Dear Commons Community,
As part of his State of the State address yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined a $142 billion spending plan on Wednesday that has a heavy focus on education policy. His two-hour speech combined both his State of the State and budget presentation.
“It is now the great discriminator. The truth is we have two systems: We have one for rich and one for the poor. And the greatest symbol of disparity is our failing schools,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s education plan would raise the statewide cap on charter schools from 460 to 560. Per pupil tuition spending would be increased at charters as well. For teachers, a more stringent evaluation law that would be tied to teacher tenure would be in put place.
“We propose tenure to only be granted when a teacher achieves five consecutive years of effective ratings and once we have a fair evaluation system we can incentivize performance,” he said.
Good teachers would be rewarded with a $20,000 bonus, while it would be easier to fire bad teachers.
These proposals put him at odds with the New York State United Teachers union, which blasted the address. “I’m inviting the governor to drop the rhetoric of his hedge-fund pals who hate public education and come visit a real New York City public school,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. Mulgrew’s hedge-fund comment is in reference to campaign contributions made to Cuomo by individuals, organizations, and companies supporting charter schools.
The devil will be in the details especially when his proposals are negotiated with the NYS Assembly and State Senate. This will be very interesting given that the Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, may be arrested any day now by federal authorities on corruption charges.