Tuesday, October 1, 2019

School Scope: On Warren, Bernie, health and education

School Scope:  Ed News to Use
By Norm Scott 
Submitted for publication in The WAVE for Oct. 4, 2019

Last week I wrote about the cheating scandal in Maspeth HS where kids were allowed to graduate if they fog a mirror and how the powers that be in the DOE and the UFT turn the other way because high grad and test score numbers make them look good. This week’s revelations are that di Blasio also knew about it and ignored it. Duhhhhhh!

Others stories broke around: “The chancellor reiterated his support this week for “formative assessments” — which he has said would be offered four times a year — to help the education department understand whether students are mastering material across the system in “real time,” Carranza’s Four Exam Plan Raises Student Overtesting Fears
http://thecity.nyc/2019/09/carranzas-exam-plan-is-overtesting-for-students-critics-say.html. Prepping for test this way is just another form of cheating.

The Chicago teachers union voted by 94% for a strike. Many consider the union’s 2012 strike as being the spark that not only set off teacher strikes around the nation, but strikes in other unions like the General Motors autoworkers, which have been on strike for weeks. Some Dem candidates have rushed to union rallies. The Democratic Party, which despite labor support had been ignoring the broad interests of labor for decades, which some view as having led to enough defections in swing states to have elected Trump, has been rushing to show support for unions. But those of us who watched the Dems in-action are always suspicious because the leaders of the Party also owe allegiance to the corporate world, which has much antipathy to unions. These kinds of internal conflicts play out in many ways inside the party.

Reports surfaced that corporate heads have told Dem party leaders that if Warren were to get the nomination they would either sit the election out or support Trump. Note that these people don’t really think Bernie has any real chance and if they did they would be in an even greater panic. Paul Krugman took on this issue in an Oct. 1 column in the NYT, Warren vs. the Petty Plutocrats. Interesting to see Krugman, who used to trash Bernie and praise Hillary and the Democratic center, move further left.

But Warren, now that she is in a good position, built on her using many of Bernie’s ideas, has supposedly been giving party leaders some  assurances that she could be worked with, unlike the uncompromising Bernie, while some of his backers have gone on the attack against Warren. One of the big issues has been her sketchy record on supporting public education and teachers. Education progressives have been concerned over her history, as evidenced by this story the other day in the left wing Jacobin, a big Bernie supporter: Elizabeth Warren’s Public Education Problem. (https://jacobinmag.com/2019/09/elizabeth-warren-education-public-schools)   Bernie’s education plan is more in line with where I stand but I try to live in a real world and in this election other than a few awful candidates on education (Booker, Wang) I will live with Warren and hope that if she won, the support of teacher unions will counter the backing of the ed deform educational industrial wing of the party like Democrats for Educational Reform(DFER).

Private health insurance have 20% admin costs and can afford to slap their names on stadiums while Medicare has 2% admin costs. Every dime they make in profit comes off our backs. Yet, my union, the UFT and its national, the AFT, has joined other unions by taking a centrist position on the health care issue, repeating the argument that union members would lose their current health plans that they are supposedly so in “love” with. I think our union leaders are wrong. All unions members who turn 65 “lose” their plans and go into Medicare while continuing their former primary plan as supplementary, which we still need under Medicare. There are few if any complaints.

On the surface many candidate plans seem similar. A friend of mine studying the issue clarified: "Medicare as we know it should never be confused with Medicare for All. Our Medicare is totally entwined with private industry -- for supplemental coverage (Medigaps and Medicare Advantage) and for drugs (totally for-profit companies, and the feds will dump a penalty on you if you don't enroll in one).  We pre-pay into it all our working lives, and continue to pay through extra plans, substitute plans, and copays/coinsurance. Bernie is offering something new:  Single payer.  Bernie's April bill, though called ‘Medicare for All’, is designed totally differently from ours and proposes an entirely new tax structure.  It will not coexist inside the current one, like our Medicare does.”

All of Norm’s columns appear at ednotesonline.com and have 0 admin costs.


  1. https://theintercept.com/2019/09/30/nina-turner-cleveland-ohio-education-reform/

  2. Seeking general information on conflicts of interests between the NYC DOE and NYUT....

    a) Seeking review of their joint burden to determine and define what is proper Orientation to the job of Teacher in the First months of an Appointment.

    b) Seeking review of the joint burden of the NYC DOE and NYSUT to review and determine the licenses of administrators taking hostile personnel acts....against Teachers.

    c) Seeking review of the joint burden of the NYC DOE and NYSUT to address personnel policy regarding DOE administrators who have intimate relationships with DOE Officers they supervise.

    d) Seeking review of the joint burden of the NYC DOE and NYSUT to address "moral character actions" of the NYS Education Department.


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