Addressing other education-related questions, Cuomo said he has heard widespread concerns about the state's implementation of the rigorous Common Core standards, and he expects lawmakers will discuss legislative action this session.
“The Common Core has really raised concerns, and I've heard them all across this state,” Cuomo said. “And this is upstate-downstate, Democrat-Republican, short people-tall people, gay people-straight people—it has really raised concerns all across the board. And those are concerns that we are looking at and I think we will be discussing this legislative session.”
The governor said he would not consider changes to the state-mandated teacher-evaluation system, which he championed. NYSUT has asked for a legislative moratorium on using student scores on Common Core-aligned exams for “high stakes,” principally the teacher evaluations. There's also a push in the Legislature to eliminate excess testing from the evaluation plans.
Cuomo said his decision to tie state funding to the evaluations furthered accountability in schools where it had been resisted.
“The system, while it has been asking for more money, has steadfastly refused any evaluation, which is really an interesting confluence,” he said. “Look at what Albany does: It gives them more money, because their lobbyists are good. Their lobbyists support the political system, so they get funding increases, and they don't have to put in the teacher evaluation system, even though they promised the federal government they would years before.
“We reversed that,” he continued. “We actually have a teacher evaluation system in place. I believe the teacher evaluation system is very important for everyone, primarily the students, frankly. But it's also good for the teachers, because those who need help should get the help they need. So I think the teacher evaluation system is very important. It's still opposed by the teaching establishment, if you will, that doesn't want to be evaluated. But I think it's very important.”
Okay, now he's out in the open on this.
One of the reasons why there is so much excessive testing in schools is because Cuomo's APPR teacher evaluation system mandates that 40% of a teacher's evaluation come from so-called "student performance" as measured by standardized tests and performance assessments.
The rebellion over the SED/Regents/Cuomo reform agenda that is occurring around the state, from Long Island to Westchester to Western New York, is rooted in part over the APPR teacher evaluation system that Cuomo put into place and continues to defend.
He said today that too much money in education goes to bureaucracy, but never mentioned how much money now goes to the testing regime - the testing companies, the data specialists, the outside consultants and tech companies.
He also fails to acknowledge that teachers do not mind being evaluated - they simply do not want to be evaluated using a flawed system based upon high stakes standardized tests and value added measurements with margins of error larger than Billy Joel's swollen liver.
I am not surprised that Cuomo is not going to allow any changes to APPR - this is his baby, he put it together, he forced it through by sticking it into the budget and he twisted arms to make sure every district put it into place.
Still, he is going to be caught flat-footed as parents and teachers around the state continue to rise up over his education reform agenda.