ALBANY — Dozens of Assembly Democrats are pressing Speaker Carl Heastie to side with Mayor de Blasio over Gov. Cuomo on the issue of school reform, the Daily News has learned.
Fifty three Democrats, led by Assembly Education Committee Chairman Catherine Nolan (D-Queens) and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry (D-Queens), have signed onto a letter to Heastie urging him to reject Cuomo's push for the state to be able to take over failing schools during the ongoing budget negotiations.
"This proposal would wrest struggling schools away from local control and subject them to oversight by outside individuals or organizations, thereby interfering with the reforms municipalities are already implementing at the local level to strengthen schools and boost classroom achievement," the letter states.
The Democrats say putting the worst schools into state receivership has had a "mixed record at best" in other states.
"As we confront the challenges of providing our children with a great education, it is important that we keep in mind what works when it comes to supporting our public schools," the Assembly members say.
The letter does not specifically reference other Cuomo initiatives that would reform the teacher evaluation and tenure systems and increase the number of charter schools — all issues typically opposed by the Assembly Democrats.
The 53 Dems did write they support the reform agenda of de Blasio and his Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. They specifically referenced the mayor's call to increase community school services that deliver mental health, extended day learning for failing schools, expanded summer school, and greater access to math and technology programs.
Cuomo's state receivership plan is simply a privatization plan - declare individual schools and whole districts failing, then hand them over to the charter operators.
I'm glad to see that Assembly Dems are pushing back against that.
That these same Dems didn't push for Heastie to fight Cuomo on other Cuomo initiatives on teacher evaluations, tenure changes or the charter cap should worry you if you're opposed to them.
That's a sign that there will be a compromise on all three coming.