Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Andrew Cuomo's Plans To Destroy New York State's Public Schools

After months of carefully not telling anybody what he planned to do in his second term as governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo let the cat out of the bag yesterday on education when he gave an interview to the New York Daily News editorial board in which he called the public school system a "monopoly" which he plans to "break" through "competition."

The "competition" Cuomo plans is to add as many charter schools as he can into the state, starve the public schools of funds so that he can give that money to the charter operators (many of whom are his donors) and add even more rules and regulations to the public school system that charter schools don't have to abide by.

There is a charter cap in New York that limits charter growth, a cap that charters are quickly coming up against.

Charter operators have talked for months about how they plan to have that cap increased or lifted completely and they've said Cuomo is just the man to give them what they want.

Charter operators have donated much money to Cuomo to curry favor with him, but Cuomo has already shown a desire to help them as much as he can.

Last spring, he backed Eva Moskowitz and the charter operators in a showdown with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio over co-locations, helping Moskowitz to put together a pro-charter rally in Albany at which he spoke, then pushing through new rules in the budget that force NYC to co-locate every future charter school or pay rent for private space for them.

Cuomo told the Daily News the following that indicates he will either increase the charter cap in the next budget or get rid of it completely:

Vowing to break “one of the only remaining public monopolies,” Gov. Cuomo on Monday said he’ll push for a new round of teacher evaluation standards if re-elected.

Cuomo, during a meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board, said better teachers and competition from charter schools are the best ways to revamp an underachieving and entrenched public education system.

“I believe these kinds of changes are probably the single best thing that I can do as governor that’s going to matter long-term,” he said, “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies — and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”

He said the key is to put “real performance measures with some competition, which is why I like charter schools.”

That sure sounds like Cuomo wants to spur unfettered charter school growth in his next four years - and in Andrew Cuomo's New York State, that unfettered charter growth will come at the expense of public schools.

Funding is a zero sum game these days after Cuomo instituted a tax cap that limits how much money towns and cities can raise for public education.

When Cuomo forces his unfettered charter school growth plan on towns and cities across the state, the funds for those charters will come from the public school kitty - just as is happening in New York City where the NYCDOE is on the hook for the rent for all future charter schools.

So far, the city is paying millions of dollars for rent for two Eva Moskowitz charters - each student costs the city $18,000 in rent at these two charters.

That's on top of the money the city already provides Eva for educating those students - the total comes to nearly $32,000 a student.

That money comes directly from the public school kitty - those are funds public schools and public school kids could have had that Moskowitz now gets so she can pay herself $600,000 a year and spend millions on advertising and political donations.

Cuomo plans to take that zero sum funding game statewide next, forcing public schools to "compete" with charter schools for the funding and the students - even though the game is rigged in favor of the charters.

And boy is it ever rigged.

You see, charter don't have to abide by the same rules and regulations as public schools.

They can get rid of students they don't want at any time.

They don't have to take every student who applies.

When students leave charters, charters don't have to replace them with new students - this is why graduating classes at charters are vastly smaller than classes in the earlier grades.

Finally they don't have to live with the same regulations - charters, for example, are not subject to the same evaluation system Cuomo shoved on the public schools in the state, nor will they be subject to the revised edition he plans for the next term:

Cuomo said he will push a plan that includes more incentives — and sanctions — that “make it a more rigorous evaluation system.”

Cuomo expects fierce opposition from the state’s teachers, who are already upset with him and have refused to endorse his re-election bid.

“The teachers don’t want to do the evaluations and they don’t want to do rigorous evaluations — I get it,” Cuomo said. “I feel exactly opposite.”

Cuomo in 2012 won enactment of a new system tying teacher performance to the Common Core curriculum testing results.

Schools are already struggling under a mess of an evaluation system that superintendents in the Lower Hudson Valley say is worse than useless because it takes so much time and energy to implement but does little to improve teaching.

Cuomo plans to make that system worse for public schools - but not for charters, which don't have to abide by this system.

So there's his plan to destroy the public school system around the state.

I wrote earlier today that he CAN be stopped at this - he is weaker now than he has ever been as governor and political pressure can be mounted to oppose his plans.

But we have to start organizing now - tell as many people as you can about Cuomo's plans to destroy the public school system and replace it with a privatized charterized system so that we can mount huge opposition to him in the coming months.

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