’t falsely believe that these accomplishments are enough. They are not. They are movement in the right direction, sure. But they are a far cry from where things should be. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels, but rather to ratchet up the pressure we put on our elected officials and the intensity of our message. I will repeat what I said earlier this week, nothing short of a full withdrawal from Race to the Top, the Common Core, and test based evaluations is acceptable.
If John Flanagan thinks that he can make a few small changes to appease parents after a sustained period of pushing an abusive reform agenda through the senate, he needs to think again. It’s not nearly enough. Not if he wants to be re-elected next year. Go back and try again Senator Flanagan. This is your baby and anything other than a complete 180 means you will continued to be attached to this boondoggle.
If Governor Cuomo, who famously declared himself the “lobbyist for students” before pushing his reform agenda onto New York’s public schools thinks that now he can distance himself from this issue he is dead wrong. This is Cuomo’s baby. The entire reform agenda was to be the trophy he would tote around the country as he prepared to run for president in 2016. Now, sensing the push back, he wants to run from it and leave it all in the lap of his puppet, John King. Cuomo badly wants to win re-election with huge numbers next November so that he can take his “man of the people” act across the country. Sorry Andy, it’s not going to work. The education reform agenda in New York State is your agenda. You are the one who wanted to give schools the death penalty. You are the one who wanted to sell off New York State’s students to the highest bidder to fund your dreams of the White House. You are the one who pushed for test based teacher evaluations and giving the death penalty to schools so that you could open more charters and give more control to politicians. You can’t run from this.
Teachers, parents, and students, keep the pressure on. Ratchet it up. Keep the phone calls, emails, and faxes to your elected officials coming. Continue to take to the streets. Shout your message loud and clear at every chance you get. Tell your family, your friends, your neighbors to do the same. Work towards a full scale refusal of the Common Core tests this spring. These are our schools. They belong to us, not the money hungry child abusers in office. We will take care of them in November. Don’t let up until every last thread of these reforms have been expunged from our schools.