My Life As an NYC Teacher
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Part 3: Why Politicians Should Be Excessed from Education
Chapter 67: Education Reform Lies: The Weiner Defense
Riddle: What do you do when you run out of mustard?As reported on page 2 of the Feb. 10, 2015 New York Post, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest attempt to shield himself from the same sort of scrutiny that recently brought down powerful Albany colleague Sheldon Silver is to resort to the Weiner defense.
If Anthony Weiner shows his private parts, do you blame Obama … What would you have me do?
According to the Post’s Carl Campanilo, the governor was making an analogy to the Silver criminal case. Cuomo made this reference to Weiner
… in a New Yorker profile, speaking of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who faces charges of taking millions in kickbacks.
First the education analogy. Then the politics.
Governor Cuomo has called for public school teacher evaluations to be based 50% on the performance of students. But students, like prominent politicians and newscasters, have a tendency to act in their own worst interest. I and every teacher I know have spent countless hours pointing out the obvious to students - that it is in their interest to study, to learn, to get good grades and to graduate from high school with the option of going to college. Frequently we discover that student behavior is based less on logic than on impulse.
Anthony Weiner’s blowing his own horn, so to speak, was nothing if not impulsive. Brian Williams’ need to become the news he was reporting was something but it wasn’t logical, ethical or in his own best interest. These are two of the most recent and best known self destructively impulsive acts. History is littered with them. If history teaches us anything it's that we don't learn from it.
Students fail. It’s not in their own best interest but they fail and they fail in large numbers in places like the Bronx. No one knows this better than the high functioning Bronx students who spend their entire academic public school careers being interrupted by impulsive behavior. Unless it’s counselors who are trying to get these kids the credits they need to graduate … or the principals who are trying to keep their schools off the SURR (and related lists) … or the parent coordinators who are trying to get the parents of these kids to come in for conferences … or the teachers whose very careers now depend on the impulsive behavior of dysfunctional students.
Yet Governor Cuomo wants the performance of teachers to be based at least 50% on the performance of these students, many of whom acquire the designation “LTA” - long term absence. You can’t even lead the horse to the water if the horse is at home asleep … or worse, out roaming the wild range.
Yet this same Governor Cuomo, who thinks he should not be held responsible for the behavior of his legislators, thinks that teachers should be held at least 50% responsible for the irresponsible behavior of their students. Gov. Cuomo thinks that Obama shouldn’t be held accountable for the impulsive behavior of Anthony Weiner and prays that no one holds him accountable for the behavior of Sheldon Silver.
This, of course, is the Weiner defense. Why should the governor or the president be held responsible for Weiner’s wiener?
I propose that a new governor evaluation system be put in place wherein the governor is held 50% responsible for the impulsive behavior of all of the politicians in his state. That would make Gov. Cuomo 50% responsible for the photos of Weiner’s wiener sent out by the impulsive politician under Cuomo’s watch.
Weiner may only have one wiener, but given that he has two balls, this makes the calculation of the DATA used to evaluate the governor fairly straight forward. Gov. Cuomo ought to be deemed “ineffective” for at least one of Weiner’s balls - whether the right or the left will be left to further unpacking of the data.
Fair is fair, Governor Cuomo. If you can rate teachers “ineffective” on the performance of their most dysfunctional students, then politicians ought to be rated just as “ineffective” based on the performance of their most dysfunctional elected officials. You see the logic. It's not much different from the logic you used in declaring that if only 38% of students are "ready," then only 38% of teachers should be rated "effective." [See my new TWERC teacher evaluation proposal.]
But enough about the governor's ideas on education. What about politics? Maybe Gov. Cuomo’s Weiner defense has another purpose. Could it be that he would like to redirect the attention of the media and the public from his relationship with his other highly dysfunctional student, the one who rose to the head of the Albany pay-to-play class? Could it be that Gov. Cuomo really just wants us thinking about the flow of knowledge rather than about the flow of money in state politics? Particularly the money that comes delivered in paper bags and nondescript envelopes?
Answer to Riddle: Ask the Wiener Himself