Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Teachers Need To Stop Supporting Members Of The Independent Democratic Caucus

Those of you who voted for a member of the Independent Democratic Conference should understand you have likely added extra seats to the Republican majority in the State Senate - something that will aid Governor Cuomo in pushing through his anti-teacher, anti-public school initiatives:

In an exclusive interview with Time Warner Cable News, Thursday, IDC Leader Jeff Klein said he’s hoping to continue the faction’s coalition with Republicans in the state senate, despite the outcome of Tuesday’s election. This comes as Republicans take a definitive majority in the state senate, regardless of any support the IDC may or may not end up providing to their caucus.
“I’ve had a great working relationship with Senator Skelos. I hope that continues. And I hope he agrees with me. That a coalition government was not only good over the last couple of years, but is something that works really, really well in the months and years ahead.”
Klein has been a pivotal player in Albany since the Independent Democratic Conference was formed in 2011. There are currently five Democrats sitting with the IDC, which may soon be expanded to six if Klein is able to convince newly elected State Senator Jesse Hamilton to join his ranks.

Republican Leader Dean Skelos said earlier this week in an interview on The Capitol Pressroom that he hasn’t made a decision to keep an agreement with the IDC yet, but says he’ll be meeting with Klein in the coming days to discuss their future.

People ask me, what can we do to protect ourselves against the coming onslaught against schools and teachers by Cuomo?

I say, well, it might have been easier to handle the onslaught if teachers would STOP voting for politicians who are anti-teacher, anti-public school, pro-charter and pro-reform.

As bad as it is to have our union leaders collaborating with our enemies, it is even worse when teachers themselves votes for them.

I heard all sorts of reasons why teachers were supporting IDC member Tony Avella over John Liu, IDC member Jeff Klein over Oliver Koppell.

It would have been nice to have John Liu in the State Senate about now to stand up for us instead of Tony Avella to sell us out.

Alas, we have Avella, whose victory over Liu was aided by teacher support.

Same can be said for Koppell.

He might not have been as staunch an ally against deform as Liu would have been, but he surely wouldn't have joined with Skelos and the Republicans for a co-leadership role in order to push through the Senate Cuomo's damaging plans for schools and teachers.

Alas, we have Klein - again with the help of teacher support.

There are 63 seats in the State Senate, the GOP has a slim majority without the IDCer's.

If the IDCer's join with the GOP, that slim majority jumps to 38 or 39 of the 63 seats.

Those are nice numbers for Cuomo to use to push through his "break" plans for the school system and teachers.

I wonder, will the teachers who voted for Avella, Klein, Savino and the rest of the IDC betrayers understand that they have contributed to the onslaught that is coming against schools and teachers by supporting members of the Independent Democratic Caucus?

Even further, after Klein, Avella, Savino et al. help Cuomo destroy public schools and the teaching profession in the next legislative session, will they STOP supporting these rent-a-politicians?

People ask, what concrete steps can we take to stop the attacks against public schools and teacher?

One easy step is to STOP supporting politicians like Klein, Avella and the other members of the Independent Democratic Caucus who aid the corporate deform movement and Governor Cuomo in their plans to destroy the public school system and the teaching profession.


  1. Tea Partiers voting against their own financial interests. Teachers voting against their own occupational/student interests. Some people not voting at all.

    Many people just aren't paying attention, nor could care less about what is happening to public education and this country, in general.

    It's sad.

    1. It's really simple - voting for politicians who will promote policies to destroy you is insane.

      But as you note, Pogue, people on the right do it when they support these corporate pols who sell them out all the time.

      And the same is true of teachers, who often support pols who push through policies that destroy schools and are harmful to teachers.

  2. I actually took time out and worked for Avella, and dragged a bunch of my members to help do so. It's really heartbreaking that he'd turn on us like that. I never expected that of him. I'm sure some teachers voted for him this time around, but the union, as far as I know, didn't support him. I went to UFT and we made calls for some tight Senate races out of district, likely lost of course.

    1. I'm thinking back to some of the response I got from teachers to this post:

      Also, colleague of mine knows teachers who not only supported Klein in his primary, but volunteered for him.

      You can bet there were more than that who voted for the IDCer's.

      The Avella/Liu race was closer than the Klein/Koppell race.

      Would it have made a difference for the teachers who voted Avella to have voted Liu?

      Maybe, maybe not.

      But it certainly is a starting point to a coherent, pro-education strategy to say as a teacher "I don't vote for a pro-deform politician out to destroy public schools and teachers FOR ANY REASON."

    2. I certainly don't, not anymore. I started with Cuomo four years ago, having regretted my vote for Obama, and didn't vote for Obama term two.