It’s Time for the Pendulum to Swing

    Patriots. During the American Revolution we had Washington, Adams, and

Jefferson. Today we have Ra, Tedisco, Graf, McLaughlin, Latimer, Panepinto,

Wozniak, Lopez, Tenney and Nojay. Desperately needed revolutionaries

like these are screaming on deaf ears in Albany. They have voiced the people’s

discontent when we needed them most. This dissatisfaction is being expressed

not only by these outspoken politicians, but also from life-long educators like

Ravitch, Burris, Cala, Teachout, Farley, Naison, and Cerrone. They are joined

in this battle by fighters from NYSAPE like Rudley and Mihelbergel and

hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers.   All of these citizens are

speaking out against injustice on a daily basis, undeterred; not

willing to be silenced by the onslaught of offensive threats coming from

Governor Cuomo, Arne Duncan, Meryl Tisch or Ken Wagner. People from all walks

of life, with one common goal, are fighting for our children’s future.

The people in charge are starting to get worried. The aristocracy gets

very nervous when peasants revolt. Suddenly the conversation is changing.

After maliciously ramming legislation through the New York legislature in the

middle of the night, a shift in the political winds is stirring. Parents and

teachers have joined together to send a powerful message to Albany. They want

to see a change in the direction of education. They want a multifaceted

education for their child that educates the whole child.

Recently two Long Island Superintendents, Steve Cohen and David Gamberg

wrote, “At first glance the current, heated, conflict over state testing and the

opt-out movement appears to be a dispute between those who believe in and

those who dispute the value of state tests. But this conflict goes deeper. It is a

conflict about what is good for children and adolescents, about how children

learn and thrive, and about how to raise young people to enter into and contribute

to their communities as mature members of a democratic society.”

Didn’t Andrew Cuomo, Meryl Tisch, Ken Wagner, the Democrat majority in the

Assembly, or the Republican majority in the Senate hear what our patriots said

on the night of March 31, 2015?

Andrew Cuomo has been laying low, avoiding the conversation.

Anybody on the wrong side of the budget vote, unscrupulously tied to educational

reform had been quiet, until … lately.  A tidal wave of test refusals has

risen up like a tsunami forcing people in high places to engage in a

conversation with the stakeholders. The boat is sinking and the rats are

scurrying!

I think bureaucrats like Cuomo, Tisch, Wagner, and Duncan have

forgotten who they work for.  These officials want to command, or dictate, but

they don’t want to listen. They could learn a thing or two from a good public

school principal.  A good principal comes out of their office and walks

around the school regularly observing and talking to teachers and students. You

can’t see the valley from the mountaintop.

The people of New York have sent a message that is echoing far beyond the

borders of this great state. We are dissatisfied. The time has come for the

pendulum to swing in the other direction with regards to education. The baby

has been thrown out with the bath water, so to speak. Many of the wonderful

initiatives in schools around New York have been replaced with a singular vision

on how to educate our children. The corporate reformers have dumped billions

of dollars into educational reform, riding on the back of common core. They

have lost sight of what’s important. Parents and teachers that deal with children

on a daily basis instinctively know what’s missing. These reformers have ignored

the basic essence of childhood development.

The “reformers” are pushing for career and college readiness at the expense of

childhood.  They speak without knowing, or thinking things through. Reformers

say things like, “We should be able to look every second grader in the eye and

say, You’re on track, you’re going to be able to go to a good college,”  Does this

sound like a person that understands what it is like to be seven years old? Doesn’t

he understand that life go by fast enough? Do we need to curtail childhood? Then

there was this gem, “Its fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming

from, sort of, white suburban moms who all of a sudden their child isn’t as brilliant

as they thought they were and their school isnt quite as good as they thought they

were.” 

While searching through these idiotic sound bites I also came across this one,

“Diane Ravitch is in denial and she is insulting all of the hardworking teachers,

principals and students all across the country who are proving her wrong every

day.” Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, is so completely out of touch

that he can’t fathom that it is actually he who is insulting and offensive

to all the hardworking teachers, principals and students.

He’s not astute enough to realize the true value of this amazing woman.

She holds so much legitimacy where he has none.  How foolish he appears

time and time again.  Governor Cuomo should pay attention.

Recently a parent was quoted as saying, “The most dangerous place to stand

is between a mother and her child.” That’s exactly where Governor Cuomo,

Meryl Tisch, Ken Wagner, and Arne Duncan appear to be standing, and why

they are so vilified.  It’s time for them to listen, or to find another vocation.

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