We're being told Gov. Andrew Cuomo is prepared to contradict himself and reverse course on tying public school teacher evaluations to student test scores.
The suggestion has been planted that behind the scenes the governor is now pushing for a significant decoupling of test scores to teacher evaluations.
It seems even a total delinking is under discussion, a 180 degree shift from his imposed law passed this spring hardwiring a teacher's survival to student scores on state mandated Common Core driven tests.
If what we're being told is true, this reversal by the governor would be a long overdue triumph of common sense over ideological idiocy.
We'll believe it when we see the law changed. A recurring observation about our sitting governor is that he can't be trusted. He'll say anything, but what he means and really hopes to achieve is often hard to decipher and more often than not, a study in misdirection.
LeBrun points out that the best way for the governor to change education policy is to go back to the Legislature and have the law changed - but Cuomo won't do that:
In the Times story, Malatras tellingly dismisses the strategy of asking the Legislature to change the language of the law when it comes to setting the percentage and makeup of test scores counting for teacher evaluations.
''There's just no need to go back to the Legislature,'' Malatras told the Times, because the State Education Department (SED) ''has the ability to dial up and dial down all sorts of things in the regulations.'' This is the opposite of what we're hearing from the Board of Regents and State Ed, which have said repeatedly the language of the Cuomo statute gives them very little wiggle room for maneuvering.
So what's Cuomo doing?
Perhaps another one of those head fakes that is made to fool you into thinking he's making substantive changes when he's really not making substantive changes:
Now the buzzword being sent up the flagpole by the governor, through Malatras, is ''moratorium.'' Putting a moratorium on the use of test scores in evaluations. But a moratorium is merely a sophisticated pause, and not substantive change.
When the NY Times story first went up, I expressed skepticism about the changes Cuomo was supposed to be considering, as did many Perdido Street School blog readers who left comments.
Fred LeBrun, an astute observer of Albany politics in general and Andrew Cuomo in particular, is skeptical too.
Here's the reality: Cuomo wants to make it look like he's pushing for substantive policy changes to education in order to assuage the 220,000+ who opted their children out of the state tests last school year.
He also wants to continue to make his hedge fund manager/education reformer donors, the ones who paid him for the education reform agenda he's pushing, happy.
So, a head fake from the governor is in order - talk a good game about substantive changes to education policy, but make sure the education laws that are now on the books, including APPR, are not changed, but rather "tweaked" via NYSED dictate.
No matter - if Cuomo thinks parents and teachers will be fooled by a "moratorium" on using test scores in APPR or tweaks to Common Core (like renaming the standards but keeping the "core"), he's got another thing coming.
As LeBrun writes:
The governor in the past has recognized this when he's called for a ''complete reboot.'' The old boots need to be thrown out.
Now we wait to see what the governor's task force has to say, which is the governor in thin disguise, and what the newly invigorated Board of Regents and the state Assembly come up with. Which better materialize into new law that rewrites Common Core and teacher evaluations.
Because you can be sure Opt Out will not be fooled.
Indeed, Opt Out will not be fooled.
But that doesn't mean that corrupt Governor Cuomo, a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the Hedge Fund Managers For Education Reform, won't try anyway.