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.
Like 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.