Hochul met with a teacher protesting the Cuomo administration's imposed education policies and agenda:
Beth Chetney, a ninth-grade English teacher who has been teaching at the Baldwinsville Central School District for 24 years, gave Hochul a fair-sized litany of frustrations. On their list? Teacher evaluations, student testing, a growing lack of control they feel inside their own classrooms, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo himself.
"The stress that they are under right now is incredible," Chetney said of fellow teachers. "We have a lot of teachers that are feeling the pressure, that if they don't instruct based on what they can guess is going to be on this asinine test."
The teacher described how five or six third-grade questions were released online recently, and most adults she knew were getting at least one of those wrong.
Hochul paid some lip service to saying the administration was dealing with these problems:
"The issues you raise are legitimate," Hochul said. "I assure you they are being talked about at high levels. And you're going to see some changes."
That's a lie, of course - these changes that have brought about more pressure, more stress, more emphasis on testing, and an increased sense of control over what teachers teach and how they teach it came DIRECTLY from the Cuomo administration and Cuomo himself.
Cuomo said not enough teachers were being fired under his vaunted APPR teacher evaluation system, so he had it re-engineered as part of the budget process to ensure that more will be found ineffective and fired next time around (even though these changes actually keep "effective" teachers from teaching in schools with the most vulnerable populations.)
How in hell can Hochul look this teacher in the face and say ""The issues you raise are legitimate...I assure you they are being talked about at high levels. And you're going to see some changes" when Hochul knows this is exactly the way her boss, Andrew Cuomo wants things to work in the public education system?
After all, he said public education is a "monopoly" which he plans to "break" - that was a pretty clear statement of intent upon Cuomo's part, one which he stated more than once (here, here and here.)
Chetney gave Hochul more:
Chetney, the president of the Baldwinsville district's teachers union, kept going. She said she feels the governor has targeted teachers, calling them unethical. Chetney said she's heard the governor say that student tests are meaningless to kids. If that's true, Chetney said, then why does the governor insist that 50 percent of the teachers' evaluations are based on those same test scores?
Hochul said it wasn't true that Cuomo has targeted teachers - another lie:
Hochul listened and then pushed back, not on the teacher eval argument, but on the claim that Cuomo doesn't care about teachers and the pressures they face.
"It's easy to pull out these sound bites that sound the most contentious," Hochul said. "But I've sat in rooms with him, and heard his real concern for teachers and the students. And I don't think that gets covered."
It isn't true that he hasn't targeted teachers, intentionally ratcheted up the pressures in the system, deliberately tried to raise test scores in the evaluation to 50% (even though he said those tests are "meaningless" for students and they shouldn't worry about them)?
Of course it's true, whether Hochul says this is a "contentious sound bite" or not. As for her claim that Cuomo cares for teachers and students, here's what she's basing that on:
Then Hochul laid out some of Cuomo's education proposals that have become law: less testing in younger grades, more bonus money for stellar teachers, and free tuition for qualifying new New York teachers.
"I'm here to tell that you he has a true commitment to supporting the profession and making sure that New York state regains its position as No. 1 in the nation in education," Hochul said.
These Hochul claims are, at best, distortions.
Since the tests count for 50% of a teacher's evaluation, even for teachers teaching younger grades, the pressure around testing remains, the so-called "bonus money" is based upon a bogus evaluation system that is currently under review by a judge in the Lederman case for "irrationality", and the free tuition for qualifying teachers, well, that doesn't have much value for a career increasingly viewed as a losing proposition by young people.
Chetney finished up her conversation with Hochul this way:
As Hochul and Chetney finished their talk, the crowd around them clapped.
Chetney made a final plea to Cuomo: "He needs to really engage parents and teachers and let them be a part of the solution," she said.
Hochul again said the governor shares the same goal.
"I haven't heard him say that," Chetney said, "and I invite him to my classroom in Baldwinsville anytime he would like to come."
Of course he'll never take Chetney up on the invitation to visit her in her classroom because he doesn't care about what's going on there.
He has an agenda that has been paid for by his wealthy donors to "break" the public school "monopoly" and help them to profit off public education and by golly that's what he cares about.
Hochul's full of crap and her responses to Chetney were lies, deceptions, distortions or empty words.
Teachers know Cuomo has targeted them for destruction no matter what talking points Hochul uses to say differently.
Too bad the cowardly Cuomo doesn't have the courage to meet with teachers directly - either in their classrooms or at the state fair - to hear their grievances and criticism.