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Beware! Cuomo Adds Another Billionaire to "Reimagine" Post-Pandemic Public Education

The pandemic is turning into a grand opportunity for the foxes to raid the henhouse under cover of darkness.

Why doesn’t Gov. Andrew Cuomo (right) listen to parents and teachers and students, who will tell him to reinvent schools by fully funding them? (Photo:  Gov. Andrew Cuomo / flickr / cc)

Why doesn’t Gov. Andrew Cuomo (right) listen to parents and teachers and students, who will tell him to reinvent schools by fully funding them? (Photo:  Gov. Andrew Cuomo / flickr / cc)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he has tapped a second billionaires to “reinvent” education in New York state after the pandemic. According to the New York Post, Cuomo sees distance learning as “the wave of the future,” so who better to enlist as his advisers than Bill Gates and now Eric Schmidt of Google.

Reporter Rebecca C. Lewis of "City and State" just tweeted this report:

Cuomo has announced the third billionaire to lead state efforts amid the coronavirus crisis: former Google CEO Eric Schmidt will be focused on new technology utilization. He joins Michael Bloomberg, who’s doing contact tracing, and Bill Gates, who’s doing education

Neither Bill Gates nor Eric Schmidt is an educator. They made their fortune selling software. Selling stuff to schools does not make you an education expert.

Obviously Cuomo thinks that the future of education is online.

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He seems oblivious to the eagerness of parents and students alike to return to real live teachers in real school buildings. Parents want to return to work, students want to see their teachers and their friends, and they want to return to their activities and sports. Teachers want to see their students. No one but Cuomo—and probably Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt—wants remote learning to become permanent.

Please someone tell Governor Cuomo that the state Constitution and laws delegate all authority over education to the Board of Regents, and gives zero authority to him.

The pandemic is turning into a grand opportunity for the foxes to raid the henhouse under cover of darkness. Parents, teachers, and students want a safe and orderly return to real education taught by real teachers in real schools.

Why doesn’t Gov. Cuomo listen to parents and teachers and students, who will tell him to reinvent schools by fully funding them? They want smaller class sizes, well-maintained facilities, experienced teachers, a well-stocked library with a librarian, programs in the arts, a nurse and social worker and guidance counselor in every school. They don’t want the massive budget cuts that the Governor has in store nor do they want the distance learning that they are currently experiencing to become permanent.

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is a historian of education at New York University. Her most recent book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.  Her previous books and articles about American education include: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform, (Simon & Schuster, 2000); The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (Knopf, 2003); The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know (Oxford, 2006), which she edited with her son Michael Ravitch. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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