The State Education Department is getting a second chance to implement a complex and controversial piece of public policy.
SED has faced a tidal wave of complaints from parents, teachers, local school officials and politicians — including Gov. Andrew Cuomo — about its four-year rollout of the new educational standards and the tests that come with them. The firestorm was one of the major controversies in last year's state budget negotiation.
But now, thanks to the 2015-16 state budget deal — specifically, language inserted by the governor — the department is being tasked with devising a new teacher evaluation system that will be crafted under the baleful gaze of many of the same critics.
The department will do it without any extra money, and is beginning its work without a permanent commissioner in place.
And of course the governor himself is on record calling both NYSED and the Board of Regents, essentially incompetent:
SED's Common Core critics have complained that the department and former Education Commissioner John King were too slow to provide backup or explanatory material about the new standards, even as it was putting out new exams based on the changes.
Cuomo himself even said last June: "The reason we're in this situation is because the Board of Regents and Mr. King didn't handle it."
King left in December to take a top job at the federal Department of Education. Cuomo offered similar criticisms of the Regents just last month.
Now the governor has managed to impose a new evaluation system and other reforms onto the education system that will be crafted by one appointed body and one bureaucratic department that he's on record saying couldn't handle the Common Core roll-out.
This should go swimmingly.