Thursday, April 03, 2014


How bad is the budget deal the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a few days back that advances the cause of charter schools over public schools?  One parent activist is basically saying it is the beginning of the end for public education in New York City unless we fight back now.  Is it that bad?  Read the case and you decide.

 This is do or die time.
I realize I may sound cynical and arrogant here but I worry we have collectively missed the boat. This is do or die time.
Our strength lies in the fact that we are not as removed from reality as the UFT leadership-we are not blinded by our short term battles and the need to declare victory no matter how destructive or irrelevant the win!
We are about to lose the war on public education.
Charter schools in NYC by law can now expand as much as they want, and new charters and existing expanded charters MUST be given space in our public schools OR we must provide and pay for their rent, along with the other many advantages charters benefit from, including now a bigger per pupil allocation, or a bigger piece of the never big enough edu-pie.

What does this mean for our schools? their students? and staff?
Do the math- the money and space and resources will come from somewhere. There is not a lot to cut- little to no discretionary funding as it is.
At some point - a not very far off point - there simply is not enough to go around and public schools will cease to function. Layoffs, cutting programs, choking by charter expansion, etc...
Game over. Education = privatized, last man standing will be the charter chains.
Anti-testing? Contract? PEP?  These are all worthy battles, of course, but WE JUST GOT PLAYED. 
Every slime ball we elect in Albany (I know of a mere 3 exceptions) sold out, sold us out and sold out public education.
They shrug or grin or shed crocodile tears and sock away their lulus and pet "asks" and we keep putting them in office to keep on keeping on.
Cuomo is the charter lobby's chief lobbyist. He stands ON children. Bring him down and all of our battles become relevant again.
Let this outrage go by and we have lost, literally.
We need to think about putting away the siloed asks and start acting as disciplined and focused as the opposition machine does.
We may not have billions for ads, we may not own the media and their editorials but we do have millions of feet- who can vote. The ads do not elect anyone- we do.  Bill de Blasio proved that last November.
Who would have thought that 12 years of destruction under Bloomberg was nothing compared to what we just experienced after a mere 3 months under the new administration?
Some parents are planning to lobby the Governor's local office (midtown) next Thursday, April 10th at 4:30.
I hope MORE and Change the Stakes and all the other groups fighting for public education can join in and send a strong message.


Anonymous said...

It's that bad.

Anonymous said...

Here is how I see it: WIthin the next 10 years or so, NYC will be just like New Orleans. The majority of schools will be charter schools. Why? NYC will realize that charter schools are cheaper, the current pool of teachers in NYC will have retired, been fired due to VAM, and/or left for the suburbs. The new onerous certification process for new teachers will also create a massive shortage of certified teachers. NYC will apply for a special waiver to NYS to allow all charter school teachers to teach without a proper license. Thus, privatization will become a reality. I am gonna stick it out and I hope all veteran teachers do as well.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:40
The whole country will be post Katrina New Orleans. I am holding on too, but it ain't looking good.

I noticed that... said...

I posted this on PerdidoStreetSchool's blog:

I try very hard to email my colleagues and keep them abreast of the latest UFT give-aways and their endorsements of union-busting, charter-loving deformers. Unfortunately, only a few read my emails and a majority seems to think that by ignoring the political realities it will eventually will disappear.

Then I realize that less than 30% of the rank-and-file voted in the UFT 2013 election. I see it this way. The only way the members will finally understand the setback by taking a "no involvement" action, which sadly brings forth more deterioration of union rights and public education from the likes of Cuomo and company, which includes Mulgarten, is when they see themselves losing their benefits, their pension, and their CBA rights.

I truly hope that they start questioning the so-called "good relationship" that Mulgrew and Cuomo have especially since the governor has publicly shown his disdain for union teachers.

If the rank-and-file don't take action and they don't get involved and they don't show their anger at the UFT leadership, then the end of all CBA rights is closer than people realize.

Anonymous said...

Try less than 20% voted in the 2013 UFT election.

Anonymous said...

Assuming charters do take over eventually, what are they going to do when they have to teach ALL of the students? Their fluff and flash won't last too long when they have to teach everyone. Even they can't falsify and skew that much data.

Anonymous said...

I think the percentage of in-service members who voted was 13%....the remaining voters were retirees and TFA.

James Eterno said...

The charters will send the people they can't handle to what's left of the public schools. See New Orleans as an example.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, New Orleans was always like this. Middle class kids went parochial. There are a few great public schools in NOLA, but most of the public schools have always been a mess and continue to be a mess today for the very same reason - they are dumping grounds for kids who don't have anyone to advocate for them. We are a society that doesn't care for poor kids. I have mixed feelings about charters. When I worked in the Bronx, I felt so bad for the kids who got to school on time, studied, did their homework, came to class prepared, only to have their education highjacked by a few kids who were beyond control. All of our attention was sucked up by these kids who just couldn't control their behavior. I often thought, if this were a middle class school, the parents of these kids who really want to learn would be up in arms, but they had no one to fight for them. If they have escaped to charters and can get a quality education I applaud them. On the other hand, I think we should be focusing our efforts and resources on making all public schools excellent for all kids, but his will never happen in our society because deep down, as a culture, we don't care about kids. We especially don't care about poor kids. We only care about money.