Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kathy Hochul Hears It From A Teacher, Lies Directly To Her Face In Response

Governor Andrew Cuomo was supposed to be at the New York State Fair but he canceled his appearance and sent Kathy Hochul in his place instead.

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 (herehere 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.


  1. Chetney is one of the leaders of STCaucus. Good for her giving Hochul an earful. It is still a waste of time though. As you said Hochul simply lied right to her. No need for us to waster our breath trying to reason with people who have no intentions of listening to anything we say.

  2. Go Beth!

    Thank you!!!!!

  3. Nys needs a day without a teacher. One day spontaneously all of us get a 24 hour flu

    1. Except the dark side of NYSUT that works against us and people like Beth would NEVER allow such a thing. Imagine how bad it would look for Weingarten and Mulgrew...

    2. No such need to "allow" a sick out. It could be conducted via word of mouth and on social media WITHOUT any "approval" from the UFT/NYSUT. "Allow" is such an ugly word. Teachers do not need to seek approval for job actions in this day and age. This is the major problem of our profession. Man up and make a move.

    3. I'm posting with my real name and you're anonymous yet you're telling me to man up? That's hilarious. You can social media-ize all you want but no local leaders are going to buck the NYSUT browbeating they'll get. Nor will they risk the kinds of not so subtle retribution union hacks inflict on the non compliant. Go get your flu. I'll be here in reality dealing with this bull.

    4. Anon. 8:45PM is correct in seeing deep trouble with a union culture of being "allowed" to do one thing or another. This is a deep problem. That NYSUT leadership still sits comfortably in power after the absolute, overwhelming LOSS we took at the hands of Cuomo and the Assembly is all the necessary proof that is required of a concretized, ineffective, unresponsive, ideas-vacant, inept, stupid union leadership. Mr. Crowley is also correct that this sick, broken culture has led to a local union leadership that for the most part will always fall in line, never take creative local action, and will simply be the representatives of all that is broken withing NYSUT as a whole.

      That said, disregarding and tossing out someones thoughts and criticisms because they posted anonymously is really unhelpful and not too well thought out. The entire point of a comments section is to contribute to a small marketplace of ideas. Ones identity has no meaning. What is important is their thinking and ideas. Criticize those all you want. What is the advantage of associating an identity in this forum with ideas? The whole point is to sharpen up our side. That gets lost when we start associating names with ideas....its a way to blow off and disregard what could be meaningful points. I have posted tons on here anonymously. Sometimes my thinking gets crapped on (rightfully for the most part), and sometimes it is used to build some other ideas that, who knows, may be useful in our fight. If my name became associated with the bad ideas I've had, pretty soon alot of people would blow the rest of my ideas and thinking off. "Oh its that douchebag...." The entire point here is to fly stuff up the flagpole and see what goes. Outside of some machismo and bluster, crapping on someone for posting anon. is deeply meaningless. Deal with the ideas. Anonymity is a tool for keeping all of us focused on the ideas and sharpening our side.

  4. All that said, and back to the original post from RBE..this Hochul/Chetney thing really is a microcosm of our broader fight here in NY in many ways. To me what it illustrates is how the Cuomo/Hochul/Reformer crowd here in NY has an agenda that is about privatization and an old-school unreconstructed capitalist grab of a public good. This privatizing crowd DOES NOT CARE ABOUT EDUCATION per se. They are trying to shift it to corporate elites. Period. In the face of facts and real criticism, what do they do? LIE! Why? A) Because they can, and B) Because they don't particularly CARE. All they care about is the shifting to private hands!

    Our side, represented by Chetney here, tries to have a legitimate dialog about real stuff. And Hochul lies to her face. What is sad to me is that we still think we are in some kind of debate! As if we will win by mustering up a better argument. What Chetney fails to understand, as most do on our side, is that this is not a debate. Its a grab. A grab is not an intellectual endeavor, its a physical one. Our side is obviously correct and right and is just. We are not going to have any GOTCHA! moments with these privatizers and their politicians. They don't care about us being right. They will just throw lies on it and move forward because this is a GRAB. Our side thinks we are having a debate and once enough people see we are right we will win. NOPE. Turns out one generally stops a grab not by trying to have a debate and conversation, but by smacking the hand away.

    This fight we have here. Its a war. We are either going to start taking real action, labor action, or we will lose. I do not need anymore well-written articles about how we are right. I do not need any more debates on the ideas. We are wrong in thinking that this fight we have is about 2 different broad views about education. It isn't. We are the only ones seriously thinking about education. The privatizer side is thinking about privatizing. The more we continue to try to win by having more debates about education, the more they will win. This is a debate about the grab of public space by corporate interest. One beats corporate interest by standing in their way.