Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Message To Corporate Media, NY Politicians And Educrats: The Teachers Union Is NOT The Moving Force Behind Opt-Out

Jon Campbell from Gannett:

On a plane returning Tuesday from Cuba, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about the opt-out effort and the New York State United Teachers union's suggestion that parents consider refusing the tests.
Whether or not to opt-out of the exams is a parent's choice, he told reporters.

"From a parent's point of view, they have the right," Cuomo said. "What the teachers union advocated -- the legality of that, the funding, that I'll leave to the federal government and the (state Education Department)."

Cuomo is canny enough to know that when you already have 185,000 opt outs counted from 73% of the districts on the ELA exam, with 27% of district still to be counted, and the math exams coming up now with even higher numbers of opt-outs expected, it's not a winning political battle to take on parents.

So he, like some of the editorial boards around the state, like the awful reporting in the NY Times this week, tries to put the blame for the opt-out movement onto the teachers union.

Here's a message to the corporate media, the corporate journalists/public relations specialists, the educrats and the politicians:

Parents did NOT decide to opt their children out of the state tests because Karen Magee of NYSUT threw her support behind the movement after Cuomo's education reform agenda was shoved through in the budget deal.

The opt-out movement has been growing every year and the numbers were going to increase dramatically this year no matter what Karen Magee and NYSUT did or said about the movement.

For that matter, even as Magee and NYSUT have thrown support to opting out, Mulgrew and the UFT have criticized the movement and echoed the same jive warnings we're getting from the educrats, the politicians and the newspaper editorial boards (i.e., the feds will take school money away as a result.)

I don't quite get how the state teachers union, which couldn't manage to get Assembly members to vote the way it wanted to on the budget, somehow convinced 185,000 parents to keep their kids from taking the state tests, especially when the largest local in the state is warning against opting out of the state tests.

The only thing I can think is, the corporate-owned media, the educrats, the politicians, they need scapegoats for this massive grassroots rebellion raging in New York State and, as so often is the case these days, the teachers union provides a convenient target.

But they are fools if they dismiss the significance of the anger parents have over the state's Endless Testing regime and imposed Common Core implementation.

As Loy Goss, co-founder of United To Counter The Core wrote:

As we complete the first round of counts for ELA and move into the first round of counts for math, it is important to remember why parents do this.

Make no mistake, this wave of civil disobedience is not just about Andrew Cuomo and his teacher evaluation plan. Cuomo is the flavor-of-the-month in a long line of ill-prepared, ill-advised education reformers, each worse than the one before. These sometimes well-intentioned reformers have nevertheless damaged an entire generation of America's schoolchildren going all the way back to No Child Left Behind.

Hundreds of thousands of parents are not making political statements, they are looking at crying, defeated children around their kitchen tables and demanding meaningful change. NY parents and teachers want education reform that is educator-driven, that is tested and proven, that addresses the real problems facing our schools and our children, and that is implemented with a modicum of competency.

A reduction of testing or evaluations does not address the underlying issue. NY parents want what parents have wanted since time began - a better education for our children.

Education reformers and their propagandists are so used to winning the education reform battles with their reflexive teachers union- and teacher-bashing that they're missing the very real anger many parents around the state have toward the state's education reform policies.


  1. On the positive side of the "blame the union for opt out" campaign by the deformers and the mainstream press is that hundreds of thousands of parents -- don't count only the actual opt outers but also people who take the tests because of fear or other reasons but don't support them - as laughing over the charges. In essence, the deformers by blaming the unions are converting more and more of the public to our side.

  2. Here is where we are: Those that seek to destroy public education, teacher unions and the lives of individual teachers have seriously overreached. They may have won the most recent battles, but I do not think they will ultimately win the war.

    I know for a fact that various members of the Assembly and Senate are seriously sweating over the heat they have been taking as a result of their teacher evaluation vote. It is important for all of us to keep applying the pressure. Between that and the coming indictments that I believe will be hitting the state Senate, we might finally stop the attrition.

    To anyone paying attention it is clear that Tisch no longer has the support of a majority of the Board of Regents. A local paper in my community called both Tisch and Roger Tilles the other day concerning the opt out numbers. Tisch said they still have enough kids taking the tests to use the data for evaluation purposes. Five minutes later, Tilles said he does not support using test scores at all for evaluation purposes. Tilles is a very smart guy; someone that could possibly be elected chancellor.

  3. Their only hope in saving face is to pin this on union thugs. You know thugs like Mrs. Wagner in Room 101 teaching 3rd grade. What total b.s. I am especially enjoying watching the ed reform caste grasping for straws and flailing wildly as their own testing and bullying fetishism is being thrown back in their faces. The reality that Parents not unions are the driving force behind test refusal spells an end to their reign of test and punish. I like my Schadenfreude with an extra scoop of Tisch.

    1. Schadenfreude, at least in this case, is sweet.

      Revenge, as in seeing these arrogant know-nothing's repudiated and a stake driven through the heart of so-called reform, will be sweeter still.

  4. The tide of American public opinion is turning and a revolution of sorts is taking shape. This is both the scariest time I can ever remember as an educator and also one of the most fascinating! Arne Duncan is going to have a real dilemma here as the feds mull over getting involved at the state level. The attempt to deflect ALL the blame to unions is laughable but most of all, it is infuriating parents. This strategy is backfiring. I am no sage but, I predict that Merryl Tisch will soon be H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, a small footnote citation will appear next to her name as the first NYS Chancellor to resign because of the will of the people. This is somewhat amusing because MORE people know who Merryl Tisch is as chancellor than any other person who has ever served as NYS chancellor! P.S. Tennessee just repealed Common Core. I guess Cuomo thinks that there is still time in NYS to get it implemented ... what a waste of money and education!