Legislators and Teachers Are Sullied By A Few “Bad Apples,” The 99% Strive to Create a Better World.

Every few weeks the NY Post runs a “if it bleeds, it leads” article, a teacher who did something stupid, really stupid. Editorials and columnists gloat, call for the abrogation of due process, next step a pillory outside of Tweed.

I’m no longer angry at the Post, sleazy headlines sell papers, I’m mad at the teacher who sullies us all.

No matter what the teacher did, s/he is entitled to due process –Star Chamber proceedings disappeared in the 16th century – except in the world of Michael Bloomberg.

I was about to enter a room to defend a teacher when the superintendent asked me to step into the hall.

“How can you defend him?” asked the superintendent, agitated.

I hesitated, and responded, “John, you hired him, you gave him tenure and the union doesn’t choose its clients.”

The superintendent, reluctantly nodded.

In spite of how hard we work, how much we dedicate to the kids, a few bad apples make us all look like slackers. We defend them because every teacher, no matter the charge or behavior is entitled to due process, their “day in “court.”

Last week the US attorney (not the NYC cops or state cops) arrested a State Senator, a City Councilman, two Assembly members and some Republican pols for accepting bribes, the stories are so bizarre that the electeds should have been arrested for stupidity.

The Assembly, the Senate and the City Council – 264 electeds.

Unfortunately all the electeds are sullied. Once again, a few bad apples damage all of our parliamentary bodies.

Fred Dicker, a Cuomo mouthpiece at the NY Post posits that Cuomo is going to try and oust Shelly Silver from his leadership position in the Assembly,

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo and his top aides are looking to use last week’s round of embarrassing scandals in Albany to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — and they’re already eyeing an upstate lawmaker to replace him, The Post has learned.
The governor and his team — stung hard by US Attorney Preet Bharara’s assertion that corruption is “rampant” and “pervasive” in the statehouse — are fed up with Silver, who they say has presided over two decades of dysfunction, sources said.

I’m always suspicious of any reporter who depends on anonymous “sources” for a crucial claim.

Over the two years of a legislative session about 11-12,000 bills are introduced – a couple of hundred become laws.

Assembly member Linda Rosenthal is interested in protecting tenants and animal rights:

Makes conforming technical changes to the New York City administrative code and the emergency tenant protection act relating to vacancy decontrol;
Relates to the care of animals by pet dealers

Assembly member Alan Maisel is interested in education and environmental issues:

Authorizes school districts to purchase manipulatives with money that has otherwise been set aside for the purchase of textbooks
Expands local jurisdiction over the extraction of natural gas and oil; limits state jurisdiction to matters directly related to on-site drilling;
Requires charter schools to enroll children with disabilities and English language learners in comparable numbers to those enrolled in public schools

Legislators work to convert ideas, concepts, into laws.

Introducing a bill is far, far from turning the bill into a law. Legislators seek as many co-sponsors as possible; submit the bill that is assigned to a committee(s). If the bill involves funding it may become part of the budget process. The committee staff will review the bill, ask for modifications, and send the bill along to the appropriate state agency for comments. The next step is the Speaker’s staff – which may send the bill back to the committee for more review – a tortuous path. If the bill passes one house a companion bill must follow a similar path in the other body.

If the bill passes both houses it is reviewed by the Governor – who may veto the bill and send it back to step one.

Ideas for bills may come from lobbyists, from advocacy organizations, from neighborhood activists or “citizen” activists.

Last year I spent six months working with a legislator to convert an idea into a bill – it was introduced – and never moved – I’m still trying to generate some interest.

Aside from life in Albany legislators maintain a neighborhood office to serve members of their community. Seniors with Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid problems, landlord problems, a cracked sidewalk, the myriad problems that a local elected may be able to resolve.

The legislature is a fractious body – New York City, upstate cities, suburbs, the rural districts, Afro-American and Hispanics, Tea Party Republicans, all with differing interests. The role of the Speaker is to listen and to shepherd electeds with sharply different concerns and on the Senate side the dual leadership model: Republicans and the Independent Democratic Caucus.

Sadly, in the poorest districts with the lowest voter turn out greedy miscreants abuse their power and office. Teachers and legislators work hard, they care, and a few paint the many in a negatve light.

Politics is not for the meek and the Govenor may try and use the current scandal for advance his agenda.

If Fred Dicker is right, and Andrew Cuomo is trying to depose Sheldon Silver I’ll put my money on Silver.


3 responses to “Legislators and Teachers Are Sullied By A Few “Bad Apples,” The 99% Strive to Create a Better World.

  1. Pingback: Remainders: National spelling bee to judge on vocabulary, too | GothamSchools

  2. If I am not mistaken has not the UFT allowed tenure rights to become weakened? (The burden of proof in termination hearings now falls on the teacher to prove competence) Has not the UFT agreed to allow only 13% of it’s chosen members to appeal ineffective ratings? Has not the UFT singed on to the use of VAM that can/will result in teachers automatically loosing their jobs after two years of a lack of improvement due to faulty test scores? All of these items have nothing to do with superintendents, the NY post, or any other boogiemen. These items which will be used to fire decent teachers were all agreed to the very same union that is there to “protect and support” them.


    • Like the UFT has control over theses things! HA

      The current Governor appears to have little in common with his father, whose career might have led to a US Supreme Court justiceship. This guy is clearly pandering to the uber rich for support for a national race.

      We MUST do away with Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that unleashed this torrent of bucks to be made available to a candidate who wishes to be a lapdog for the wealthy.


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