Tag Archives: coronavirus

How Disastrous is the NYS Budget? Why Can’t the Governor/Legislature Follow the Federal Model?

If this was a normal year the education community would be focused on the race to the April 1 budget deadline. For months advocates and legislators have been dueling with the governor: Will the Foundation Aid formula be adjusted to benefit the lowest wealth aka, the poorest districts? Will the governor acknowledge the $3 billion plus dollars owed to school districts as a result of the CFE lawsuit decision? How will the differences in proposed school aid (governor: 800M, the Board of Regents 2B) be resolved?

Additionally, non-budgetary items may or may not have been added to the budget by the governor: possibly legalization of marijuana, rolling back bail reforms, easing the voting restrictions, etc.

We’re in a new world.

This year’s budget is unique: the governor will have almost total authority to allocate the budget dollars in slices, “tranches,” monthly or perhaps quarterly; as the year progresses slices of budget dollars may increase or decrease.

As I write, midday on April 1 the governor and the legislative leaders are still entangled in creating a budget.

The impact could be drastic cuts in school funding, perhaps layoffs.

Why can’t the state allocate endless dollars to avert economic calamities as the federal government has done?

Washington can issue as many dollars as they please, through the Federal Reserve they can raise or lower interest rates and increase and decrease the amount of currency in circulation. Federal debts are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the government. In other words the feds can print money and borrow money (selling bonds); there are no constitutional limits on federal debt.

States cannot issue currency and must have a balanced budget; they can only borrow dollars for capital projects.

For centuries governments abided by a “laissez faire” economic policy. Depressions and prosperity, booms and busts, were guided by an “invisible hand,” an almost religious belief in the power of the marketplace.

Adam Smith (1776), wrote,

Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can … He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention … By pursuing his own interests, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

 Milton Freedman, a Nobel Prize economist moved the marketplace model to education, schools should compete, the origin of the belief in charter schools and vouchers. Adam Smith lives on in the minds of far right and a few of the wealthiest.

Beginning with FDR’s response to the Great Depression John Maynard Keynes has been the guiding force driving economies.

 Keynesian theory allows for increased government spending during recessionary times, it also calls for government restraint in a rapidly growing economy. This prevents the increase in demand that spurs inflation. It also forces the government to cut deficits and save for the next down cycle in the economy.

 In our neo-Keynesian world even Republicans, well, most Republicans, follow Keynes’ philosophy, as evidenced by the $2 trillion pushed into the economy, cash payments, enhanced unemployment insurance, delayed mortgage payments, small business grants and loans, dollars that will be spent; hopefully, to kick start the faltering economy.

Until the coronavirus pandemic is stabilized the economy is unlikely to resuscitate in the short run and it may continue to deteriorate. Unemployment may reach levels unknown since the Great Depression, airlines grounded, hotels and restaurants empty. Once a treatment and vaccine is created the economy, the world’s economy will be revived; it may take years to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Why does Cuomo have almost total control over the New York State budget?

 The reasons are two-fold, the state constitution and the judiciary.

 The New York State constitution was amended in 1927 giving the governor responsibility for submitting an annual comprehensive and balanced plan of revenues and expenditures, and, prohibits the Legislature from acting on other spending measures before acting on the Executive Budget.

 The legislature may not alter an appropriation bill submitted by the governor except to strike out or reduce items therein, but it may add thereto items of appropriation provided that such additions are stated separately and distinctly from the original items of the bill and refer each to a single object or purpose.

In January the governor submits a budget with a set amount; the legislative can “strike out or reduce items” and can only add items “separately or distinctly” from the governor’s budget.

In the 90’s Assembly speaker Silver challenged the application of the amended section of the constitution; if you want to go into the weeds read a discussion here.

The Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, in a convoluted decision (Pataki v Silver) denied the appellants and upheld the budgetary power of the governor. In 2005 voters turned down an attempt to amend the constitution and restore equality to the process.

Critics of the executive budget system point to a fundamental imbalance between the governor and the Legislature. They’re right: when it comes to shaping the annual state budget, the executive and legislative branches are not co-equal.  In financial terms, the budget is supposed to be balanced—but the budget-making process decidedly is not.

 The budgets are no longer fought out on the floor of the legislative bodies; they are fought out in the media as advocates appeal to voters. In a normal year lobbyists would be pounding hallways of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), on Tuesdays, hundreds of advocates would flood into to Albany to plead their case to local legislators. E-Mails would fill legislators’ e-files by the hundreds.

The governor would weigh the impact of the opinion of the public, not the views of the legislative bodies. Governor Cuomo became an artist at balancing the needs of communities across the state. In some ways a modern day Machiavellian figure, more feared than loved.

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the best in Cuomo, as Trump spins the crisis, appealing to his tribe, Cuomo has been straightforward, portraying the crisis as a threat to humanity and truly taking charge; his daily briefings are spellbinding, frightening in painting a possible dystopian future and warm in his portrayal of his family.

More on the impact of the budget after final passage.

Signup for the John Hopkins Center for Health Security daily updates here, the best source for expert analysis and facts.

Exercise, meditate, communicate with friends and family (at a distance), the dangers are not only the virus; the dangers are your own mental health.

Listen to Carole King, “You’ve Got a Friend”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qde5NMy7WTU

Sheltering in Place: Children, Parents and Teachers Coping With (What Could Be) the New Normal

My phone “pinged,” time to confirm my reservation for the April Board of Regents meeting: not this month. Governor Cuomo just extended the state-wide school closing until April 15th, and probably for a lot longer.

Online, or remote learning, has completed its first week in New York City. The enormous undertaking is incredibly complex. I spoke with a supervisor, Zoom meetings with teachers, with the school leadership team, with the superintendent, checking on teacher lessons, contacting parents; the city is using Google Classroom. I asked a teacher: who are the kids who are participating?  S/he said, “About half the kids, others are having trouble getting online, and the kids were a cross section, the high achievers and others.” A start: hopefully it will improve over the weeks or months ahead. Not surprisingly, in addition to an opportunity gap there is a technology gap, the NY Times has a scathing article. (“Locked Out of the Virtual Classroom”)

In one online fifth grade class the teacher began with a yoga session and moved on to research assignments, “What is an endangered species?”  “How do species become endangered?” “How can we protect endangered species?”  How many students are fully engaged?  How long should the kids be online? How much homework? We’re all exploring a new world.

The questions from teachers and parents keep rolling in,

Will Regents Exams be cancelled?

How will grades be determined?

How will schools determine high school graduation?

Is the State waiving student teaching requirements?

Others states set out detailed guidelines, New Mexico.

High school seniors will earn credits and achieve eligibility for graduation by completing a locally designed demonstration of competency, which may include:

  • Passing a locally designed test,
  • Completing a locally designed series of assignments,
  • Achieving a set cut score on a college entrance exam,
  • Demonstrating applied work experience.

The UFT, the NYC teacher union and the Department of Education issued roles and responsibilities “remote learning,”

New York State hasn’t sent out any guidance, one reason, the state budget is due April 1.  What were the major issues a few weeks ago are gone: changes in Foundation Aid, the funding of the CFE lawsuit, state aid; all overwhelmed by an anticipated 15 billion dollar budget shortfall.

The NYS budget will be in the hands of the governor and he will allocate dollars: perhaps monthly or quarterly:  school districts creating tentative budgets.

Will the school districts hold budget votes in early May?

High wealth school district receive dollars primarily from property taxes, low wealth from state aid: how will the state reduce these glaring disparities?

Will school districts face teacher layoffs in September?

Is a billionaires’ tax on the table?

The questions of the moment may be overshadowed by the larger questions; questions that are frightening, while the president talks about “opening” by Easter, world class scientists see a troublesome scenario.

Looking … into the future, what do you anticipate? Will COVID-19 ever disappear?

What it looks like is that we’re going to have a substantial wave of this disease right through basically the globe ….

 And the question then is: What’s going to happen? Is this going to disappear completely? Are we going to get into a period of cyclical waves? Or are we going to end up with low level endemic disease that we have to deal with?

  Most people believe that that first scenario where this might disappear completely is very, very unlikely, it just transmits too easily in the human population, so more likely waves or low level disease.

 A lot of that is going to depend on what we as countries, as societies, do. If we do the testing of every single case, rapid isolation of the cases, you should be able to keep cases down low. If you simply rely on the big shut down measures without finding every case, then every time you take the brakes off, it could come back in waves. So that future frankly, may be determined by us and our response as much as the virus.

Every morning I jump on my bike and take a long, lonely ride, the birds chirping, the wind blowing in my face, in late afternoon, back on the bike, zipping along empty roads, watching the sun glint off the bay ….  spending the day “sheltering in place,” at least I’m getting into better and better shape.

Listen to Rhiannon Giddens, “We Could Fly”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KhzRgqcBBc

Stay Safe

Searching for Normalcy in a Chaotic World: Teaching, Learning and Living at a Distance

We have routines, our early morning ablutions, our route to work, shopping, job responsibilities, family responsibilities, now, remote working, remote interactions, and for children the abnormality is unsettling.

Being cooped up in an apartment, not being able to visit friends, not being able to interact with my teachers, “I feel like I’m being punished.”

From a teacher’s perspective: how do I connect with my kids, how can my “teaching” be engaging?  I can’t look over Juan’s shoulder and whisper, “…try that again … how did you get that answer?” You can’t see that light bulb going off, “Oh, yes, I see now,” you can’t give a thumbs up at just the right time, or, a frown.

Is Maria drifting off, is her attention wandering, I don’t know.

Remote learning is remote, it’s far away and it lacks the emotional connection.

The standardized grades 3 – 8 tests are gone, no more test prep, you can follow the curriculum: Is there curriculum to follow? Or, are we talking about the reading and math “packages” that your school is using?

Can you switch to a curriculum designed for online use?

An online source from Finland gets high marks:  https://koulu.me/.

EngageNY.org provides curriculum modules for every grade and every topic on the grade.

Randi Weingarten, the President of the American Federation of Teachers, suggests capstone projects, a project-based learning approach,

“There is a way teachers can help students sum up their academic progress, help kids focus, and bring closure to the year.”

“Our capstone plan gives teachers the option and latitude to work with their students on a specific project alongside other activities and assessments to create engagement and demonstrate learning. https://www.aft.org/press-release/afts-weingarten-launches-capstone-proposal-complete-school-year-amid”

On the other hand maybe we should keep everything as simple as possible, for students as well as teachers.

While we worry about our students we worry about ourselves and our families.

We’re told to close our doors, hunker down and wait for the “all clear.”  Should we shop online?  Make quick trips to the super market or pharmacy?  Do we have an exercise regimen?  Is it safe to take long walks? To walk up and down the staircases in my building?  Do I take alcohol wipes wherever I go?

Who do I listen to?

If you’re an avid consumer of the news, the visual representations are frightening

Is density deadly?

Concerns about density were … at the forefront as New York officials discussed the spread of the virus in increasingly alarmed tones. New York City is now among the worst hot spots in the world: The city now has more coronavirus cases per capita than Italy, the world’s epicenter of the virus outside of China, where it originated.

 In the midst of anxiety in some and fear in others teachers and school leaders try and support students and each other. A principal began the day with an online school leadership team meeting; each has received over 100 emails from teachers with questions, especially from teachers of students with disabilities.

Education Next  gives straightforward suggestions to school leaders,

How should school leaders think about the massive task they’re facing?

  There are three overriding principles that can help school leaders as they figure this out, and they’re really super simple.

 The first is to just be calm and pause. That sounds like a simple recommendation, but we all understand that school’s not the most important thing right now, safety is.

 The second is to be straightforward and clear. People have heightened same way that they might otherwise be able to. So the more that school leaders can be straightforward and clear with their guidance and recommendations for families, it’s going to be helpful.

 And the third is to try to create simple solutions. In a crisis situation, simple technology is the best technology. So be careful in trying to teach faculty new skills during a time of crisis. They’ll be less able to adapt and less able to process information themselves.

 Principals are struggling to find online tools to track teacher work, some teachers are creative, some waiting for instructions, are teachers interacting on a grade, interacting with all other teachers interacting with their students?

We are tip-toeing into a new world, a world that may be with us for weeks, or months, it may be the new normal for many months.

Remember: exercise, yoga, meditation, if you’re religious attends online services; the psychological toll can be devastating.

Stay Safe

Coronavirus, School Closings and Remote Learning: Teaching and Learning in the New World

Schools in 44 states are closed and school districts are scrambling to put some sort of remote learning in place: challenging.

State standardized tests have been cancelled.

The school closings could last for months, and, perhaps into the next school year. No one knows.

We’re currently in the “spiking phase,” every day, as testing increases, more cases are identified. (See “Flattening the Curve” data here).

In New York City schools closed a week ago and this week teachers spent three days learning school specific online instructional models from a Department designed template.

The UFT, the teacher union, distributed a detailed memorandum describing the responsibilities of all school titles, teachers, paraprofessionals, special education teachers, related-service providers, (Read here).

 The leaders of the UFT and the CSA (Supervisors Union) sent supportive messages to members (Read here).

Models of online learning are not encouraging.

 The online charter school models are worrying, online charter schools are a disaster,

When you compare the math progress of students from traditional and online facilities, those who attend online charter schools perform much worse than those who go to public schools. In fact, when the Center for Research on Education Outcomes carried out a comparative study, the math performance of students from online schools was so poor that it looked as if they’d missed 180 days of learning

 The Christensen Institute, an advocate of online learning, supports a blended learning model, a combination of online and classroom instruction.

Online learning is clearly a stopgap measure.

The crisis is also a crisis of equity.

Many of the schools in the Affinity District, schools working with not-for-profits, (for example, New Visions for Public Schools, the Internationals Network) have sophisticated online networks, they look like Charter Management Organizations; however they are public schools.

Most schools are in traditional school districts within the vast bureaucracy, messages trickle down, the typical paramilitary structure.

Teachers, as they gain experience, develop their own tool kits, their own instructional strategies; the sudden movement to remote platforms is a huge leap.

First year teachers are mentoring grizzled veterans, teachers vary widely, extremely widely, in their knowledge of basic computer skills.

Questions, questions …

Can you set up a Zoom  classroom? A Zoom staff meeting?

How can you create online engaging lessons? Not simply expanded daily homework assignments.

This is an opportunity to personalize instruction to the individual student level: what are the barriers?

Randi Weingarten, the Presdient of the American Federation of Teachers, suggests  capstone projects, a project-based learning approach,

“There is a way teachers can help students sum up their academic progress, help kids focus, and bring closure to the year.

Our capstone plan gives teachers the option and latitude to work with their students on a specific project alongside other activities and assessments to create engagement and demonstrate learning. https://www.aft.org/press-release/afts-weingarten-launches-capstone-proposal-complete-school-year-amid”

A sound idea that is inclusive of all students, students at all levels incluing students with disabilities.

Is the Department or, anyone setting up an e-bulletin board to allow teachers to collaborate and share?

The questions far outnumber the answers.

The equity issue: the Department has announced they will distribute 30,000 online devices to students with WiFi connections; a beginning.

How many students will be signing in each day: will the Department have the ability to identify log-ins, by school? by class? by student?  If the log-ins are low, how will the Department respond?

The overriding problem: Social Emotional Learning.

Teachers establish emotional relationships with students: are they sad, angry, hungry, depressed; it’s a skill that comes with experience. In addition to the teaching-learning process, teachers are surrogate parents, social workers and therapists. As the human to human relationship is pushed online how will the emotional link to students be impacted?

As unemployment skyrockets the unemployed will be the parents of our students, the fear in households will resonate among our children.

Teachers are also stressed, worrying about their students, worrying about themselves and their own families.

The UFT supports a Membership Assistance Program (MAP), confidential sessions with a certified psychologist, unions do far more than negotiate contracts and endorse candidates, unions are sum total of their members, and caring for the needs of their membership is at the core of trade unionism.

Sometimes disagreeing with management, other times agreeing and at times agreeing to disagree.

The union “respectfully” disagreed with the mayor over his initial decision not to close schools and closely collaborated when he decided to close schools and establish an online platform.

We are at the beginning of a perilous journey.

Stay Safe ….

Maybe time for Woody Guthrie, “Old Man Trump”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jANuVKeYezs&list=PLRw6OZZufk59Xy7qXNCZ4kVD19H7wNsVS

The Coronavirus Crisis: Are We On the Same Page?  What Aren’t We Doing? When Will the “All Clear” Sound?

There are moments that are embedded our memories.

The morning of Tuesday, September 11th I turned on the tube, a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I raced to my window; smoke was trailing across the sky. Were we at war? What was next?

We can divide our world, pre and post 9/11.

Two decades later: another catastrophic event.

The coronavirus exploded in China, raced along to South Korea, to Italy, to Iran and moved to France and Spain and the number of cases rapidly increasing.

Social media, electeds and candidates are all offering “advice.”

The best sources of information:

John Hopkins Coronavirus Updates:  http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/newsroom/newsletters/e-newsletter-sign-up.html

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Nations were ill-prepared and most reacted too slowly; we waited two months and even now our reactions appear haphazard.

Italy and Spain are in total lockdowns, only food outlets and pharmacies open.

Unfortunately we seem to having a state-by-state approach, watch the President and his closest advisors huddled on a stage, not practicing social distancing.

The epidemiologists, the virologists are clear, the more you test the more cases you will find, without identifying you can’t treat. New York State is setting up mobile testing sites.

The number of cases will continue to spike until ….?  The Imperial College (UK) Report predicts 2.2 million deaths in the US.

Fourteen days, forty-five days … July or August?  Dr, Fauci, the head of the CDC says we have no way to know, this is a unique situation. “Mitigate and contain” complements testing, the more data the more models can be built.

In New York City schools, restaurants, bars, all meetings, concerts, theaters, gyms closed: “social distancing” is the rule.

I live next to an NYU site and a School of Visual Arts dormitory, the plaza in front of my abode usually filled with students, today, empty.

I’m an avid bike rider, a lonely ride this morning along the East River around the Battery and up the West Side.

Schools are closed; teachers are being trained to use the online learning links. Needless to say there is an enormous equity issue. Most of the schools in the Affinity District, schools supported by not-for-profits (for example, (see The Internationals Network site) already have online capability. In the highest poverty districts many households do not have online capacity.

The Department of Education Learn at Home site provides grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject activities, the question: how many families will utilize?  We know from the online Charter Schools debacle that online learning has minimal effectiveness, a stopgap measure.

I’m bombarded with questions:

“I’m a student teacher, schools are closed, how can I meet my required number of student teaching hours?”

“The required edTPA test requires video-taping a lesson and writing a detailed self-analysis of the lesson: how can I meet the requirement if schools are closed?”

“Will the grades 3-8 standardized tests be cancelled or postponed?”

“Will Regents exams be given?”

“Will the school year be extended into the summer?”

and on and on ….

Everyone is asking the experts, when this crisis will end, and, as the experts respond: this is a unique situation, we simply don’t know.

The 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic, in era before vaccines and before antibiotics killed 50 million people.

One one hand Governor Cuomo is painting a bleak picture, overflowing hospitals, lack of supplies, lack of faculties, and bluntly saying only federal government has the resources to respond.

President Trump and his team paint a far brighter picture (with the exception of Dr. Fauci)

The economic impact is another story completely, President Trump predicts a rapid bounce back; others see a depression paralleling the Great Depression.

I’m not in an upbeat frame of mind: listen to Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0nmHymgM7Y

Listen to Trusted Expert Advice: Coronavirus, Schools, Fear and an Uncertain Future

This was going to be a busy week, meetings, events, every day, planning for events over the next few weeks. My phone began to ping, one by one the meetings/events were postponed and/or cancelled.

An event I was sponsoring, six weeks down the road, after consultation, I postponed.

The NCAA March Madness basketball tournament cancelled; the NBA and the NHL suspending all games, MLB delaying the opening of the season  Broadway dark, and, unfortunately some electeds becoming “experts.”

Wild flucuations in the stock market, down 10%, up 5%. the hedgefunders selling short and buying long and making millions while the rest of us watch our pensions melt away.

The source of all coronavirus advice is the CDC, the federal agency, and their advice on school closing is complicated, basically, case by case.

To quote Mayor de Blasio, “We must separate fact from fiction.”

How to respond to positive tests in schools is complex, and is evolving hour by hour, day by day.

China and Italy did not respond quickly, a major error and allowed the virus to spread.  The extreme measures that we have taken, hopefully, will slow the spread of the virus; experts are warning us that the progress of the virus will proceed for months.

As we test we will find more and more positive tests.

I was speaking with a school supervisor yesterday: he was teaching a kindergarten class: how to wash their hands; hopefully these lessons are being replicated in all classrooms across the city.

Science lessons, by grade, should explain what a virus is; English classes should be reading non-fiction about viruses and epidemics.

When I mentioned this I was told, “We don’t want to unduly scare children.” Knowledge is power: the more we involve the children, teach children, we all know that the “teachable moment” is at the heart of impactful instruction.

“Social distancing:” encouraging “at risk adults, (over 60)” to avoid unnecessary interaction is excellent advice.

To again echo Mayor de Blasio, “No day is like the previous day.”

The economic repercussions:  reductions in budgets, sharp increases in unemployment, businesses closing, are we facing a 1929? a 9/11, 2008?  Or, will the economy bounce back? We have no way of knowing.

No one has any idea, recessions and depressions do not follow a single pattern,

I see tweets and emails, “Close the schools,” “Cancel the state tests,” Cancel the Regents,” as I have said these decisions should reflect the best medical and scientific information, not the loudest voice.

We are entering uncharted waters, we have to sift among the voices, and make decisions that represent the best evidence.

Stay safe, meditate, exercise, hydrate, an opportunity to watch luge, bobsledding and  curling … and try a new recipe.

And listen to fitting music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcCmg9Oj9XM

How does the coronavirus and the stock market correction/dip/slide/plunge impact teachers and education?

The sudden outbreak of the coronavirus reverberated in the stock market. Over the past week the stock market, as measured by the Dow-Jones has taken a hit, meaning a drop of more than 10%, a drop reminiscent of the beginning of the 2008 recession.

The economies of China, the European Union and the United States are irrevocably intertwined.  Cell phones, computers, refrigerators, thousands upon thousands of products are made in China; lower wages mean lower prices for the end use consumer. The longer the Chinese economy is stalled the greater the shortages, the higher the prices, that old supply and demand thing.

In uncertain times corporations and individuals are wary, they stash dollars in interest-bear accounts, they decide not to buy the house or buy a car or expand a business. The entire economy stalls, jobs begin to dry up as expansion moves to contraction.

Coronavirus safety impacts airlines, the hotels, the travel industry and spirals across the economy.

How does this crisis affect schools and teachers?

If the economy slows tax revenues slow, states, and localities collect fewer dollars and state and local budgets are reduced.

In two weeks New York State will agree on a budget for the 20-21 year, and, the governor and the legislature are bickering over how to address a 6.1 billion dollar increase in Medicaid funding. The State Department of Education asked for a $2 billion increase in state aid,  the governor’s budget only included $800 million. New York City legislators are calling for the state to fully fund the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, $1.1 billion for New York City and additional $2.7 billion for the remainder of the state.

The education budget concerns have been subsumed by concerns over r the coronavirus.

How will the governor respond to the sharp dive in the market?  Are we on the precipice of another recession?

I’ll remind you of the adage about the amputee economist; “On one hand …” Economists are excellent explaining  why things happened and not what is going to happen.

A little lesson in economics (in New York State a one-term economics course is required; (I taught the course many times).

There are two opposing philosophies re responding to a recession, the Keynesian response and the Freedman response.

“Keynesian economics are various macroeconomic theories about how in the short run – and especially during recessions – economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand.”

 John Maynard Keynes was a British economist who has driven economic theory for the last century.  A leading proponent, who calls himself a neo-Keynesian is Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, Watch a 25 minute interview with Krugman  – exceptionally well-done.

Krugman, in his op eds in the New York Times has been a consistent critic of the current administration and has been predicting a downturn in the economy for a few years, in spite of a sharply rising stock market and record low unemployment.

According to Krugman, to put it simply, as the economy slows the government must push money into the economy, create jobs, and, push the money into the economy as far down the economy as possible; the multiplier effect.

The dollar the government pushes into the economy at the lowest level gets spent numerous times as it moves up the economic ladder.

Milton Freedman, also a Nobel Prize winning economist is on the other side of the spectrum. In times of economic distress the government should retrench, cut back on government spending, and allow the forces of supply and demand to operate outside of government intervention. Sometimes called “Austarians

The recent tax cuts at the high end of the income chain is an example of a core element of the Freedmanites, called the “Lauffer Curve.

Enough of my mini lesson in economics.

Could a coronavirus pandemic lead to teacher layoffs? to drastic cuts in school spending? to a sharp erosion of my 401 retirement dollars? Should I sell stocks? Is this the time to buy stocks?

The Great Depression began in October, 1929 with a steep dive in the stock market.

The 2008 Housing Bubble recession occurred as a new president entered the White House, and, Obama, a Keynesian, pumped dollars into the economy, bailed out failing banks, and, in my view prevented a depression. His actions are still hotly debated.

If the markets continue to slide downwards, if the economic slowdown does not abate does the current administration have a plan?

In the short run, the very short run, I suspect Cuomo will urge caution and argue for a slimmer budget, in other words, schools may have slimmer budgets. It is likely the legislature will return after the June primary elections to address unresolved issues.

The coronavirus dominates the news cycle, as it should: whether is recessions or worse is in our future is unclear and worrysome.

BTW, I loved teaching economics, it deals with issues that affect every single person, includes mathematics, is complex and challenging: the best description of education.

Oh, and one of my immutable rules: I never give advice on finance or romance