Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Send Your Kids To Public Schools, Mr. President

Of course we all know why he wouldn't send his girls to public schools with all the Common Core "rigor" and high stakes testing.

Because that stuff is for other people's kids...

Complete List Of De Blasio Inaugural Committee Members

Here's the list, via Politicker:

Gabrielle Fialkoff, Chair of the Inauguration
Eugenia Acuna, Former Director, Adolescent Reproductive Health Programs, Consultant at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Yvette Aguirre, Retired Principal, P.S. 24
Marisol Alcantara, District Leader
Jordan Barowitz, Director of External Affairs, The Durst Organization
Harry Belafonte, Activist and Performer
Barry Berke, Partner, Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Rodneyse Bichotte, State Committeewoman; District Leader, Assembly District 42
Fernando Bohorquez Jr., Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP
Mili Bonilla, Parent Activist
Steve Buscemi, Actor
Lillie Cariño Higgins, Political Action Fund Director, 1199 SEIU
Raysa Castillo, Attorney, Castillo & Associates, P.C.
Eddie Chiu, Advisor, Lin Sing Association
Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, Progressive Democrats Political Association; Former New York City Council Member
Alan Cumming, Actor
Sonia A.M. Daly, Former Chief of Staff, State Senator Kevin Parker
Matthew W. Daus, Partner, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf
Fidel Del Valle, Transportation Consultant; President, Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services
Rabbi Heshie Dembitzer, Bobover Yeshiva B’nai Zion
Janet Dewart Bell, Retired
Junot Diaz, Author
Jay Eisenhofer, Founder, Grant & Eisenhofer P.A.
Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Senior Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship; Chairman, Churches United to Save and Heal
Marian Fontana, Board Member, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Families Advisory Council
Charlene Gayle, Owner, The Macon Realty
Monsignor Jamie J. Gigantiello, Vicar for Development, Diocese of Brooklyn
Lewis Goldstein, Vice Chair, Bronx Democratic County Committee; 504 Democratic Club; Stonewall Democrats
Arun Govil, President, Ducon Technologies Inc.
Nick Gravante Jr., Partner, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
Beth Green, Attorney
Sarah Currie-Halpern, President, SAC Marketing
Bishop Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales, Founder and Principal, M.A.C.A.D.E.M.Y.
Fred Heller, Partner, Team Systems
H. Dale Hemmerdinger, President, ATCO Group
Louis Hernandez, Former President, NYPD Hispanic Society
Matthew Hiltzik, Founder, Hiltzik Strategies
Lorna Brett Howard, Philanthropist
Jay Jacobs, Chairman, Nassau County Democratic Committee
Joni Kletter, Associate, Kletter, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein P.C.
Father Alex Karloutsos, Assistant to the Archbishop for Public Affairs, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Eric Kumar, Co-Chair, South Asians for de Blasio; President and Partner, American Factoring Group, Inc.
Imam Khlalid Latif, Executive Director and University Chaplain, Islamic Center, New York University
Bishop Doctor Annette Lazarus-Rose, Senior Pastor, Bethesda Healing Center
Yitzchok “Isaac” Leshinsky, CEO, Housing Bridge
Gary Mayerson, Partner, Mayerson & Associates
Morris Missry, Partner, Wachtel Missry LLP
Rud Morales, Primary One, Inc.
Mike Muse, CEO, Muse Recordings
Sarah Jessica Parker, Actress
Don Peebles, Owner, Peebles Corporation
Ronald Perelman, Chairman and CEO, MacAndrews & Forbes
Rosie Perez, Actress
Mark Peters, Partner, Edwards Wildman
Suzanne Peters, Director of Operations, WD Wick Investment
Yuri Radzievsky, CEO, globalWORKS
Diane Ravitch, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education
Jona Rechnitz, JSR Capital LLC
Jeremy Reichberg, JR Consulting
Bill Samuels, Effective New York
Susan Sarandon, Actress
Michael Schlein, CEO, Accion
Michael Schrieber, Vice President of Strategic Planning, Cassena Care
Alan Sclar, Partner, Sclar Adler LLP
Rajiv Sharma, Owner, Pranna
Grace Shu, Chair, Asian American Voters Coalition
Russell Simmons, Rush Communications
Steven M. Sinacori, Partner, Akerman LLP
Harendra “H” Singh, Owner, Singh Group
Marianne Spraggins, Managing Director, Bond Factor
Estela Vasquez, Executive Vice President, Health System 6, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Ocynthia Williams, Parent Leader and Organizer, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
Steven Witkoff, Owner, The Witkoff Group
Rep. Yvette Clarke
Rep. Eliot Engel
State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson
State Senator James Sanders Jr.
State Senator Bill Perkins
State Senator Liz Krueger
Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda
Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh
Assemblyman Félix Ortiz
Assemblywoman Joan Millman
Assemblyman Jim Brennan
Council Member Andy King
Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council Member Brad Lander
Council Member Jumaane Williams
Council Member Mathieu Eugene
Council Member Vincent Gentile
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Theresa Freeman, President, Manhattan Chapter, National Action Network; District Leader
William Allen, District Leader
Leo Barrile, District Leader
George Gresham, President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Jonathan Westin, Executive Director, New York Communities for Change
Chris Shelton, Vice President, Communications Workers of America District 1
Jill Furillo, RN, Executive Director, New York State Nurses Association
Bill Granfield, President, UNITE HERE Local 100
Dr. Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress
Augustino Gagliardi, Associated Musicians of Greater New York/American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 802
Dr. Sepideh Sedgh, Committee of Interns and Residents – SEIU Healthcare
Dr. Frank Proscia, President, Doctors Council SEIU
James J. Claffey Jr., International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One
Mark Carotenuto, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2013
John H. Marsh III, President, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association
Tom Shcherbenko, President, Staten Island Democratic Association
Independent Neighborhood Democrats
Lower Manhattan Democrats
Bay Ridge Democrats
New Kings Democrats
Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan
Democratic Club of El Barrio
Haitian American Association for Political Action PAC
Tenants PAC

Rosie Perez the only ed deformer I can see on that list.

And even then, she's one of those "actor deformers" who they roll out on Oprah to sell "Won't Back Down" or some TV special pushing deform.

I see some really good names on that list.

Am I missing anybody on that list we should be concerned about?

De Blasio Puts Diane Ravitch On Inaugural Committee

This is a good sign:

Again, putting a few pro-traditional public school advocates on his transition team and inaugural committee does not guarantee a pro-traditional public school agenda for his administration, but it surely is a good sign.

He could have put a DFER like Resham Saujani (whom he hired as deputy public advocate) or a Students First figure on these teams.

He chose instead to put friends of traditional public schools there.

A very good sign.

Leadership Of AFT Are Full Of Crap As Usual

This tweet from the AFT set me off:

My response:

I added another tweet asking just what the AFT leadership promised to the Gates Foundation in exchange for all of that cash (as a commenter on a Common Core story earlier noted, Gates Foundation money ALWAYS comes with strings attached), but it really was a rhetorical question.

We know what Randi and Company promised in exchange - undying fealty to the Common Core, tacit agreement to not fight too hard to overturn teacher evaluations tied to test scores, and other concessions to the corporate education reform movement.

An important component to fighting the corporate reform agenda is calling the union leadership on their lies, deceptions and propaganda.

Sure, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton Family and a host of lesser education reform luminaries helped bring about the mess that we have now and sure, they did it by buying off many of the politicians in both parties to promote their agenda.

But they got a lot of help from the union leadership - from Randi at the AFT to Mikey at the UFT to Iannuzzi at the NYSUT to Dennis at the NEA.

They got help from union locals from New Haven to Baltimore to Newark.

Other than Karen Lewis and the CORE braintrust running CTU and some of the locals fighting the Common Core mess here in NY State, most of the union leadership has sold out.

A Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Education cannot be authentic and productive without calling Weingarten, Mulgrew, Iannuzzi, Van Roekel and the other union sell-outs on their horse@#$# that helped steal the promise of public education in the first place.

Free Stuff Isn't Really Free

A commenter on an article in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette covering Republican criticism of the Common Core implementation in Ohio:

Thank you to the OHIO GOP for finally agreeing to study this important issue. We appreciate it! The National GOP came out against this 6 months or more ago. It is not for the good of the child. It seems to be for the good of Bill Gates, GE, Exxon Mobil and those who make software and sell books. Like Obamacare, it gives the Power to the Federal arm of government while ignoring We the People. It collects data on children Pre K to college to force our youth in the direction of the national desire not the desire of the student. It is beyond me why Catholic schools have agreed to go along with any of this. Probably for the money handed out by Gates Foundation. After all he has tried to buy off the PTA all across the US. FREE STUFF isn't really FREE. It comes with obligations and regulations galore. And maybe even lack of religious freedom. Please give this issue a lot of research. It is too important not to, our children only get one set of school years to make it!

Free stuff isn't really free - it comes with obligations and regulations galore.

That is true of Race to the Top funds, Gates Foundation grants, education reform "philanthropy" in general, Regents "Fellows" paid for by private donatinos so they can "help" the NYSED.

None of this stuff is "free."

It all comes with obligations and regulations and hidden costs.

On The Commons: Bll Gates Is Responsible For The Teacher Evaluation Mess

Nice post that puts all the pieces together - the VAM, the bell curve that ensures a certain number of "ineffectives" every year, how the new teacher evaluation systems are based on Microsoft's stack ranking system, how destructive stack ranking has been to Microsoft, how Microsoft just got rid of stack ranking because it is so destructive but how school districts all across the country are stuck with stack ranking for teacher evaluations:

Just as public school systems have widely adopted the Microsoft model in order to win the Race to the Top, it turns out that Microsoft now realizes that this model has pushed Microsoft itself into a Race to the Bottom.

 In a widely circulated 2012 article in Vanity award-winning reporter Fair Kurt Eichenwald concluded that stacked ranking “effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate. “Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

This month Microsoft abandoned the hated system.

 On November 12 all Microsoft employees received a memo from Lisa Brummel, Executive Vice President for Human Resources announcing the company will be adopting “a fundamentally new approach to performance and development designed to promote new levels of teamwork and agility for breakthrough business impact.”

 Ms. Brummel listed four key elements in the company’s new policy.
 •More emphasis on teamwork and collaboration.
•More emphasis on employee growth and development.
•No more use of a Bell curve for evaluating employees.
•No more ratings of employees.

Sue Altman at EduShyster vividly sums up the frustration of a nation of educators at this new development. “So let me get this straight. The big business method of evaluation that now rules our schools is no longer the big business method of evaluation? And collaboration and teamwork, which have been abandoned by our schools in favor of the big business method of evaluation, is in?”

Big business can turn on a dime when the CEO orders it to do so. But changing policies embraced and internalized by dozens of states and thousands of public school districts will take far, far longer. Which means the legacy of Bill Gates will continue to handicap millions of students and hundreds of thousands of teachers even as the company Gates founded along with many other businesses, have thrown his pernicious performance model in the dustbin of history.

Once again, no accountability for the billionaire malanthropists who shove through their "innovations" and "solutions" to the ginned up "crisis" in public education in order to wreck the entire public school system and promote their free marketeer dream of so-called school choice, charterization and online schooling.

Friday, November 29, 2013

What Will You Miss Most About Bloomberg?

Just one month until the Mayor of Money flies off to Bermuda one last time as mayor.

I think what I'll miss most about him is the imperial tone he uses as he talks on his radio show or the annoyance that he shows when a reporter, rarely enough, challenges him on his b.s. at a press conference.

Following a close second is the insane reliance on ever-improving statistics so that every piece of data that emanates from government these days is phonied up - from the graduation rates to the emergency response times to the crime stats.

You know, on second thought, I won't miss any of that.

How about you?

What won't you miss after Bloomberg leaves?

BBC Story On Amazon's Warehouses

From the Times:

The recession might have cut deeper in Europe, making the question of new jobs even more crucial, but the attitude there is much cooler toward Amazon and its high-tech ways. In Germany, there is continuing labor strife. France is erecting barriers against the company’s aggressive discounting. And in Britain, the warehouses that so impressed President Obama have been compared, in a February story in The Financial Times, with a “slave camp.”

That shocking charge resurfaced in the latest investigation, when a BBC reporter, Adam Littler, went to work briefly at Amazon’s Swansea warehouse. His report, broadcast this week on the show “Panorama,” showed him hustling to keep up with the demands of his hand-held scanner, which gave him only a few moments to find each product.

In his ten-and-a-half-hour night shift, Mr. Littler said: “I managed to walk or hobble nearly 11 miles, just short of 11 miles last night. I’m absolutely shattered.” He added, “We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we’re holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves.”

Michael Marmot, a labor expert identified by the BBC as “one of Britain’s leading experts on stress at work,” told the show that with “the characteristics of this type of job, the evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.”

Mr. Marmot went on to say that: “There are always going to be menial jobs, but we can make them better or worse. And it seems to me the demands of efficiency at the cost of individual’s health and well-being — it’s got to be balanced.”

In the United States, President Obama said Amazon warehouses are “a great example of what’s possible...I look at this amazing facility and you guys, you don’t miss a beat."

Nope - and the reason is, because employees at the warehouses are constantly under the gun to perform or be fired.

Fill your orders or be fired.

I noticed in the past year that more and more stuff I order from Amazon is coming damaged.

No wonder - the employees are treated like robots to run back and forth and keep filling orders so that their order scanners don't go off.

It's time for me to stop ordering from Amazon.

If Bratton Replaced Kelly As NYPD Commissioner

Interesting piece from City-Journal about William Bratton's time at the LAPD.

Dunno what de Blasio's thinking on NYPD commissioner is, but whomever he picks must be less contemptuous of people of color than Ray Kelly is.

De Basio also must choose someone who will be someone strong enough and savvy enough to handle the pro-Kelly propaganda that will come his way as criticism from the likes of Mike Lupica and others.

I think Bratton could be the kind of commissioner who could transform the NYPD in a positive way while keeping crime levels down.

I bet stop-and-frisk wouldn't have become the issue it became if the mayor and the NYPD commissioner had the trust of people in neighborhoods like East New York and East Flatbush.

Community relations, having police work as part-cop/part-social worker instead of some member of a paramilitarized occupation force, ending the insane monthly quotas that put such pressure on the cops to constantly make stop-and-frisks, hand out tickets or make arrests - these kinds of policy changes could go a long way to making this city safer than ever while transforming the way the police are seen by people in this city.

Bratton is not the only person who could do this kind of transformative work at the NYPD.

But he does have a reputation for doing just that at the LAPD.

Chancellor Pick Announcement May Come By End Of Next Week

From Politicker:

Mr. de Blasio said Wednesday that he’ll soon announce some hires for his new administration. “You can safely assume that there will be be announcements by the end of next week,” he offered, denying a report he’s already selected Bill Bratton as his police commissioner. “I’ve said this many, many times. When I pick someone, you’ll know.”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday

Murdoch Post running some crap about how to "win" at Black Friday.

I plan on "winning" at Black Friday by not buying anything either in person or online.

How about you?

Anybody going to the mall for the Thursday evening "doorbusters"?

Pope Francis

I am told by my Catholic relatives that this pontiff is not liked very much by some of the more "conservative" members of the church.

If Pope Francis keeps writing the kinds of things he's been writing about the global financial system and capitalism, keeps calling the fat cat RC bishops/cardinals out for spending millions of euros on their palaces, I wonder how long it will be until he comes down with some mysterious ailment that ends his papacy a la John Paul I or just has some kind of accident in that Ford Focus he drives around in.

This was a pretty strong critique he launched at the markets and the free marketeers.

The cynic in me says that sort of thing will not be allowed to stand for long - they'll either convince him to moderate his tone or we'll be looking for white smoke in the sky again real soon.

Sick Of Self-Serving Celebrities, Politicians And Media

Errol Louis patting himself on the back for serving food at a mission on Thanksgiving

My response:

I'm so sick of these politicians, celebrities and media figures using their charity work for these self-serving p.r. opportunities.

Hey Errol, want to help the people you were serving at the mission today?

Stop shilling for the neo-liberal project that fetishizes the market above all and commodifies every part of human existence.

Help build a world where no one has to go to a Bowery Mission on Thanksgiving and have some fevered ego like yourself feed them.

Your ladling out gravy today did nothing in the grand scheme of things except give you the opportunity for some p.r.

Mayor Bloomberg And Commissioner Kelly May Go On Trial Just Yet

From the Daily News:

AN NYPD supervisor has lost his bid to countersue whistleblower cop Adrian Schoolcraft.

Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello alleged that Schoolcraft — who has a pending $50 million lawsuit against the city — concocted bogus complaints about wrongdoing in a Brooklyn precinct in order to ruin his boss.
But Manhattan Federal Court Judge Robert Sweet has denied the deputy inspector, finding in part that the counterclaims would be unfair to Schoolcraft, who would have to “expend additional resources . . . preparing for trial.”

Schoolcraft claims the NYPD had him committed to a psych ward against his will because he said cops were using quotas and fudging crime stats.

He is suing the city, Mauriello, Jamaica Hospital and two doctors.
A commenter writes:

This guy Schoolcraft has them but good. Tapes that prove the quota system that was setup by Billionaireberg and Kelly. Kelly calls them productivity goals but are plain old quotas just with different wording. Also when Schoolcraft went to the IAB to report what he had on tape and what he was going to do with them the IAB told Mauriello who stormed Schoolcrafts home. In an attempt to find these tapes Schoolcraft was put in a psych ward so his home could be searched and wouldn't be released until Mauriello said it was ok. With Kelly and his boss Billionareberg gone soon I can't wait to see who Mauriello turns in to save his own skin.
Another commenter writes:

My good friend is an NYPD cop and I can tell you EVERYTHING this Schoolcraft guy said is true! He tells me that not only is the workload insane (Kelly has stood by his mantra of "Do More with less" which means that each cop is doing the work of the seven thousand less cops the NYPD now has, compared to years ago), but that the boss' torture them for their arrest and summons quotas. He said that there are severe punishments for cops who don't meet their numbers. I'm really surprised more cops don't snap under the stress. The reporter who broke this story wrote a great book about it. With the stuff that's in there you would think this cop worked in communist Russia or something! The NYPD is out to get it's own. Good cops who stand up to the system are tortured. For the good of the public, something has to change.

So far, Bloomberg and Kelly, along with a compliant corporate press, have kept the wraps on the criminality forced upon the cops from the NYPD brass and City Hall in order to meet their insane quotas.

But the Schoolcraft case may expose all of that and put the Bloomberg and Kelly crime stat miracle to the graveyard where myths go.

I have a friend who works in the system who tells me the crime stats are all phonied up - they arrest people just to make their monthly quotas, they refuse to take some criminal complaints, they downgrade felonies to misdemeanors.

Bloomberg gets feted in the press for making the city the safest it's been since the 1940's.

The truth is, none of the stats can be believed - nothing from the Bloomberg Era can be believed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Came Home To This

We live down the street, got some smoke into the building, but nothing like people who live on Grove Street, especially those in adjoining buildings.

One fireman told me when the fire got out of control they were having a difficult time battling the smoke, so they pulled back from the buildings and went with a "Surround and Drown" strategy.

It's a mess - they're still pouring water on it now, but the smoke has finally just about subsided.

Having suffered through a fire years ago, I know how devastating this can be.

Not a good Thanksgiving to the people displaced by this tonight.

Parents' Message To De Blasio

An extraordinary video from ParentVoices NY:

63% In NY State Back De Blasio To Raise Tax On Wealthy For Pre-K

David Dinkins called fora return to the regressive commuters tax to fund universal pre-K in NYC, saying the measure will not be popular in Albany, but state voters overwhelmingly back de Blasio's plan:

Meanwhile, 62 percent of New York state voters back New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s plan to raise income taxes on the city’s wealthy in order to fund universal pre-kindergarten. The plan, which would need approval from the Legislature and Cuomo, was opposed by 32 percent.

“New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign issue, raising taxes on the well-to-do in the city to pay for improvements in education, wins solid approval in every corner of the state, except among Republicans,” Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll said in a statement. “And Republican State Senators still have a lot to say about what happens in Albany.”

It's true that Republican State Senators have a lot to say about what happens in Albany - that's because Governor Cuomo and some breakaway Dems gave them control of the State Senate.

But if Cuomo wants the tax on the wealthy to pass, it will pass.

That's the short of it.

It's a done deal in the Assembly, and the breakaway Dems in the Senate can be brought to heel on the plan with a little convincing.

I suspect Governor Cuomo will look for another way to fund that universal pre-K, however.

Whether that means the return of the regressive commuter tax, only time will tell about that.

That surely would not make commuters from Rockland, Westchester and Long Island happy.

Wouldn't make people from Jersey or Connecticut happy either (though they aren't NY voters, so many nobody cares about them.)

I think a return to the commuter tax would be a disaster, but I wouldn't be surprised if that Dinkins comment wasn't a trial balloon to see if there is a stomach for just that kind of thing.

Clearly the Q poll shows there is plenty of appetite for raising taxes on rich people to fund the de Blasio plan.

But politicians are so loathe to raise taxes on rich people when they can just stick in some regressive tax on everybody instead.

NYSED Commissioner King Shouted Down At Common Core Meeting In Suffolk

Okay, you know the drill on this already.

Hundreds of parents, teachers and administrators criticize the Common Core, the Common Core implementation, the Common Core tests, the teacher evaluation system tied to those tests, and the inBloom data project at the latest Common Core forum with NYSED Commissioner John King.

King says he's listening but vows there will be no major changes to the state's education reform agenda.

And on goes the implementation.

Newsday has the latest:

Parents, students and school officials from across Suffolk County told state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. during a contentious meeting Tuesday night in Manorville that the rapid implementation of tough, new academic standards has "set children up to fail."

Roughly 600 people packed into the Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School, with a vast majority critical of the rollout of the Common Core academic standards. They say the initiative is far too difficult for many children -- particularly those with special needs. They contend it has prompted testing anxiety among students, causing some to feel perpetually discouraged and to lose interest in school.

They also said the state is inflexible in its implementation of this and of numerous other education plans, including a controversial move to link teacher and principal evaluations to student test scores and academic growth. The state agreed to such a move in part so it could receive some $700 million in federal education grants


 The crowd shouted down both the commissioner and the few educators who spoke out in support of the Common Core initiative -- which proponents say emphasizes critical thinking -- despite numerous appeals for decorum. Hundreds walked out early, telling state officials they weren't listening.

Here's what students and parents told the King:

Connor Sick, 18 and a senior at Rocky Point High School, asked King if he had "anything to say about why failure is being used as a weapon" to motivate struggling students. The commissioner did not answer the question directly and stood by the Common Core program.

Tom Laraia, 60, who identified himself as a special-education teacher who retired last year, said he was particularly upset over special-ed testing.

"The way we test special-ed kids is appalling," he said, explaining how some former students cried during tests.

Mary Von Eiff, of Southold, came in with her own sign that read: "Hey King, these are my kids, not yours. And they are not common."

Von Eiff resigned as the special-education administrator of Oyster Ponds School District in 2009, and is now home-schooling her three daughters, who are 11, 8 and 6. She called Common Core "the federal takeover of public education as we know it. That local control has been removed."

Karen Wing, 44 of Shoreham, took her 10-year-old triplets to the meeting but left early. She said the Common Core-related tests were "extremely stressful" for her daughters and that she and her husband hired tutors to help them.

Jan Achilich, special-education director at Remsenburg-Speonk Union Free School District, told King the state should have introduced the new materials starting at the lowest grades so children had time to adjust.

"What we are doing to our upper-grade children," she said, is tantamount to "physically throwing them into a rushing river without a life preserver."

School, she said, should be a place for children to sing, dance, create and learn together "in an atmosphere of grace," rather than under an umbrella of anxiety.

King's response?

King, in an interview after the forum, said the schools he's visited have adapted well to the standards, although it has taken time and effort. He predicted that critics will look more favorably on the initiative as the years roll on.

"Now is not the time to retreat from high standards," he said.

This Gospel of the Common Core road show is getting old, and while I like song and dance routines as much as the next fellow, the one's King and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch are doing as they make believe they're listening to the concerns of students, parents, teachers and administrators aren't striking a chord with me.

It is time to put the politicians on the spotlight over the CCSS, the Common Core tests, the teacher evaluation system that mandates all the tests, and the inBloom data project.

As  Christina Bangel, parent and teacher, said at a recent forum in Binghamton:
“Tell the assembly we’re coming for them. We’re coming for them, we’re angry and we vote.”

I would add the state senate and the governor to the list.

Might even start making calls to representatives in Washington.

Politicians who continue to support the Common Core, Common Core testing, teacher evaluations tied to those tests, and the inBloom data project will be made to pay a political price at the ballot box and in the news media.

That's where this fight has to go now.

It is clear that King and Tisch do not give a whit about student, parent, teacher or administrator concern.

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Full Of Crap

Once in a while, a political figure gets called on his bull@#$% (via Political Wire):

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R) has a new TV ad "showing off his modest watch, a symbol of his down-to-earth frugality," the Chicago Tribune reports.

Says his official bio: "Bruce has never let his success change him. He still drives a 20-year-old camper van, wears an $18 watch, and stays in the cheapest hotel room he can find when he's on the road."

But he doesn't mention his real estate portfolio which includes nine homes in Illinois, Florida, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and "a penthouse in a landmark co-op building along New York's Central Park, which property records show Rauner bought in 2005 for $10 million."

Down-to-earth frugality means never having to hide your nine pieces of expensive property, including a Central Park penthouse co-op.

It's great to see someone call him on it.

Not that I like the incumbent Quinn.

Quite frankly, a pox on both these guys.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cuomo Warns Unions They Need A "Reality Adjustment"

Colby Hamilton at DNAinfo:

MIDTOWN — Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned the city’s municipal labor unions Tuesday that they should be prepared to signficantly manage expectations as they prepare to sit down and negotiate new contracts with soon-to-be-mayor Bill de Blasio.

While he praised the unions for their “superb” willingness to help the city during tight times in the past — most notably during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s — the governor said labor leaders need to be “realistic” in their demands amid the difficulties currently faced by the city.

“Going into the conversation, everyone needs a reality adjustment,” Cuomo said during an unrelated press conference at the Javits Center.

“The unions have understood that in the past and they've acted accordingly and my guess is that they will again.”

UFT members did not get the last 8% pattern raise.

The APPR teacher evaluation system and its ancillary rules have forced concessions from UFT members on ratings, observations, lesson planning, and work load.

This UFT member does NOT need a reality adjustment.

This UFT members needs the 8% raise he deserved as part of the old pattern and additional compensation for all the concessions made to APPR.

And there will be NO additional concessions in this contract to health care or pension, no additional days or time added.

This UFT member gave at the office already - that's the reality whether Sheriff Andy Cuomo cares to admit that or not.

“Tell The Assembly We’re Coming For Them. We’re Coming For Them, We’re Angry And We Vote!” - Parent At Common Core Forum

More protests on the Gospel of the Common Core tour:

BINGHAMTON — Bearing signs reading “We are human, not machines,” “Oust the King” and “End Fed Ed,” Binghamton area residents let state Education Commissioner John King see — and hear — their discontent with Common Core state standards.

“Tell the assembly we’re coming for them. We’re coming for them, we’re angry and we vote,” said Christina Bangel, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Owego-Apalachin Middle School and mother of two third-grade students at Owego Elementary School.

Bangel, like many other parents, teachers and community members, criticized King and other state officials for the Common Core standards, rushed implementation, student testing and a host of other topics during a forum Monday night at West Middle School in Binghamton. Almost 50 residents spoke during the two-and-a-half hour session, while more than 700 filled in the seats to applaud, cheer and stand in solidarity.


 King and other officials remained relatively quiet during the forum, allowing residents to voice their concerns and questions. When King did speak to address concerns, he was often met with jeers, shouts and heckling from the audience, asking him for proof or calling him a liar.

Tisch and King continue to implement their agenda no matter what they hear or encounter on their Gospel of the Common Core tour.

So Christina Bangel's statement to the politicians of this state is an important one:

“Tell the assembly we’re coming for them. We’re coming for them, we’re angry and we vote.”

As has been noted at various places around the Internets, half measure avail us nothing here.

There is no tinkering with the Common Core or the Endless Testing or the inBloom project.

These must be ended and a new direction for the state's education policy must be developed that takes input from students, parents, teachers and administrators - not just $27 million worth of lobbyists, er, Regents Fellows.

Cuomo's Job Performance Ratings

After a Siena poll showed Andrew Cuomo with a 44%-56% job performance rating last week, a new Quinnipiac poll released today shows a different story:

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who saw his job approval rating drop in Quinnipiac University polls in the first six months of the year, opens his reelection bid with a 62 - 25 percent approval rating today.

Marist released a poll yesterday finding this:

About 52% of the registered voters polled said they approved of Mr. Cuomo's job performance, with 8% of voters deeming his performance "excellent," and 44% describing it as "good." The same poll in April found approval of Mr. Cuomo's job performance at 54%.

The Quinnipiac poll, often unreliable in the past, seems a little high to me, especially with Cuomo's lost approval over the gun law.

The Siena poll might be a little low.

He's probably right in the middle somewhere, hovering near 50% or just above - which is where Marist has him.

The truth is, having a 52% job performance rating going into re-election is nothing to write home about.

In both the Marist and the Siena polls, his performance trajectory has been downward.

He beats any opponent put up against him next year - but we knew that would happen.

The problem for Cuomo is that he needs to beat his opponent next year convincingly so that he can make a case for a 2016 run.

Let;s see what Cuomo's performance rating looks like in another nine months, especially after Republicans start running ads against him.

If they nominate a sane, reasonable candidate, I think they can hold Sheriff Andy to a modest victory, giving him trouble for his vaunted 2016 run.

NYSED Commissioner John King: Elementary School Teachers To Blame For Common Core Opposition

First, he said there is no turning back:

State Education Commissioner John King defended the Common Core curriculum during a tour of the Binghamton region on Monday while acknowledging some difficulty in rolling out the standards.

“Any time you try to raise standards across 45 states, it’s going to be a complicated process,” King said.

King is traveling throughout the state to explain the initiative that supporters say is designed to raise the performance level of students statewide. But the common core has come under harsh criticism in some sectors as too rigid and too test intensive.

Throughout the state, some teachers are scrambling to teach to the new standards. Many teachers didn’t receive instructional materials on how to use the new curricula until mid-summer, leaving them little time to prepare lesson plans before school started. Two months into the school year, some instructional aids remained unavailable.

King said the state would remain committed to the standard.

“It would be a mistake to retreat from higher standards and from the idea of college and career readiness for all students,” King said. “That said, there are adjustments we will make along the way. We already have in the last four years.”

He then blamed elementary school teachers for some of the furor over the new Common Core:

King said some of the resistance to common core concepts comes at the teacher preparation level.“Historically, in New York, you could pass the elementary teacher certification exam and fail the math section,” King said. “You could compensate with your scores in other areas.”

 He recalled the dean of a teacher prep program telling him that candidates said they were going into elementary education “because they don’t like math.”

“That’s a problem,” King said. “We need elementary school teachers who have a strong background in math.”

In short, it's the elementary school teachers who can't understand the vaunted Common Core math standards that are the problem here.

Never mind that the Common Core math standards are considered developmentally inappropriate for young children and even parents are finding them confusing or just plain useless.

Yeah, never mind that - all this hub-bub over Common Core is the fault of the elementary school teachers.

King displacing blame onto others once again - special interests have fooled the parents into opposing Common Core, elementary school teachers who don't understand the math standards are driving the opposition to the Core.

The more he tries to defend his indefensible positions, the deeper he digs himself into a hole.

Merryl Tisch Get A Subpoena From The Moreland Commission Yet?

Of course she hasn't - but she should.

We learned on Sunday that Regents Chancellor Tisch paid out of her own pocket for private employees to run NYSED offices - at least the first million came from the Tisch family fortune.

Millions more came from the Gates Foundation, General Electric and a bunch of other corporate entities - $19 million in total from more than two dozen private employees.

These private employees, called "Regents Fellows," many with connections to the Gates Foundation and other education reform groups, developed state education policy, implemented that policy and helped enforce it.

In short, the Gates Foundation took over the running of the NYSED.

Former NYSED Commissioner King, current Commissioner King and Regents Chancellor Tisch were all behind this scheme to turn over government functions to private personnel paid for by private companies and "non-profits."

Those actions warrant subpoenas from the Moreland Commission, which has been entrusted to look into influence peddling and corruption in Albany.

Tisch should be first on the list for a subpoena, followed by King and Steiner, all of the Regents Fellows and every company and non-profit that provided the cash to hire these people.

Here's a list of the contributors to the Regents Fellows fund:

Regents Research Fund contributors
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation $3.3 million
James S. and Merryl H. Tisch Fund $400,000 (draw-down on $1 million commitment)
Leona and Harry Helmsley Charity $3.83 million
Amy and Larry Robbins Foundation $500,000
Tortora Silicox Family Foundation $975,000
GE Foundation $3.5 million
Ford Foundation $788,000
Carnegie Corp. $1.2 million
Tiger Foundation $560,000
Robin Hood Foundation $600,000
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation $900,000

Doubtful Sheriff Andy or his merry Morelanders will want subpoenas sent to investigate this blatant corruption at the Board of Regents and NYSED.

But if we lived in a real democracy instead of a corrupt corporatocracy, you can bet it would be investigated.

Monday, November 25, 2013

De Blasio: No Chancellor Pick Yet

And so, if you're interested to see which direction de Blasio takes the schools system in, the wait goes on:

Nearly three weeks after his election, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has yet to decide who will run the city’s public schools.

Asked for a status update today during a rare public appearance, Mr. de Blasio offered reporters eager for any tidbits about his transition efforts few hints.

“I will say I appreciate the question. I don’t think it’s quite time to go over that,” he said, following an education speech at Columbia University. “The conversations are just being arranged now, so let us get a couple more days down the road and we’ll be in a position to give you some more.”

We wait, we wonder.

It's Official: NYSED To Change Name To Gates Foundation

With the news that Gates Foundation employees, paid for by Gates Foundation grants and/or cash from corporate entities, are acting in official capacity at the NY State Education Department to develop, implement and enforce policy, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch announced today that she is just going to dispense with the sham and rename the NY State Education Department the "Gates Foundation: Albany Office."

I say, it's about time.

What's the point in making believe this is a democratic government with democratically elected officials and public employees paid for by tax dollars running the state when it's really a corporatocracy with private employees paid for by private interests imposing their own agenda on the state whether the people like it or not?

Tisch, King, Gates Foundation Should Be Investigated By Moreland Commission

With the news that Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch has hired private employees from the Gates Foundations and other education reform groups to privatize the New York State Department of Education where they develop policy, implement those policies and just generally order the state employees around to do their bidding, we can see why neither she nor Commissioner King will allow any significant changes to the state's reform agenda or to forced collection of student data to the inBloom data project.

Quite frankly, the Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department have become subsidiaries of the Gates Foundation.

I wonder how the citizens of this state will feel as they learn that the reins of power in education policy have been handed over to lobbyists and education reform proponents from the Gates Foundation and other education reform entities?

I wonder how Sheriff Andy Cuomo will publicly respond to this news.

It sounds to me like the Moreland Commission needs to send some subpoenas the way of the Board of Regents, the NYSED and the Gates Foundation in order to get to the bottom of just who is paying to have which policies developed and implemented as the official education policy of this state.

Not that I think that will happen.

But it should.

As B-Lo-Ed Scene noted this morning

Seems Empress Tisch and her friends from the financial ionosphere have been buying and selling education policy and calling themselves charitable donors not influence peddlers.
That's the kind of thing that needs investigating.

Cuomo's Education Reform Agenda Exposed

Tim Farley wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo, part of which made it to the Times Union.

In it, Farley shows just how much of the NY State reform agenda is Cuomo's agenda.

He notes how Cuomo has been trying to distance himself from the state reform agenda in recent days, as public outrage over the reforms has grown, then writes:
This seems different from two years ago, when he wrote Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and suggested changes:
• "Impose rigorous classroom observation and other subjective measure standards...
• "Require a positive teacher evaluation rating be given only when the teacher receives a combined positive rating on both subjective and objective measures...
• "Accelerate the implementation of the evaluation system...
• "Impose additional standards on school districts... to make evaluations more rigorous...
• "We must make sure that school districts begin the process in an expeditious manner...
• "My administration will aggressively seek to incentivize school districts to implement the evaluation system expeditiously...
• "School districts would potentially lose millions of dollars on state awards for failure to implement the system quickly."

There you have it - Sheriff' Andy's letter to Merryl Tisch "suggesting" many of the changes that were ultimately put into place that have caused so many of the problems in this state.

As I have written before, the NY State reform agenda is Governor Cuomo's reform agenda.

He will not get away from distancing himself or making believe it is Tisch's or King's.

We will not let him distance himself - as Tim Farley did not in today's Times Union letter.

Governor Cuomo Must Be Called To Account For The Corruption At SED, Board Of Regents

The bombshell report in the Times-Union that private employees, paid for by the Gates Foundation and other corporate funds, are running NYSED, implementing policy and ordering around the state employees to do their bidding, has already led me to call for Regents Chancellor Tisch and NYSED Commissioner King to be forced from power.

Tisch supplied the first $1 million in grant money to hire the private employees and set SED on the road to permanent privatization.

King helped devise the privatization scheme as then-SED Commissioner Steiner's deputy commissioner, and thus he must be brought to account and stripped of power too.

Former NYSED Commissioner Steiner, accused in the past of taking bribes from Pearson in the form of overseas junkets, should be brought to account for these actions as well.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo has a lot of explaining to do over this scheme - and he had better start doing that explaining soon.

Cuomo has been trying to distance himself from the state reform agenda recently as a result of widespread and growing criticism, but he cannot distance himself from the handing over of the state's education department and education policy to Gates Foundation employees paid for on the private dime from the coffers of corporate entities and hedge funds.

This Regents Fellows scandal stinks to high heaven of the worst corruption possible.

Cuomo must answer how the State Education Department and its education policy making has been handed over to the Gates Foundation.

One thing we know now for why King and Tisch refuse to drop out out inBloom or slow down the Common Core reforms.

Because the Gates Foundation doesn't want the state to drop out of inBloom or slow down the Common Core reforms and the Gates Foundation is literally running policy in the state.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Regents Chancellor Tisch, NYSED Commissioner King Must Be Forced From Power

The Times Union report on the Regents fellows - private employees (paid for by the Gates Foundation and other corporate philanthropists) who are running the state education department from within, making policy and ordering around the government employees to do their bidding - goes to show what a corrupt government Andrew Cuomo is running here in NY State.

Truth be told, I bet there are similar arrangements in many other state capitals as well as at the USDOE in Washington D.C.

Alas, I cannot do much about the other states or the USDOE in Washington, but I sure can raise hell in NY State.

It is outrageous that the Gates Foundation and other corporate entities have their own people in the state bureaucracy running the government.

But it is even more outrageous that it is the Regents chancellor, Merryl Tisch, who used her own money to start the private hiring and lead the charge to the privatization of the state education department:

The fellows program grew out of former Education Commissioner David Steiner's 2010 decision to use an existing charitable group to give birth to a research arm of his bureaucracy. At the time, the department was being challenged by Washington to improve school results and by Albany to do more with less. Confronted by the department's loss of staff through cuts and early-retirement incentives and federal pressure to adopt reforms under the Race to the Top initiative, Steiner, his then-deputy King and Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch tried something different: They leveraged private donations, starting with $1 million from the private foundation established by Tisch and her husband, Loews Corp. CEO James Tisch, to infuse the Regents Research Fund with dollars to hire education consultants.

What was envisioned as a short-term, relatively small augmentation to SED staff has grown exponentially. Fellows operate independently and communicate regularly with King and many interact regularly with state workers, but are not bound by Public Officer's Law or ethics rules imposed on government officials.

Tisch has engineered a coup to hand over the reins of power to the functionaries of her fellow plutocrats and corporate cronies, and with the apparent acquiescence of Governor Cuomo, has shifted the policy-making into the hands of private interests.

Tisch must be forced to resign her post as Regents Chancellor immediately and Governor Cuomo must be called to account for this coup d'etat at the NYSED.

Tisch must take her NYSED Commissioner King with her, since his fingerprints are on this criminal enterprise as well.

Andrew Cuomo MUST Be Held Accountable For InBloom

NY1 on the state's forced data plan for all NY State school districts:

Big record-keeping changes are coming to schools across the state.

Under a new plan, public schools will be required to send student data, such as grades and attendance records, to a cloud-based data storage company sometime after the new year.

New York is the first state to make a full commitment to the program created by the Atlanta-based InBloom.

A number of states flirted with using the program, but withdrew.

The initiative has come under fire from parents, who fear that the data will not be secure and could be sold to marketers.

The New York State Department of Education says that the data will be accessible only to parents and educators via the internet.

I love that last line - like nobody who isn't supposed to access stuff on the Internets ever gets that access without permission.

Yeah, right.

Governor Cuomo is trying to distance himself from the state's education reform agenda, from the Common Core "national curriculum" to the Endless Testing regime imposed by the Regents to the forced data collection imposed by the NYSED, but he cannot escape his accountability measures.

APPR, Common Core reforms, inBloom - all are Cuomo policies, all have his fingerprints all over them whether he wants to admit to it or not.

We will NOT let him get away with distancing himself from his own reform agenda.

Andrew Cuomo must be held accountable for the education policies he has promoted since he was elected governor.

Looking at his plummeting job performance ratings, he's already taking a bit of a hit.

But that's not good enough.

Give Cuomo a call, send him an email, let him know you intend to hold him accountable for inBloom, APPR, Common Core and let him know how you'll be telling all your family and friends over the holidays how these are Andrew Cuomo's policies, how Cuomo MUST be held accountable next November for these crimes against children, teachers and schools.


You may also contact the Governor's office by phone (518) 474-8390 or mail:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Frank Bruni LOVED "Won't Back Down"

NY Times restaurant critic/columnist Frank Bruni has some propaganda piece out about the Common Core State (sic) Standards that equates opponents of the standards as purveyors of the self-esteem movement in which every child is a winner and everyone gets a trophy no matter how they do in life's competition.

Alas, before we take anything Bruni writes seriously, let us remember how much he enjoyed the propaganda film "Won't Back Down" last year (see here and here for my take on that.)

Other critics did not take to "Won't Back Down" the way Bruni did.

Bruni's take on the Common Core State (sic) Standards is no better informed this his movie review of "Won't Back Down."

Perdido Street School Blog Finally On The Twitter

Here - realitybasededucator@perdidostschool 

Still holding out on the Facebook though.

Screw Zuckerberg.

New York Only State STILL Committed To InBloom Data Program

The Associated Press covers the inBloom mess in New York State:

NEW YORK (AP) — After months of debate about the risks of storing student data in the cloud, New York is pressing ahead with a plan to create a statewide database for every public school student's grades, tests scores and attendance records — a tech startup proposal that drew interest from several other states that have now reconsidered.

Concerns from parents about who will have access to the information, how long it will be held and whether it will be used for marketing purposes have stalled the momentum of a startup that promised to bring efficiency and cost savings to record-keeping that is still largely handled district by district across the country.


Founded in February with $100 million in grant money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corp., Atlanta-based data-storage company inBloom drew early interest from several states.

But within months, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Delaware pulled back. Massachusetts is using inBloom services in one pilot district but has made no commitment to further involvement. The school board in the Jefferson County, Colo., district in suburban Denver canceled inBloom this month amid parent opposition.

Illinois is participating, but that state's Board of Education said individual districts don't have to send their data if they don't want to.

The New York State Education Department, however, is going forward with plans requiring districts to send student information with names to inBloom sometime after Jan. 1.
The data will be accessible by educators and parents through a portal. For New York students, the data will include grades, standardized test scores and any medical diagnosis that requires special-education services. Suspensions will be logged as part of a student's attendance record, but the reason for a suspension won't be.

A group of New York City parents sued this month to block the release of student information to inBloom, and critics still hope to persuade state officials to step back from the data plan.

Lawmakers attending a hearing in Albany this past week demanded to know why New York was the only state that's still all-in with inBloom, with no "opt-out" provision for families or for districts.

State Education Commissioner John King said that he shared their concerns about security but that collecting student data "is necessary for the good functioning of districts, schools and states."


In addition to security concerns, debate has focused on fears that companies will use the data to sell educational products.

"It's not an educational plan. It's a marketing plan," said Lisa Rudley, a mother of three from Ossining, N.Y., who testified at the assembly hearing.

Any legislator who supports shoving this plan down the throats of NY school parents without allowing for an opt-out option MUST be made to pay the political price at the ballot box.

The same goes for any governor.

NYSED Commissioner King and Regents Chancellor Tisch are not going to cave on this data collection, just as they are not going to cave on the Common Core implementation, the Endless Testing program linked to it, or the teacher evaluation system that forces teachers to teach the SED "suggested" curricula modules or risk "ineffective" ratings if students do not score well on the state tests.

But the politicians who put these functionaries in place can be made to FEAR the power of students, parents, teachers and administrators.

One of the most used tools in the education reformer tool box is FEAR - they bludgeon districts, schools, teachers, parents and students with the fear of lost money, the fear of lost autonomy, the fear of low test scores, the fear of being held back, the fear of being fired over an "ineffective" rating.

It is time to turn that FEAR tool back onto them and use it to force them to acquiesce to the will of the people.

We still live in a nominal "democracy" (though it's more and more a "fake" democracy and real plutocracy.)

These politicians - from Assembly Speaker to Silver to State Senate Education Chairman Flanagan to Governor Cuomo and the rest of the political contingent in Albany - still have to stand for re-election.

2014 is the time for an accountability moment for these politicians.

If they pay lip service to public concerns over the state's reform agenda but continue to take actions that impose that very agenda on the state, then they MUST be made to pay the political price for that betrayal of the public trust.

NY should not be the only state STILL in this inBloom data handover to Rupert Murdoch.

NY should not be the only state going "full speed ahead" with the Common Core reforms even as the public turns against them.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Michael Pollan Knows Nothing About Mayor Bloomberg

Apparently Michael Pollan missed not only the news about CityTime scandal - the worst fraud ever perpetrated against NYC - but also the 911 system overhaul mess that has seen Bloomberg spend over $2 billion dollars in tech upgrades that cause the system to freeze repeatedly and just may have led to the death of a four year old.

Or the EMT records modernization project Bloomberg instituted that the NY Post called a "technical nightmare" that causes the new wifi devices to freeze up and lose information - again putting lives at risk.

Or the NYCHA computer system upgrade that Bloomberg spent $36 million on that Juan Gonzlaez described this way in the Daily News:

Bureaucrats at the New York City Housing Authority gave their new $36 million computerized rent-collection system the bizarre acronym NICE (NYCHA Improving Customer Experience).
But for landlords and public housing tenants, the system — designed by firm Siebel-Oracle — is a cyber-monster run amok.

Since NICE was launched in February, the annual certification process for 100,000 tenants who receive Section 8 rent subsidies has turned into a hellhole of disappeared documents, erroneous payments and baseless eviction notices.

Many of the 30,000 private landlords who get paid by the Housing Authority are up fed up.
“It’s total chaos beyond belief,” said one Brooklyn building owner. “Landlords are being mixed up and getting wrong checks. Sometimes the computer automatically sends termination notices to every tenant in a building. Transfers get held up for months. The whole thing gets worse every day.”

Or how about the GPS systems Bloomberg bought for the FDNY that the NY Times described this way:

The Bloomberg administration spent millions of dollars to put custom-made GPS tracking units in fire and garbage trucks, only to have vehicles inexplicably show up on computer screens as if they had sunk to the bottom of Long Island Sound or New York Harbor, the city comptroller has found.

Faulty devices, inaccurate locations, needless features and prices to make a vendor blush — as much as $56,000 for a single unit in a sanitation truck — characterized the two projects, according to two audits released on Wednesday.

The comptroller, John C. Liu, said the findings were more evidence of the administration’s troubled record with computer projects.

“Once again, millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on technology that falls short of what’s promised, raising questions about the oversight of expensive outside consultants,” he said in a statement. Mr. Liu, a likely mayoral candidate, has crusaded against city technology spending on projects like CityTime, the scandal-plagued payroll system.

Last week, the Bloomberg administration acknowledged that it had mismanaged its major information-technology projects and vowed to improve oversight.

And let's not forget the Bloomberg Blizzard Disaster of 2011 that saw Bloomberg telling people to relax and take in a Broadway show as New Yorkers died in this city because Bloomberg was too incompetent to get the streets plowed in a timely fashion.

Or his downplaying of the storm threat pre-Sandy that caused some New Yorkers to take the storm less seriously than they should have.

I'm sick of these "experts" like Pollan pontificating about stuff they know NOTHING about, showing their ignorance in the bargain, and no one calling them on it.

Not that he's going to care, but I'M going to call him on it.

Pollan is an ignoramus if he thinks Bloomberg is some uber-competent techno-genius who should be tapped to fix the Obamacare mess.

This is the kind of statement that calls into question whatever else this guy writes or talks about.

Holding Andrew Cuomo Accountable For His Common Core/Testing Agenda

Great piece from Karen Dewitt at WXXI:

Everywhere Governor Cuomo goes these days, he’s dogged by questions from reporters about what’s widely perceived as a rocky start up of New York State’s adoption of the new national Common Core standards for school children.

Cuomo was asked essentially the same question in recent days in stops from Buffalo, to Lake Placid.
“Can you talk about the common core, a lot of people  have issues with it," asked a reporter in Lake Placid on  November 20th.

In his answers lately , Governor Cuomo distances himself from the growing discontent that’s led to raucous meetings between state education officials and angry parents and teachers.

At an event on Staten Island, Cuomo called the implementation of the Common Core standards “problematic” .  In Lake Placid, he acknowledged the unease.

“It’s been very controversial,” Cuomo said. “It’s very controversial here in the state.”

Just a month ago, on October 23rd, Cuomo sounded much more supportive of the Common Core implementation, saying change can be hard “even when it’s right”.

“When you come in with a big change, there’s normally fits and starts, and it’s a little jerky, so that’s to be expected, “Cuomo said. “But Common Core curriculum, nationwide that’s where the country’s going, that’s the state of the art.”

Cuomo made those comments  just a few days after a raucous meeting in Poughkeepsie, where parents and teachers complained to State Education Commissioner John King that their children are taking too many tests, and teachers are not given adequate preparation to teach the new curriculum required to meet the standards. At one point, King was shouted down.

The Poughkeepsie forum was also Commissioner King’ s first meeting with parents and teachers since the first set of exams were released since the Common Core was adopted.  Those tests concluded that two thirds of the state’s third through eight graders were not adequately prepared to be on track for college or careers in the 21st century.

Since then, unease about the adoption of the standards has only grown. It’s been the subject of two sometimes contentious legislative hearings, and at a recent forum on Long Island, things were not much calmer.

In New York State, the Governor does not have direct control over education.   Cuomo has no power to appoint the education commissioner. King was chosen by the State Board of Regents. The Regents members are picked by the legislature.  Cuomo is quick to point that out.

“The governor is not in charge of the State Education Department,” Cuomo has said more than once.
A recent Siena Poll shows New Yorkers have become disenchanted with the Common Core. Nearly half hold doubts about its effectiveness.

Steve Greenberg, a spokesmen for Siena polls, says voters, though, may not make the distinction of who has authority over the education department, and Cuomo will likely be held accountable whether he’s actually in charge of it or not.

“Education is a key issue, and I think what this poll says is that all of those involved in education have to do a better job of informing the New York voters and citizens of what their efforts are, what their purpose is , and how they’re going about doing it,” Greenberg said.

Cuomo has not been shy in speaking out about education matters in the past . He has referred to himself as the “lobbyist” for students, and in the past has railed against excessive school spending, saying “more money” is not the answer. Cuomo does have the power in the state budget, to partly determine who much money schools will receive.
Cuomo also advocated for the state’s quick adoption of the new higher standards, as well as new , tougher teacher evaluations. New York is one of only two states to fast track the transition to Common Core.

While the Governor can’t directly affect education policy, he and the legislature can pass legislation to slow down the implementation of the Common Core standards. Many groups, including teachers unions, have been calling for a moratorium.  At each stop the governor has made in recent days, he has hinted that he might just try to do that.

“The state could pass a law that stops it, starts it, accelerates it, etc.,” Cuomo said.

The governor says he’s going to be keeping an eye on the situation. 

Cuomo is twisting himself into a pretzel trying to make like he had nothing to do with the state's education reform agenda, nothing to do with the Common Core implementation or tests or teacher evaluation systems that mandates these tests, but people remember his dubbing himself the "lobbyist" for students and pushing all of these reforms on the state.

The record is there to see and read and hear from his past speeches, statements and press releases.

He cannot hide from it and he will be held accountable for it.

He knows that, of course, which is why he's trying to make believe like he had never heard of this "national curriculum" known as Common Core until a few weeks ago.

He fools no one with this jive.

No one.

Own up to it, Sheriff Andy.

This is your curriculum, your reforms, your evaluation system, your data collection project.

Everyone knows it no matter what you say now.

Mayor Bloomberg Makes Incoherent Statement Defending Common Core

On the heels of John King calling critics to the Common Core "special interests" and Arne Duncan insulting critics to the Common Core of being "white suburban moms" who are mad because their kids aren't "as brilliant as they thought" comes this doozy from Bloomberg:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't understand what all the fuss is about over Common Core, the more rigorous national standards that aim to boost college- and career-readiness, and whose implementation in New York State has engendered controversy among parents and teachers.

"It's too hard for your kid, lady?" said the mayor, during his regular Friday morning appearance on the John Gambling radio show. "Think about what they’re gonna do if they can’t get a job. That's hard. And people say, 'Well, we test them too much.' Life is full of tests and you're gonna be tested all your life."

"Kids gotta decide, do you hang out with that bad guy that might have a gun," he went on. "Do you get in the car after you’ve had a couple of drinks, or even if you’re not driving but maybe the driver has. Pregnancy, teeange pregnancy. There are a lot of things that you have tests on. Tests on whether you read or write isn’t exactly onerous and that’s the kind of pain you gotta go through if you want to have a future."

More and more, Bloomberg makes these statements that make you shake your head and wonder when they'll announce publicly that he has dementia.

I dunno what teen pregnancy or hanging out "with that bad guy that might have a gun" has to do with the Common Core or the Common Core tests, and to be frank, Bloomberg doesn't make such a great job of connecting these strings of delusion together into anything coherent.

If Bloomberg's radio show statement was a Common Core argumentative essay assessment, the kind so many kids are asked to write every week in every class under the Common Core, it would receive a failing grade for coherence, focus, supporting evidence and and analysis.

Life is full of "tests" - that's what he's saying.

But you know, sometimes the "tests" in life are stupid and pointless and the way you pass those "tests" is pointing out how stupid and pointless these tests are and making them go away.