Archives for category: Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has consistently complained that public schools cost too much. So one of his first actions when he was elected was to persuade the legislature to pass a 2% cap on budget increases. That would save the taxpayers money but it handicapped the schools that saw inflation in their costs. To make matters worse, Cuomo inserted into the law a provision that it would take a 60% majority to raise school taxes more than 2%. A simple majority–the democratic way of deciding elections–was not enough. He insisted that any tax increase to benefit the schools (anything beyond 2%) required a super-majority.

In the recent election, 99% of districts passed their school budgets, with the typical increase being 1.9%, thus avoiding Cuomo’s cap. Eighteen districts sought an increase larger than 2%. The increase was approved in 12 of the 18 districts.

So, here is where Andrew Cuomo will meet his Waterloo. The public cares about their public schools. The schools belong to them. They teach the children of the community. The parents and local merchants know the teachers and the staff and the principal. Unlike Andrew Cuomo, they don’t see the local public schools as their enemy.

Stephanie Santagada, a high school English teacher, wrote this little essay and dedicated it to Governor Andrew Cuomo:

“There is a man in Albany, who I surmise, by his clamorous paroxysms, has an extreme aversion to educators. He sees teachers as curs, or likens them to mangy dogs. Methinks he suffers from a rare form of psychopathology in which he absconds with our dignity by enacting laws counterintuitive to the orthodoxy of educational leadership. We have given him sufferance for far too long. He’s currently taking a circuitous path to DC, but he will no doubt soon find himself in litigious waters. The time has come to bowdlerize his posits, send him many furlongs away, and maroon him there, maybe Cuba?

She added:

I’m not supposed to say this, but all these insanely hard words appeared on the 4,6, and 8th grade tests last week.

Peter Greene has an insight: Governor Andrew Cuomo declared his love for charter schools, which enroll about 91,000 students. Will he now become a champion for parents and students who opt out of testing? They numbered somewhere between 170,000 and 200,000. That’s twice as many students as are enrolled in charter schools.

Peter Greene thinks the Governor should show them twice as much love.

In the midst of a story about a teacher who walked 150 miles to deliver a letter to Governor Cuomo, there was mention of a statement about the opt outs by the State Education Department.

Basically the SED said that the opt outs will not derail its determination to rate teachers based on test scores.

The State Education Department released a statement saying, “We are confident the Department will be able to generate a representative sample of students who took the test, generate valid scores for anyone who took the test, and calculate valid State-provided growth scores to be used in teacher evaluations.”

The SED did not say how it will generate valid ratings for teachers whose students opted out, especially in districts where the majority of students did so; nor did it say how it would generation valid ratings for the 70% teachers who don’t teach the tested subjects. Even if only 10% opted out, how will the SED know if they were high-scoring students or low-scoring students? The SED will succeed in making a process of dubious value even less valid. The SED is determined to do the wrong thing with or without adequate data.

Read More at: http://www.cbs6albany.com/news/features/top-story/stories/as-common-core-testing-enters-second-week-controversy-still-abounds-24810.shtml

The ever perceptive Peter Greene watched the Cuomo Teacher-Demolition Derby from afar and found it a disgraceful spectacle. 

He couldn’t decide which was worse: Cuomo’s lust to crush the teachers, who stood by watching him coming with an axe in hand, or the Assembly Democrats, who wailed that they voted for Cuomo’s plan with a heavy heart but did it anyway. As someone tweeted earlier today, “Probably they had a heavy heart because they had no spine.”

Greene writes, for starters:

This has truly been the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. An unpopular proposal that guts teaching as a profession and kicks public education in the teeth, sails through the NY legislature.

Yes, “sails through.” There’s nothing else to call a budget that is approved 92-54.

NY Democrats tried to make it look like less of a total victory-in-a-walk for public education opponent Andrew Cuomo by making sad pouty faces and issuing various meaningless mouth noises while going ahead and voting for the damn thing. “Ohh, woes and sadderations,” they cried as they took turns walking to the podium to give Cuomo exactly the tools he wanted for helping to put an end to teaching as a profession in New York state.

I am not sure what Democrats hoped to accomplish by taking to the podium and twitter to say how deeply, tragically burdened they were. I mean, I guess you’d like to know that people who club baby seals feel a little bit bad about it, but it really doesn’t make a lot of difference to the baby seal, who is in fact still dead.

Maybe the lesson here is that the craziest person in the room controls the conversation. The person who’s willing to ram the car right into the sheer rock face gets to navigate the trip, and Cuomo has displayed repeatedly that he really doesn’t care what has to be smashed up. If the world isn’t going to go on his way, it doesn’t need to go on for anybody.

But if teachers needed reason #2,416 to understand that Democrats simply aren’t friends to public education, there it was, biting its quivering lip and sniffling, “I feel really bad about this” as it tied up education and fired it out of a cannon so that it could land directly under a bus that had been dropped off the Empire State Building.

Hell, even Campbell Brown must be a little gobsmacked, as Cuomo’s budgetary bludgeoning of tenure and job security rules has made her lawsuit unnecessary. The Big Standardized Tests results will continue their reign of teacher evaluation, dropping random and baseless scores onto the heads of New York educators like the feces of so many flying pigs. And all new teachers need to do to get their (soon-to-be-meaningless) tenure is get the random VAM dice to throw up snake-eyes four times in a row. Meanwhile, school districts can go out back to the magic money trees to find the financing for hiring the “outside evaluators” who will provide the cherry on top of the VAM sauce.

Governor Andrew Cuomo shocked the press corps and the Legislature when he promptly vetoed the budget that he had lobbied so hard to get passed. He said that he didn’t realize that his education proposals lacked any basis in research or experience, nor did he know that they would outrage the state’s parents and educators.

When asked why he had taken this radical step, he said he was reading his Tweets during his lunch hour and discovered that no one liked what he had done. He didn’t want to make every parent and educator in the state angry, he said, and so he decided to veto his own legislation. He noted that there was a precedent for this action; he pointed out that last year he pledged not to evaluate teachers on the scores of the Common Core tests, since the tests were new and few teachers had had time to learn them. But he vetoed that proposal, his own.

The Governor said that his willingness to veto his own proposals demonstrated his flexibility and willingness to listen to the views of the public. “Having an on-time budget,” he said, “was far less important than doing the right thing.”

He also pledged to return the millions of dollars he has collected from hedge fund managers, because he wants to be remembered as “the students’ lobbyist,” not “the charter school students’ lobbyist.”

As his press conference concluded, he promised to shave his head bald as penance for his initial bad judgment.

Happy April 1, a day when surprising things happen, even if they aren’t true.

Governor Cuomo insisted on a teacher evaluation law that relies heavily on test scores. And he got it as part of budget negotiations. A teacher who is rated “ineffective” on the test scores cannot receive an effective rating no matter what his/her scores on observations and other measures. Test scores trump all. Here is a summary of the bill that passed last night.

It makes no sense for politicians to tell school leaders how to evaluate educators. The definition of a profession is that it is self-regulating. Teaching in Néw York will be closely regulated by the state. Local control will pass into history.

Carl Heastie, the leader of the State Assembly, controlled by Democrats, said the Assembly would pass the budget despite their discomfort with the education proposals. What matters most, he says, is an on-time budget.

Consider the elements that may NOT be included in teachers’ evaluations:

“6. PROHIBITED ELEMENTS. THE FOLLOWING ELEMENTS SHALL NO LONGER BE ELIGIBLE TO BE USED IN ANY EVALUATION SUBCOMPONENT PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION:

A. EVIDENCE OF STUDENT DEVELOPMENT AND PERFORMANCE DERIVED FROM LESSON PLANS, OTHER ARTIFACTS OF TEACHER PRACTICE, AND STUDENT PORTFOLIOS, EXCEPT FOR STUDENT PORTFOLIOS MEASURED BY A STATE-APPROVED RUBRIC WHERE PERMITTED BY THE DEPARTMENT;

B. USE OF AN INSTRUMENT FOR PARENT OR STUDENT FEEDBACK;

C. USE OF PROFESSIONAL GOAL-SETTING AS EVIDENCE OF TEACHER OR PRINCIPAL EFFECTIVENESS;

D. ANY DISTRICT OR REGIONALLY-DEVELOPED ASSESSMENT THAT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT; AND

E. ANY GROWTH OR ACHIEVEMENT TARGET THAT DOES NOT MEET THE MINIMUM STANDARDS AS SET FORTH IN REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER ADOPTED HERE- UNDER.”

In addition, future state aid is tied to districts’ compliance with the evaluation law, written by non-educators with no knowledge of research or practice:

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF LAW, NO SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR AN APPORTIONMENT OF GENERAL SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE 2015–2016 SCHOOL
YEAR AND ANY YEAR THEREAFTER IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT APPORTIONED TO SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE RESPECTIVE BASE YEAR UNLESS SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS SUBMITTED DOCUMENTATION THAT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE COMMISSIONER
BY NOVEMBER FIFTEENTH, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN, OR BY SEPTEMBER FIRST OF
EACH SUBSEQUENT YEAR, DEMONSTRATING THAT IT HAS FULLY IMPLEMENTED THE
STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES FOR CONDUCTING ANNUAL TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATIONS OF TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIRE-
MENTS OF THIS SECTION AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER.

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