Independent voices of New York City public school parents
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Please help us protect our students rather than the bank accounts of billionaires!
1. I had a piece in the Gotham Gazette yesterday that explains how schools should not reopen next fall without a plan to reduce class size, to provide both the social distancing necessary for health and safety and the academic and emotional support that students will need to make up for the losses next year. I also point out how budget savings and the redeployment of existing staff could also help make this possible in NYC. Please check it out and let me know what you think.
2. Last week Governor Cuomo announced he would work with the Gates Foundation and Eric Schmidt of Google to “reimagine” and “redesign” education, to expand the use of online learning and “deploy classroom technology, like immersive cloud virtual classrooms … to recreate larger class or lecture hall environments in different locations.”
At his press conference, he added: ““The old model of everybody goes and sits in a classroom, and the teacher is in front of that classroom and teaches that class, and you do that all across the city, all across the state; all these buildings, all these physical classrooms; why, with all the technology you have?”
Yet if there’s one thing we’ve learned through this Covid crisis is that online remote learning is a profoundly inadequate means of education, and any attempt to establish this as a primary means of schooling for kids would be profoundly destructive.
The Gates Foundation also has a terrible record of promoting and funding charter schools, the Common Core standards and high-stakes testing linked to teacher evaluation, all of which have proven to be damaging here in NY state and throughout the country.
Another serious concern is the dismal reputations of Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt when it comes to privacy. Gates funded the $100M student data-grabbing inBloom Inc. and Eric Schmidt has claimed no one should worry about privacy unless they had something to hide.
At the same time, Cuomo has also threatened to cut our school budgets by another 10 percent. Instead of letting billionaires run our schools, he should raise their taxes to make up for any budget shortfalls this year or next. Currently, the wealthiest one percent of New Yorkers pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than the poorest twenty percent, and our tax structure is less progressive than many other states.
Please send a letter to the Governor and State Legislature today, urging them to protect our schools from the damaging and self-serving agendas of ed tech billionaires, and instead, raise taxes on the ultra- wealthy and fund our schools fairly.