Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Are Cuomo And The Committee To Save New York On The Take From The Testing And Charter Industries?

When David Coleman, the man who helped craft the Common Core State Standards, goes off to work for a high stakes testing company and cashes in for $750,000 a year (before bonuses and other largesse), you know that there's gold in them there standardized testing hills for those who do the work of Pearson, the College Board, et al. in promoting the Endless Testing agenda.

Leonie Haimson touches on that in her Schoolbook piece on the ravages of Pearson and Endless Testing:

Many of us fear that our state and federal education bureaucracy is becoming inextricably tangled with for-profit testing companies and thus deeply compromised, like the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned of just before he retired. Their testing obsession is undermining our schools, not only in this city, but nationally, and it has got to stop. This is the ultimate lesson of Pineapplegate, and one that our political leaders should pay attention to, before it is too late.

This is always the danger when you have these very wealthy, powerful interests pushing their agendas and paying off the policymakers and the state education bureaucrats to do their bidding.

Remember, Pearson, the state's test vendor, is under investigation for bribing state officials (including former NYSED Commissioner David Steiner) with trips and other gifts in return for state testing contracts.

Any connection between the money Pearson spent on state ed officials and the fact Pearson won the state testing contract?

As Arsenio used to say, things that make you say "Hmmm..."

In a similar vein, it was revealed this week that Governor Cuomo's Committee To Save New York has taken $2 million dollars from overseas gambling interests at the same time that Governor Cuomo decided to legalize gambling in the state and push a pro-gambling agenda for those interests.

The Committee To Save New York then laundered that money from gambling interests (along with money from other business interests) for Cuomo's benefit, using it to run pro-Cuomo, anti-union ads during the budget fight.

Given how pro-testing and pro-charter Governor Cuomo is, it behooves us to ask how much money has the Committee To Save New York (a group run by business and real estate interests that is nothing but a front for Cuomo) taken from the for-profit testing and charter companies to promote their agendas?

It's not as if Cuomo hasn't taken millions from business interests to do their bidding before.

Remember, Cuomo had said little about education when he was attorney general of the state and running for governor - until he met the hedge fund managers and business interests who make up the Democrats For Education Reform and took a suitcase full of cash from them.

Right after that, Cuomo began promoting an agenda that was very much the same one Democrats For Education Reform push.

It's not out of the realm of possibility that what has happened with the gambling interests has also happened with the testing and charter interests too, but we can't know how much money the Committee To Save New York (and thus Governor Cuomo) has taken from the testing and charter interests because the group does not have to disclose where they get their donations from.

In other words, the governor who loves to point out all the unethical behavior in Albany and who set up a group of business and real estate interests to help him "clean up Albany" refuses to disclose who is funding that group or what agendas these donors are pushing.

How non-transparent and hypocritical that is!

New York State's Joint Commission on Public Ethics is looking to change that and force Cuomo to reveal who's paying CSNY (and thus Cuomo) to promote their agendas:

Good-government groups and lobbyists' attorneys are expected to testify at Thursday's hearing in Albany as JCOPE (JAYE'-kohp) draws up regulations that will divulge the six- and seven-figure donors for the Committee to Save New York.

That's the group of business leaders that became Albany's most powerful lobbying force and runs TV ad campaigns supporting Cuomo's policies and accomplishments.

Cuomo of course opposes having to disclose where the CSNY money is coming from.

Transparency, like accountability, is for the little people, not Governor Cuomo.

We do know that the Committee To Save New York has pulled in $17.5 million in donations in 2011 alone, far more than any other lobbying group in the state.

Under the ethics law passed last year, groups are supposed to reveal their donors, but NYPIRG says it's not clear when these new regulations will take effect, so we may never know who gave money to CSNY (particularly if Cuomo decides to close them before the regulations take effect.)

Businessweek reports that it's most probable that Cuomo will never have to reveal who gave money to him through CSNY.

Until we get a glimpse of who is donating to CSNY and helping the group run pro-Cuomo ads, we can't know if Cuomo is on the take from the pro-testing and pro-charter interests, as he has been on the take from the overseas gambling interests.

But we do know that the Committee To Save New York board is loaded with business and real estate interests who often support and/or profit from the testing and charter industries, so it is certainly a good possibility that the testing and charter industries have either directly contributed to CSNY or steered money to the group through some subsidiary in order to get Cuomo to do their bidding for them.

The website the Committee To Save New York runs is called "".

If we want to fix Albany, the first thing we ought to do is force CSNY and Cuomo to reveal who's paying them.

The next thing we ought to do is watch Governor Cuomo very, very closely.

There's a reason why the hedge fundies and Wall Streeters and business interests wanted Eliot Spitzter destroyed but wanted to set up a PAC to praise Andrew Cuomo and run ads for him.

And it's not because Andy is such a good guy.

It's because he does what the hedge fundies and Wall Streeters and business interests want.

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