The Watering Hole, Thursday, January 10th, 2013: I Love NY

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

Yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State address, covering topics ranging from education to housing to green energy initiatives, women’s issues, and, of course, the topic du jour, gun control. New York State already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country; Governor Cuomo is now calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with other measures, in response to recent tragic shootings in Connecticut and in upstate New York. The Governor is working with State lawmakers to hammer out new legislation, and is hoping to reach an agreement with them by the end of this week.

The complete outline of Governor Cuomo’s forward-looking proposals, which also include a minimum wage hike and decriminalization of “open possession” of less than 15 grams of marijuana (woo-hoo!), can be reviewed here.

Although the comments following articles regarding the Governor’s proposals regarding gun control are much the same blustering rants as those on way too many sites, i.e.: American citizens misinterpreting the 2nd Amendment to justify that they need their guns to protect against a tyrannical government, or for personal protection of self, home, family; the “government” is coming to take their guns, basically from their cold dead hands; cars, hammers, knives, you name it, all kill more people than guns; and (the most laughable) that “people are leaving New York in droves”; I am proud to be a New Yorker, and glad that Governor Cuomo is starting to act (not just sound) more like his father than I had expected.

No Critical Thinking Act

What was terribly wrong with this law to begin with, was the fact that it never allowed for “Critical Thinking Skills” to be developed.  Instead, it narrowly concentrated on reading and math test scores. It was a bad experiment on millions of children that can’t get those years back to learn and think on their own.  It also damaged our public school systems with labels and allowed the rise of Charter Schools that took our tax dollars away from our school districts.

Personally, I think they should just repel the law but, the Education Secretary wants to “rebrand it.”  I guess he figures if they wrap it up in a new name, like re-gifting a bad present, that will make it all better.  Bad idea, in my opinion.  The New York Times is reporting they are making a contest out of “rebranding” the No Child Left Behind law.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan agrees. “Let’s rebrand it,” he said in an interview. “Give it a new name.”

And before Mr. Duncan has had time to float a single name, scores of educators, policy wonks and assorted rabble-rousers have rushed in with an outpouring of proposals.

The civil rights leader Marian Wright Edelman took the high road, suggesting it be called the Quality Education for All Children Act. But a lot of wise guys have gotten in on the act too, with suggestions like the All American Children Are Above Average Act. Alternatives are popping up every day on the Eduwonk.com blog, where Andrew Rotherham, a former Clinton administration official, is sponsoring a rename-the-law contest.

The nicknames of the law and the entries will give you a good laugh this morning.

Nicknames for the law proliferated: No Child Left Untested, No Child’s Behind Left, No School Board Left Standing.

Since Mr. Rotherham announced his contest last week, Eduwonk has received 41 entries, including: the Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act, the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act, the Teach to the Test Act and the Could We Start Again Please Act.

Joking aside about the names, this law does not address the inadequate funding to many of the school districts across the nation. They have out-of-date textbooks, labs, decaying school buildings and over crowded classrooms. These inter-city children are still being short changed compared to the schools in the suburbs.  Our high school, this year, was shut down for 4 days because of our ancient boiler system needed to be overhauled.

My parting thought, we have too many resource inadequacies in our schools, which is one of the causes for the nations rise in poverty.

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