Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg are taking on the Teachers Unions over Teacher Evaluations

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Once upon a time Republicans ruled New York.  George Pataki was governor from January 1, 1995 – December 31, 2006.  And Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City from January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2001.  Sparking a renaissance in New York.  Especially in New York City.  For Giuliani cut crime and improved the quality of life for New Yorkers living in America’s greatest city.  But I don’t recall them taking on the public schools like the current Democrat leadership (see New York City’s schools could lose 2,500 teachers by next year by Hilary Russ posted 1/28/2013 on Reuters).

New York City’s public schools over two years will lose $724 million in state aid and as many as 2,500 teachers through attrition, because of a labor union conflict over a teacher evaluation system, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.

The schools lost $250 million of that total earlier this month after the city and United Federation of Teachers failed to agree on a way to evaluate teacher performance.

City schools would lose that same baseline funding amount in the state’s coming fiscal year, which begins April 1, plus another $224 million under the state budget proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, Bloomberg said at a joint legislative hearing…

City schools could lose $1 billion altogether in baseline state funding without action on the teacher evaluations, said New York City Comptroller John Liu, who testified after Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, however, said that the union tried to introduce new provisions to an agreement at the last minute that would have made the evaluation system a “fraud” because it would have expired in two years – the same amount of time required to conduct the evaluations, making the process pointless.

This is not what you expect to hear coming from Democrat governors and Democrat mayors.  For the teachers unions help these people get into office.  By funding their campaigns with union dues.  And getting out the vote with their foot soldiers.  It is doubtful that these actions will swing the teachers’ support over to the Republican cause.  But it is interesting to see these Democrats bite the hand that feeds them.

It also shows how contentious teacher evaluations are.  For the unions are willing to lose $1 billion in funding to avoid evaluating their teachers.  One has to wonder why?  Why are they so dead-set against evaluations when every industry in the private sector evaluates their employees?  The common answer is that evaluations aren’t fair.  That they just measure a student’s ability to read, write and do math.  And not more important things like helping these kids see things from a liberal point of view.

The problem is this, though.  Businesses want to hire graduates who can read, write and do math.  For these are necessary skills in the business world.  And seeing things from a liberal point of view will not allow American kids to keep up with the Chinese and Indian kids.  Who are learning how to read, write and do math.  Which is why more and more jobs are being out sourced to these countries.  Their kids score better on standardized tests than our kids.  And end up getting better jobs.

This may be why these Democrats are taking on public education.  New York has some of the highest tax rates in the country.  These high rates are causing the best and brightest to leave New York.  As more and more of their earnings are taxed away.  And who is replacing the best and brightest?  The kids graduating from the public schools.  Who apparently aren’t doing as well as they could.  As Bloomberg and Cuomo are playing hardball when it comes to these teacher evaluations.  There must be a reason for that.  And one can only assume that they want their high school graduates to be better and brighter.

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Coca-Cola denies making People Obese and Objects to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 16 Ounce Limit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 9th, 2012

Week in Review

Coca-Cola strikes back.  Attacking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large sizes of sugary drinks.  They say the facts don’t support the mayor’s claim.  That their fattening drinks are not making people obese.  And they have a point.  For I have seen a lot of thin-challenged people order diet drinks.  To justify their indulgence in things that are not diet (see Coke says obesity grew as sugary drink consumption fell by Bruce Horovitz posted 6/8/2012 on USA Today).

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, is pushing back against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s provocative proposal a week ago to limit to 16 ounces the size of sugary drinks that could be sold at city restaurants, theaters and street carts.

“There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity,” says Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola’s president of sparkling beverages in North America, in an exclusive interview.

In fact, Bayne says, during the period from 1999 through 2010, when obesity was rising, sugar intake from beverages was decreasing. During that period, she says, sugars from soda consumption fell 39% even as the percentage of obese kids jumped 13% and obese adults climbed 7%.

Mayor Bloomberg was unavailable, but his deputy press secretary, Samantha Levine, says Coke’s numbers have more fizz than fact.

I remember having dinner with some friends one night.  One lady in our group enjoyed a Long Island iced tea before the appetizer.  She had another one with the appetizer.  And another one with her meal.  Which was a large cut of steak and a baked potato smothered in butter and sour cream.  With a side of shrimp scampi.  She ordered a soft drink to go with her meal.  A Diet Coke.  But despite this Diet Coke which was the only soft drink she drank she was a little on the heavy side.  And by ‘a little’ I mean she probably could be included in the above statistics.

Remember the salad bar craze?  People were going to eat healthy salads instead of fattening meals.  How many of us were next to someone at the salad bar as they loaded their plate with ham, pepperoni, bacon, boiled egg, cheese, etc.  While passing over the fresh vegetables?  Then topped off their salad with two or three helpings of a creamy salad dressing?  And washing it all down with a diet beverage?  I’m sure we’ve all seen this.  Someone eating a ‘healthy meal’ that had three times the fat than in your typical fast food combo meal.

This 16 ounce limit on sugary drinks will probably not stop people from having their Long Island iced teas or eating large helpings of a delicious meal.  So the danger is that when this sugary drink ban doesn’t work they’ll expand the ban to include other fattening things.  And keep expanding it until they see a reduction in the obesity rates.  To the point where restaurants may one day become the calorie police.  Perhaps allowing you to buy a baked potato with butter or sour cream but not both. 

Don’t think that can happen?  Well, they’re trying to make restaurants, theaters and street carts the sugary drinks police.  Something no one would have believed possible a decade earlier.

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