Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Time To Make The Politicians Understand That They Willl Pay Politically If They Support King, Tisch And The Reform Agenda

Here's how you know the Common Core reforms are going to end up in the graveyard sooner rather than later.

At a State Senate Education Committee meeting yesterday, attending senators said they have been receiving more calls, complaints and emails to their office over the Common Core standards than any other issue.

Think about that for a minute.

The ACA implementation has been a mess and many people have been having trouble signing up.

There is a major corruption commission meeting that has sent subpoenas to State Senators and Assembly Members.

Both pro- and anti-fracking activists are clamoring for Governor Cuomo to finally make a call on fracking in NY State.

And yet, the issue that garners the most calls and emails, the most complaints, is Common Core.

That's a problem for SED and the Regents.

And it's a problem for Sheriff Andy Cuomo.

You see, this is Sheriff Andy's education reform agenda.

Sure, the functionaries at SED are implementing it and the functionaries at the Regents, put into place by the legislature, are imposing it on the state, but it's really Sheriff Andy Cuomo who has staked part of his governorship and his professional reputation on these reforms.

There's a reason NY State was the second state in the nation to switch over to Common Core tests.

There's a reason NY State tied the Common Core test scores to NAEP results, essentially rigging the scores to drop to 30% proficiency around the state.

The APPR teacher evaluation system that ties teacher ratings to test scores is mandated by the RttT program and the NCLB waivers the state received, but there's a reason that the APPR evaluation system was rolled out at the very same time the new Common Core standards were being implemented and the new Common Core tests were being given.

It's because Sheriff Andy wanted it that way.

After his election in 2009, Sheriff Andy rode into Albany claiming the mantle of reform on a whole host of issues, from taxation to ethics to education.

He was setting himself up as the man of the people, out to take on those entrenched interests in Albany who only looked out for themselves and their cronies.

In education, Sheriff Andy gave a big speech in which he dubbed himself the "lobbyist" for students, the guy who was going to look out for the children of this state, unlike those other selfish adults like teachers and principals.

He stated that every child deserved a first rate education, said he didn't believe the current system in this state provided that for children, and was going to implement a host of reforms that would do just that.

And what were some of those reforms?

Why, the promoting the Common Core, imposing Endless Testing in every district, and forcing the APPR teacher evaluation system on every teacher, of course, along with a property tax cap that ensured districts wouldn't be able to raise more money to meet all of these new federal and state-imposed mandates on them.

And in the beginning, he got away with all of this - as did the education reform movement as a whole.

When the corporate education reform movement simply aimed their reforms at inner city districts and schools, there was no major pushback from the public.

But the education reform movement as a whole and education reformers as individuals got complacent and thought they could impose these same reforms all across the country, in urban districts, suburban districts, rural districts - hell, even on Catholic schools and homeschool students, since many of the standardized tests these kids will have to take will be tied to the Common Core.

That complacency, that misguided belief that the reforms could be imposed all across the country with little fanfare has been a major mistake for the reform movement and may yet turn out to be a fatal flaw.

We're seeing how that has been playing out in Poughkeepsie and Scarsdale, East Setauket and Port Jefferson Station, Mineola and Garden City, and in all those other parts of the state where schools had been immune to the corporate education reform movement until Race to the Top and Sheriff Andy Cuomo's education reforms changed all that.

The pushback against the SED/Regents reform agenda is growing.

We know that the education reform functionaries at SED and the Regents aren't going to change anything about theier reform agenda.

They keep telling us that over and over in these Common Core "We're Listening But Not Really Hearing" forums Tisch and King are having with the public.

But it sure is starting to look like the politicians who put these two in place are looking at making some changes.

might seek to curb the testing standards when they return to Albany in January, when the legislative session starts.
That's not the kind of news we heard about Common Core or testing or teacher evaluatinon the past few years, is it?

Uh, uh - what we heard the past few years is, Cuomo shoved stuff through the legislature that tied teacher ratings to scores, stuck the rules in the budget and the legislature happily signed off and went out for drinks.

Same went with the rest of the reform agenda.

But there are too many calls and emails, too many complaints, too much protest for Senators and Assembly Members to continue on down this road.

Mark my words, there will be change to the SED deform agenda.

Alas, "curbing the testing standards" does not go far enough to change the agenda when we still have an evaluation system in place that mandates all these tests so that teachers can be rated, an SED with the power to impose those evaluation systems on districts and reject them when they're not "rigorous" enough, and a Board of Regents which has imperiously decided Common Core Standards For All is the education system of the land for all students not fortunate enough to be classmates with SED Commissioner King's kids in Montessori school.

Nope - we need full-scale dismantling of this reform agenda, starting with the standards themselves, the truly awful curricula that go with them, the even worse Pearson tests that are aligned to the standards, the evaluation system that mandates all of these tests, and the mandatory data collection project that forces every district to hand over sensitive personal information about students to Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates.

And we just may get a full dismantling of the system, because the anger out there is real, the danger to children out there is real, the Mommies have awoken and they are going to protect their children from the faceless bureaucrats at SED and Sheriff's Andy's education lobbying.

The tide truly is turning, but we must keep up the pressure, keep up the phone calls and emails, keep up the protests, keep up the blogging and tweeting and all the rest, letting the politicians of this state know that they either kill this agenda now or they suffer at the polls the next time they're up for re-election.

That goes especially for Sheriff Andy Cuomo.


  1. We need candidates now.

    1. That is always a problem in a system that requires so much money to run for office. It ensures pols who are on the take from corporate interests, hedge fund managers, etc. (or independently wealthy, like Bloomberg, which amounts to the same thing as on the tale from corporation donors, etc.)

    2. All very true... however money plays less of a role at the state legislative level than it does at governor or federal offices. State legislative positions can be won with the right message and boots on the ground.

  2. Ok, here is what I do not understand: This whole debacle is really about Race to the Top funding. If NYS is getting RTT funding, doesn't that mean they have to have the APPR system? It seems to me the only way to get "rid" of the teacher evaluation situation is if NYS refuses to accept RTT funds. Does anybody have input on this?

    1. The RttT money is long gone - NY won $700 million back in 2010. The state and local school districts have spent well over $700 million since then to implement the Common Core, Common Core tests, Common Core curricula, teacher evaluations, and data collection programs. Alas, the NCLB waivers the Obama admin gave to the state require the teacher evaluation system tied to test scores. Still, Obama has little power right now to mandate anything, so if the state decided to get rid of APPR and go with something else, I'd like to see Arne Duncan take that fight to the mattresses.

    2. But if NYS got a waiver from NCLB due to the changing of the evaluations, how can NYS eliminate the evaluations and not be in violation of NCLB? In other words, if NCLB is the law of the land, how can states, including New York go back to a "sane" evaluation? Lastly, it seems that Obama/Duncan still does have power as long as NCLB is on the books. Thanks for the info!

    3. The waiver is up already - Duncan is already caving on some other criteria he was insisting on in the past (like ensuring every student from a low income family had access to "effective" teachers - a documentation nightmare if ever there was one - see link below). You can bet that if the states take him on in Obama's second term, with the administration fighting the ACA ness and the NSA mess and all the other stuff, that there will be few consequences. California is already doing this over the Common Core tests, refusing to give the old tests since they're switching to Common Core. Duncan threatened to sanction them, take money away blah blah blah. They went ahead with their plan anyway. So to be frank, NY can get around the evaluation nonsense by coming up with alternative ways to link so called student performance to teacher evaluations without having to do it the way they are now. They can water down the other reforms in the same manner. Remember, this is now a lame duck president with his lowest approval ratings ever. He is weakened and ripe for rolling, if the pols and unions had the guts to go for it.

  3. Oops, forgot the link - here:

  4. Somebody alert ACS!!!

    Obama's mother-in-law is allowing her son to act suicidally. Ditto for Matilda Cuomo, her boy Andy is committing political suicide too.

    2014 may well = critical realignment as enough voters at the margins take out their disgust with the Common Core by voting Republican or sitting out the legislative elections.
    Forget ACA (Obamacare) backlash.
    Barry and Andy are digging their party's grave at the state level in 2014.
    Critical realignment

    Critical realignment

    Critical realignment

    Critical realignment

    Critical realignment

    Critical realignment

    1. I have a piece comparing the ACA mess to RttT and Obama's NCLB waiver process going up around 10:30 AM. These messes all stem from the same arrogance and misguided intentions (or criminal intentions, depending upon how cynical you are.)

      I agree, Barry and Andy are digging their party's graves for 2014 and 2016. And don't think the rest of the party doesn't know it.

  5. I think that "watering down" NCLB is far from the solution. I think there should be an outright law to repeal it. Anything less than that means that the states will simply be playing footsie to try and trim away just some of the fat from it. It seems if NCLB is federal law, state leaders will be legally obligated to fulfill it's requirements. "Watering" the law down does not seem like it can accomplish to goal of putting local control of evaluations 100% back to the state and local level. Lastly, a point that I think needs to be addressed by the is the Tribourough Ammendment. This NYS law states that a contract that is in place must be in recognized until a new contract is negotiated. The new NYS evaluation was rammed down our throats and was never "negotiated" to reach an agreement at all. It was merely imposed by fiat by Cuomo. This reeks of a lawsuit for violation of contract.

    1. We gave so many concessions as part of APPR, got not one penny in compensation. Bloomberg knew it too, said it was so last May.