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Letter To The Editor: Honor Thy Zillionaires

There you go again, John Owens, venting your leftist, socialist “manifesto” (“Hold On, Albany, These Are Our Children”). Are you a Marxist by any chance? It certainly seems that way based on your incessant bashing of people of wealth, calling them “Wall Street Zillionaires,” and including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in that group, criticizing it for promoting/funding Common Core. Your derogatory characterization of them  as “Zillionaires” is beyond the pale!

Congratulations, however! You have joined the elitists and political morons of Hollywood such as the likes of Shaun [sic] Penn who admires and worships the leadership in Cuba and Venezuela, while bashing in public, the U.S. and everything it stands for, during his visit to both countries. A true hypocrite who makes “zillions” from movies, yet criticizes capitalism!

It would serve no purpose in enlightening your closed mind to the myriad of charities the Gates foundation and the “Wall Street Zillionaires” support. Ever hear of the NYU Langone Medical Center? In case you haven’t, Mr. Langone is one of your “Wall Street Zillionaires” who funded this medical facility. Shall I name more??

You want to bash Common Core and what it intends to accomplish by elevating the education standards in this country, that’s your prerogative. Just keep in mind that you and all the misguided naysayer fringe which pressured the Regents to roll it back until 2022 for high school graduation, will reap the mediocrity of the status quo education system by keeping American students in 32nd place worldwide in the basic disciplines such as math, science, and the language arts.

John, you got it all wrong when you say that Governor Mario [sic] Cuomo’s Common Core “claim was the path to kicking Singapore’s, Shanghai’s, Korea’s and Finland’s academic butts.” I don’t know where you’ve been these many years, but it is these countries, among others, that are the ones kicking our academic butts! Wake up to reality! Better learn how to speak Mandarin!

You and all these PTA soccer moms, teachers, their union, administrators, will reap what  you all sow, with students being the ultimate victims by depriving them to effectively compete in the global socio/economic arena. Can you live with that?

Stanley L. Ronell

Thanks for writing, Mr. Ronell. I’m not sure how Sean Penn got involved in this. Penn and I have nothing in common, except perhaps, agreeing that the movie Shanghai Surprise (co-starring Madonna) was a bad idea. As for my bashing of zillionaires, I can assure you that being rich does not earn a demerit in my book. But when rich people use their money to bend public institutions to their will, I am very concerned. Granted, that’s the way life and politics work — money not only talks, but it also pulls the levers. It is naive to think otherwise.

Nonetheless, I believe that Gates and the zillionaires have far too much influence over public education. Shouting that America’s schools are in “crisis,” they tell us that we must upend the whole system and run education the way they run their corporations — governed by data, questing for efficiency, enforcing accountability (that is, fire anyone they want to fire) and letting competition (taxpayer-funded for-profit schools, anyone?) reign. They tell us that our education system can’t be fixed, it must be replaced. That’s the root of the Common Core curriculum. That’s the root of all this testing. That’s the root of inBloom, the Gates-backed company that hopes to store and crunch the data of all American students.

Most people, like you, Mr. Ronell, nod in agreement when pundits say that American students are “33rd in the world.”

Yet if you ask just about anyone if their local schools are part of this “crisis,” they will say no. “We have good schools.” Sure, they could be better, and everybody wishes they were less expensive to run, but “crisis”? No, not here.

The fact is, the schools that are in crisis generally are those in places where the residents’ lives are in crisis — typically, places with poverty. Anything the zillionaires could do about that issue would be welcome.

John Owens is editor in chief of Anton Community Newspapers. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it