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Oh No He Didn't!
June 16, 2014

By Joe Williams

Poor Rubain Dorancy had no idea what he was walking into. Dorancy, a candidate for the New York State Senate, joined tens of thousands of Americans last week in noting the importance of the Vergara v. California lawsuit. Now he’s got Mike Mulgrew in his grill.

To bring you up to speed on all of the fake-drama that has ensued in the last few days so you can appreciate Dorancy’s plight:

  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan issues a pro-public education reaction to the judge’s ruling. (Joining other pro-public education figures like Rep. George Miller in highlighting the need to do better by kids.) 
  • AFT President rips Duncan to shreds on Twitter and in the press for siding with the young victims in the case and not standing with the rank-and-file in her union. While EdWeek notes that Duncan’s comments were actually “pretty anemic as these things go, and took a typically middle-of-the-road approach. It called on districts and unions to collaborate to write laws that better balance student and adult needs.” 
  • Press reports in New York suggest that Dorancy may now lose the backing of the once-powerful United Federation of Teachers because he dared to re-tweet Secretary Duncan’s original tweet after the Vergara verdict was announced. “With a tweet, Dorancy shot himself in the foot as far as teachers are concerned,” one ball-busting union boss told City and State newspaper. 

If it is any consolation, Mr. Dorancy, look no further than Mayor Bill de Blasio, who probably wouldn’t be mayor right now if the UFT had decided to endorse him in the Democratic Primary. This too shall pass. Keep fighting for the little guys.

UPDATE: Yesterday, Secretary Duncan doubled-down on his comments, offering even more details on what he sees as the lessons learned coming out of Vergara. Important read.


DFER-NY Releases Statement on AQE March
March 12, 2014

DFER-NY Releases Statement on AQE March

Craig Johnson, Democrats for Education Reform NY Board Chair, issued the following statement on the Alliance for Quality Education's march today in Albany:

"Contrary to what you may hear from certain special interest groups, the best way to fix our schools is not just to pour more money into the education bureaucracy. New York already spends $75 billion in education annually—from public schools to state funded universities—more than the total annual budget of 47 other states. What we need is smarter investments that actually deliver results, like statewide universal full-day pre-k, scholarships for students in critically-needed STEM courses and funding to reward our hardest working teachers. Governor Cuomo is taking a stand for our students by pushing for these programs, and we should all join him in putting our students first."

Read more about the AQE's march from the Albany Times Union's Rick Karlin.

DFER-NY's Craig Johnson Comments on Common Core Recommendations by State Panel
March 11, 2014

Source: New York Daily News

Craig Johnson, Democrats for Education Reform NY Board Chair, issued the following statement today on the recommendations released during Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Common Core Implementation Panel:

"The Common Core is essential to preparing our students for success in the high-skill economy, but it must be implemented correctly. The Common Core Implementation Panel convened by Governor Cuomo has put forward a set of recommendations that will improve implementation, protect students and parents from unfair high-stakes testing, and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed. While some see the Common Core's challenges as an opportunity to derail critical reforms like New York's landmark teacher and principal evaluation system, we know that moving forward with improved implementation of the Common Core and maintaining our commitment to strong and fair educator accountability must go hand in hand."

DFER's Joe Williams Responds to AQE Press Release
February 25, 2014

By Joe Williams

The Alliance for Quality Education should declare victory in getting Governor Cuomo to increase his support for pre-K before the overzealous advocates ruin what should be a great thing for 4-year-olds statewide with their cynical overreach.

AQE is acting like a teenager who makes the case to his parents for $40 for a new pair of shoes. The parents go out and buy the shoes, and the kid responds: "Thanks for the shoes, now where is my $40?"

If pre-K doesn't reach needy kids next year because AQE doesn't know how to accept "yes" for an answer, all the snotty press releases in the world won't change the fact that they blew it once again by putting policymakers in such an untenable position.

DFER-NY Statement on School Board Funding Lawsuit
February 11, 2014

Craig Johnson | 212.905.8325 | craig.johnson@mckennalong.com


DFER-NY Statement on School Board Funding Lawsuit

ALBANY, NY, February 11, 2014 - Craig Johnson, Democrats for Education Reform NY Board Chair, today issued the following statement on the school funding lawsuit filed in New York state:

“New York currently spends more taxpayer dollars per pupil than any state in the nation despite claims to the contrary. Notwithstanding this simple fact, we are middle of the pack when it comes to student achievement. Anyone anywhere near the classroom understands that it isn’t just money that is important, but how that money is spent. Smart leaders like Governor Cuomo and President Obama have focused on targeted investments in programs that work such as making sure our most effective teachers are rewarded and treated like the community heroes they are. We continue to believe that taxpayers will dig deeper to support public education, but that it is our responsibility to show them they are getting results in return. If not, we will just allow the nation’s most well-funded system fail another generation of children.”

About Democrats for Education Reform
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political reform organization with 13 state offices that cultivates and supports leaders in the Democratic party who champion America's public schoolchildren.


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