Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Governor Christie Falsely Claims Nurse He Has Illegally Detained Is Sick

The NY Times details just how bad things have gotten in the first quarantine of the vaunted new Christie/Cuomo Ebola protocol:

A nurse who was being quarantined at a New Jersey hospital after working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone criticized her treatment on Saturday as an overreaction after an initial test found that she did not have the virus.

...

She described being held in isolation for about seven hours at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, left alone for long stretches and given only a granola bar when she said she was hungry.

Ms. Hickox, 33, was placed in quarantine under a new policy announced on Friday by the governors of New York and New Jersey. All people entering the United States through Newark Liberty and Kennedy Airports will now be quarantined for 21 days if they had direct contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, even if they show no symptoms of infection.

On Friday night, New Jersey health officials said the nurse had developed a fever after arriving, but on Saturday, they said her blood had tested negative for Ebola. Additional tests will be conducted.
Ms. Hickox disputed that she had had a fever. She wrote that at the airport, a forehead scanner showed her temperature to be 101, but that came after four hours during which she had not been allowed to leave.

“My cheeks were flushed, I was upset at being held with no explanation,” she wrote. “The female officer looked smug. ‘You have a fever now,’ she said.”

She was eventually escorted by eight police cars to University Hospital in Newark and taken to a tent outside the building. An oral thermometer showed her temperature to be 98, she wrote.
She added that the doctor felt her neck and rechecked the temperature. “ ‘There’s no way you have a fever,’ he said. ‘Your face is just flushed.’ ”
Her complaints served as a broadside against the new quarantine policy, which goes further than recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governor Christie isn't in New Jersey - he's in Iowa, running for freaking president.

But he claims Ms. Hickox needs to held because she is "ill":

Asked about the nurse’s essay while visiting Iowa, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said, “My heart goes out to her because she’s someone who has been trying to help others and is obviously ill.”

“I’m sorry if in any way she was inconvenienced but inconvenience that could occur from having folks that are symptomatic and ill out amongst the public is a much, much greater concern of mine,” he continued. “I hope she recovers quickly, and we’re going to do everything we can in New Jersey and in our public health system to make sure that she does.” 

In a telephone interview on Saturday night, Ms. Hickox’s father, Leon Hickox, said that his daughter “is not ill in any way.”

Folks, this is scary stuff - the governors of New York and New Jersey have decided they can illegally detain travelers who they believe have had contact with Ebola patients whether these travelers show any symptoms of having the virus or not, then lie about their condition when called to account by the press.

Ms. Hickox needs to challenge Christie in court:

If Ms. Hickox was asymptomatic, said Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, he would have serious questions about the legality of her quarantine.

“Mandatory quarantine of people exhibiting no symptoms and when not medically necessary raises serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its police powers,” Mr. Ofer said.

Authoritarians like Christie and Cuomo love crises like Ebola because they get to expand their powers exponentially from what they were before, all in the cause of keeping the public "safe."

Make no mistake, that's what's going on here.

The governors and of New York and New Jersey have just declared they have the right to illegally detain travelers through Port Authority airports.

You can bet if this outrageous expansion of power is not challenged, governors in the future will use it to detain all sorts of people who have nothing to do with Ebola or Ebola patients, all in the name of keeping the public "safe."

If we learned anything after 9/11, the Patriot Act and the Iraq war, it's that all sorts of constitutional rights go away in the name of "public safety."

Christie, Cuomo Ebola Quarantine Plan Marked By Fear, Disorganization

Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo talked real tough yesterday at their press conference announcing a mandatory quarantine of anyone flying into Newark or JFK who was thought to have worked with Ebola patients overseas:

The governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday afternoon that they were ordering all people entering the country through two area airports who had direct contact with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to be quarantined.
The announcement comes one day after an American doctor, who had worked in Guinea and returned to New York City earlier in October, tested positive for Ebola and became the first New York patient of the deadly virus.
“A voluntary Ebola quarantine is not enough,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. “This is too serious a public health situation.”

And here's how the first mandatory quarantine went:

A health care worker quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa is sharply criticizing the way she's been treated.

In a first-person account in the Dallas Morning News, Kaci Hickox wrote Saturday that she encountered fear and disorganization when she arrived Friday at Newark Liberty International Airport. She was stopped and questioned over several hours and was left without food for an extended period, she wrote. No one would explain what was going on or what would happen to her, she said in the piece, which was written with the help of a Dallas Morning News staff writer.

Government officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Department of Health and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Hickox is a nurse who had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone. Officials have said she was taken to a hospital after developing a fever, but Hickox wrote that she was merely flushed because she was upset.

Hickox tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary evaluation. Hospital officials won't say whether she will remain quarantined in the hospital for the entire 21 days.

In a statement, Doctors Without Borders said the organization is "very concerned about the conditions and uncertainty (Hickox) is facing and is attempting to obtain information from hospital officials."

"While measures to protect public health are of paramount importance, they must be balanced against the rights of health workers returning from fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to fair and reasonable treatment and the full disclosure of information to them, along with information about intended courses of action from local and state health authorities," the organization said.

As I noted last night, Christie and Cuomo went public with this mandatory quarantine declaration well before they actually have a plan to carry it out.

These two clowns can't get the PATH trains to run well, so you can imagine how swimmingly this mandatory quarantine is going to go.

With the New York and New Jersey governors now apparently sticking anybody they suspect of contact with an Ebola patient into detention for an undisclosed period of time, you can be sure fewer health care professionals are going to want to go and help out with the epidemic in West Africa.

In effect, Cuomo's and Christie's playing politics with the Ebola crisis here in the New York metro area could cause the disease to spread wider.

Cuomo Sticks The Shiv Into De Blasio Before Election Day

Last spring, Governor Andrew Cuomo beat Mayor Bill de Blasio badly in fights over charter school co-locations and tax increases on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for NYC's universal pre-K plan.

De Blasio had been in a showdown with charter school entrepreneur Eva Moskowitz over co-locations of three of her schools when Cuomo helped co-ordinate a pro-charter rally in Albany and pushed through new rules in the state budget that forced New York City (and only New York City) to either find space for all charter schools or pay rent for space in privately-owned buildings.

Moskowitz and her charter school supporters are major donors to Cuomo and while the governor and the mayor were supposed to be friends going back to the days when they were both in the Clinton administration, Cuomo didn't think twice about screwing his old friend over for his wealthy charter school friends.

Cuomo also rolled de Blasio over the mayor's push for a tax on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-K in New York City.  The governor provided state money for de Blasio's pre-K plan (though not as much as the tax plan would have raised) but made sure that money did not come from increased taxes on wealthy people, many of whom are also Cuomo donors.

Again Cuomo didn't think twice about sticking it to old friend de Blasio and making sure his donors got what they wanted - no new taxes.

Cuomo was riding high after his twin showdowns with de Blasio during the budget negotiations, but that ride didn't last for long.

A challenge from the left flank of his party arose in the figure of Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout late in the spring.

Teachout attempted to get the Working Families Party ballot line during the WFP convention last May and present Cuomo with a problem for the general election - he would have had two opponents to take on, one from the right in GOP candidate Rob Astorino, one from the left in Zephry Teachout.

A Sienna poll showed Cuomo would have trouble breaking 50% if a challenge from the left emerged for the general election, so he and his campaign pulled out all the stops to make sure Teachout didn't get the ballot line.

First they had their union friends, major supporters of WFP, threaten the party with dissolution if the ballot line for the general election was given to Teachout.

Then Cuomo had his old friend Bill de Blasio intervene with the party faithful and negotiate an agreement between the governor and the party in which Cuomo would receive the ballot line in return for agreeing to work for a Democratic takeover of the State Senate.

De Blasio was supposed to be riding high after this intervention, since Cuomo had needed his help to secure the WFP line, but I thought at the time de Blasio was acting the fool for helping his old friend Andrew Cuomo in the negotiations.

On May 30, I wrote:

Is de Blasio suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or did he get something in return for mediating negotiations between Cuomo and WFP?

If you remember, it was just a short while ago that Cuomo took every opportunity to stick it to de Blasio over not just charter schools but issue after issue.

Anthony Weiner even noted how putzy Cuomo was to de Blasio in a DN piece.

Now de Blasio helps save the day for Sheriff Andy.

My guess is, seconds after the election is over, Cuomo starts sticking it to de Blasio and the unions again.

Hard to know if this is Stockholm Syndrome, stupidity or a sell-out, but whatever the hell it is, it sucks.

De Blasio's aid for Cuomo didn't stop in May at the Working Families Party convnetion.

Polls showed late in the summer that Cuomo's pro-gun, anti-abortion running mate, Kathy Hochul, could lose her primary challenge to Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu.

Cuomo again reached out to de Blasio and had the mayor (along with union buddy Randi Weingarten) issue robocalls throughout the city in support of  the"liberal" Hochul.

After the election, Wu said that internal campaign polling showed him with the momentum going into the primary, but the de Blasio robocalls essentially stopped that momentum cold and Hochul won the race.

In short, Cuomo's running mate won her primary challenge because de Blasio helped her do it.

Again I wrote at the time that de Blasio was a fool for helping Cuomo, that Cuomo wouldn't think twice about screwing his "old friend" - and Ken Lovett and Jennifer Fermino at the Daily News reported the same thing:

“For good or bad, the governor is not a person who views the world as 'I owe you one.' If someone came to him and said, ‘I was there for you and I took care of you — you owe me,’ you don’t get a good reaction,” the insider said.

A second source who has had dealings with de Blasio and Cuomo agrees.

“Andrew appreciates what Bill has done for him. But if he needed to f--k over the mayor tomorrow, he's going to do it. That’s just how he operates.”

Even I thought Cuomo would wait until after the election to "fuck over" de Blasio, but it turns out Cuomo, worried that his GOP challenger Rob Astorino is making inroads over the first reported Ebola case in the city, decided post-Election Day was too late to screw de Blasio over.

So he did it yesterday instead.

On Thursday, Cuomo and de Basio made a joint appearance to reassure city residents after it was reported a doctor who had worked with Ebola patients in West Africa had tested positive for the virus here in the city.

Both Cuomo and de Blasio took pains on Thursday to tamp down hysteria over the incident and assure New Yorkers that the chances of getting infected by Ebola on the subway or in a cab were slim.

That was Thursday.

On Friday Cuomo changed course and suddenly decided hysteria over Ebola was exactly what was needed:

On Thursday night, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sat beside Mayor Bill de Blasio at Bellevue Hospital Center as they offered soothing words to worried New Yorkers: New York City’s first case of Ebola, they said, was no reason for panic.

Less than 19 hours later, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, joined the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and struck a starkly different tone. The governors announced Friday that medical personnel returning to New York after treating Ebola patients in West Africa would be automatically subject to a 21-day quarantine.

The risk, Mr. Cuomo said, was grave. Offering an ominous hypothetical, he raised the precise situation that the mayor and the city’s health commissioner had tried to play down the night before: the danger of Ebola spreading through the subway system.

“In a region like this,” Mr. Cuomo said, “you go out one, two or three times, you ride the subway, you ride a bus, you could affect hundreds and hundreds of people.”

...
Within the city, an unexpected policy shift by Mr. Cuomo on Friday appeared to open up a public divide between the governor and the administration of Mr. de Blasio, a fellow Democrat. The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, was not informed in advance of the Cuomo-Christie mandatory quarantine order and was “furious,” a senior city official who spoke to her said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, said city officials were not consulted about the quarantine policy because it pertained to airports that are run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Cuomo’s shift came just 11 days before he will be on the ballot seeking a second term, and on a day when his long-shot Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, seized on the city’s Ebola case to assail the governor for not closing the New York airports to travelers from affected West African nations.

As Lovett and Fermino had reported in the Daily News in September, Cuomo wouldn't think twice about having to "fuck over" de Blasio if political expediency necessitated the screw job.

Apparently between Thursday night and Friday morning, political expediency necessitated Cuomo "fuck over" Bill de Blasio on the Ebola crisis.

In the same Times story on the "public rift" between Cuomo and de Blasio over Cuomo's sudden shift in policy, this is said about past health crises:

The partisan divide over how to respond to Ebola stands in stark contrast to previous public health threats over the last decade, including the anthrax attacks after Sept. 11, 2001, the West Nile virus, the avian flu and the tuberculosis outbreaks in the 1980s and 1990s. In those cases, public health officials worked largely in concert with elected ones to maintain calm and disseminate consistent information.

This time around politicians - including Cuomo and Christie, but certainly not limited to these two - are hyping the crisis for political gain.

Caught flat-footed once again by his old pal, Andrew Cuomo, it remains to be seen how de Blasio responds to the pre-election screw job by the governor.

But clearly Cuomo was showing de Blasio up yesterday at his press conference with Christie, big-timing the mayor by not alerting anybody in the de Blasio administration about the change in policy and protocol Cuomo was going to put into place with Christie at the Port Authority airports.

Much of this is de Blasio's own fault, of course.

De Blasio spent much political capital helping Cuomo in the spring with the Working Families Party and in the fall with the Hochul robocalls.

If Cuomo wins re-election with over 50% of the vote, that will happen because Bill de Blasio ensured Cuomo would not have a challenger from the left on the WFP ballot line taking double digits away from Cuomo in the general election.

Now Cuomo pays de Blasio back by sticking the shiv in him less than two weeks before Election Day.

I see two takeaways here:

One, De Blasio was a fool for expending so much political capital to help a "friend" who everybody knew would screw him over at the first opportunity.

And two, Andrew Cuomo is a sociopath, a man with no moral center who will literally do and say anything to promote himself and his career.

Neither of these takeaways are surprises, of course - we knew this stuff long before yesterday.

And indeed, Cuomo had already broken his promise to de Blasio and WFP that he would work for a Democratic takeover of the State Senate.

One thing I am surprised at, however.

I really thought Cuomo would wait until Wednesday November 5th to stick the shiv into de Blasio.

But he shoved the shiv in nearly two weeks earlier - that just shows you how desperate Cuomo is to not only win re-election but run up the score.

Friday, October 24, 2014

NY Times: Cuomo, Christie Have No Idea How Ebola Quarantine Plan Will Work

The Times tonight:

The governors of New York and New Jersey on Friday ordered quarantines for all people entering the country through two area airports if they had direct contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The announcement signaled an immediate shift in mood, since public officials had gone to great lengths to ease public anxiety after a New York City doctor received a diagnosis of Ebola on Thursday. The measures go beyond what federal guidelines require and what infectious disease experts recommend. They were also taken without consulting the city’s health department, according to a senior city official.

...
The new protocols at the airports, outlined by the governors in an afternoon news conference, raised a host of questions, including how the screening process would work and whom it would target. The two airports in question are Kennedy International and Newark.

Officials from New York and New Jersey said they were still working out many details, including where people would be quarantined, how the quarantine would be enforced and how they would handle travelers who do not live in either of those states.

Announcement first.

Plan to carry out what was announced?

Sometime in the future.

We'll let you know, okay?

Cuomo, Christie Ebola Quarrantine Plan Doesn't Seem Legal

Old Bridgegate buddies Chris Christie and Andy Cuomo are at it again:

The governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday afternoon that they were ordering all people entering the country through two area airports who had direct contact with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to be quarantined.

The announcement comes one day after an American doctor, who had worked in Guinea and returned to New York City earlier in October, tested positive for Ebola and became the first New York patient of the deadly virus.

“A voluntary Ebola quarantine is not enough,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. “This is too serious a public health situation.”

Outlined in a late afternoon news conference, the new protocols raised a host of questions about how, exactly, the screening process would work and who, exactly, it would target. The two airports in question are Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

The rapid escalation of screening measures came as a surprise after a day in which public officials had gone to great lengths to ease public anxiety.

It was also taken without consulting the New York City health department, according to a senior city official.

Here's a problem with the plan:


Both of these guys are so used to breaking the law and getting their own way on things, perhaps they think they can pull this off.

But just where do they get the authority to force a mandatory 21 day quarantine on people who they think may have had direct contact with Ebola patients?

Pro-Charter Group Backed By StudentsFirst Drops $672,000+ In Late Campaign Ads For GOP

From State of Politics:

A pro-charter school independent expenditure committee is spending a combined $504,310 in TV and radio ads to oppose to Democratic Senate candidates running in key swing districts next month, according to Board of Elections records.

The group, New Yorkers For A Balanced Albany, is spending $272,000 in radio and TV ads opposing Justin Wagner, a Democrat in the Hudson Valley.

...

Further to the north, the group is spending and additional $232,310 to oppose Sen. Terry Gipson, a freshman Democrat running against Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino.

The committee is backed by StudentsFirstNY, a group that is primarily funded by wealthy hedge funds and supporters of charter schools such as Paul Tudor Jones II and Daniel Loeb.

On Long Island, the group on Thursday posted a $168,341 cable and TV media buy to oppose the candidacy of Democratic Senate hopeful Adrienne Esposito, who faces Republican Tom Croci in Suffolk County.

Charter entrepreneurs and backers are pushing hard for a GOP/IDC State Senate.

That way, they don't have to worry about anything changing when it comes to charter policy.

They probably wouldn't have to worry if Dems took over either - they've got a lot of them in their pockets too - but nonetheless they're working as hard as they can in some of these districts to ensure the Republican candidate wins.

Meanwhile Cuomo - who promised he would work for a Democratic takeover of the Senate as a tradeoff for the Working Families Party ballot nod - hasn't lifted a finger toward that cause.

What It Took To Get Cuomo On Morning Joe And Other Media Outlets

Why, an Ebola case in New York, of course.

Cuomo appeared on five different morning shows today to "allay fears" around a reported Ebola case in NYC.

These shows were CNN's "New Day", NBC's "The Today Show", "CBS This Morning," Channel 5's "Good Day New York," and MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The Morning Joe Show had been trying to get Cuomo on since the summer when they hammered him over his Moreland Commission tampering.

But Cuomo wouldn't go on the program because he didn't want to deal with public criticism.

Instead he appeared on Fox Business Channel for a softball interview with his friend, Maria Bartiromo.

Today he was safe to go on these morning shows because he knew he would never be asked anything other than how New York was handling the first reported Ebola case in the state.

If somehow someone did ask a non-Ebola question, he could deflect it by saying this wasn't the time for anything non-Ebola-related.

So Cuomo seemed quite eager to go on these morning programs and play "Highly Competent/Efficient Chief Executive" for the nation - other than the FOX program, these were all national shows he appeared on.

Wouldn't be surprised to see Cuomo's New York approval numbers rise in the next slate of polls as a result of this morning's TV performances.

Also wouldn't be surprised to see Cuomo's national numbers rise a bit too.

Unless something goes wrong with the way city and state officials handle the Ebola case here, it's a ready-made opportunity for Cuomo to spike some approval ratings.

The cynic in me says that's what's uppermost on his mind - not the health and welfare of New Yorkers.

One thing I've learned watching Andrew Cuomo in action over the years - you can never be too cynical or world-weary about his motives and actions.

Chris Christie's Disapproval Rating Spikes In Another Poll

Chris Christie is running around the country like he plans on running for president in 201 - maybe he should spend more time at home:

Gov. Chris Christie’s job rating took a hit again with another poll showing voters giving him their worst grades since the fallout of the George Washington Bridge controversy in March.

The governor’s approval rating flipped in a new survey that showed only 41 percent of New Jersey voters giving Christie a positive approval rating and 47 percent saying they disprove of the governor’s work, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll released today.

...


Christie’s numbers declined from just a month ago, when 46 percent of voters told Fairleigh Dickinson they approved of Christie’s job and only 40 percent disapproved.

The new poll comes after a Quinnipiac Poll released earlier this month showed the governor’s job approval rating at its lowest level in the state in three years. A poll released a month earlier showed Christie’s approval rating dipped slightly for the first time in six months.

As Christie’s numbers dropped, so did voter confidence on the state’s future.

According to Fairleigh Dickinson, 49 percent of voters are concerned about the state’s future and only 37 percent indicated they’re optimistic about the days to come. The numbers are down from September, when 44 percent of voters said the state was headed down the wrong track and the 41 percent who were optimistic.

The spike in disapproval comes at the worst time for Christie.

He's still trying to recover from the Bridgegate fallout and show he's a viable candidate for president.

Having his popularity and approval ratings plummet at home surely do not help that.

Cuomo Says He's Imposed His APPR Teacher Evaluation System On Teachers "Out Of Respect"

It's only love if it hurts - that's Cuomo's message.

In his 245 page blueprint for the "new" New York released yesterday, Cuomo spends a few pages talking about "teacher excellence."

Here's my favorite part:

Out of respect for the critical role of teachers and to enhance the teaching profession, Governor Cuomo has made teacher excellence a centerpiece of his education policy.

Cuomo's plan goes on to say that's why teacher evaluations have been a centerpiece of his education reform agenda.

That' right - forcing teachers to be rated on their students' test scores via the voodoo VAM that NYSED puts together is a sign of respect and a desire to "enhance the teaching profession."

Never mind that actual educators - teachers and administrators - hate the system and say it doesn't work (see here.)

Cuomo says the evaluation system is the best in the country, but he has plans to "strengthen" it in the next term because far too many teachers are getting "effective" and "highly effective" ratings.

So "out of respect" for you teachers, Cuomo plans to make sure more of you are rated "developing" and given performance improvement plans or rated"ineffective" and fired.

There's some "respect" I can do without.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cuomo Plans To "Strengthen Teacher And Principal Evaluations" In His Next Term

After taking some criticism for not giving much of an inkling of what his second term plans are, Governor Cuomo released a 240+ page plan for the next four years.

I'm still poring through the plan, but the first thing that leaps out at me is this:

He brags how his APPR teacher evaluation system is one of the best in the nation but says New York has "the opportunity to strengthen teacher and principal evaluations" in the next term anyway.

This threat comes after he complained a few weeks ago that not enough teachers were being rated "ineffective" or "developing" under his APPR teacher evaluation system:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday the state’s new teacher evaluation system will need to be refined, but he said he would like to see more data before pushing for any changes to the state law.
Cuomo said he sees value in the teacher rankings, but said critics who question how 94 percent of the state’s teachers can be “highly effective” or “effective” have a valid point.

“I’m excited that we started,” Cuomo said of the teacher evaluation system put into effect during the 2012-13 school year. “And I think once we start to study it and learn it and refine it – because there’s no doubt it needs refinement, not everybody can get an ‘A,’ it can’t be – I think it’s going to be a very valuable tool.”

But he conceded the system might need more scrutiny.

Critics of the teacher evaluations have pointed out the wide gap between the 94 percent of teachers who were rated “effective” or “highly effective” and the number of students failing to do well on state tests and in other measures of student success.

He gives no concrete details in the plan he released today, but if I am reading the tea leaves right, he will remedy what he considers too few "ineffective" and "developing" ratings for teachers with a revision of APPR in the next term.

And that revision will be a "strengthening" of the system to ensure that teacher ratings more closely parallel passing rates for students on the state tests.

This comes even as superintendents in the Lower Hudson Valley have trashed Cuomo's APPR evaluation system and called for a complete overhaul of it:

School superintendents from the Lower Hudson Valley say it's time for the state to shut down it's failed teacher-evaluation system and to pilot new models with the involvement of administrators and teachers.

"There is no simple fix," Valhalla Superintendent Brenda Myers said. "We want this to stop. You can't just mandate and roll out this system and publish scores that are invalid. We warned that this would happen and now we need a moratorium."

The state Board of Regents, which sets education policy, began pursuing a new evaluation system in 2009 as part of its agenda to "reform" schooling in New York. With the strong support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Legislature adopted a system into law in 2010 that has been widely criticized by school districts and teachers.

...

A new study commissioned by the superintendents group identified problems with the complex scoring system. Superintendents also say they gleaned little useful information from the first full year of results.

"If the goals of this reform agenda were to improve teacher accountability, improve a district's ability to remove incompetent teachers, to provide data to inform teacher practice, and improve student achievement — it has been a costly and wholly avoidable failure," said Harrison Superintendent Louis Wool, who co-chairs the committee with Myers.

...

State Education Department officials have said that they want to review more data before considering changes. But local superintendents do not want to wait. They say the current system falsely implies that teachers can be compared based on their ratings.

"The system creates an illusion of accountability," Byram Hills Superintendent William Donohue said.

The study commissioned by the superintendents group looked at 2012-13 results for 1,400 teachers in 32 districts in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties. It found that, because of the state's uneven scoring scales, districts must give teachers high scores for classroom observations — an average of 58.1 out of 60 — to ensure they don't get "unjustly" low overall ratings.

Cuomo is saying publicly that APPR is a great success, but to make it more successful, it will need to be "strengthened " (i.e., made to more closely mirror student test score results.)

Meanwhile superintendents in the Lower Hudson Valley are saying the test components of the system are so broken that administrators have to rate teachers as high as they can on subjective measures to ensure they don't get low ratings they don't deserve because SED's algorithms suck.

We've got a fight coming in the next term over this awful evaluation system.

As bad as it is now, Cuomo wants to make it worse.

That's clear from the statements he made publicly last month as well as the plan he released today.

George Carlin Way

From DNAinfo:

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Comedians, celebrities, relatives and fans of legendary comedian George Carlin gathered Wednesday to commemorate him with a new street sign at the corner of Morningside Drive and West 121st Street.

Gilbert Gottfried, Judah Friedlander, Robert Klein, Rain Pryor, Rick Overton, and Lizz Winstead were among the celebrity comedians who showed up to honor Carlin. His daughter and only child, Kelly Carlin, officiated the ceremony for "George Carlin Way," with speakers alternating between joke and tears.

It was a moment three years in the making, said comedian Kevin Bartini, who made it his mission to get a secondary street sign with Carlin's name placed on 121st Street, where the outspoken comedian grew up.

Carlin died in 2008 at the age of 71.

My introduction to George Carlin was "Class Clown." 

I was eleven.

I haven't thought the same way about the Catholic Church, the Vietnam War, the English language or the United States of America since.

Cuomo Says Fracking Study Finally Will Be Released By End Of Year

Scott Waldman at Capital NY:

ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday evening that the long-awaited state health study on fracking will be completed within the next three months.

The study is “due at the end of the year,” Cuomo said during the only debate of the gubernatorial election.

Cuomo has said he will not make a decision on fracking until the state health department completes the study. It has been delayed for about two years, and Cuomo has consistently dodged reporters' questions on when he would release the study.

The governor has given other due dates for the study in the past, including a claim it would be completed by Election Day, but later walked back all of the comments.

He wants to run for president.

I wouldn't be surprised if he walks back this "end of the year" deadline too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Open Thread: How Many Lies Did Cuomo Tell During Tonight's Debate?

Here's one:


What Preet Bharara Said

US Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara appeared on radio with Susan Arbetter today, made no specific announcements about the Moreland investigations or Andrew Cuomo but did say this:

Arbetter noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the corruption panel as “transactional,” or a tool for achieving a deal on ethics legislation. Doesn’t that drive Bharara up the wall?

“I’m not going to go back … and talk about what certain people said or didn’t say and a number of contradictions there were in what someone may or may not have said about a particular commission,” Bharara said in a sentence that you should be glad you didn’t have to diagram back in fourth grade.

“What I stand by is, if you want to solve any problem — corruption problem or anything else — and you decide to employ an investigative body, the only way that that investigative body is to get to the root of the problem and be appreciated by the public as having gotten to the root of the problem is if it has independence,” he said.

Also important: “the longevity of a prosecutor’s office. … It takes a while. And so, generally speaking, when you’re trying to solve a problem you need some amount of longevity, and you certainly need to have — at the core of the institution — independence.”

If you're reading tea leaves, the individual who most played with the independence of an investigative body was Andrew Cuomo.

It was Cuomo's staffer who put the kibbosh on subpoenas to Cuomo's donors.

It was Cuomo's staffer who wrote up statements for former Moreland commissioners to issue in support of Andrew Cuomo after the Times published it's devastating Moreland article over the summer.

It was Cuomo who kept tabs on the commission via his commission director, Regina Calcaterra.

I saw somewhere a comment that by not mentioning the Moreland investigations specifically on the radio today, what Bharara was saying was that Andrew Cuomo was in the clear.

Bharara said nothing of the sort - not in either the statements he made or the subtext of those statements.

One thing I did hear here, however, was that Bharara will certainly not be making any moves pre-Election Day and maybe not for long afterwards either.

Dunno if he really is going to go after Cuomo or not for interfering with the Moreland Commission, but it does seem like if he does do it, it won't be any time soon.

Now We Know Why Cuomo Is Running The Education Ad

I've blogged a few times about Cuomo's latest campaign ad, which is focused on education and makes the claim that he has pushed for a five year moratorium on Common Core consequences for students (a lie - the moratorium is two years) and is opposed to "over-testing" (also a lie - his APPR teacher evaluation system causes much of the over-testing by forcing teachers in every grade in every subject to be evaluated using both state and local tests and assessments.)

You can see those posts here, here and here.

The ad, which shows Cuomo helping his daughter with her homework, was clearly aimed at women, with it's soft focus photography, Cuomo all dressed in white amid a holiday background (even the pumpkins are white), and the text assuring voters "Education is the gift we give our children..."

Clearly Cuomo is trying to shore up his support among women with this late election cycle ad - and here's why.

Per the latest Siena poll, Cuomo's support among women is what's keeping him afloat:

According to the poll, 54 percent of voters view Cuomo favorably, while a record high 43 percent view him unfavorably.

Voters also have a harsher assessment than ever of the governor’s performance, the poll found. A record high percentage—25 percent—said they thought Cuomo had done a “poor” job in office so far, while the percentage who said they believed his performance had been “good” stood at 34 percent, his lowest numbers on that question since he took office. Nine percent said they thought Cuomo was doing an “excellent” job while 32 percent rated his job performance as “fair,” the poll found.

Cuomo is far more popular among women, according to the poll. Sixty-five percent of the women questioned hold a favorable view of the governor, compared to 32 percent who have an unfavorable view of him. Among men, the poll found 41 percent had a favorable view of Cuomo, while 56 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

Cuomo's approval among women is growing. A Siena poll taken in late September found 59 percent of female voters viewed him favorably.

In recent months, the governor has sought to strengthen his support among women by creating the Women’s Equality Party, and his campaign recently began airing ads featuring his three daughters and girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, promoting the party and a package of legislation called the Women’s Equality Act.

Apparently the Women's Equality Party Cuomo created is garnering support from some female voters.

Maybe that's why Cuomo is driving around in a bus that looks like a box of tampons.

At any rate,the education ad is the latest salvo to ensure those numbers in female support don't crater before Election Day for him.

Because if his support among female voters fell to his support among male voters, he'd be in trouble.

That his education ad full of lies and deceptions - well, that's just Cuomo doing what he does best.

He's saying anything to win on Election Day.

You can be sure that the Wednesday after the election, he'll drop all this Women's Equality Party stuff, as well as the concerns over Common Core and "over-testing" and go right back to governing the way he did in the first term.

Andrew Cuomo's Unfavorables Hit A New High In Latest Siena Poll

Cuomo's up in the race for governor- but so are his unfavorables:

ALBANY—With less than two weeks until the Nov. 4 election, Governor Andrew Cuomo has a 21-point lead over Republican opponent Rob Astorino, though his unfavorable ratings remain high, according to a Siena Institute poll released this morning.

The poll of 748 likely voters shows Cuomo leading Astorino 54 percent to 33 percent.

...

While the poll indicates Cuomo is likely to win by a healthy margin, it appears less likely he'll reach the 63 percent threshold he achieved in 2010, in part because Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is polling at about 9 percent.

According to the poll, 54 percent of voters view Cuomo favorably, while a record high 43 percent view him unfavorably.

Voters also have a harsher assessment than ever of the governor’s performance, the poll found. A record high percentage—25 percent—said they thought Cuomo had done a “poor” job in office so far, while the percentage who said they believed his performance had been “good” stood at 34 percent, his lowest numbers on that question since he took office. Nine percent said they thought Cuomo was doing an “excellent” job while 32 percent rated his job performance as “fair,” the poll found.

Cuomo's popularity rests in many ways with women and I'll have more about that later.

Suffice to say, Cuomo's in the driver's seat in the race, but his negatives are rising, and he isn't going to top his 2010 totals with Howie Hawkins garnering close to double digit support.

What Will Preet Bharara Say Today?

It's debate day:

At 8 p.m., Cuomo, Astorino, Hawkins and Libertarian Michael McDermott will participate in the campaign’s lone televised debate hosted by WNED-TV, WBFO-FM and The Buffalo News, WNED Studios, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo. The debate will be broadcast live on PBS television stations and NPR radio affiliates across the state.

But before that happens, this happens:

Bharara has been pretty quiet since the summer, when he warned Cuomo and his cohorts to stop meddling in his Moreland Commission investigation.

Odd that Bharara chose today to appear on the radio to talk corruption.

It will be interesting to see what he says.

He's used the radio before to send messages to Cuomo.

This could be another one of those things.

Or it could just be Bharara appearing on the radio.

We'll see soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Andrew Cuomo Lie In His Education Ad

Last night I posted how people shouldn't be fooled by Andrew Cuomo's new education ad.

In the ad, Cuomo claims the following:

“Education is the gift we give our children, and they deserve the very best,” Cuomo narrates in the ad. “Over the years, I’ve helped my kids by just being there. That’s why I want real teacher and school evaluations; to stop over-testing our children; not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready. I want to invest $2 billion dollars to build the new technology classrooms of tomorrow. And I still believe the best education equipment is the kitchen table, and the best teacher is the parent.”

In yesterday's post I took on the "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready" line.

There is no five year moratorium on anything in New York State.

The budget agreement last spring brought a two year moratorium on using test scores from the Common Core assessments for students:

As part of the state budget approved in March, Cuomo and the Legislature approved a number of changes to the state's implementation of the Common Core, including a two-year pause on using standardized test scores as the basis for promoting students to the next grade level.

In addition, the legislature passed a bill shielding teachers who teach students who take the Common Core assessments from the worst effects of having those scores used in the state test component of Cuomo's APPR teacher evaluation system:

Legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo struck a deal Thursday that would largely hold teachers harmless from poor student scores on Common Core-based exams for two years.

A bill introduced Thursday would essentially exclude Common Core test results from some teacher evaluations through the 2014-15 school year, which starts July 1, shielding them from the negative consequences of a poor review caused by the scores.

Both the moratorium for students and the moratorium for teachers run through the 2014-2015 school year - this year - and then things go back to the way they were before, with districts able to use the test scores to hold children back.

Nothing actually changes for teachers because Cuomo never signed the so-called teacher safety net into law - teachers still have the CCSS test scores used in their APPR teacher evaluation ratings without the shield devised in the legislature bill.

So when Cuomo says he has pushed to "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready," he is looking voters directly in the eye and lying to them.

That's Pathological Lie #1 in the ad.

Here's Pathological Lie #2 in the ad:

That’s why I want...to stop over-testing our children

Right before that lie, Cuomo brags about bringing "real teacher and school evaluations" to the state - which in practice means he added to the batteries of tests that were already in place so that teachers and schools could be evaluated using student performance and test data.

Cuomo's vaunted APPR teacher evaluation system (vaunted in his own mind, at any rate - nearly everybody else seems to hate it) works this way:

A) 60% of a teacher's rating comes from "subjective measures," like classroom observations and student surveys
B) 20% comes from "state measures," based upon state tests that students take
C) 20% comes from "local measures," based upon local tests and assessments devised by districts.

There was an immense amount of testing even before the new APPR teacher evaluation system was put into place, but that "immense amount" has now gone to "insane amount" in many schools.

For example, some districts have students taking "pre-assessments" early in the school year and "post-assessments" later in the year in every grade in every subject in order to evaluate their teachers via Cuomo's APPR teacher evaluation mandate.

These local tests and/or performance assessments come on top of the state tests mandates - math and ELA Common Core tests in 3rd-8th grade, Regents exams in high school - the field testing that is done by NYSED to try out new test items on students, and the PSAT test that sophomores and juniors take at their schools in some districts that are used as pre-assessments for APPR as well.

Cuomo is once again looking voters directly in the eye and lying when he says he wants "to stop over-testing our children."

His APPR teacher evaluation system has taken the Endless Testing regime that was already in place pre-APPR and shot it up with steroids.

That Cuomo feels the need to lie so blatantly twice in this election ad shows you how desperate he is feeling in this election.

It would be interesting to see what his internal polling is telling him that he felt the need to dress up all in white, pull his daughter into the ad to help her with her "homework" (or maybe it's her taxes - she looks old enough to be filing a 1040A form) and claim there's a five year moratorium on Common Core consequences when there isn't anything of the sort while saying he's against "over-testing" even as he pursues policies that force "over-testing."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Be Fooled - Cuomo Isn't Caving On Common Core

A headline on this Dave Weigel piece at Bloomberg News claims Andrew Cuomo has "conceded defeat" in the Common Core wars:

Over the summer, when Zephyr Teachout was mounting a surprisingly potent primary challenge to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, I noticed a poll result that confounded some left/right stereotypes. When asked if "Common Core standards should continue to be implemented," a majority of voters said "no." Only 47 percent of Democrats wanted the standards. Independents, who were planning to vote for Cuomo, broke against Common Core by 14 points.

The situation can't have gotten any better for education reforms since then, judging by Cuomo's new TV spot. Among his education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready." 

What a dizzying downward spiral it's been for Common Core. Just a few years ago, it was the joint product of agreements by 48 governors (minus only Rick Perry and Sarah Palin), an attempt to ameliorate the negative impacts of No Child Left Behind. (Cuomo was not elected until 2010, after the initial agreements.) Then conservatives rose in opposition – and for a while, progressives laughed at foolhardy lawmakers warning that these new standards would induct children into homosexuality. Later, as Tim Murphy has documented, suburbanites (in New York especially) started raging about the new testing that reflected poorly on their kids, and labor unions worried about the shuttering of underperforming schools.
That's how we ended up with this ad, from a center-left Democrat with heavy labor backing, promising voters that he will slow-walk the education standards that Glenn Beck had warned about first.

But as I posted earlier tonight, there is no five year moratorium on Common Core consequences.

The budget agreement that Cuomo signed into law this spring delayed Common Core consequences for two years, not five - and that was for students only.

As of now, the Common Core consequences for teachers remain.

The APPR teacher evaluation system in the state mandates that 20% of a teacher's evaluation come from student performance on state test scores.

If teachers have students who take the Common Core tests, their state test component for APPR will still be based on those scores - even though the Common Core tests don't count for students.

It's true that the legislature passed a bill giving a safety net for teachers in those circumstances - but so far, Cuomo hasn't had time to sign that bill into law (though he has had time to declare yogurt the official state snack.)

So I dunno what Weigel is reporting here - he's taking Cuomo's ad at face value, but he's foolish to do so.

There is no five year anything for Common Core and some consequences remain even during the so-called two year moratorium (albeit for teachers.)

Josefa Velasquez and Jessica Bakeman at Capital NY report the following:

It's unclear whether the statement is a new plan that Cuomo is revealing in the ad, or a claim about his record on the Common Core, the controversial standards for English and math instruction that have been adopted by most states. Cuomo has pushed for changes that would place less emphasis on students' scores on new standardized tests based on the Common Core, but none of those changes would apply for exactly five years.

...

Cuomo's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment explaining the "five years" pledge in the ad.

In short, Weigel is wrong - Cuomo isn't "slow-walking" anything around Common Core.

The moratorium on Common Core consequences is two years and if I'm not mistaken, those two years are up at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Unless Cuomo makes an explicit statement to the contrary, none of the jive in that soft-focus education ad of his changes anything about the Common Core implementation in New York - not for students, not for teachers.

Cuomo Says New York Has At Least A Five Year Moratorium On Common Core

The State of Politics blog reports Cuomo is running a new ad touting his education record.

The ad, all bright and cheery with Cuomo in a white sweater, shows the governor helping his daughter with her homework,

Here's the text of the ad:

“Education is the gift we give our children, and they deserve the very best,” Cuomo narrates in the ad. “Over the years, I’ve helped my kids by just being there. That’s why I want real teacher and school evaluations; to stop over-testing our children; not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready. I want to invest $2 billion dollars to build the new technology classrooms of tomorrow. And I still believe the best education equipment is the kitchen table, and the best teacher is the parent.”

Here's the ad:



State of Politics notes this oddity in the ad:


Policy-wise, the ad is interesting on another level.

The ad’s line about a moratorium for using Common Core scores for “at least five years” is especially intriguing. It’s unclear if the governor is pursuing a new policy stance for a second term. At the same time, Cuomo says he would only allow the test scores “only if our children are ready” but no guidelines are given as to how that would be defined.

Cuomo still hasn't signed the safety net for teachers whose students took Common Core tests that didn't count for them but did count for teacher ratings.

Now he's saying there's "at least a five year" moratorium on using Common Core scores for children, but if I remember correctly, the budget settled on just a two year moratorium.

In addition, he says nothing about whether those Common Core tests just won't count for students but will still count for teachers.

Given how he brags in the ad how he wants "real teacher and school evaluations," I would think he doesn't plan to delay APPR ratings for teachers based upon those Common Core tests - especially since he hasn't had the time to sign that safety net he negotiated with NYSUT into law yet (though he did have time to make yogurt the official state snack.)

This ad shows you how desperate he is to run up the score on Astorino - it's clearly aimed at women (the soft focus, the white colors, the presence of his daughter) and maybe it will win a few votes to him.

But I'm skeptical of that - many mothers know the reason there is Common Core in the schools and the reason why there are Common Core tests is because Andrew Cuomo wants it that way and has taken no steps to change the state's education policies.

Sure, Cuomo doesn't control the SED or the Regents, but he surely could change the direction of the state policies if he wanted to.

Instead he simply lies in his ad that he's instituted a Common Core moratorium for "at least five years" that doesn't actually exist.

Andrew Cuomo - liar, hypocrite and he looks goofy in white.