Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cuomo Wants To Delay School Funding Until Teacher Evaluation Commission Completes Work In June

I keep reading how Governor Cuomo has been caving on that agenda of his that he said had better be in the budget or there would be no budget:

ALBANY – Tuesday at the State Capitol will go down as concession day.

Criminal justice, education, infrastructure, immigration and tax issues all started falling off the budget table as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers erased their previous lines in the sand. It was a sure sign of a desperate push for an on-time state budget by next Wednesday.

For instance, soon after Catholic Church leaders mounted a last-ditch push for a tax-credit plan to help private and religious schools, Cuomo said the idea has been dropped from budget negotiations following stiff opposition by Assembly Democrats.

The education tax credit, Cuomo said, joined the DREAM Act, a proposal to provide college aid to children of undocumented immigrants, as just two of the issues being jettisoned from talks in the budget rush during the final week before the 2015-16 fiscal year begins.

Cuomo wasn’t ready to publicly concede on his insistence on state-imposed stronger job-performance evaluations for public school teachers. But lawmakers in both the Assembly and the Senate said Tuesday that an idea to form a commission – a go-to route in Albany when sides can’t agree – was under discussion to address changing how classroom teachers in the state’s 700 school districts are evaluated. Cuomo administration officials sought to tamp down “rumors,” later saying that nothing has been agreed to.

And yet, this doesn't sound like the work of somebody making concessions:

FUNDING TIED TO JUNE EVAL DEAL—Capital’s Jessica Bakeman: “Members of the State Assembly’s Democratic majority fumed Tuesday night over a plan they said was developed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans to hold back a school funding increase until June, when an appointed commission would recommend a new teacher-evaluation system. After meeting privately for several hours, Assembly members accused Senate Republicans of reneging on an apparent understanding between the two chambers that education funding would not be contingent on the enactment of reforms, such as an overhaul of the performance rating system for educators, which Cuomo has pushed.

“According to the plan, Cuomo and lawmakers would establish in the budget a six-member commission with two appointees each for the governor and the legislative houses, members said. The panel would develop a new evaluation system and return it to the Legislature by June 1, at which point, schools would have access to an increase in aid.

“‘There is a great concern that the governor is trying to maneuver to accomplish an agenda that we all reject,’ Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, a Democrat from Westchester, said after the conference’s meeting on Tuesday night. ‘[Setting] up another way to deal with the policy issue of teacher evaluations sounded like an attractive approach, but now all of a sudden, we’re hearing that [Senate Republican leader Dean] Skelos is backing away from what he said would be the pre-condition for that, which would be no linkage [to funding]. So if we can’t trust him on that, how can we trust him on the commission?’”

That sounds like the work of somebody looking to get what he wants on teacher evaluation reforms and still using the stick approach by tying funding to his getting it.

Key word out of the Bakeman piece there is "trust".

Senate GOP and Assembly Dems had made a deal that there be "no linkage to funding."

Cuomo has a meeting with GOP Majority Leader Skelos and suddenly there is linkage to the funding.

That kind of thing is called "betrayal" and perhaps it's just payback for what Heastie and the Assembly Dems did to Skelos and the Senate GOP when they agreed to an ethics reform deal with Cuomo.

In any case, what it means outside Albany is that, contrary to what you may have heard in the news, Governor Cuomo is NOT backing away from his most damaging proposals to "break" public schools and public school teachers.


  1. I am so sick of all of this drama. Whatever "deal" comes out of the commission we all know it is going to stink. My only prayer is that they cut back on the number of teacher observations in NYC. As it stands now, NYC has more required teacher observations than any other district due to what King demaned when the UFT could not come up with a compromise with Albany. If NYC gets less teacher observations then I will be a somehwat happier camper in an otherwise tainted profession.

  2. For Albany politicians to design teacher evaluation systems makes as much sense as having them to run nuclear power plants–or perform brain surgery–they lack the background required for those tasks. Pure politics–and soon to blow up on them! The current evaluation system was forced on local school districts by Cuomo. It has resulted in band directors being evaluated by how well students in their school perform on ELA tests. We know that when school districts reach the point that these evaluation systems are in court (after a teacher challenges their firing)–that Cuomo will be embarrassed. Now he wants to double down on this nonsense! Unbelievable!


  3. Don't you know that everyone is an expert on education because they went to school a some point in their lives? It's true.

  4. This is sickening. The six appointees will all be beholden to their masters. Cuomo and Skelos will appoint four of the six who will surely be looking to screw teachers. The Assembly will appoint two with union blessing, which will give them some political cover that they do not deserve for signing off on this scheme. Skelos wants the panel to be able to impose its recommendations absent subsequent legislative approval. That way the GOP thieves can say they didn't approve any of this, it came from the panel.

    Meanwhile, what we are seeing play out is exactly what transpired when there was a mad dash to approve the Race to the Top requirements so we could get the $700 million. Our union agreed to a terrible evaluation system that will soon be even worse. Public school districts did not get anywhere near $700 since SED kept at least half the money for its own purposes (Pearson, etc.).

    Let's remember the proposed state aid consists of our money. Not Cuomo's. Not Skelos'. Not Heastie's. We paid this through income, business and sale taxes; through fees and charges, etc. This is nothing but extortion.

    The UFT/NYSUT has proven to be inept, year after year, in punishing politicians that make us their enemies and in electing our friends.

  5. I have been going to the dentist for 40 years but that does not make me an expert on denistry.