by Brian Washington
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Aides to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have reportedly met with leaders representing teachers and education support professionals, following the launch of a statewide multi-media campaign calling out the governor’s destructive “billionaire’s agenda” for public education.
Television ads, which are airing on commercial and cable channels throughout the state, are hammering the governor for his lack of support for students, educators, and public schools.
So far, no one is talking about what, if anything, came out of the Albany meeting—which reportedly took place last week.
The New York State United Teachers, which represents more than 600,000 educators across the state, is responsible for the campaign, which was launched at the beginning of the month. The media blitz also includes billboards as well as print and social media advertising.
NYSUT President Karen E. Magee, an elementary education teacher with 30-years of service to students, believes the governor’s education agenda is destructive to teaching and learning. She says it features “failed gimmicks” and places more emphasis on standardized testing and puts more pressure on students.
“The governor should be listening to the true experts—students, parents, and educators—about what’s really needed. It’s not more emphasis on standardized testing, but fair and equitable funding that benefits every child in the state and more support for our already strong public education system,” said Magee.
Magee and other educators charge the governor is pushing a “test-and-punish” education agenda that’s being driven by hedge fund billionaires, who have never set foot in a classroom, but want to initiate a corporate take-over of public schools.
NYSUT is not the only group of educators calling out the governor for his policies. Recently, seven former New York State Teachers of the Year addressed an open letter to the Governor blasting his education reforms and for making them the “enemy.”
We are teachers. We have given our hearts and souls to this noble profession. We have pursued intellectual rigor,” reads the letter. “We have fed students who were hungry. We have celebrated at student weddings and wept at student funerals. Education is our life. For this, you have made us the enemy. This is personal.
As part of NYSUT’s campaign, educators are using the hashtags #InviteCuomo and #AllKidsNeed to reach out to the governor via social media to get him to tour public schools. They want parents and school personnel to give him a first-hand account of how destructive over-testing, poverty, funding inequality, and education budget cuts have been to students.