In this article, Alan Singer of Hofstra University connects the dots behind the effort to allow charter schools to hire uncertified teachers. He follows the money, and it leads to one man: Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Charters need to hire uncertified teachers because they churn through teachers and need newcomers who can devote long hours to the job without the diversion of a family.

“The finger points at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Politicians and wealthy business leaders with ties to Cuomo are behind the push to exempt some of the state’s charter schools from hiring certified teachers. It is a move that would weaken University-based teacher education programs, undermine teacher professionalism, and seriously hurt the education of children across the state.

“Cuomo has long been a supporter of expanded and minimally regulated charter schools. In 2014, while preparing to run for reelection, Cuomo spoke at a pro-charter rally on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Albany. In his speech he praised charter school groups and Republican and independent Democrats who were joining with him to “save” charter schools, although there was no movement trying to destroy them. Curiously, Cuomo never discussed pulling the children out of school and shipping them to Albany for a staged rally.

“In 2016, while no one was paying close attention, the State Legislature with Cuomo’s endorsement extended the regulatory authority of the Trustees of the State University over charter schools. The SUNY Charter Institute, a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees, now claims this legislation empowers them to permit charter schools under their jurisdiction to hire uncertified teachers and train them according to their own guidelines.

“The Trustees of the State University of New York currently authorize 165 charter schools in New York State including those operated by some of the most politically connected networks. Six SUNY charter schools operate in the Capital Region (Albany and Troy), six are in Buffalo, two are on Long Island, and over 140 are in New York City. The New York City charters include seven sponsored by Carl Ichan, ten affiliated with Achievement First, and 38 Success Academy Network Schools operated by Eva Moskowitz. Ichan is a corporate raider and real estate magnate with ties to the Trump Administration. Achievement First is connected to former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein who left the city’s Department of Education to work for Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. Eva Moskowitz is New York City’s Charter School Queen with political ties to Andrew Cuomo and hedge fund companies and foundations.

“According to a 2015 expose by Juan Gonzalez for the New York Daily News, between 2000 and 2015, 570 hedge fund managers made nearly $40 million in political contributions to New York State candidates, including $4.8 million to Andrew Cuomo. Several of Cuomo’s 2014 reelection campaign donors including Carl Icahn, of Icahn Enterprises, Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, and Daniel Loeb, of Third Point LLC, are major supporters of charter schools.”

Cuomo appointed all four members of the SUNY charter school committee that will make the decision.

Cuomo needs the hedge funders to finance the presidential run everyone expects he wants. But, as Alan points out, he also needs the votes of the public so he may be open to suasion.

That is why I hope you will use this link to protest this unwise decision before it is too late.