Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.
Here is today's Lew's View:
Here at Fox 5, we believe Education Matters and we will continue to shine a light on issues that affect local school systems.
Crain's magazine recently published an editorial by the president of the United Federation of Teachers , Michael Mulgrew, titled "City pensions: fact and friction". Well I will give Mr. Mulgrew's article an A in math because his numbers are right but an F in philosophy because his solutions are out of touch with reality.
We cannot continue to be as nearsighted as Mr. Magoo.
Mr. Mulgrew contends that we are all needlessly worried, that teacher pensions are not the cause of the "city's fiscal distress" and he calls the teacher's pension benefits "generally modest".
Mr. Mulgrew’s fiscal solutions will send us downhill fast.
He wants to hope and pray that the stock market goes up. He wants to increase taxes and finally, sue Wall Street firms for "criminal actions and trading mistakes".
No where in his op-ed does he mention education, schools, students or parents. Mr. Mulgrew's solutions are not realistic; he sees no problem with the city contributing 30% of payroll to the pension fund and he insists that the current system is sustainable even as the Mayor announces plans to lay off 4000 teachers.
We need clear eyed solutions to the problems. Reality tells us that New York is going broke.
Our education system is failing. We already spend more than any one else on public education and we have the highest taxes. The New York City School budget has become the teacher pension fund. The same issues face school districts throughout the state.
We cannot continue to spend money that we do not have. It is time for real reform and that includes making sure that our high taxes are used responsibly to deliver a quality public education. Taxpayers like me have had enough and we call on the new governor to help end the madness.
Here are my suggestions for Governor Cuomo-- declare a state of emergency, freeze teacher salaries, put an end to the current pension system and move to a defined contribution plan like we have in the private sector. These drastic measures are needed in order to give all school districts the ability to avoid teacher layoffs and put more money into the classrooms where it belongs.
Time for change is now. Our blind luck is running out.
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