The governor says he wants a complete reboot of Common Core, and wants to hear what all the stakeholders have to say through his diverse commission. Then he wants to lay out a new plan in January when the Legislature comes to town. Effectively that means the commission — which incidentally has no member from the "Opt Out" movement representing 20 percent of the state's students and their parents — must grapple with a complicated set of issues with diverse viewpoints and come up over the next several weeks with a consensus that satisfies all sides. An impossible task.
So we will most likely get what we got before, a bad joke masquerading as a thoughtful policy change.
Todd Hathaway, a teacher at East Aurora High School, was a member of the governor's first Common Core panel, and saw with horror how Albany really works. He was a dissenter from the commission's report advocating the garbage we got and found out they didn't really care what he thought. The governor's office, he said, "repeatedly ignored my concerns ... about inappropriate state testing, the misuse of invalid tests for (teacher) evaluations and the lack of transparency in state testing."
Our transactional governor, who long ago listened appreciatively to his hedge fund friends on promoting charter schools, for-profit education, devaluing teachers and advocating Common Core and high-stakes testing, is mostly looking for a political solution here, not an educational one. He wants to find a way to appease an angry, rebellious public while changing as little as he can of the atrocious education policy he dictated to the Legislature earlier this year.
The governor has made the Regents and the State Education Department scapegoats for his failed policies, blaming them for the hurried rollout of still unformed Common Core in this state. Lest we forget, it was the governor who insisted on getting there first among states, ready or not. Nor can we forget his continued vilification of teachers for a very long time.
Blaming teachers has been nothing but a prolonged, unfair distraction from what remains a prime challenge in New York public education — closing the achievement gap for minorities, for poorer school districts in inner cities and deep rural areas.
The disparity in graduation rates hasn't budged. It's time we got back to that, with a much better plan.
The difference between this "review" Cuomo has put together and the two past education panels/commissions is that we've got a road map on how this all works - Cuomo's office writes the report and hands it off for the members to sign and/or indicates how the report should be written to their shills on the commission.
This is what happened with the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, this is what happened with the LIPA commission after Sandy, this is what happened with the two previous education commissions/panels.
So few will be fooled by this sham task force or the report it hands off to Cuomo for his January State of the State speech because we've seen this show before.
The key will be to point out to people over and over how much of a sham the Cuomo review was and to make him pay a political price for putting on the dog and pony show.
He wants a political solution to an education problem to come out of this process.
What he's going to get is an even bigger political problem when parents and educators see that the "reboot" was nothing other than a "rename" of the same education reform agenda and policies.