Friday, April 20, 2018

School Scope: Opt-Out Spurred By Awful Test Experience, Cuomo Rescues Unions From Janus

Published in The WAVE, April 20, 2018,

School Scope:  Opt-Out Spurred By Awful Test Experience, Cuomo Rescues Unions From Janus

By Norm Scott
April 17, 2018

I was away traveling in Greece but Ed news managed to filter its way into my consciousness.

The reviews of the state ELA tests last week were awful, with massive computer issues, kids who couldn’t finish breaking down in tears, and the usual reports of ridiculous questions.

Resistance continued to high stakes testing despite the many attempts to put a stake in the heart of the movement. The new chancellor continued the tradition of the old chancellor by trashing the opt-out movement and some parents in NYC schools who tried to opt out faced intimidation.  This was not the case in Long Island, the national center of test resistance, where there are reports of up to 50% opting out.

People need to keep in mind that a massive testing-industrial complex (TIC) has sprung up in partnership with the education bureaucracy. The massive charter industry also supports high stakes testing because that is what fuels their movement, in fact the entire Ed deform movement that has undermined public school systems all over the nation, especially in urban areas where parents have little or no control over their local school boards, which often don’t exist at all in schools controlled by politically and economically motived mayors who get campaign contributions from the TIC – an appropriate acronym since they suck the blood out of the public.

There is still time to opt out of the math tests.

Another issue that I noticed as we toured the cradle of democracy 2500 years ago was the Cuomo attempt to rescue the unions in our state from the upcoming Supreme Court Janus decision which will turn every state into a right-to-work state like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky – all states where the rank and file have pushed back against a weakened union leadership to take action on their own and engage in illegal wild cat strikes and school closures. Unions have made the case that they are not just antagonists but also partners with the people running the schools as they provide a framework for controlled teacher activism. Then again there is the giant Unity Caucus controlled UFT, which is in the “too big to fail” category for so many state and city politicians. Cuomo, expecting to make a run for president in 2020 absolutely needs the UFT and its national parent organization, the AFT, which Unity Caucus also controls.

So Cuomo pushed through a provision where union won’t have to offer services to those who don’t pay dues, which I support, one of the few times I support anything that slime dog backs. While the UFT/Unity machine is what it is and should be fought, I don't advocate leaving unless people who left actually tried to organize an alternative. But most of these people are whining but not capable of really doing much. So screw them.

I have been predicting for a year that the UFT and other unions are too much a fabric of the control of the members to be allowed to be weakened by Janus. And the red state rebellions with wildcat strikes have reinforced that point, though it won't stop the Supreme Court from making us all right to work. Unity has such tight control they can counter any moves towards militancy.

If interested in more details check out these blogs:

Cynthia Nixon, Andrew Cuomo, and the UFT Learning Curve -

Norm’s blog is like a TIC on people’s butts:

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