Archives for category: Cuomo, Andrew

The latest poll from the respected Siena Reaearch Institute finds that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating has dropped to 41%, his lowest rating on this poll since he became Governor. (Another poll said his approval rating had fallen to 37%.)

Voters are upset by corruption in state government/ both the leader of the Assembly and the leader of the State Senate were recently indicted.

“Still, corruption is not the only thing New Yorkers are worried about. The poll found that voters rated the economy and education as the top two most important issues they want to see improvement on, while corruption ranked third.

“Voters have been expressing disapproval of Cuomo since he began his second term in January. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in March suggested that growing discontent with the governor’s new education policy could be at the root of the disapproval.”

Voters are divided over Cuomo’s Education Tax Credit proposal, but more oppose it than support it.

A letter to the editor:

“Private School Tax Credits

New York Times Letter To the Editor: by DONNA LIEBERMAN, Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union MAY 22, 2015

Re “Cuomo Promotes Tax Credits for Families of Students at Private Schools”

The right to a meaningful public education is at the core of our democracy, and educational opportunity must be available to all children on a fair and equitable basis, no matter how poor they are, no matter what their educational needs are, and no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York to divert money from public schools to private and religious schools is not about improving public education for all children. It is not about choice. It is about allowing hedge funds and millionaires to siphon money away from public schools to support their narrow idea of what education should look like.

This includes private schools for the 1 percent, religious schools that can throw children out and dismiss teachers for having the wrong faith — or no faith — and privately owned and operated charter schools that operate without accountability and would turn our underfunded public schools into a dumping ground for New York’s neediest and most challenging students.″

The Albany Times-Union is the newspaper of the state capitol in Néw York. Its editorial board penned this scathing editorial about Governor Cuomo’s war on the state’s public schools (read it all, not just this excerpt):

“A governor who perennially complains about schools’ insatiable appetite for money has suddenly found millions of dollars to burn though for his Parental Choice in Education Act. It’s a public-private partnership of the worst sort – the public pays the tab, private schools and wealthy donors reap the benefits.

“Perhaps Mr. Cuomo sees this as another way to break what he calls the “public education monopoly” – as if public schools were not something in which we all have a stake. But Mr. Cuomo seems to have conflated public education with his animosity for teachers’ unions.

“His proposal would allow donors to take a tax credit of 75 percent of their donations to nonprofit education foundations, up to $1 million. Senate and Assembly versions of the bill would allow up to 90 percent. That’s money shaved off a person’s or a corporation’s tax bill – and they could roll it from year to year if the credit exceeded their tax liability.

“That this is really a tax break for affluent donors is evidenced by the cumbersome process involved. The state would require taxpayers to apply for the credit before even making a contribution, by first filling out a form saying how much they planned to donate and to whom. It’s a program for folks with accountants on speed dial rather than for average New Yorkers who just want to help out their parish school or local charter school.

“The governor’s program would cost taxpayers $70 million this year, only $20 million of which could go to public schools. The Legislature proposes $150 million, rising to $300 million by 2018; up to half could go to public schools, the other half to foundations or other entities benefitting private schools. But after paying taxes, who’s lining up to write another check to public schools?”

Andrew Cuomo is proposing tax credit legislation that is generally considered a backdoor voucher. Corporations and wealthy people will get tax credits for supporting private and religious schools. The Legislature killed this proposal less than two months ago, but Cuomo is back with it on behalf of religious hroips that supported his election. (This is also ALEC legislation.)

No surprise that the Wall Street billionaire-funded group which is deceptively named”Families for Excellent Schools” is supporting Cuomo’s tax credit proposal and advocating lifting or eliminating the cap on charter schools. These families are not your average New York City families, though they pretend to be. this group spent $5 million in TV advertising last year to secure free rent for charters and to block Mayor De Blasio’s effort to regulate charters. These families have names like Walton and Paul Tudor Jones. It is doubtful that any of them ever attended a public school or sent their children to one. They are mad about charter schools because they are free-market fundamentalists.

This is their press release:



Contact:, 347 596 6389


#DontStealPossible DontStealPossible.Org

New York, NY – Families for Excellent Schools released this statement Tuesday afternoon following the introduction of the Governor Cuomo’s bill on education tax credits:

“Every parent should be able to choose a great school for their child. Passing the education tax credit and lifting the cap on charters expands choice immediately for families that need it most.

Today’s announcement is a bold step by Governor Cuomo to protect choice and ensure access to good schools in New York,” said Families for ExcellentSchools’ CEO Jeremiah Kittredge.

Families for Excellent Schools harnesses the power of families to advance policy and political changes that create and sustain excellent schools.
On Twitter at: @Fam4ExcSchools


Khan Shoieb
Communications Strategist
Stu Loeser & Co.
54 West 40th St #1131
New York, NY 10018
(347) 596-6389 (Mobile)

David Sirota and Matthew Cuningham-Cook report that the Andrew Cuomo administration continues to funnel state bond business to campaign contributors.

They write:

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is undeterred. Despite revelations last week that the governor’s officials have steered state housing bond work to his campaign contributors in apparent defiance of federal pay-to-play rules, New York state officials on Friday announced they are giving those same donors even more lucrative business — this time on a massive new transportation revenue bond. The announcement of the deal — which was not competitively bid — comes as a top compliance lawyer in Washington, D.C., suggested that the deal between Cuomo’s administration and the governor’s donors may run afoul of the federal rules.

“According to a prospectus released Friday afternoon, the state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has designated JPMorgan, Citigroup and Bank of America to help manage a new $225 million bond. The deal was given to the firms without competitive bids, according to MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg. As International Business Times has reported, the political action committees of those three financial institutions have given the Democratic governor more than $132,000 in campaign contributions since 2012, and the same three banking groups have been given work by Cuomo’s housing agency on 27 separate bonds worth more than $3 billion.

“A rule of the federal Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) prohibits bond work from going to financial firms that make campaign contributions to public officials who control bond decisions. Cuomo appoints the head of the state housing agency that gave the firms housing bonds, and he nominated four of the board members of the MTA — including its CEO — who made the decision to direct the transportation bond work to the three firms.”

David Sirota and Matthew Cunningham-Cook report in the “International Business Times” that Governor Andrew Cuomo gave major contracts to banks that supported his campaign.

They write:

“The Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have over the past 2 1/2 years received taxpayer-financed contracts to help manage the sale of more than $3 billion worth of bonds for New York state, according to a review of state records by International Business Times. The three banking companies secured this lucrative line of business during the same period they delivered more than $132,000 in campaign contributions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo through political action committees under their corporate control.

“The Cuomo administration handed out the bond-sale work to these banks despite federal rules that bar the firms from getting such business if they have donated campaign funds to the governor. The rules are designed to prevent public officials from awarding the bond work to their favored contributors, rather than awarding that work on the basis of the best fees and interest rates charged to taxpayers.

“As IBTimes reported Thursday, Cuomo officials have since October designated the three banks as the dealers handling $100 million worth of affordable-housing bonds. But a broader review of New York state records going back to 2012 found a total of 27 separate bond issues that the three banks have handled since the governor began receiving contributions from them. A Cuomo administration representative told the IBTimes this week that the government business was handed out without competitive bids.”

The editorial board of the “Journal-News” in the Lower Hudson Valley calls out the absurdity of Goveror Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan. The deadline for a new plan is June 30, which is impossible.

They understand why parents are angry at the testing system and the governor:

“Declining morale in neighborhood schools is one big reason that many parents boycotted the state tests. How can Cuomo not see the connection?

“Now our leaders are racing to fix the system, but are likely to make it worse. Cuomo and legislative leaders, as part of their budget agreement, gave the state Board of Regents until June 30 to re-create the evaluation system, setting strict rules that tie the Regents’ hands.
Stop it. It’s time for the Board of Regents to take a stand – and stand up to Cuomo. The board should declare that it can’t slap together a viable evaluation system. New York should keep its current system in place and use at least the rest of 2015 to design a system that would promote classroom instruction and hold teachers accoutable.

“Judith Johnson, the Lower Hudson Valley’s new representative on the Board of Regents, has the right idea. “What the governor has put in place makes no sense,” she said. “If you want a scholarly system, you can’t throw it together in 30 to 60 days. If we ignore the science behind teacher evaluations, it’s just a political decision.”

Does the Board of Regents have the backbone to tell the governor and the legislature that they are wrong? Will they stick to science and turn their backs on Cuomo’s vindictive agenda?

The Bald Headed Piano Player sings the Opting Out Song, with apologies to Billy Joel. It is dedicated to Givernor Cuomo.

Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the Néw York Board of Regents, has delayed implementation of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s draconian and misguided plan to evaluate teachers by test scores.

When Néw York sought Race to the Top money, it promised that test scores would count for 20%. Under pressure from Governor Cuomo, the proportion rose to 40%. Cuomo was angry when almost every teacher was rated effective or highly effective. He wanted to fire teachers. Tisch wrote a letter to Chomo agreeing with his demand to raise the testing proportion to 50%.

The legislature caved during budget negotiations and passed a “matrix” that implies 50% but left the final determination to the Regents. Tisch decided more time was necessary and extended the deadline.

The sad part of this drama is that no one ever refers to research. Numerous studies and reports have refuted the validity of test scores for measuring teacher quality. Start with the American Statistical Association’s statement on VAM. There are too many variables that the teacher does not control that influence test scores.

The current dispute seems to be about whether to misjudge teacher quality sooner or later.

Sadly, Governor Andrew Cuomo was unable to give the keynote speech at the fund-raising dinner for Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain because he was leading a trade delegation to Cuba, but the charter chain still raised $9.3 million from her supporters in the hedge-fund community.


Education activist Leonie Haimson reports a story that appears behind a paywall at Be sure the read the report embedded at the end of the story below, about the hedge-fund managers and conservatives who support Success Academy. The report was compiled by the “HedgeClippers,” a group that calls itself “dark money’s newest nightmare.” The report lists the 50 hedge fund managers, spouses, and allies who contribute to Success Academy.


by Jessica Bakeman, Eliza Shapiro and Conor Skelding


SUCCESS ACADEMY’S $9.3 M. NIGHT—Capital’s Eliza Shapiro and Conor Skelding: “The Success Academy charter school network raised $9.3 million at its third annual spring benefit on Monday night, according to an attendee, up from $7.7 million at last year’s benefit. The figure was announced by Dan Loeb, a hedge fund manager who serves as the chairman of Success’ board of directors. The event was held at Cipriani in midtown Manhattan. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries delivered the keynote address at the benefit, in lieu of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was slated to give the keynote before his trade visit to Cuba was planned for the same day.


“Jeffries, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, is a longtime supporter of charter schools. ‘I stand here because I unequivocally support quality public education and that’s what Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy provide,’ Jeffries said during his speech, according to a quote posted on Success’ Twitter account. ‘It’s easier to raise strong children than it is to repair broken men,’ he also said.


“Television host Katie Couric, Weekly Standard founder William Kristol, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Gregory Meeks of Queens and former Department of Education chancellor Joel Klein also attended the benefit, according to the attendee and Twitter posts. Loeb, philanthropist Eli Broad, and Campbell Brown, the television anchor turned education reformer, spoke. Brown sits on Success’ board of directors. Success’ controversial founder and C.E.O. Eva Moskowitz addressed the crowd, asking audience members to ‘visit our schools and become an ambassador for education reform,’ according to Success’ Twitter feed.” [PRO]


—Meanwhile, “an advocacy group affiliated with the Alliance for Quality Education, a teachers’ union-backed organization, has released a report on the donors and board members of the Success Academy charter school network. The report, released by the group HedgeClippers, details the well-documented support the controversial network has received from hedge fund managers in particular. HedgeClippers describes itself as ‘dark money’s newest nightmare’ and is backed by the Strong Economy for all Coalition, which is, in turn, partially funded by teachers’ unions, including the United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers.


“The report argues that ‘many of Success Academy’s hedge fund board members contribute to political causes that harm the population that Success claims to serve’ by supporting various conservative causes. … Success C.E.O. Eva Moskowitz has responded to criticism about the network’s donors by pointing to the long history of philanthropic giving to education causes, and noting that hedge fund managers also give to organizations that support parks, museums and domestic violence centers.” Capital’s Eliza Shapiro:


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