ALBANY—Zephyr Teachout says it will be at least another week before she decides whether to mount a left-flank challenge to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“My decision is based on whether I can put together the resources to mount a credible challenge and to get on the ballot,” Teachout, a Fordham law professor, said Friday during a trip to Albany.
Teachout said she is not ready to rule out an effort to create a new party—which, if successful, would assure her a spot on the November ballot—but is focusing her efforts on petitioning her way into a Democratic primary against Cuomo. (Either would require the valid signatures of 15,000 registered voters from around the state, though a primary petition would require signatories to be enrolled Democrats.)
She had sought to run on the Working Families Party line, but a majority of W.F.P. delegates voted to endorse Cuomo after he committed to join efforts to flip the state Senate into Democratic hands.
Teachout initially said she would make a decision about whether or not to launch a primary by Monday. She said her run against Cuomo would be built on a critique of his use of high-dollar campaign donations and his support for linking teacher performance evaluations to student test scores.
Now that Cuomo has already made a mockery of the deal he made with Working Families Party, promising to support a Democratic takeover of the State Senate last weekend and then just days later telling upstate Republicans they have nothing to fear over that, there is a very good opening for Zephyr Teachout to garner a lot of grassroots support if she decides to run.
If she makes Cuomo's support of teacher evaluations tied to test scores and his Endless Testing education reforms a centerpiece of her campaign, I will be ready to support her in November.
I think it is high time Cuomo is put on the defensive in a public campaign over his education reform agenda.
He keeps saying it's not his agenda, it's John King's or Merryl Tisch's or the legislature's (because the Regents are appointed by the legislature.)
But like much of what comes out of Andrew Cuomo's mouth, these words are disingenuous.
The reason why we have so much testing in this state is because Andrew Cuomo's teacher evaluation system forces it - teachers have to be evaluated using both state tests and local performance measures (which end up being tests for every student in every grade in every subject.)
Add in the field testing children are taking to ensure that Pearson has future test questions to the state tests and local tests that children have to take and you have an education system that is All Testing All The Time.
Isn't it time Andrew M. Cuomo is called to account for that and made to defend it publicly?
A Teachout campaign making evaluations/testing would do just that.