A large coalition of parent and educator groups in New York State developed a scorecard for voters in the Democratic primary on September 9 and the general elections in November. They concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo was the candidate likeliest to support privatization of public education. Here is their press release:


More information contact:

Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com

NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) http://www.nysape.org

Governor Cuomo’s Education Positions Aligned to Privatize Public Education

New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of more than fifty parent and educator advocacy groups throughout the state, released a scorecard http://www.scribd.com/doc/238348598/NYSAPE-Gubernatorial-Candidate-Scorecard-2014 comparing the key education positions of the candidates running for Governor. NYSAPE personally communicated with all the candidates’ campaign teams. NYSAPE is committed to communicating the most accurate information on issues that matter to parents, teachers, and other friends of public education. New Yorkers who care about public education will have a clear choice for the Democratic primary on September 9 and for the general election on November 4.

Governor Cuomo is the only candidate among the five who supports the Common Core standards. When it comes to the hot-button issue of teacher tenure, Rob Astorino opposes the law as it stands now. Zephyr Teachout, Howie Hawkins, and Randy Credico support teacher tenure. However, the Governor is noncommittal as his reply was, “Any change to the current law would have to be carefully reviewed”. Similarly, the four challengers are opposed to keeping John King as Education Commissioner. The Governor’s response to NYSAPE was, “It is inappropriate to comment on specific individuals in this context”.

The four challengers also oppose APPR, which ties teacher evaluation to student test scores, while the Governor, a prime sponsor of the law which created the system, fully supports it. All candidates support significantly rolling back time spent on standardized testing. However, the Governor claims that the recent legislation banning K-2 testing and capping test prep time will significantly roll back testing. In reality, it does nothing to reduce standardized testing time for 3rd through 8th grade students.

As to education spending, the Governor opposes fully funding Foundation Aid, Rob Astorino is noncommittal and said “it depends on the state’s financials”, while the other three candidates – namely Zephyr Teachout, Randy Credico and Howie Hawkins – all support full funding. The candidates are similarly polarized when it comes to charter schools. The Governor supports the expansion of charter schools; Astorino who supports charters schools is noncommittal to the expansion, while the other three candidates do not support their expansion.

Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE said, “Governor Cuomo has failed to listen to parents and he continues to ignore our concerns. Unlike every other candidate, he does not oppose keeping John King as Commissioner, who has disrespected our views when it comes to our opposition to the Common Core and our need to protect our children’s privacy.”

Jeanette Deutermann, Nassau County public school parent and founder of Long Opt Out said, “We must put an end to the test obsession that has hijacked our classrooms. It’s clear from this scorecard that Governor Cuomo, while he claims he supports a significant rollback, his record says otherwise.”

“The governor boasts the passage of four on-time budgets in a row and that he closed the budget gap. Do not be fooled; these claims are self-serving at best. Cuomo siphoned billions of precious dollars away from public education to satisfy cronyism and business interests. We must remember this come September’s Democratic primary election and November’s general election,” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent.

“Governor Cuomo used his power in Albany to subsidize charter schools in NYC at the expense of our public schools and against the wishes of our democratically-elected mayor,” said NYC public school parent, Nancy Cauthen. “Our neighborhood public schools are hugely overcrowded, with thousands of students sitting in trailers or on waiting lists for kindergarten. And now city taxpayers will have to provide charter schools space in our public school buildings on demand or pay for their rent in private space,” Cauthen further stated.

“NYSAPE is providing this scorecard because it is imperative that voters in New York understand the positions of each candidate running for Governor. APPR, the teacher evaluation system imposed by the Governor, is harming students and teachers who are unfairly judged by this damaging system,” said Katie Zahedi, Dutchess County principal at Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, New York.

“I find it startling that Governor Cuomo won’t commit to supporting teacher tenure, but says that he would have to ‘carefully review’ the law. It is only because of tenure that teachers have the courage to stand up for their students when student rights are abused,” said Chris Cerrone, Erie County public school parent, special education teacher, and Springville-Griffith Institute CSD Board Member.

Tim Farley, Columbia County public school parent, educator, and member of NYSAPE said, “The current Governor refuses to listen to the concerns of parents and educators from across the state to make major course corrections in his educational policies. We demand an end to high-stakes testing and the flawed APPR system, and we want our children’s sensitive data protected once and for all. If he refuses to listen, we will put someone else in office who will.”