Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Intimidation From NYSED And Threats From Governor Cuomo's Office

Here is why the Kenmore-Tonawanda school board voted unanimously last night to back away from a proposal they had made to not administer the Common Core state tests:

In a letter, the state Education Department informed the school board it could lose state and federal funding, and the state said board members could be fired if they violated the law.
Superintendent Dawn Mirand, who publicly opposed the board’s proposal, said in a meeting last month that teachers and administrators could lose certification if they did not administer state tests. Mirand originally estimated the district could lose as much as $50 million in aid, WGRZ reported.
“With all of that in mind,” School Board President Bob Dana said, “I can’t honestly sit in front of you today and push for a continuation of these proposals.”
...

Peter Stuhlmiller, the president of the Kenmore Teachers Association, said the board made the right decision by moving in a different direction.
“We realized that our board members faced incredible intimidation from the state Education Department and threats from the governor’s office,” Stuhlmiller said.
“Hopefully, in the long run, State Ed will wake up and realize they can’t continually use kids as a pawn in this political battle.”

Incredible intimidation from the State Education Department and threats from the governor's office.

Welcome to Andrew Cuomo's New York, where nothing must derail the Endless Testing and Teacher Accountability Express.

Let's see what happens if hundreds of thousands of parents opt their children out of the state tests later this month.

NYSED and Cuomo's office will have to turn their intimidation and threats onto parents.

Make no mistake, there's already a move toward that with Regents Chacnellor Tisch's threats and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul's criticism of parents who are opting their kids out of the tests.

67 comments:

  1. Today's lesson kids: Never mind all that shit you keep hearing about bullying. Bullying works.

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    1. Yup. Best emblem of that was the budget in which Cuomo bullied his way to success.

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  2. I am so sick of SED, the Board of Regents, Cuomo, Flanagan, Cathy Nolan, Dean Skelos and Carl Heastie, the biggest new wimp in town.

    Nolan made a fool of herself on the floor of the Assembly last Tuesday night talking almost incoherently about the education budget bill. She was frighteningly misinformed and either lied outright or show just how incompetent she really is.

    So many people are sick of this testing mania that has swept across our government. I wish 100% of parents would opt their kids out of the tests. Cuomo and Flanagan would wet their pants. Threats would be laughed at should anything close to it ever happen.

    NYSUT is a weakling. The only way we will ever get anywhere is if parents start to rise up in ever bigger numbers and put their politicians in their place.

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    1. You hit the real problem reformers have - many parents are sick of the testing and don't buy into the reforms anymore (CCSS especially.) Credibility has eroded over time, especially since the reformers have been the "status quo" for well over a decade now.

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  3. In Comsewogue they threatened the same thing if the BOE even discussed their reso at a BOE workshop. Additionally they threatened to fire Joe Rella and replace him with a state appointed superintendent. This, as you can imagine, enraged the community and has mobilized the parents.

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    1. Until there is tangible political damage to be paid for supporting ed deform over the communities, they will continue to get away w/this. This is all the political class understands.

      Rella's a hero - so are the L.I. parents and teachers who have been leading this fight.

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    2. FYI - Comsewogue is represented in the state Senate by guess who? Right; John J. Flanagan, Jr. He's quite a guy, isn't he?

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    3. Didn't he hide in his office when some parents and teachers demonstrated outside over his support for the Endless Testing regime?

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    4. Yes, but it wasn't a one time protest. They have held regular protests for more than two years, some attended by 300 or more people. There was a well-attended protest at his office a couple of weeks ago. There are several large locals in his area and they hate his guts.

      Flanagan has special state Senate license plates. Evidently someone spotted the plates in the large parking lot outside his building and snapped them off on one of the protest days. He reportedly came out of the building and saw his plates missing and almost fainted. Literally started crying.

      These politicians live in a fantasyland. Flanagan was in the supermarket one night after 9 and some crazy guy who hates him over all this education stuff spotted him and followed him all around the store and right out to his car telling him he is a jackass. There is going to be more of that for all these people as time passes.

      As teachers start to lose their jobs as a result of this evaluation law people are not going to take it silently.

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    5. In the post-9/11 security state that we live in, I'm surprised the guy from the supermarket didn't get a visit from the police.

      Actually, come to think of it, given the revisions Flanagan has done to his campaign finance disclosure forms, I'm surprised he hasn't gotten a visit too.

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    6. Skelos did revisions at the same time. Someone told them they have a problem and they are trying to clean up years of improperly cited items. Much more to comment on but I don't want to do it here.

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    7. Email me here:

      realitybasededucator@aol.com

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  4. “Hopefully, in the long run, State Ed will wake up and realize they can’t continually use kids as a pawn in this political battle.”

    The above quote is SO FUNNY!!!! Ah ha ha ha haaa AH ha HAAAAA. Omg. Hopefully NYSED will BLAH blah blah. What? Did someone actually say that? Huh? Hopefully NYSED WILL REALUZE THEY CANNOT USE KIDS AS PAWNS. LOLOL!!! Do u think they give a shit? Nooooo, they're going to wake up one day? RBE, please smack the person who mentioned this quote. What a DINGBAT!

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    1. He's the same guy who openly said the board was intimidated by SED and threatened by the governor's office. IMO, he's done a great service by being so open about that. This let's the parents in that community and elsewhere see that it's not about the kids for SED or the governor. It's about control and imposition of their agenda.

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  5. You know what? I'd love it if these districts called NYSED's bluff. Let the state start taking money from all these districts and let's see what happens.

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    1. Good point. One small board in one small district is easy to crush with intimidation and threats. Many fighting together are not.

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    2. I think what both Kenton and Comsewogue were hoping for was for a few dozen districts to join them. Then you would have seen a real boycott. But it's coming. The natural progression will show bigger and bolder steps next year, be it school districts, teachers, or parents.

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    3. Especially given Cuomo's imposed reforms. Like gasoline on a fire.

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  6. Here we go. Over the next few days and weeks Cuomo/NYSED/Etc will start rolling out consequences for opt out.....continually raising the heat until all important resistance fades away. Sure, lots of parents will opt-out. Cuomo/NYSED/Etc. will then take those numbers and hold them up as proof of how awful the NYSUT propaganda is. By next year there will be less opt out.

    Come on. Nobody seriously expected that the opt out movement wasn't going to get B-slapped by Cuomo, etc. did they?

    Come on.

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    1. It's coming. Tisch started it, Hochul picked up the ball today, the editorial boards have been hitting hard and heavy at opt out - they're worried, that's for sure. They wouldn't be going this heavy if they weren't.

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    2. I think you couldn't be more wrong. Read history. In the end this kind of movement always succeeds. It might get slapped down and around during its early stage, but it is standing over its tormentor at the end.

      I look at my own principal. Last year she was very anti opt-out and got teachers thinking the same way. This year she told me she hopes every single kid opts out. She now recognizes the testing obsession for what it really is: politically driven and totally meaningless for improving classroom education.

      I have never heard of a pro opt-out person being won over by government.

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    3. RBE - I meant to relay to Anonymous at 6:10, not you. I agree with you 100%.

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    4. I think the shrillness of Tisch, Hochul, SED, et al is really a sign of just how worried they are. The deformer PR isn't fooling anybody and they don't know what else to do!

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  7. Here's how to do real damage to the testing regime.
    Teachers opt-out of going to work the day the tests are administered.

    WTF. Come on! Ain't that many subs!!

    Thats opt out.

    Oh, they can't discipline everybody either.

    At some point teachers may actually have to get their dander up and resolve to stop this shit.

    Nothing happens in schools without teachers consent, whether tacit or overt.

    Thats power.

    No need to rely on parents and boards and all that.

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    1. Subs can't administer tests. Don't you have training?

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  8. I agree. We have 6 days of testing, so it's gonna be a lotta sick days!!!

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    1. I wonder how Cuomo and the state would react to that kind of action?

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    2. We only need to sick out two days - one ELA and one math to wreck each test. Make up window is another piece but administration would have a rescheduling issue. Never get consensus without union leadership - and if wishes were horse we'd all be riding.

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    3. Well why do we need NYSUT leadership?
      NYSUT sucks at life and would probably F that up 6 ways from sunday even if they decided to do it.

      Why cant we really get the word out on it aggressively? Like a full post here by RBE suggesting it. Idea would spread. Some crafty folks will get ahold of it and get all social-media on it....probably get the word out way better than any NYSUT communication.
      Another advantage is that Cuomo couldnt spin it as a "teacher's union" thing and he'd have to say dick-ish things about teachers themselves (not that he hasn't and wont again....but he usually says his most asshole insulting stuff via talking about the union).
      It would also be a right and proper F You to NYSUT and hopefully let them know that they have not only been disregarded by New York State government en masse, but also their membership. (Just thinking about that gives me a special feeling)

      So yeah...why do we need them. Lets get the word out and at least see what happens.

      Yes, it will telegraph our intentions to Cuomo side of things, but so what? What'll he do, change the dates of the test? Wow. Victory for us then! We found a way to make him move shit. Then we do it again.

      I dunno. Maybe I am stupid here.

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    4. I mean, maybe we've collectively forgotten how movement politics/labor action/etc works here.
      Provoking response from those in power...not once but a sustained, hard work effort, is how these things are won.
      The confidence that the other side is deeply in the wrong should sustain the effort on our side. You provoke the other side to say and do shit that little by little push them to more extreme statement and action and then they cross that line and bingo....done. They ruin themselves.

      Provoke Cuomo to say super extreme stuff (ok well he does that sans provocation), and then do stuff.

      What can he do? Ruin our careers? Nope. He did that last week.

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    5. Not sure you would get much buy-in from teachers on this. Especially in NYC where many seem, uh, how do you say, apolitical. Hell, I can't even get some of my colleagues to get interested in a minute conversation about how Cuomo just shoved through an APPR re-do in the budget...

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    6. 700+ school districts in the state.
      somehow we need to open a line of communication to the teacher leadership in each.
      this is what we need to think about....that issue. How do we effectively communicate with the teachers in those 700+ districts. Figure that out, NYSUT circumvented.....and then this who plan above becomes a possibility. There has to be someone reading here from at least 75% of those districts, no?? Lets try to solve this issue so we can do something without useless NYSUT. C'mon, there has to be a way.
      Thoughts?

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    7. I certainly hear you about buy-in from the "apolitical," the stupid-scared, the sycophants, the daddy-issue ones, etc.
      Simply you won't get their buy in.
      If every district in the state/NYC could at least have a coverage crisis on day of test with some districts having huge buy in....well thats a thing. No collective action/labor action in history required or had 100% buy-in or anything close. Just enough to provoke response.

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    8. You could never get a new teacher in NYC to do this, they're chickenshit!

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    9. About half the teachers in my school are under five years.

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  9. We need to call a general strike for one day and have every teacher in the state go to Albany.

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    1. If a crowd of 200,000 showed up in Albany, Cuomo and the legislators would fold in minutes. It would be the most intimidating demonstration the state has ever seen. I have been saying this for months. NYSUT needs to lay it out in plain language to everyone. No excuses. A mass rally. Mandatory for every union member to attend. Period.

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  10. on another note, my wife teaches in a high performing district in westchester county where maybe 5 students opted out last year. since the students returned this past week, hundreds have submitted opt out letters. the office has been flooded with phone calls, school's staff is in shock.

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    1. 240,000 opt outs could happen. That's only 25%. Scores wont be officially invalidated but it might rattle the BOR cage enough for them to take some kind of action.

      What's up with King's replacement anyway?

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    2. King's replacement won't be in place until well after June (when SED is supposed to release the final APPR system.)

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  11. Hey, is it fascism yet?
    When do we connect the dots and draw the line in the sand?
    We need to recognize the symptoms, even if they appear, on the surface to be different from those that we historically equate wth fascism.

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    1. I dunno. Do fascist dictators have flying attack monkeys who spread evil on the Internets. Cuomo has those.

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    2. That's why I say the outward trappings may appear different, but the inner core is today's fascism. From wiki - "Fascism defines the physical age period of youth as a critical time for the moral development of people that will affect society." Surely CCSS along with rigor and massive testing are being used to shape today's children into the subservient workers of tomorrow.
      "Non-democratic and anti-democratic in practice."

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    3. This dovetails with the message we're getting from reformers, that protest is useless and harmful to children - see here:

      http://perdidostreetschool.blogspot.com/2015/04/message-from-education-reformers-shut.html

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  12. Cuomo is a fascist dictator.

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    1. Alas, he can't seem to get the trains to run on time or the snow plowed on the Thruway.

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  13. I just got home and checked my messages. There was a robocall from Karen Magee trashing Cuomo and encouraging me to opt my kid out of testing, etc. NYSUT lives, albeit on life support.

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    1. I got the same call. Is this all NYSUT can do??? They make me sick.

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    2. Be happy you got that. The whole state got the call except for NYC. Guess we're not part of NYSUT.

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    3. I got the call, I have a 718 number. Another big takeaway from that call was a slightly veiled warning to teachers that they are obligated to give the tests and cannot encourage parents to opt out. Made reference to, I think, NYSED website for further guidelines for teachers.

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    4. I got a robocall from Randi Weingarten urging me to vote for Kathy Hochul.

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  14. "That’s because I feel that his dark side is really dark, that there is a Nixonian quality to him. He’s so weary, he’s so clannish, he’s so suspicious that he circles the wagon with these trusted advisors who aren’t very smart and never challenge him, and I feel that that’s very destructive in a president, as it was with Nixon."

    The above quote is from an interview with the author of the latest Cuomo book:
    http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/04/8565715/michael-shnayerson-cuomo-navigating-second-floor?top-featured-3

    Take away: Cuomo's people aren't too smart. Cuomo is Nixonian. Cuomo is dark.

    To us contemplating collective action against his policies, the above take-aways are an enormous gift. Especially when we are clear that our purpose is to provoke a response from him. If we did it right, he'd ruin himself. They aren't a brain trust.

    We on the left have forgotten, I think, the purpose of collective action. As I said before, its not to "prove a point." Its to provoke a response from power. In that response is our victory.

    We really need to think about this stuff and try to do something. NYSUT doesn't have the brains either...lets be real. In the collective of all of us.....teachers, etc....we can outthink em.

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    1. Maybe somebody should steel his strawberries.

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    2. I think we should consider the same tactic that helped the anti-frackers. I read a piece that explained just how their organized harassment of Cuomo really got under his skin. We need to do the same. Every public appearance has a small contingent of teachers - all shouting the same talking point. e.g. "The court of public opinion finds you guilty of educational malpractice." Cuomo is an educational terrorist and tests are his weapons."

      The hounding must be relentless, just like the anti-frackers.

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    3. This should start ASAP. Definitely by April 20 at the SA Spring Benefit at the Cipriani.

      We need a name for the group. And one key talking point that will drive him into a big emotional, angry mistake.

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    4. http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/12/07/nyregion/SUBCUOMOOBIT5/SUBCUOMOOBIT5-articleLarge.jpg

      Use this photo. Andrew is far right. Basically there isn't much else to say. The pinky ring is all anybody needs to see to understand everything there is to know about him. The first time I saw that pinky ring I went "oh, right. Duh." Out loud.
      Just use a close-up of him from this photo. That should piss him off pretty well.

      It is a pretty awesome look I must say. In my head when I think "I need to dress up classy tonight" I have a mental image of the entire look he is rocking right there.

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    5. To anon 8:45 AM - Yes, saw that interview by Blake Zeff of Michael Shnayerson. Was going to post about it, but was a busy day yesterday with other items. But now you've reminded me to go back to it. Thanks!

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  15. Why not spread the word through the 557 principals statwide who signed an open letter in April 2014 denouncing testing and its impact on students? https://scfeeney.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/anopenlettertonewyorkparents_21apr14.pdf

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    1. At this point I would think that the principals would want to join us. They have all been de-fanged by Cuomo. He has burned every bridge in the profession.

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    2. Thats not a bad thought! Screw NYSUT! Lets do something without them. We have the collective wattage to figure this all out.

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    3. You make a good point about principals being defanged. It will be interesting to see what happens with the outside observations.

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  16. Anonymous people calling for action on an anonymous blog. I am anonymous too so I am part of the problem. Protest 2015 style. Not very encouraging.

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    1. Parents opting their children out of the tests aren't protesting anonymously.

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  17. I am talking about teachers. We are not exactly profiles in courage.

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    1. Courage is in the eye of the beholder. People do what they can to fight (or not.) If it bothers you, then come out publicly and fight the system. But don't criticize others for fighting anonymously when you are doing the same.

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  18. Merely pointing out that we will get nowhere fighting like this. I put myself in this category too on this forum.

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    1. This blog isn't protest. Its a forum for ideas. And ideas tend to be better when tempered in the medium of a conversation. Conversation and ideas can happen, some would argue more efficiently, without the problems associated with peoples' identities being attached to them. So, I think your criticism may come from a place of frustration at teachers not being more readily willing to engage active forms of real protest, and I get that, but its forums like this that will be the laboratories of thought that sustain whatever protest may or may not materialize. The ideas are the thing and ideas can be good even if they are anonymous. Thats a thing.

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