SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Mayor Stephanie Miner has once again challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo, this time by demanding more money for poor school districts like Syracuse.
Saying Cuomo's educational policies "scapegoat teachers'' for the problems of failing schools, Miner said many failing schools do not get as much state aid as they are entitled to by law.
Miner today joined forces with another occasional Cuomo critic, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to demand better school funding.
They issued a joint news release calling on the state to honor a 2006 decision by the state's highest court, which held that the state had provided inadequate financial support to New York City and other poor school districts.
In an interview today, Miner said she understands Cuomo's effort to reform schools and to weed out bad teachers, but she said money must be part of the discussion.
"You cannot scapegoat teachers, then say 'We're going to give them more tests and more evaluations,' and walk away from the significant constitutional underfunding that's been going on in this state for years,'' Miner said.
It is good to see someone of Miner's stature call Cuomo out on his jive.
Cuomo likes to use the average per pupil amount New York spends on education to say we spend too much on education with too little in the way of results.
But that number is deceptive - as a commenter at the Syracuse.com story points out:
The Governor's office is misleading people: "New York today spends more per pupil than any other state in the nation -- $19,552-- nearly double the national average of $10,608 per pupil. Over the last 15 years, spending on education in New York has more than doubled, from $28 billion to $58 billion, and we spend more per pupil than any other state in the nation, yet our students remain in the bottom half when it comes to results." This quote is misleading.
The governor is simply overlooked the higher average costs of operating a school in NYC (one of the most expensive places in the world) and mixes the number in with the figures for the rest of the state. If you just used Upstate NY alone, then he'd see the rate is much, much lower.
He also ignores the actual rate of inflation over the past 15 years in his numbers. If he adjusted his numbers to include the actual rate of inflation then the "spending" he claims to have doubled is much closer to being "FLAT" and not increasing!
Even his own numbers do not show NY education at the bottom. NY is, at worse, in the middle.
He also leaves out the fact that much of the "public school" spending has been slipped over to charter and private schools.
In short, Cuomo is lying through his teeth in order to push his destructive privatization agenda.