Here's why critics are opposed to Cuomo's technology bond for schools:
Opponents of the bond act say that borrowing $2 billion to pay for computers and other items with limited life spans would be an unprecedented move that has not been supported by analysis.
Nicholas Tampio of Mamaroneck, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University who has tried to incite opposition to the bond act, said money from the bond act will ultimately tie districts to the state's agenda. The state Education Department's goal, he said, is for districts to prepare for online tests aligned to the Common Core.
"School districts face a choice: Submit investment plans that (state Education Commissioner) John King wants or relinquish any chance of having the plan approved," Tampio said. "And what John King wants is the technological infrastructure to support online Common Core testing."
If the bond act is approved, each district would be eligible to receive a set amount based on the state's aid formula. But districts would need to have spending plans approved by a high-powered review board consisting of King, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and state Budget Director Robert Megna.
E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center, a conservative think tank in Albany, has been the most prominent critic of the bond act. He said Cuomo has no research that proves New York needs to borrow $2 billion for school tech.
"There was no assessment of need and no one asked for this," he said. "This is the most ill-conceived and wasteful bond act to be put in front of New York voters in 30 or 40 years."
He noted that the state Board of Regents, which sets educational policy, has not endorsed the bond act.
"The governor treats the need for this as self-evident: Tech is good," McMahon said.
Why in the world would anybody want to vote for a $2 billion dollar boondoggle bond act that gives John King and Nancy Zimpher the right to approve or reject what districts do with the money?
You can be sure King and Zimpher, staunch Common Core proponents and testing advocates, will want every district to use the money for infrastructure for the PARCC (or some other online tests) to grade students, rate teachers and evaluate schools.
We ought to call this the Infrastructure For Online Computerized Testing Bond Act, because that's exactly what it is.
Don't be fooled, thinking much (or any, for that matter) of this money will go to building schools or getting rid of trailers in the city schools.
This is tech bond, pure and simple, meant to get the state up and running for the coming online PARCC tests.
Vote NO on the Proposition 3 on Tuesday.