NYS Assembly Again Fears Teacher Unions & Stops Education Tax Credit Bill

Frank J. Russo, Jr                                   Connell Friel

Pres., AFA-NY                                Vice-Pres., AFA-NY


NYS Assembly Again Fears Teacher Unions & Stops     Education Tax  Credit  Bill


The Education Tax Credit Bill (S.1976/A.2551), which would greatly benefit both students & taxpayers, has passed the NYS Senate four times, but once again the Democrat controlled NYS Assembly would not even allow a vote. If a vote were allowed, the bill would likely pass with some of the Democrats voting with the Republicans to pass it. The bill would provide a tax credit to people who donate to either a public school or to a scholarship fund for low and middle income private/religious school students.  This would clearly benefit families who would prefer to send their children to a private/religious school but could not afford the tuition. Since these schools generally educate students at half the cost of our public schools, the taxpayers also are big winners with this bill.  The primary opposition comes from the public school teacher unions who want to keep their educational  monopoly and oppose giving  parents choice in education.

What’s especially interesting is that the current head of the Assembly Democrats is Carl Heastie, who himself was one of the co-sponsors of this bill before he took over the leadership position of indicted Assembly leader Sheldon Silver. Clearly, the primary reason the Democrats will not permit a vote on this bill, which helps both low income families and taxpayers at the same time, is their fear of the teacher unions. This bill would also help keep private/religious schools open, providing parents with a better opportunity to guide their children’s moral education.

We’ve invited several Assembly persons (Earlene Hooper, Philip Ramos & several from NYC)  to come on our TV program to explain why they oppose this bill, but they all declined. Some said that this bill would “benefit the wealthy.”  We called their offices to ask what they meant by this, as it simply was not true.  This bill helps low and middle income students get scholarships funded by donations, and doing this also benefits taxpayers since most religious schools educate students at a far lower cost than our public schools.

One positive development is we noticed “school choice” came up many times in our 2016 presidential debates & talks.


  The “Transgender”  Issue

Ten years ago if we heard a man (i.e., a biological male) say that he “really believed he was more of a woman than he was a man”, and that he therefore really thought he would “feel better” using the women’s shower or changing room rather than the one for men, we would have thought , “who is this guy trying to kid?” But today, President Obama and other government officials are concluding that this “gender dysphoria” is real and the wishes of such “transgender people” must be granted.

Our local public schools are being told they also must participate in this new set of rules dealing with such “transgender” students. Probably, this will result in the need for “new” bathrooms and showers for such individuals to use, since the alternative means that young guys will have to be allowed into the female student showers and bathrooms.

Let’s be clear—all human beings are truly “children of God.”  And so they  must be loved as such and they should NOT be ridiculed. And, sadly, many times such students have been abused and ridiculed. This abuse should clearly not be permitted. But also, if someone—adult or child—who is biologically male, but sadly views that he is actually a “she”, that should not warrant giving such a person the right to go into the private dressing/shower/bathrooms of the opposite biological sex. This feeling that one is really a member of the opposite sex (i.e., opposite from his/her biological/DNA sex), is unquestionably a form of disorder. Such a person should not be ridiculed or criticized, but also such a person should not actually be treated as a person of a sex category he really does not have.  But our nation, which has now legally recognized “marriage” as an institution granted to individuals of the same sex, and pregnant women have a “right” to terminate (i.e., “kill”) the unborn child growing within her womb, is clearly moving in a direction that confronts and negates indisputably basic moral laws of nature and nature’s God. Our government is increasingly forcing our society to actually treat such men (or women) suffering from this disorder as a person of the opposite sex , which they are not. And, worse, we are requiring health insurance and government health plans (e.g., Dept. of Veterans Affairs) to spend millions of tax dollars & health insurance fees in providing “sex change” operations.   We would never have believed such things would occur 20 years ago. We are moving in a “crazy” direction! One thing you CAN do is pray daily for our great nation and make small sacrifices.


A Problem with Macy’s

A Senior Store Detective at Macy’s in Flushing, Javier Chavez, was fired because he told them he believed that Macy’s policy allowing men who viewed themselves as women to use the women’s bathroom was contrary to his Catholic & biblical  beliefs, although he would still adhere to their policies. Because he personally believed their policy was inappropriate, he was fired. Mr. Chavez is now pursuing legal action charging Macy’s with violating his rights to religious freedom and adhering to his Catholic beliefs on proper sexual behavior and the right to sexual privacy.

We are very disappointed in Macy’s actions in firing Mr. Chavez for his religious beliefs. This “transgender” issue is really getting out of hand and is a sign of the incredibly wrong direction our nation is taking on proper sexual behavior.


Abortion/Breast Cancer Link

Dr. Angela Lanfranchi  is a breast cancer surgeon with over 30 years experience who has studied the link between abortion and breast cancer for decades. She and Dr. Joel Brind, also an expert on this issue, have discussed this important and serious connection largely unknown by most women for many years. There are over 30 statistically significant world-wide studies that lead to the conclusion of a link between abortion and development of breast cancer.  For more information on this difficult subject, check the web site for the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute at www.BCPInstitute.org.


Europe’s Falling Birthrate

The former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, has stated that the West will soon see the adverse consequences of its falling birthrate and its deteriorating moral decline. Rabbi Sacks compared the current situation in Europe to the breakdown of the ancient Greek and Roman empires.

The Rabbi explained the relationship between the collapse of marriage and the increase in child poverty and depression, and that the breakdown in the family has led to a far greater dependence upon government. The decline in birthrates also understandably leads these countries to accept mass immigrations to supply needed workers. And then the vast numbers of migrants result in problems of effective integration. Europe is now experiencing “the decline & fall of the Roman Empire”.  When both the Greek & Roman empires were  collapsing,  their  citizens  realized  it was in part due to their declining birth rates, as they could not handle the responsibilities of raising children.

(sources: www.crossmap.com/news/former-uk-chief-rabbi-warns-oif-colklapse-of-western-civilization-as-birth-rates-plummet-28559; & Population Research Inst. Review-July/Aug), 2016)


USA’s Labor Force    Participation Rates (May, 2016)

Overall ————–62.6%

Men    —————–68.9%





< H.S. Educ.———44.5%

H.S. Ed.—————57.1%

Some college———66.2%

Bachelor’s or >——74.3%


Issue of Child Abuse

According to research done by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), about 1 in 6 boys under 18 are sexually abused and 1 in 4 girls under 18 are so abused. What is also of concern is that two-thirds of these sexual assaults are never reported to the police. And, worse still, 98% of these rapists never get sent to jail.  One of the sad conclusions from this research by the the CDC & RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is that when you read numbers of such “reported” crimes, they are often grossly understated and the offenders can remain in our communities.

(AMAC Advantage magazine, Summer, ‘16, http://www.amac.us)


  Five  Excellent  “Old”  Videos

Here are 5 movies from 1939 to 1952 that we think you’d very much enjoy seeing:

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  2. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  3. Sergeant York (1941)
  4. Song of Bernadette (1943)
  5. The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)


  What Did Hillary Mean?

On April 23, 2015, in an address to the Women’s World Summit, Hillary Clinton said, “Laws have to be backed up with resources & political will. And deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed.” What are the religious beliefs she thinks have to be changed? Beliefs such as “killing unborn babies” and “honoring sodomy with same-sex marriage” that are in violation of God’s law?  The belief that “school choice is a fundamental right of parents” (Familiaris Consortio)? Are these the religious beliefs that we “must change”???


Gay Teen Behavior Problems

A recent study by the CDC (Aug. 2016) concluded that gay, lesbian & bisexual teens had far more problems than heterosexual teens.      Gay teens were:

–Far more likely to use illegal drugs

–Victims of rape 4 times as often

–Assaulted on dates twice as often

–Twice as likely out of fear to miss school

–Attempting suicide 4 times as often

(Newsday, 8/12/16)


 Financial Scholar on Current

“Ultralow” Interest Rates


The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates near zero for over 7 years. Paul Kupiec, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and former Director of the Center for Financial Research at the FDIC, recently described a number harms possibly caused by this near-zero interest policy of the Fed (WSJ, 5/23/16) :

  • Causes retirees to cut their spending
  • Discourages young folks from saving for retirement
  • Causes people to make far riskier investments to get higher returns
  • Makes future generations more dependent on government programs
  • Raises the price of stocks & real estate, creating price bubble that could deflate when interest rates rise


How Are NYC Schools Doing?

Based on recent NYS testing data our NYC students have been doing better than in prior years.  Some claim this is due to shorter and easier tests. But it’s NYC’s Charter schools that really account for the bulk of this improvement. Charter students improved by 2 to 4 times as much as the regular public school students in NYC. Over 70% of charter schools outperformed local district public schools. And minority black and Hispanic students who attend charter schools scored 73% better than their counterparts in the district run public schools. Nearly 40% of the top 50 scoring schools in NYC were charter schools compared with 12% in 2013 when Mayor De Blasio was elected.  Since 2013, charter students have improved twice as much as those at regular public schools. The disappointing fact is that Mayor De Blasio still seems to oppose approving more Charter schools, which surely seem to do a far better job educating especially our deserving minority students.

(WSJ, 8/8/16)

Catholic” Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine, who is running for Vice President, is viewed by many as a “practicing” Catholic.   Kaine says he is “personally opposed” to abortion,  but believes others should be free to have an abortion and terminate the life of their unborn child.  If we go back 160 years when slavery was “legal”, a similar question could be posed. If one said, I personally oppose slavery, but if my neighbor wants to own slaves, that is “his” choice!  Is such a person acting in a proper moral way? Saying “I oppose slavery,”  but if others want to own slaves, that’s “their” business and their right!  But what about the slave & his rights?

So also regarding abortion, and saying, “I am for a “woman’s right to control ‘her’ body.”   But what about the child’s life within the mother’s womb?  This is quite similar to the issue involving slavery, no?

Senator Kaine is “personally against abortion”, but has no problem with voting to give Planned Parenthood more money to fund abortions for others??? So also is Kaine for same-sex marriage, which effectively is government saying it wants to “honor” the act of sodomy.  The majority of our citizens now sadly support “same-sex marriage”, according to most polls.  That means most Americans are now agreeing with public policy endorsing, respecting and honoring sodomy.  Is there any doubt that as a nation that approves the killing of innocent unborn babies and grants public honor to sodomy, we are moving in a very different direction from that told us in the Bible?


Obesity Problem in U.S.

Our nation’s obesity problem is getting worse. In recent years the rate was about the same for men and women. Recently, however, the women’s obesity problem has grown far more. Today, 40% of women are obese and 35 % of men.  Throughout the world, the rates are far lower– 15% for women and 11% for men. Sadly, about 17% of our children are also obese, although this has not worsened in recent years. Among adolescents, however, the rates have been worsening and now stand at 21%. We all have to be more careful.

(Newsday, 6/8/16, pg. 31)


Terrible New TV Program

ABC has a new TV program called “The Real O’Neals”.  Its Executive Producer is Dan Savage, an openly gay man who has often used extremely filthy language that is also often anti-Christian on public TV programs. Media Research Center, headed by Brent Bozell, has issued petitions to ABC and The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of ABC, asking them to please cancel this program. We encourage you to consider boycotting the sponsors of this vile man’s program.

(Media Research Center, Reston, Va.-571-267-3500)


Homelessness in NYC

NYC’s homeless population has grown 20% since 2014 under Mayor Di Blasio, now reaching about 60,000. Some attribute this to the growing cost of housing in NYC and to the fact that people are remaining in the shelter  system longer. The cost is $1.2 billion/yr, or $20,000 per homeless person.



We compliment Long Island’s wonderful Wantagh Inn (516-785-0809) for the great dinner they gave on Sunday, Sept. 25th, to honor the Sisters of Life, one of our nation’s best performing pro-life orders…. One of the best sources of info on “educational reform” is School Reform News, published monthly by the non-profit research organization, The Heartland Inst.

(312-377-4000;  www.heartland.org) ………….


Pls. keep in your prayers (deceased) Pat Ford, Catherine Russo, Lisa Miles, Marian

McLaughlin and  (ill), Ed Brennan, Frank Lindner, Padraic Friel, Connell Friel, Jane Donlon, Kay Albright, Tom O’Grady,

Bill Schroeder, Ray Keenan, Andy McKnight, Mary Johnson, Elton & Tara Sayani & Dr. Wayne Weisner………



Notes & Asides

  • One of our best sources of info on the subject of “educational reform” is School Reform News, published monthly by The Heartland Institute (312-377-4000; http://www.heartland.org), a non-profit, non-partisan public policy research organization


  • The best professional graduate school in the US teaching all the instruments of statecraft, diplomacy, military strategy, intelligence, counter intelligence, political warfare and economic strategy is the Institute of World Politics, located in Washington, DC (202-462-2101;advancement@IWP.edu)


  • Let’s hope Gov. Cuomo and NY Sen. Flanagan can get our Assembly Democrats to allow a vote on NY’s Education Tax Credit bill (A.2551), which would be a key first step towards helping low and middle income students get a better education while also saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of $$$.


  • Pls. keep in your prayers (deceased) Betty Cava, Larry Cervellino, Francis Gilroy, Mary McGinity, Frank Nuzzolese, Jack O’Connor, Mary Peterson, Madeline Pritchard, & Frank Scobbo and (ill) Tony Carpinelli, Sal Guadagna, Pat Ford, Ray Keenan, Andy McKnight, Evan Daniel Rich (in utero) Thomas Metzger, Mary Johnson (bad car accident) & Dr. Wayne Weisner.


School Budgets & Tax Caps

For the first time due to low inflation (CPI) rates, most public schools will face a tax cap below 1%. However, helping them meet the lower tax cap is the fact that employee pension costs are lower, providing school districts with an extra 1% in their budget to spend. Add to this an increase in state aid and savings from teachers retiring & being replaced by lower paid teachers, and well managed school budgets will be able to meet the lower tax cap, winning its residents a property tax rebate check later this year.

Larry Cervellino — a True Hero

Larry Cervellino, who recently passed away, was one of LI’s great heroes of the pro-life movement. Larry led demonstrations outside a Suffolk Planned Parenthood facility for over 20 years, with over 200 unborn babies’ lives being saved. Larry was a long time Chairman of the L.I. Coalition for Life’s Committee challenging Planned Parenthood, the nation’s primary abortion provider responsible for about 300,000 abortions every year. If interested in the L.I. Coalition for Life and their pro-life monthly newsletter, Life News, call 631-243-1435 or visit http://www.ProlifeLI.org

A Bigotry Rarely Discussed

We often hear reports of bigotry and hate committed against gays. But does bigotry ever occur in the opposite direction?

Well, we can tell you the answer is “Yes, it does.” Over the past two years AFA-NY received 5 anonymous letters sent by a gay person who hated the Christian faith. After these letters stopped, AFA-NY received 4 telephone calls from a gay man making disgusting and obscene anti-Christian remarks. In one message, left on AFA’s answering machine, he said, “Is this the right number to call if I want Jesus to come over and XXXX my XXXX ?” The same fellow called again to say, “Go XXXX yourself, you ignorant assholes, and tell Jesus to go XXXX Himself.” In still another call he said, “So how does it feel to be told by the Supreme Court that you’re all XXXX assholes?” On his 4th call, this gay anti-Christian bigot said, “Go XXXX yourself, you ignorant assholes, and go XXXX Jesus too !”

Hatred of gays is morally wrong, and this issue is often discussed in the media. But hatred of Christians by gays is also morally wrong, but is never discussed in our media.

Christians believe homosexuality is a disorder and their sexual activity is objectively sinful. But we’re also taught to love the homosexual person and, while we can judge gay sexual activity as immoral, we can never judge the homosexual person as we don’t know what’s going on in his/her mind—this is something only God can judge. This gay man is clearly filled with a deep hatred of Christianity and its beliefs. Keep him in your prayers.

Change in Homelessness

The number of homeless people has declined across the US, but unfortunately has risen in many cities. (WSJ, 1/30/16)

Change in homelessness from 2010 to 2015:

Nationally          -11%
Miami-Dade      +7%
Seattle                 +12%
San Francisco    +16%
New York City   +42%

The Wage Gap Myth

On average, men still earn higher wages than women. Are there additional facts we need to know?

According to Sarah Ketterer, CEO of Causeway Capital Management, one key reason is that men are significantly more likely to work longer hours, based on data from the BLS. Another reason is that women are far more likely to leave the work force for years to raise children. But these facts are well known.

But another major factor, less known, is the choice of career. Women are far more likely to choose lower paying careers such as “theater arts and drama” or “counseling psychology.” Of the 10 lowest paying majors, only one (theology & religious vocations) is primarily male. (WSJ, pg. A17, 10/1/15),

Most of the 10 highest paying majors (e.g., mathematics & computer science), are primarily male. Only one is primarily female (pharmacy sciences & administration).

Finally, and very interesting, in most of our nation’s largest cities, single women under 30 on average earned 8% more than their male counterparts. Any wage gap due to discrimination based on sex has largely disappeared. Good news for a change.

NY Times vs. St. Junipero Serra

In its 2015 Annual Report on Anti- Catholicism, the Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights discusses in detail a front page story in the 9/30/15 issue of the NY Times by reporter Laura Holson who wrote that Fr. Junipero Serra, who was just canonized as a saint last year, had been involved with “torturing Native American Indians”, and that historians agreed with this accusation.

Dr. William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, recently wrote a book about Fr. Serra and could not find a single historian who made such an accusation. So Dr. Donohue wrote to NYT reporter Holson asking her for the names of some of these “historians.” Holson never responded. He then wrote to Gregory Brock, Sr. Editor for Standards at the NY Times and asked him to provide the names of these historians. He replied to Donohue but never provided any names of historians.

We then wrote to both Greg Brock and Laura Holson to see if Dr. Donohue was correct. We asked them to please provide us with the names of historians claiming that Fr. Serra was involved with “torturing Indians.” We received a reply from Mr. Brock, and just as he did with Dr.

Donohue, he refused to provide the names of any such historians.

In our view, the NY Times has a “problem” with some of its writings on matters dealing with Catholicism or Christianity. We would not recommend the NY Times. Instead, we would recommend the Wall Street Journal.

NY & LI Teacher Pensions

For the past school year, the average pension for a PS teacher or other professional who retired after at least 30 years, was $67,476. For teachers in upstate NY, the pensions averaged about 20 % lower. For teachers retiring on Long Island the average was $86,800. (Empire Center for Public Policy)

Cost of Living on LI: Alarming

A report by Reclaim New York states that while Long Islanders have a median income twice the national level, families here are still struggling to get by because of high property, income and sales taxes, as well as high costs of food, transportation and housing. (Newsday, 10/14/15)

“The system is really built against taxpayers,” said Reclaim NY’s Executive Director, Brandon Muir. According to the Tax Foundation of Washington, DC, the 2010 median property tax in Nassau was $9,289 and in Suffolk $7,768. The national average was only $2,043.