Safe Act, Fracking Ban, and now Common Core

Remember the SAFE Act?

In one context it can be seen as the controversial New York State law that unified many Upstaters to protect their rights to own a firearm. Many angry New Yorkers were convinced that the State Government overstepped their boundaries, and illegally denied residents their basic rights of gun ownership.

Congressional Rep. Tom Reed appeared at gun rallies and shooters’ picnics, dropped in at hunting clubs, and  pledged to fight to Repeal the SAFE Act. At one SCOPE (Shooters Committee on Political Education) event Reed said, “We need to be fighting Washington, D.C. We need to be standing up for our rights and there is not a more important constitutional right to guarantee freedom than our 2nd Amendment.” He also promised he would fight against having a bill like NY’s SAFE Act passed in Congress.

Last month the education community organized rallies around the New York State protesting the State Education Department initiative Common Core. Teachers are upset not only because they are expected to use state created scripts as lesson plans, but that they are being evaluated by the scores their students earn on mandated state created tests. Parents are upset that their children are have difficulties learning and blame the new teaching methods. School administrators are upset that Albany owes school districts millions of dollars of unpaid state aid. All fingers are point to Governor Cuomo for all of this ill will. Cuomo is pointing his finger at the Legislature who appoints the Board of Regents who approved the Common Core teaching methods and teacher evaluation policies.

Controversial Common Core has unified many Upstaters. They feel that the State Government overstepped their boundaries by micro-managing education. Teachers are already organized in Unions. Many parents are protesting Common Core requirements by permitting their children to “opt-out” of taking the State tests which evaluate the teachers. Schools could loose state funding if the less than 95% of students took the tests. Many schools fell below that standard.

Rep. Reed is again stepping up to protect his constituents from what they perceive is an  overbearing State Government. In an April 22 Press Release, Rep. Reed announced that he will propose legislation that helps the Parents and teachers to oppose the State’s educational decisions.

“I support the right of parents to make decisions regarding the education of their children. Parents should play an active role in determining what standardized tests their children take. Tens of thousands of parents have already opted their children out of required public school testing, a protest against Common Core curriculum and the philosophy of `teaching to the test.’ This action has sent a clear message to lawmakers: parents should decide what is in their child’s best interest, not bureaucrats in Albany or Washington.

I care about our local students, teachers, and taxpayers. Local school districts should not be penalized simply because taxpayers are exercising their parental rights. It is not fair that local school districts could be designated as “failing” or lose funding due to higher opt out numbers. This legislation protects property taxpayers by ensuring that teachers, administrators, and school districts will not be adversely affected by opting students out of the Common Core tests.”

Federal funds flow from Washington to states that aligns their curriculums with Common Core standards. Common Core’s goal is to standardized the topics taught  at each grade across the nation. In theory if a family moves from New York to Mississippi their children would still be taught the same topics at the same grade levels; they will not miss how to subtract fraction with unlike denominators. Each state controls the method the topics are to be taught. The method Mississippi uses to teach how to subtract fractions with unlike denominators could be different than the method New York uses. Therefore, the particular problems that New York parents and teachers are facing are unique to New York.

Rep. Reed, who has stated that he believes in the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution–States Rights, (“Maintaining states’ rights while responsibly caring for the environment are two very important goals”, Reed  continued.) is again trying to use his federal position to change New York State Law.

Rep. Reed’s disregard of States’ Rights does not end with the SAFE Act and Common Core. After New York State announced banning the use of the gas drilling procedure commonly known as Hydrofracking, Rep. Reed proposed the Defense of Property Rights Act. The Act gives property owners the right to sue the government if any law, regulation, or decision made by the government causes the value of the property to decrease. His proposed law has no co-sponsors, although it is supported by the gas and oil industries along with property owners associations and the real estate coalitions. There are a lot of questions surrounding this law. An attorney has written an article posted in the NewNY23rd that poses many serious legal questions about Reed’s proposal.

ambulancechaser1Like an ambulance chasing lawyer, Rep. Reed zeros in on groups infuriated by recently made governmental decisions and then lambastes the government (in these cases New York State and Governor Cuomo). He then gives them the false assurance that the State’s decision is  not legitimate, and offers Federal assistance. He declared the SAFE Act unconstitutional, and has proposed federal legislation to right the wrongs of the fracking ban and Common Core.

The fact is a Federal Court in 2013 declared that SAFE Act  did withstand constitutional scrutiny”. Reed has declared that the Property Rights Act has “growing support”, it has not been co-sponsored by any representative. We’ll see what happens with his yet proposed remedy for  Common Core.

Rep. Reed is playing political games. His goal is to stay in power. He is using these groups and their conflicts to boost his political support. It is not only doubtful that any of his efforts will produce positive results for these groups; he would rather have them NOT to succeed.  He wants to keep these groups upset enough to be active campaigners for campaigns to come.

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About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in 2016, Constituents, Economics, Education, Environmental, Ethics, fracking, Gun Violence, Hydrofracking/Gas& Oil Industry, NYS Government, Protests, Reed's Views and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Safe Act, Fracking Ban, and now Common Core

  1. whungerford says:

    I believe much of the resentment toward the Common Core curriculum rises from testing. Parents fear that students will perform poorly, and teachers and administrators fear evaluations based on student performance. A teacher explained to me this week that while her students have always met the required performance standard, it is a constant worry that they might not. That preparing students for the tests and test taking take time from teaching are also concerns.

    Testing was promoted in the 2001 NCLB law to evaluate schools and teachers based on student performance. The H.R.5 reform bill promoted by the GOP (since withdrawn due to lack of support from right-leaning Republicans) would have shifted the onus of mandated testing to the States. Here is an excerpt from a summary of H.R.5.

    Academic Assessments: Consistent with current law, the bill requires states to develop
    and implement a set of assessments for all students in the state in reading and math in
    each of grades three through eight and once in high school, and in science once in each of
    the grade spans for grades three through five, six through nine, and 10 through 12. States
    retain the option to develop assessments in other subjects at their discretion and have the
    flexibility to use multiple measures of student achievement. States must ensure their
    assessments include reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and are
    allowed to adopt alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive
    disabilities and computer adaptive assessments. The bill maintains requirements on
    disaggregating subgroup data, assessing the English proficiency of English learners and
    ensuring 95 percent participation rates for all students and each subgroup.

    http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hr_5_detailed_bill_summary.pdf

    The above implies (as I read it) that States must maintain at least 95% participation in test participation.

    Now that NCLB has fallen out of favor and H.R. 5 is stalled in Congress, what do Republicans want? To make political hay out of the havoc they helped create evidently.

  2. Deb Meeker says:

    This article is filled with corroborating evidence that Rep. Reed speaks with a forked tongue. He’s all for states rights until it loses him or his owners money, or control over ramming legislation down the throats of the American people. Too bad he’s a bulldog the wrong ideology.

    The facts that Reed is an ideologue and an opportunist aren’t new to most of the people in the NY 23rd district – especially to those who attended any of the 2014 debates against Martha Robertson. Reed’s use of his ignorant, abusive supporters to bully his opponent, and “laugh at” her common sense platform was pervasive; not to mention Reed’s hiring of a photographer to harass Robertson as she campaigned in our towns.

    Tom Reed soldiers on, like a good little corporate toadie – introducing legislation only big money can support, as his constituents go begging for needed services.
    As long as he’s paid the big bucks, he’ll continue to waste taxpayer’s money, and as long as some constituents of NY 23rd district buy into his glossy photo ops, he’ll continue to use their ignorance to further his goals.

    http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/local/2015/04/23/congress-looks-fracking-bans/26266383/

  3. Lee Marcus says:

    Thank you for shedding light on this slick, clever politician. I recently attended one of his town halls and went away almost delirious with frustration. The room was a cheering section for Reed as he spewed misinformation and dog-whistled loathing for the disadvantaged. Get this: according to our congressman, a person on public assistance makes $43,000 a year (if s/he takes advantage of everything available). As for the minimum wage keeping people in our region in poverty, not a problem. We have too many jobs, and people just won’t take them. According to Reed (and his bobble-headed local posse) welders make $60,000/yr, but nobody wants to be a welder, and too many of our children are going to college. All that was in answer to the minimum wage question. There is no minimum wage problem. Just a lot of lazy, over-educated riffraff.

  4. Marcia Johnson says:

    I understand the idea behind Common Core. We need to have standards for the education of our children. I believe the level of education in NY is better than many other states. We have all heard of people who have moved out of state and found the education programs to much less advanced and easier. My daughter lives in Los Angeles and was surprised and how little her CA friends knew about algebra. And she certainly was not an advance math student. Teachers do have some responsibility on whether their student’s are learning the subject. But there is so much more going on in a student’s life which may affect their performance. And a teacher is not responsible for that. All things should go into a teacher’s performance evaluation.

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