Yesterday NYSUT held a Moral Monday rally on the Million Dollar Staircase in the state Capitol. Kudos to them for protesting funding inequities that rob our students of the education they deserve.
One thing I noticed in the coverage of yesterday’s events was that, deservedly so, there was lots of tough talk aimed at Governor Cuomo. From Andy Pallotta to Mike Mulgrew to Randi Weingarten, Cuomo was being called to task for his record as an ed deformer. What was unfortunate, however, is that none of this tough talk came last year when it mattered most. When there was a viable alternative to Cuomo in the race for governor the three aforementioned “unionists” weren’t talking tough about Cuomo. Instead Mulgrew was threatening the Working Families Party with dissolution if they didn’t endorse Cuomo and marching with the governor in the Labor Day Parade. NYSUT was hiding under a rock and throwing their money at reformy John Flanagan and Randi Weingarten was making robo calls on behalf of Cuomo’s running mate. So pardon me if their tough talk now rings a bit hollow to me.
Our friend Reality Based Educator had a good observation yesterday as well. Lost in all of this talk about funding inequities has been the fact that there has been little if any talk about the Cuomo and Tisch APPR agenda. As RBE points out on his Perdido Street School blog, it’s likely due to the fact that a big APPR sellout is on the way.
The union leadership puts together a rally with a message focused on the inequities between rich and poor districts.
Speaker Silver says education funding will be a “top priority” in this legislative session.
But there’s little-to-no pushback on the damages of test-based evaluations or redoing the evaluation system to make tests 40% of the entire rating (and really 100%, since if you come up “ineffective” on 40%, you’re ineffective overall.)
You can see how this will play out in negotiations, can’t you?
If you’ve been a teacher and have watched these kinds of fights for a while, I bet you can.
The unions and Assembly Dems will trade Cuomo’s evaluation, tenure, and 3020a “reforms” for more “education funding.”
And of course Cuomo will get his increase of the cap and funding for charter schools – that goes without saying.
It’s a lot of noise meant to fool the rank and file into thinking the union leaders plan on trying to protect them in upcoming negotiations.
Make no mistake – they don’t.
They plan on selling you out, giving Cuomo and the charter school entrepreneurs most (if not all) of what they want on the charter cap and charter funding, giving Cuomo and Tisch most (if not all) of what they want on the evaluation system “reforms” and 3020a changes in return for a few extra dollars in “education funding.”
We’ll hit on the coming sellout more in the coming weeks. For now one other thing to note…
Why is NYSUT giving VOTE-COPE money to John Flanagan? The Republican senator, who chairs the senate’s K-12 education committee, is a noted ed deformer and member of ALEC. He is on the take from reform group StudentsFirst and has been in the news for backing changes to the APPR that would take local control away from school districts. Flanagan has supported the idea of eroding tenure rights. He was also the senator who complained to Comsewogue’s administration that Beth Dimino needed to speak to him in a more deferential tone. He was not endorsed by NYSUT as there was literally no reason to endorse him. So one certainly wonders why NYSUT contributed $7,750 to him in this past election. That made them one of Flanagan’s top donors. Not issuing an endorsement is sort of pointless if you are going to then fill the coffers of that candidate anyway.