New York students don’t need Smart Schools Bond Act

Oct 21, 2014 by

On Nov. 4, New Yorkers will have a chance to vote on the Smart Schools Bond Act. This bond has little to do with education and more to do with Gov. Andrew Cuomo giving a gift to the tech industry and circumventing political opposition to the Common Core.

The Smart Schools Bond Act authorizes the creation of a state debt for $2 billion to fund capital projects. These projects include acquiring computers, installing Internet connectivity for schools, and placing high-tech security features in school buildings.

More : Schools eager for tech money if state bonds approved

Veneer of democracy

Of course, some of those things are worth funding or, at least, being the subject of debate within school districts. But it is always worth reading the fine print before making a major investment.

Cuomo appointed Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, to the Smart Schools Commission. According to a report from Consumer Watchdog, Google could, and likely will, benefit financially from this arrangement. “This is not the fox guarding the chicken coop, but rather the fox building the coop.”

The bill gives the veneer of democracy. School districts must consult with parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders before submitting a smart schools investment plan. Ultimately, however, the plan must be approved by the smart schools review board, comprised of the chancellor of the State University of New York, the Director of Budget, and the Commissioner of Education, or, right now, Nancy Zimpher, Robert Megna, and John King.

In other words, this bond enriches the technology industry and empowers three Albany-based individuals to decide how to use education resources in the state of New York.

Cementing Common Core

How does this relate to the Common Core? New York is currently preparing to administer the Common Core-based PARCC tests. As part of the Race to the Top application, New York committed to administering the tests to students at the same time on computers. The costs of purchasing the computer and bandwidth to take these tests places a financial burden on school districts. This bond relieves that burden in the short-term, which may explain why some superintendents are grateful for the relief it brings.

But make no mistake: This bond helps cement the Common Core in New York schools. The technology makes possible the Common Core tests, and the smart schools review board is made up of three individuals who support the Common Core.

via New York students don’t need Smart Schools Bond Act.

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