Saturday, May 29, 2010


Last week, New York Senate Democrats passed a Charter Reform Bill which will more than double the number of charter schools allowed in the state. It also bans private companies from profiting off students. All the Democrats in the chamber voted in favor. This was one of many requirements to set up New York State to receive $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds.

The measure was opposed by fourteen Republicans. The push to increase the Charter School limits was championed by the Republicans two years ago during the last election cycle. Now, faced with actually voting for it, half bail on the measure. This certainly exposes the hypocrisy and lack of substance behind the GOP's position on the issue. What happened to Skelos and his caucus? Didn't they just make a recent plea to raise the limit themselves?

With half of the Republicans voting against the measure, doesn't that galvanize the public's perception that they are once again the party of NO? How did anything get done when they were in charge? Oh, that's right...They did whatever Bruno told them. I forgot; My bad.

I stole a list off the State Dems Website showing the list of naysayers from yesterday's vote, and the list of Democratic challengers fighting to replace them in November.

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has also indicated his desire to increase the number of Charter Schools in New York State. Done correctly, this should not only help in federal funding but also turn our gradeschool education levels around in our troubled districts.

I guess we should count our blessings that there were only 14 NO votes?


Anonymous said...

Just because a company is "not for profit" doesn't mean that they aren't taking the taxpayers for a ride.

All a savy person has to do is start a "not for profit" and pay themselves a huge salary.

Our "Central School District Superintendents" and teacher unions do it already.... $175K for a Superintendent to manage a few schools.

Even the County Executive - responsible for ALL of Ulster County only makes $140K to work year round for the whole County.

We have 10 separate School Districts in Ulster County - all with Superintendents that make more than the County Executive.

Look what the Senator Majority Leader did with his "not for profit".

Maybe a "for profit" company would act more responsibly.

...The Feds are closing in on Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. in the wake of a state civil suit accusing him of looting $14 million from his taxpayer-funded health clinic.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged Espada used his not-for-profit health center as a "personal piggy bank" to pay for family trips and $80,000 in restaurant bills - including $20,000 in sushi.

So when the Legislature wants to "ban private companies from profiting off students", maybe they should take a hard look at just who is profiting off of students.

Anonymous said...

As you noted, the legislation brings NY the opportunity to submit a competitive application for funding under Race to the Top. Up to $700 million if it can show the federal government it is more serious than other states about making sweeping changes to its educational system.

They passed a bill that would tie teacher evaluations to student test scores, an area where New York lost points in the first round of the competition.

I think that is the most significant change in our teaching system. And it was long overdue.


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how politicians of both parties will vote for or against legislation based primarily on the party of the President. Bush managed to get Republicans to go along with the No Child Left Behind act, written primarily by Ted Kennedy. Clinton even called it his dream legislation saying that he could never have gotten it done.

Now Obama's Race to the Top initiative, which is competitive in nature and will reward the winners is being promoted by Democrats who otherwise would strongly oppose if it were be pushed by a Republicsn President.

I hope everyone understands that the federal money being mentioned is not guaranteed at all. New York could implement their plans to comply with the initiative and then not win the funding in the competition with other states.

Anonymous said...

Mentioning that soon-to-be ex-state senator Pedro Espada is basically his own special interest group with his so-called "not for profit" is just an extension of what many politicians and candidates do with special interest groups....they sell out to keep their jobs or get elected. Wouldn't it be nice if these same influence peddlars would take that money and use it to promote and support our educational system which is developing the future generations of Americans. Now that would be money well spent.