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At some point during his first term as Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo was called “Governor 1%,” because so many of his policies seemed geared to helping Wall Street and the 1%.
In this post, high school teacher Arthur Goldstein points out that Governor Cuomo designated himself the lobbyist for students. But not, says Goldstein, for all students. Not for the student who arrived from another country last week. Not for the student with severe disabilities. Governor Cuomo became the lobbyist and cheerleader for the charter schools, which enroll 3% of the students in New York state. The strong affinity between hedge fund managers and charter schools makes it appear that charter students are a huge sector, but they are not. Just 3%. So Goldstein adds the 1% and the 3% of students in charters and determines that Cuomo is actually Governor 4%.
Lately, there’s a lot of negative talk about Andrew Cuomo, what with his juvenile efforts to penalize teachers for not having supported his re-election. And let’s face it, most of us took that position simply because he hates us and everything we stand for. Cuomo seems to think think we should look past that and support him anyway.
A lot of people call Andrew Cuomo Governor 1%, because he represents the economic interests of only the very wealthy. But the governor has cast himself as a student lobbyist, and in that sense, he may also represent the 3% of NY students who attend charter schools.
Sure, you say, he doesn’t represent your students. He doesn’t represent your children. And the way he advocates for his own kids is by sending them to private schools. You don’t think Andrew Cuomo would send his kids to a Moskowitz school, do you? Who really wants their kids subject to endless test prep?…..
A friend who works in a building with a colocated Moskowitz Academy told me she saw a kid admonished for coughing. The teacher asked if the kid was dying, and said if he wasn’t, to just get back in line. This is an incredibly callous way to speak to a child, and any teacher who spoke to my kid like this would not welcome my reaction. In fact, Chancellor’s Regulation A-421 protects schoolchildren from verbal abuse. Of course, such protections don’t apply to charter school kids, who can be made to wear orange shirts, veritable dunce caps, for unwelcome behavior. There are no excuses, and basic human functions, like coughing, simply cannot be tolerated.
Moskowitz had a hotline to Joel Klein, and she clearly saw her needs as more important than those of public schools. Friends of mine tell me that attitude trickles down to even the students, who have no problem ridiculing the public school kids, even for their handicaps, and whose teachers may even look on as they do so. There is clearly a separate and unequal environment, and it’s bolstered by folks like Andrew Cuomo, who has no qualms about taking millions in contributions from charter supporters. They’re certainly getting their money’s worth.