Wednesday, April 1, 2015

NY: Teachers Can Go To Hell, With a Heavy Heart

This has truly been the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. An unpopular proposal that guts teaching as a profession and kicks public education in the teeth, sails through the NY legislature.

Yes, "sails through." There's nothing else to call a budget that is approved 92-54.

NY Democrats tried to make it look like less of a total victory-in-a-walk for public education opponent Andrew Cuomo by making sad pouty faces and issuing various meaningless mouth noises while going ahead and voting for the damn thing. "Ohh, woes and sadderations," they cried as they took turns walking to the podium to give Cuomo exactly the tools he wanted for helping to put an end to teaching as a profession in New York state.

I am not sure what Democrats hoped to accomplish by taking to the podium and twitter to say how deeply, tragically burdened they were. I mean, I guess you'd like to know that people who club baby seals feel a little bit bad about it, but it really doesn't make a lot of difference to the baby seal, who is in fact still dead.

Maybe the lesson here is that the craziest person in the room controls the conversation. The person who's willing to ram the car right into the sheer rock face gets to navigate the trip, and Cuomo has displayed repeatedly that he really doesn't care what has to be smashed up. If the world isn't going to go on his way, it doesn't need to go on for anybody.

But if teachers needed reason #2,416 to understand that Democrats simply aren't friends to public education, there it was, biting its quivering lip and sniffling, "I feel really bad about this" as it tied up education and fired it out of a canon so that it could land directly under a bus that had been dropped off the Empire State Building.

Hell, even Campbell Brown must be a little gobsmacked, as Cuomo's budgetary bludgeoning of tenure and job security rules has made her lawsuit unnecessary. The Big Standardized Tests results will continue their reign of teacher evaluation, dropping random and baseless scores onto the heads of New York educators like the feces of so many flying pigs. And all new teachers need to do to get their (soon-to-be-meaningless) tenure is get the random VAM dice to throw up snake-eyes four times in a row. Meanwhile, school districts can go out back to the magic money trees to find the financing for hiring the "outside evaluators" who will provide the cherry on top of the VAM sauce.

If I were a New York teacher, I don't know who I'd aim my rage and frustration at first? Cuomo? Good luck with that, since he is apparently surrounded by a magic force field. The useless Democrats who voted for this mess? Yeah, I'd certainly fire off some tweets, emails and phone calls there, but I'm not sure what sort of central nervous system an organism with no spine has. I'm sure I'd have some words for all the fine union leaders who helped Cuomo hold onto his office and have displayed either hapless ineptness or craven support for Cuomo's teacher crushing agenda.

My brothers and sisters of the classroom in New York, my heart goes out to you. You did not deserve this, and to have it delivered with a chorus of, "I really oppose this. Just not enough to, you know, actually oppose this when it counts" is even more galling. This just sucks. Don't let anybody with a magic spin machine in their hand tell you otherwise.

UPDATE NOTE: I am reminded by some readers that while Assembly Dems folded like a cheap tent and joined in with Assembly GOP, the Senate Dems showed some actual spine.


  1. Cuomo (D) in NY is exactly the same as Christie (R) in NJ with regard to education, and the respective legislatures shamefully kowtow to them rather than growing a spine and doing the right thing for public education. This is just the beginning of the long slow downward spiral of the public school systems in this country.

    1. NY and NJ are following similar paths. Four years ago, we watched a new evaluation system, largely reliant on test scores and Pearson profits roll in, along with increased pension contributions predicated on state payments that still haven't met their share, and legislated, not negotiated, health care premiums. We definitely learned that year that Democrats were not our friends, despite the PAC money they were happy to collect from the NJEA for years. I wish my NY state brothers and sisters good luck in their environment. I taught in upstate NY for 12 years and grew up in that state. It makes me sad to see the mess that legislators are making of our careers, a career which for most of us, is not a job, but a calling.

    2. Chris Christie is at least honest about his intentions. When he comes after you, you see it coming. You see the gleam of joy in his eyes as he shoves the knife directly in your stomach and twists it for good measure.

      Cuomo hides in the shadows, plunges the knife in your back, and then runs off to the press to express his dismay at how you committed suicide.

  2. Thank you! My heart is heavy that my legislators were more concerned with post-budget "libations" than children.

  3. Senate Dems showed spine, as did Assembly Republicans. The politicians who could oppose this bill without fear of damaging it did so. I'd argue this places their spine in question.

  4. As a New Yorker I can say loudly that much of NY politics is shameful.
    The budget is a deal between the leader of the Senate, who is a Republican, the leader of the Assembly, who is a Democrat and who arrived at this position of power only a few weeks ago in the wake of a scandal, and the Governor.
    Therefore, the votes reflect party alignment, with only a few exceptions.
    One exception is the small group of Senate Democrats who vote with the Republicans and have won themselves part of the power over Senate leadership.
    There were a few in the Assembly, however, who went against the grain. They may have voted against the budget in support of teachers and what really makes education better:
    Barron, Brindisi, Cahill, Englebright, Goldfeder, Hikind, Kearns, Santabarbara, Skoufis, Steck, and Woerner. Also there was an error in Clark's vote, so she may have intended to vote "No."
    These people should be thanked.


    some sad comments from CA as well. MICHELLE RHEE is backing lawsuits and bills aimed at, no surprise, villifying and dismantling unions.