As many of you are aware, misguided and politically motivated forces are at work whose agenda is focused on the systematic dismantling of Public Education. Several examples include the restructuring of the post-Katrina New Orleans K-12 schools which are exclusively charter schools, New York State’s recent legislation increasing the number of charters allowed to practice and, of course, and the slow but consistent decline in state aide to public schools. Whether or not charter schools are the answer is a question that we can discuss, however, it is indisputable that these private for-profit businesses are redirecting much needed resources away from public schools that are already underfunded.
For the past several months CNN cable news has been highlighting the crisis in education and using as its spokesperson Education Contributor Steve Perry. Not Steve Perry the lead singer of the rock group Journey, but Steve Perry the founder of a charter school in Hartford, Conn. Simply put, Steve Perry has consistently blamed many of the ills in public education on teachers’ unions. We have brought this to the attention of both NYSUT and the AFT. They are aware of the anti-public education bias being expressed by CNN through Dr. Perry. Unfortunately, the network considers him to be Gold when it comes to sponsorship dollars.
When you think about the work that we do at Nassau, from political action to the governance structure created as a result of the NCCFT contract, do you really believe the decisions and policies created are a result of selfishness and greed? And, from our experiences at NYSUT and AFT conferences, we can attest that your colleagues around the state and around the nation, from preK – Higher Ed, whether teachers’ aides or college professors, are committed to the best practices for providing the best education to our students. Here at NCC we have all worked tirelessly over the decades to develop a culture of communication, resources and dedication to academic integrity and the success of our students. Around the state and the nation teachers, professors, counselors, aides, and others are doing the same.
We certainly do not need Steve Perry as education spokesperson for CNN to broadcast to the entire world that he has the answers and that unions are the reason that the education system is in disarray. Speak out when you hear people parrot his message. Help us get the message across: unions are not the problem. They are an essential part of the solution.
Meanwhile, since we’re on the subject of Steve Perry, here’s some music for Monday from that other Steve Perry, of Journey:
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