The Exploitation of your Child

There is a war going on right in your community! Unfortunately many families don’t understand the magnitude of this conflict. This war is being waged over control of your community’s public school. The ramifications of this atrocity will have lasting effects on your children, their schools, and your community for years to come. What people don’t realize is that their children are being exploited for the economic benefits of a select few.

There has been a drastic shift in education in the last few years with the implementation of the common core. These new standards have been imposed on schools in an unscrupulous manner. There has been a clandestine take-over by a small group of organizations heavily funded by Bill Gates and other private educational corporations that directly profit from the implementation of the common core and the high-stakes testing that accompany it. Diane Ravitch, the former Assistant Secretary of Education writes, “Setting national academic standards is not something done in stealth by a small group of people, funded by one source, and imposed by the lure of a federal grant in a time of austerity. They were written in a manner that violates the nationally and international recognized process for writing standards. The process by which they were created was so fundamentally flawed that these “standards” should have no legitimacy.”

“Private educational companies realized that they could use public education, a multi-billion dollar industry, to create a nearly endless stream of taxpayer money.” stated Joshua Katz at a TED talk. “The truth of educational policy is that it is written and enforced by people who have spent either little or no time in the classroom with the students these very policies are affecting. Simply follow the money of all the public tax dollars going to public education. How much of that money is going to private companies and nonprofit organizations for materials, training, resources, vouchers, accountability systems and the education bureaucracy because the policy support that?” The narrative over failing schools and poor teacher accountability is being used to distract the public from the enormous profits flowing to corporations while it should be going to your community school for the students, your children, for whom this funding was meant.

If you turn on your television during prime time you will see commercials paid for by private interests praising Governor Cuomo on his new educational reform. One of the claims is that there will be less testing in public schools. The truth about what will happen, due to recently passed legislation in New York, is that teacher evaluations will be more heavily weighted on flawed, developmentally inappropriate Pearson made common core New York State exams. What is being disregarded are the developmentally appropriate local assessments that provide teachers with feedback, item analysis, and relevancy. As if this broken legislation wasn’t bad enough, tied by Governor Cuomo to the New York State fiscal budget with political tactics that are  comparable to extortion, but now Cuomo has announced that the tests are meaningless to students! Much like the cut scores for the NYS assessments that are set after the assessments are given, Governor Cuomo is trying to spin this giant fiasco that he put in motion with a press release. He announced that the test scores are meaningless to students, however just two days prior his attorney Alphonso David was saying, “the law prescribes a Nov. 15 deadline or districts face a loss of state aid.” for teacher evaluations based on assessments that he says are meaningless. In today’s paper he blamed the Regents and the NYSED. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all the finger pointing. Carol Burris, an award winning principal said it best, “What is even more shocking is the legislature’s refusal to admit what they did, which was to create a system in which 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is based on test scores. Whether that denial comes from ignorance or willful deceit doesn’t matter. It is inexcusable.” Inexcusable Governor Cuomo! It’s time to show some integrity and admit that your proposals are more harmful than beneficial.

Governor Cuomo repeatedly states that he wants to incentivize teachers by awarding the top teachers merit pay, while firing the bad ones. On any given night my daughter, who is in fourth grade, sits down to do her homework which takes an excess of three hours to complete.  Three hours of homework for a fourth grader after after a full day of school. Now factor in the suggestion by Governor Cuomo that her test scores can potentially increase the salary of her teacher. How much more homework will be added then? How much more pressure will she feel to do well on the New York State common core standardized tests?

Don’t be fooled by educational reformers who tell you that our public schools are failing and that our teachers are substandard. What is substandard in New York is any semblance of good leadership. Join the fight and tell Governor Cuomo, the New York State Senate and the Assembly that you will not allow your child to be exploited any more.

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