Hold Your Applause

Flanagan and King
Flanagan and King

We are entering an important period of time in the push back against the education reforms in New York State.  Fearing for their jobs next November, we are beginning to see some movement from state legislators on the school reform agenda.  This is to be expected, as they have been hearing more about this agenda than anything else.  Recently Senator Flanagan indicated that when the legislature convenes in January we should see quick action on the student privacy issue.  Make no doubt, this is excellent news and it shows that finally legislators are starting to listen.

This, however, is not nearly enough.  It became fairly predictable a couple of weeks back that there would be some movement in this direction.  Legislators are fearing for their jobs and Commissioner King has had enough vitriol directed towards him that the state is now willing to throw us a bone.  But as we have stated time and again, nothing but a full withdrawal from Race to the Top in New York State is acceptable.  That is the message our legislators should continue to hear until they have delivered it.

There is a danger that with the passage of legislation restricting the data sent to inBloom people will be appeased.  That is what John King and Merryl Tisch are hoping.  That is what Andrew Cuomo is hoping for.  That is what John Flanagan, Ken LaValle, and the rest of the legislature is hoping.  That they can offer up the privacy issue in the hopes that the public will thank them, jump into their holiday season, and forget all about the rest of the abusive reform agenda.

There have been signs that some people are ready to head down this road.  Here is No Kids Data NY:

And NYSUT’s Kyle Belokopitsky…

Again, let me be clear, limiting student data that is passed on is a win for our movement.  It is something to be thankful for and a feather in our cap.  But I am not ready to throw too many plaudits in Senator Flanagan’s direction yet.  Keep in mind, Senator Flanagan is a major reason we are in this mess to begin with.  Along with Andy Cuomo, puppet John King, and puppet master Merryl Tisch, he has been at the forefront of pushing the abusive reform agenda in New York State.  Senator Flanagan has a long way to go before I am sending him a thank you card.  A lot needs to be accomplished before I can be assured that the money that his chief campaign contributor, Michelle Rhee, gave him is not being spent to continue to harm students and teachers in New York for the benefit of private corporations.

The Smithtown News recently published a great editorial, titled “Change course on King/Flanagan agenda”, about Flanagan’s role in harming public education in New York State.  It’s behind a pay wall so I’ll only give you the highlights.  All bolded emphasis is mine.

On the organized opposition against the reform agenda…

Call it the King/Flanagan agenda, and it stinks.

The opposition has become so angry that wherever Senator Flanagan, SED Commissioner Dr. John King and Regent Chancellor Dr. Merryl Tisch go from one end of the state to the other, people start screaming at them.

On what may be part of Flanagan’s motivation (though the Rhee bucks help too)…

Ever since NYSUT refused to endorse him for re-election in 2010, Mr. Flanagan has been out to get public school teachers and he is hell-bent on taking the public school system down with them.  He has jumped to the center of the charter school bandwagon, which drains money from public schools, he has fostered implementation of an inherently unfair and flawed APPR system, he has ushered in the misguided and premature implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and he has allowed the implementation of the abusive testing of students.

After commenting on the $1 billion in state aid that Long Island districts have lost while Flanagan has either been the ranking Republican or Chairman of the Senate Education Committee…

Never has Long Island faired so poorly in terms of state aid as it has under the educational leadership of John Flanagan, and now his failed policies are threatening to destroy the quality educational system that we have enjoyed here on Long Island for generations.

On Flanagan’s hearings around the state that are dedicated to the reform agenda…

The hearings should have been held before implementing these new policies, not after.  The intent now is only to act as political cover for Mr. Flanagan, who will try to emerge as if he resolved this difficult problem.

Remember though, he is the root cause of the terrible situation facing public school education right now.  He needs to be replaced whether the problem is ultimately solved or not.

It really was a great article that reminds us that John Flanagan is one of the primary reasons we are in this mess.  So I will hold my thank you until the entire agenda is repealed.

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