Cuomo kills off the last remnant of his signature schools reform
Gov. Cuomo last week officially gave up on a cause he’d spent years fighting for: mandating the use of student results on state exams as a major part of teacher evaluations — with educators whose classes consistently fail to improve on the line for firing.
The push started back in 2011 as the main action following Cuomo’s high-profile vow to be “the students’ lobbyist.” In 2012 he swung a deal with the teachers unions to implement the idea in theory — only to see the unions stymie negotiations at the district level.
“The single best thing that I can do,” he said in 2014, is “break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies”: the teachers unions.
That year he muscled the Legislature into simply imposing the requirement, and in 2015 into doubling down on it . . . eventually: It actually wouldn’t kick in for years.
At that point the unions took to encouraging the “opt out” movement by scaring parents into refusing to let their kids take the exams. If enough students don’t take the test, you see, the results can’t be used for anything.
And it worked: With huge “opt out” successes in the suburbs, Cuomo OK’d further delays in 2016, a concession widely seen as surrender.
Now the governor is supporting Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s bill to officially kill the requirement. And Cuomo’s office announced that move just hours after his lefty challenger, Cynthia Nixon, called for the change.
That’s right: He drove the final dagger into what was once a signature Cuomo reform at the behest of a candidate who’s far behind him in the polls.
So much for an initiative the governor once bragged would “make New York a national leader in holding teachers accountable” and “transform our state’s education system.”
Andrew Cuomo is plainly determined to do whatever seems useful to lock in a third term as governor. But what can he achieve with that term, when at this rate he’ll have sold out everything that used to be his agenda?
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