Archives for category: Cuomo, Andrew

For two years, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has shredded Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legislative agenda and imposed his own wishes on the city. De Blasio tried to rein in the free-wheeling charter sector, and Cuomo responded by expanding it and forcing the city to give free public space to charters or pay their rent in private space. This year, de Blasio sought permanent extension of mayoral control. He ended up with only one year.


Until today, de Blasio has faithfully supported Cuomo, despite the rebuffs and slights. He helped Cuomo get the nomination of the Working Families Party, which threatened to endorse Zephyr Teachout. He gave the premier nominating speech for Cuomo at the State Democratic convention, showing progressive support for a governor who has governed as a conservative.


Today, de Blasio finally let loose on Cuomo.



“Mayor Bill de Blasio, in candid and searing words rarely employed by elected officials of his stature, accused Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday of stymieing New York City’s legislative goals out of personal pettiness, “game-playing” and a desire for “revenge.”


“In an extraordinary interview, Mr. de Blasio, appearing to unburden himself of months’ worth of frustrations, said that Mr. Cuomo — who, like the mayor, is a Democrat — “did not act in the interests” of New Yorkers by blocking measures like reforming rent laws and allowing a long-term extension of the mayor’s ability to control the city’s public schools.


“I started a year and a half ago with a hope of a very strong partnership,” Mr. de Blasio said of the governor, whom he has known for two decades. “I have been disappointed at every turn. And these last couple of examples really are beyond the pale…..


“I’m not going to be surprised if these statements lead to some attempts at revenge,” Mr. de Blasio said, his voice even. “And we’ll just call them right out. Because we are just not going to play that way.”


Teachers know how vindictive and petty Cuomo can be. He fancies himself qualified to dictate how teachers should be evaluated, a subject about which he is totally uninformed.

Update! A few minutes ago, I posted that the budget lifted the charter cap by 100. There are differing reports; this one says there will be 180 new charters.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal on the budget that included major education issues.

The budget does not include the “education tax credit” for private and religious schools (vouchers), but does include $250 million for religious schools. That should satisfy Mr. Cuomo’s friends in the religious communities whom he courted.

The deal includes 180 new charter schools, 50 in Néw York City and 130 outside the city. That should please the hedge fund manager who gave millions to the Governor’s re-election campaign, while providng Eva Moskowitz plenty of room to grow her chain.

The deal extends mayoral control in NYC for only one year, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request to make it permanent. That should remind the Mayor who is in charge.

The deal retains the tax cap on school districts. Regardless of their needs, they won’t be able to raise property taxes by more than 2%, unless they are able to win 60% approval by voters. It may be undemocratic, but it is popular, especially among GOP legislators.

It is amazing how much education policy is now being made during budget negotiations, with no educators in the room.

Carol Burris writes of the terrible consequences that will follow implementation of Governor Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan.

She urges support for the plan created by seven (of 17) dissident members of the Néw York Board of Regents. Almost all are experienced educators who have carefully reviewed research. Cuomo is not an educator and obviously paid no attention to research.

Two more Regents and the dissidents are a majority.

Lester Young of Brooklyn? Roger Tilles of Long Island?

Superintendent Roy Montesano wrote a powerful letter describing the dangers of Governor Cuomo’s education plan.

He warned that the plan would create a permanent culture of high-stakes over testing; good teachers will be fired, and the judgments of their principals will be disregarded; local control will be eroded (he adds that no one could possibly believe that more control by Albany will improve the performance of the schools of Hastings-on-Hudson); the loss of local control will drag down high-performing districts like his own.

He invites everyone who agrees to sign the petition calling for the repeal of the Cuomo law. The link is included in his letter.

Download the full letter here.

The editorial board of the Albany Times-Union explains the economics behind Governor Cuomo’s proposal for “Education Tax Credits.”


It is a voucher plan with a different name, usually offered by rightwing Republicans, not Democrats who claim to be progressive.


The rhetoric is about “parental choice,” but the big beneficiaries would be wealthy donors to private and religious schools.


For those who support private and parochial education systems, with a true spirit of generosity, we say good for them. But tax revenue shouldn’t be diverted away from state coffers – which is what tax credits end up doing – so more money makes its way to private schools.



One controversial part of the bill includes access to tax credits –75 percent of any gift up to $1 million – for donors. The pool of money for the tax credits is limited; the dollars would be doled out on a first-come, first-served basis. Large corporations with fancy accounting firms can quickly grab the tax credits, and mom-and-pop donors would likely be left wanting.



Especially for high-income corporations, a tax credit is exponentially more valuable than the current tax deductions available for charitable giving to nonprofit institutions, including private or parochial schools.



There’s a big difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit: A tax deduction reduces your taxable income, so your taxes are based on a lower amount; a tax credit comes off your tax liability, so it’s cut off the bottom line of what you owe in taxes….



A similar education tax credit bill failed to pass last year, and the year before, for good reason. It’s a thinly disguised voucher system that’s being touted as “fair” even as the state continues to use out-of-whack funding formulas to provide constitutionally mandated support for public schools, and to squelch on past funding owed to districts across New York.



Regardless of Cuomo’s best efforts to push “options” to public education and weaken his newest political nemesis, public-school teachers, the state’s Constitutional mandate continues to be the financial support of a public school system, with state funding of specific services provided to private schools. Not the other way around.






There have long been rumors that Cuomo didn’t pass the bar exam until his fourth attempt. Some have been repeated here. Casey Seller of the Albany Times-Union says it is a false rumor. She says the Governor passed on his first try.

I think many people believed the rumor because it seemed to explain why Cuomo is so hostile to teachers and wants to make their lives miserable.

So if the bar exam rumor is untrue, there must be another reason why the Governor doesn’t like teachers. Wonder why? Why is it he doesn’t like public schools? Why doesn’t he support separation of church and state? Why does he want to transfer money from public schools and give it to religious schools? Why does he want to give tax credits to the rich to subsidize private and religious schools?

What do you think? No rumors, please.

A group of education leaders in New York have drafted an appeal to suspend implementation of the “Education Transformation Act of 2015″ and to convene a panel of educators and educational experts to design a research-based teacher evaluation system.


They hope to get 10,000 signatures. They have gathered nearly half that number. If you are a New Yorker, please sign so the Legislature and the Regents will begin the process of revising a truly terrible program that is guaranteed to demoralize teachers, discourage students, and produce more teaching to the test.

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?”


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