Monday, October 17, 2016

The Sound of Silence
By:  Marla Kilfoyle, NY BAT 



Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again

~Simon and Garfunkel


As I began to write this piece, I thought of this song.  In particular the first few lines, “Hello darkness, my old friend.”  Although I am sure that Simon and Garfunkel didn’t write this song about politics in 2016, it made me think of what we have been witnessing this election cycle.

Election season is always a difficult time for many educators and education activist.  We begin to look at all the campaign donations that fly to politicians from people, and organizations, that seek to destroy public education.  It is the same old players emerging here in N.Y.

The Waltons, The Koch Brothers, StudentsFirstNY funded by Wall Street Hedge Funders like Paul Singer, Dan Loeb, and John Paul Tudor.

The NYS Senate Republican Committee are HUGE cheerleaders for the charter movement and have received millions for this election cycle from the folks listed above.  For the sake of transparency, our Governor, and a smattering of Democrats, are also cheerleaders for charter expansion and the privatization movement.

I will have to say that NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, is a bigger cheerleader for privatization then John Flanagan, the Republican majority leader in our Senate.  He is also a member of ALEC  

The ALEC education agenda is model legislation that travels around the nation when they need to defund schools, close them, and open up unaccountable charters.  They support ending public education for a competitive model of education.  The problem with a competitive model is that there are always winners and losers.  We should have NO losers when it comes to education in this country.

Anyhow, I diverge; back to our regularly scheduled program.

Here you can see the Board of Elections filings who has dumped money to the NYRSC



The Koch Brothers have been waging war on public education and teachers for many years now.  They are supporters of ALEC legislation to defund and destroy public education. I watched them three summers ago fund the end of due process rights from teachers in Kansas.   (see David’s $100,000 above).

The Waltons (who own Walmart and don’t even live in NY) have also had a long history of funding anti-public education initiatives (charter expansion, closing schools, choice, vouchers, TFA, and removing tenure rights from teachers).  They dumped another $500,000 to a PAC here in NY called New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany (a charter expansion PAC).

Updated (10/21/16) Walton's and Singer drop another $2 million to StudentsFirstNY for Republican State Senate Committee



Paul Singer dropped a million on October 10th, and notice that StudentsFirstNY is in charge of that money.

Dan Loeb another hedge funder who supports charter expansion, and who has a  history of dumping large sums of money to folks who support charter expansion, dumps $100,000 on Sept 7th.

First image are the Walton's of Walmart who gave $50,000, second image is Singer who gave $1,000,000, and the final image is Loeb who gave $100,000


Republican Carl Marcellino, who is running against Democrat Jim Gaughran, got not one but two, yes two,  $142,590 independent expenditure from StudentsFirstNY (A20133) for media.  Republican Elaine Phillips, who is running against Democrat Adam Haber, got a $271,950 independent expenditure from StudentsFirstNY (A20133).  Anyone who follows the fight to save public education KNOWS that StudentsFirst has been on the frontlines of the attack on public education and public school teachers.  They have been the cheerleaders for Common Core, High-Stakes Testing, School Closures, vouchers, choice, and charter expansion.   The sad thing is that Marcellino is on the NYS Education Committee.  Call me crazy but shouldn’t that mean he should fight for public education NOT privatization?   The larger question is – who will Marcellino and Phillips be accountable to when it comes to education policy?  We all know the answer to that question.  The Money!


One of several IE given to Marcellino from StudentsFirstNY - Marcellino is on the NYS Education Committee

Update (10/20/16) - Anti Public Education organization StudentsFirstNY given more money and using them to "oppose" Gaughran and Haber.

Marcellino given $286,756 from StudentsFirstNY for media and Phillips given $862,060 from StudentsFirstNY for Media



 The PAC that is distributing all this money to StudentsFirstNY – New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany is funded by anti-public education billionaires.  The other PAC, New Yorkers for Independent Action, is also supported by billionaires who are anti-public education.  This money is being distributed to politicians who will support their destructive agenda for public education in NY.
Bottom line is – we must get to the polls and vote anyone out who takes this money – Republican or Democrat.  Check the NY elections funding site to look up elections in your area 

As a public educator, education activist, and mother I will NOT be voting for anyone who takes money from StudentsFirstNY, New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany or New Yorkers for Independent Action.  Public education is for the public good and we should be funding that equitably, not defunding and destroying it.  Public education should not be competitive where you have winners and losers.  Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and is the great equalizer.

So, why did I title this piece the sound of silence?

While the NYS Senate Republican Committee is raking in all this cash from anti-public education billionaires, NOT many of them have said a word about Donald Trump’s behavior.  To me, silence means acceptance.

It’s OK to malign immigrants and it’s OK to malign women.

Here are two women that Carl Marcellino threw out of his office a few months ago when they went in to talk about the education of their children

Oh, and by the way, the NYS Senate Republican Committee thinks it is OK to pay for and distribute anti-semitic flyers.  This is a flyer that the Senate Republican Committee distributed about Adam Haber, who is Jewish and  running against Republican Elaine Phillips.

To add insult to injury this was distributed during the week  of Yom Kippur.



Here was Haber response in a press release 

The Sound of Silence! 


The views expressed here do not represent those of the BAT Board of Directors but my own personal views.  You can follow Marla on twitter @Marla_Kilfoyle

1 comment:

  1. Our future: A WALMART education for WALMART citizens. Clearly we have been dumbing down creative thought for our poorer citizens for more than a decade, now, in the name of a "test-score" school reform...so now we'll simply spread the disease to middle class kids?

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