Governor Cuomo is in an unusual position, vis-a-vis education. He has nothing to do with it, except for his power over the budget. He does not appoint the state Board of Regents (the State Assembly does). He does not appoint the State Commissioner of Education (the Board of Regents does). He is out of the loop. But in recent months, he has convinced himself that he is the state’s foremost expert on education. He thinks he knows how to “fix” education. He loves charter schools, as are his friends and contributors on Wall Street. He disdains public schools and is convinced that the state has a failing school system, not recognizing that academic results are closely correlated with the socioeconomics of each district. He loves standardized testing and especially high-stakes testing, where teachers and principals quake with fear when their evaluations are tied to test scores. Cuomo has made clear that the new evaluation system has not been tough enough; he wants one that identifies more “failing” teachers. He has promised to “break” the public-school “monopoly,” which others think of as an essential public service.


Gary Stern of speculates on what Cuomo will propose in his state of the state address. One thing seems sure: after the John King era, after the entry of Cuomo into the role of education maven, local control is dead in New York state.


Stern writes:


Now he wants to take on the whole education bureaucracy. But what goodies will Cuomo actually propose in his State of the State?


Will he try to change how Regents are selected, a move that Assembly Democrats would oppose? Would he dare propose a system of renewable tenure, which unions would fight? Might he propose a strategy for helping urban schools, other than threatening to close them? Or will he simply renew his interest in tougher teacher evaluations and charter schools?


One question Cuomo hasn’t asked is what educators on the ground think. More than likely, he’s going to tell them what to do.