It’s a “silly question” to wonder who should setting education policy in New York: the governor, or the state Education Department, Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued in a radio interview on The Capitol Pressroom on Tuesday.
Cuomo was responding to a Siena College poll released this morning that found a broad majority of New Yorkers — 62 percent to 21 percent — support the state Education Department to set the policy, not the governor’s office.
Cuomo noted it was the Education Department that was in charge of the much-maligned implementation of Common Core standards, which is overseen by the Board of Regents.
Without mentioning the Assembly by name, Cuomo noted the Regents were appointed not by him, but by state lawmakers.
Cuomo has devised his own education panel to come up with legislative recommendations to slow the roll out of Common Core that he wants voted on by June, when the legislative session ends.
The governor insisted in the radio interview that he doesn’t want any changes to his teacher evaluation law made as a result of reform to Common Core.
Cuomo suggested that many of the concerns raised over Common Core itself has to do more with late concerns about the evaluation measure, which had been agreed to by the state’s teachers unions.
The Regents suggested a minor tweak to the evaluation law, allowing teachers to challenge their ratings based upon their district's poor implementation of the Common Core.
Cuomo got apoplectic over the proposed change and made some vague threats to go after the Regents if they pushed through this tweak to the system.
The next day, the Regents backtracked and said they would allow months of public comment before addressing any change to the evaluation system - in other words, they tabled the proposed change because Cuomo threatened them.
How is this threat - along with the way Cuomo pushed through the teacher evaluation system in the first place, tied to education aid in his budget - not an example of the governor "setting education policy"?
Cuomo can try and distance himself all he wants from the CCSS/APPR mess - the truth is, he has much to do with the state's reform agenda on both Common Core and teacher evaluations through his budgets.
In short, Common Core and APPR teacher evaluations are Andrew Cuomo's education policies, whether he wants to take public credit for them or not.
And here at Perdido Street School, we'll make sure that Cuomo doesn't get to distance himself from his own policies and displace responsibility onto others.