Remember when Sheriff Andy Cuomo strutted to the podium and made the following bold pronouncement :
“This year, I will take a second job — consider me the lobbyist for the students.” “I will wage a campaign to put students first, and to remind us that the purpose of public education is to help children grow, not to grow the public education bureaucracy.”
Mmmmm, yeah, that. Aside from wrestling in the politically loaded phrase "Students First" with all the subtlety of a Monday Night Football drunk holding one of those signs that says:
he also manages to spew some outrageous bullshit that we all know he has no intention of following up on. "Not to grow the education bureaucracy" he says. Oh and how many people in your district have been yanked out of their classrooms to serve as "data coaches" and present soporific in-services on "Unpacking the Common Core?" Ninja, please.
Well the first thing this lobbyist for the children did was to create an Education Reform Commission stacked with wealthy connected tools zero of whom happened to know fuck all about education but then again when was that ever an objective in the Cuomosphere ? Starting with the poster boy for politically wired upward failure, Sugar Dick Parsons with his love child from "model philanthropist" MacDella Cooper 30 years his junior and his equally specious Valedictorianship of his Albany Law School class. Here's a little background on the definitive Parson's Tale, taken from a piece by Mark Ames in The Daily Banter :
...So Parsons dropped out of high school with a “C” average, earning a GED certificate. He enrolled in the University of Hawaii for reasons he could never really explain, joined a frat, and became their social chairman. As one of Parsons’ frat brohs recalled to journalist Nina Munk, “Here’s this guy who’s at the bar sixty-seven days in a row and, as you can imagine, he did very poorly in school.” Parsons did worse than poorly: He flunked out of U. Hawaii. Without earning a degree. And then slacker Dick Parsons met oligarch Nelson Rockefeller, and from here on out, Parsons lived out a Cinderella fairytale for the One Percenters. As luck would have it, Dick Parsons’ grandfather was once a favorite groundskeeper at the famous Rockefeller Compound in Pocantico Hills and lived in a hut on in the shadow of the oligarchs’ mansion. Soon, Dick Parsons and his wife would move into one of those same groundskeepers huts under Nelson Rockefeller’s patronage.
Well before you could short a Netflix stock Old Dick, without ever wasting his time on anything as trivial as a Bachelor's degree, walked away from SUNY Albany with a law degree where he'd worked as an intern for you guessed it Nelson Rockefeller, the Governor. And surprise of all surprises, while Rockefeller operative Harry Albright was scoring the bar exams that year, see if you can guess who got the highest score of anyone who took the thing? Yes, incredible. By another coincidence in the 1980s, the same Harry Albright headed the Dime Savings thrift, and this same Harry Albright appointed Dick Parsons to replace him. The rest as we say is financial disaster history. Parson destroyed several banks and left in his wake a bunch of pissed off stockholders and a stream of litigation while pocketing tidy sums for himself and a handful of close associates. Somewhere after being run out on a rail from his last CEO ship Dick made time to do the nasty without his galoshes and ended up with a baby everyone thinks is his grandchild.
Now you tell me, does Sheriff Andy know how to pick the right person to head up an Education Reform committee or what ? Quit high school, never finished college, got into law school through the good old boy network and was handed his first bank to run by the guy who corrected his Bar Exam and gave it the highest grade of anyone in the state? Oh did I mention this scumbag never spent five minutes in front of a classroom teaching or in administration or guidance? Zip, Zilch, Nicht. But he's the guy "the lobbyist for the students" chooses to look in on education and see where we dumb teachers are getting it all wrong. There were also a couple of Bain Capitalists on the Commission as well as the CEO of the Shuck and Strive Charter Chain, Geoffrey Canada, famous for shit canning an entire class of fourth graders one year because their test scores weren't up to snuff. I believe as CEO of Harlem $uckcess Charters he knocks down between $400K and a half a million a year but we can never be sure as Charterland has its own special rules for disclosure that most of us simply don't deserve to know. My favorite Commission member though is Lisa Belzberg whose husband, oops! former husband, is heir to the Seagram's liquor fortune. I say former because Herr Bronfman took exception to Bubba Clinton putting the wood to dear Lisa with such regularly outrageous indiscretion that New York gossip wags had the time of day as well as the floor of the Hotel they were trysting in. Word was also that she was devastated when Billy Boy zipped up and bid her pampered arse adieu. Bronfman was married when he met her so I guess he should have seen it coming and as one might guess her kids attend a private religious school not one of those icky public things full of reduced price lunches and brown people. She did start up a warm and fuzzy rich lady's project called PENCIL though, so aside from her being a potential booty call AND donor Lisa Belzberg's edu chops are practically Ravitchean compared to the Bainers and Sugar Dick Parsons. Of course the Committee also included Superintendent Dr. Teresa Thayer Snyder of Voorheesville Central, Principal of the Century Carol Burris, Dr. Joe Rella, O.k. just kidding, he didn't have anyone of any credibility like this, I guess I was just fantasizing for a minute. The committee did include a few more laughs in the form of Chicken a la King, aka Lil John of NYSED and good old Vichy/Quisling union sell out and capitulator Randi Weingarten. Wow, just fucking wow. Is that a bunch that would make you look into home schooling, double hits of Citalopram or what?
"The Commission" held little fake meetings at inconvenient hours in cramped quarters and manipulated the audience to keep anyone with a brick in their hand or a serious question on their tongue as far from the mic and the podium as possible. They flitted from burgh to burgh from county to county and checked their email, yawned, googled restaurants on their smart phones, shifted from ham to ham in their seats and doodled on legal pads while the quibbling proles in attendance were permitted a minute or two to say whatever it was that none of the Commission were going to listen to anyway, It's strikingly similar to the way they have re-structured the Not Listening Tour since King and Co. got pantsed at the Smackdown in Spackenkill. And in the end, the Mighty Commission of CEO's and sex fiends, fuck ups and Bain Capitalists made a bunch of pointless recommendations none of which could be funded anyway, so in essence, "the lobbyist for the students" didn't do a goddamned thing for them. He did however keep a bunch of potential donors close by for his run to Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016. And in the end isn't that what a lobbyist really does? He makes people feel good -- be it with wine, cigars, hookers or Caribbean golf outings or appointments to kindheaded committees -- and reminds them he is going to need their help in return at some later date. Hot damn Sheriff Andy if you and your second job aren't off to a rousing start. This cat knows how to lobby! The Students? Well now that's another story...