On a cold and wintry night in 1773, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. This iconic event occurred because the British government was treating the colonists unfairly and they didn’t have the capacity to listen to their concerns. This would not be the last time in the history of this great country that Americans revolted when government treated people unfairly.
A revolution is growing in New York due to the fact that Andrew Cuomo is incapable of listening to parent’s concerns regarding the education of their children. Quite simply, Governor Cuomo does not respect our teachers or the basic premise of public education. Extortion is the word that comes to my mind when I think of the shameful way he connected desperately needed funding for public schools to draconian educational reforms. He is bleeding public schools dry and then, adding insult to injury, he has the gall to proclaim that teachers and public schools are failing.
School districts and teachers are living in fear. Districts cannot afford to lose funding and teachers cannot afford to lose their livelihood. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against us all. Schools and teachers are now being evaluated based on developmentally inappropriate common core exams that the majority of students across the state will fail once again. The freedom of school districts to provide a developmentally appropriate widely enriching curriculum that seeks to educate the whole child has been eliminated. Instead, mandates from the state have exhausted funding while our schools are evolving into factories that invest increasing amounts of time and resources to common core test prep. Most educators agree that a better curriculum for our children would place an emphasis on “student-centered” learning. Unfortunately Governor Cuomo believes that a one-size-fits-all model is more appropriate for our children and will be using this mechanism for teacher evaluations.
As the battle for education intensified, Governor Cuomo began telling people that teachers do not want to be evaluated. This just isn’t true. Teachers have been evaluated by their administrators for as long as I can remember. If a teacher is deficient in a particular area it is the administrator’s responsibility to support that teacher by sending her/him for professional development in an effort to strengthen this area of deficiency. This will help to develop a better teacher. Another way the administrator can support a teacher is to assign a mentor to consult with a teacher who needs support or provide a co-teacher. In addition, districts have spent a lot of time and money developing APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) teacher evaluation systems. Now they will have to be redone at great cost to the taxpayers at the expense of our children. There are much better ways to invest in our children than to spend funding reworking systems that are already in place.
The problem in New York today is that the majority of our politicians don’t have the will to support struggling schools or inexperienced teachers despite the rhetoric. Powerful people want to privatize public education. Governor Cuomo vowed to break “one of the only remaining public monopolies.” Those were his exact words as bizarre as they sound. The most powerful man in the state of New York has an agenda that attacks teachers and the public schools they dedicate their lives to. Don’t people realize that an attack on public schools is an attack on our children and their future?
Andrew Cuomo wants to ignore the facts that economics play in the lives of children in this state. Children living in poverty is pervasive in New York and poor performing districts need more support, not intimidation, in order to make improvements under such formidable circumstances. Unfortunately, school districts that need the most support just won’t get it under Andrew Cuomo’s leadership.
“As a result of the Boston Tea Party, the British shut down Boston Harbor until all of the 342 chests of British East India Company tea were paid for. The Intolerable Acts outraged and unified the American colonists even more against British rule. American colonists responded with protests and coordinated resistance by convening the First Continental Congress in September and October of 1774 to petition Britain to repeal the Intolerable Acts. The Boston Tea Party was the first significant act of defiance by American colonists. The implication and impact of the Boston Tea Party was enormous ultimately leading to the sparking of the American Revolution.” http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/boston-tea-party-facts
Today we are faced with a new revolution against a formidable foe that will exact a heavy toll on our children, their teachers, and our local school districts. Parents around the state are outraged. They are holding protests in countless towns across New York even though you don’t see them on the network news. It is through social media that these protests gain awareness. The revolution has begun! You can join us in this fight to protect our children. Each and every one of you holds the power to refuse the New York State Common Core exams next week in an attempt to send a message to the most powerful man in the state that our children are not for sale. You can choose to refuse the tests.
by Mark Hegenauer