In the last Siena poll, Cuomo stands with 40% job approval, 58% disapproval.
On individual issues, the numbers are even worse.
On public education, 68% disapprove of the job he is doing, 27% approve.
On corruption, 69% disapprove of the job he is doing, 23% approve.
On the economy, 63% disapprove of the job he is doing, 35% approve.
On improving the state's infrastructure, 65% disapprove of the job he is doing, 29% approve.
These are not good poll numbers.
And the numbers have been this way for a while - last December, Cuomo was at 42% job approval in the Siena poll and the numbers have languished all year.
So what's a governor to do but try and juice those numbers, starting with education
Cue Fred LeBrun:
Things are at long last looking up for beleaguered public education in this state, probably.
I'd like to say the likelihood of significant corrections coming to Common Core, excessive and inappropriate standardized testing, and a hard-wired connection between those tests and teachers' jobs, is because the politician most responsible for the total mess we're in, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has finally seen the light.
His infatuation with data driven education ''reform,'' fueled by millionaire political donors, has been a disaster, for him and for our children. It's his law that's codified the problem. It's his law that needs amending.
But I have a hunch closer to the truth would be the sobering recognition by the governor that what desperately needs fixing and quick are persistently in-the-toilet poll numbers over his intrusive handling of education issues.
Voters get it.
Especially with Judgment Day a mere five months away, when the next round of standardized tests are mandated in English and math for grades 4 to 8. That's also about the time we are apt to see a parental opt-out uprising across the state of a scary magnitude if big changes aren't already made or in the works.
So Cuomo needs to distance himself from his own mess pronto and be part of the solution rather than the problem for a change.
LeBrun sees cause for optimism that Cuomo's Common Core task force - completely controlled by the governor (as all things are in this state) - has allowed dissenting voices this time around while previous Cuomo-controlled education commissions did not (see here.)
LeBrun is also encouraged by the appointment of a critic of the state's education policies, Jere Hochman, to work as Cuomo's top education adviser and by the news that more than 3/4s of school districts in the state are going to get waivers from Cuomo's latest iteration of APPR.
And LeBrun sees Testing Doyenne Merryl Tisch's departure as cause for smiling, since so much of the damage done to the system was wrought by Tisch herself.
But like all savvy Cuomo-watchers, LeBrun remains skeptical:
Now, the devil remains in the details, and forgive the state's teachers, educators — and parents — for being skeptical. The last five years has been a horror show. At the very least sole reliance on the flawed ''growth score'' from standardized tests in evaluating teacher performance has to change. It's written in the law. Student performance, and an appropriate level of teacher accountability, can be measured in a number of different ways, and alternatives need to be part of the dialogue. Common Core standards need new flexibilities, and a total rethink down in the lower grades where serious issues of developmentally inappropriate testing, questions, and frequency are recurring criticisms.
It won't be all that hard to torque the law back to reasonable. Now let's see it happen before we break out the confetti.
To be frank, I'm not ready to buy the confetti, let alone get it out and begin celebrating just yet.
NYSED Commissioner Elia told us she wants to repaint the Common Core standards so that people will like them better.
I'm not so sure all of what we're seeing out of Cuomo and NYSED is anything other than a repainting job meant to fool parents and educators into thinking state pols and educrats are listening to their concerns while really not listening to their concerns.
Tisch herself said one of her biggest regrets as Regents Chancellor was not communicating with parents the wonders of Common Core and testing well enough so that there wouldn't have been the rebellion the state has seen over both.
Call me cynical, call me jaded, but I haven't yet seen any tangible policy change that says to me the Endless Testing regime and the damaging Common Core State (sic) Standards are going anywhere.
What I see so far is a change in messaging, not a change in policy or agenda.
Calls for limiting testing from either President Obama or Governor Cuomo are jive when teachers and schools are rated (and fired or closed) based upon test scores.
So long as the tests carry so much weight, the system will be rife with test prep and test anxiety.
As for the Common Core, until these standards are revisited and the insane focus on "rigor" all the time is changed, schools will continue to be misery factories for both children and teachers.
In many schools, students do the same thing in every class, day after day - close reading informational texts that are several grade levels above in difficulty, responding to text-based questions and writing evidence-based argumentative essays on these texts.
This is happening not just in English class but in social studies, science, health - even art, music and vocational classes.
Teachers who deviate from what is considered "rigorous" are punished - administrators enforce total compliance through the APPR teacher evaluation system and the Danielson rubric.
Until some teacher autonomy is returned, some creativity and allowance to deviate from the "One Way To Teach Them All" approach that we have now, many children are going to continue to hate school and learning.
And if you doubt this, ask some who go to schools where it's "All Rigor All The Time" - ask them how they like close reading day after day, writing argumentative essays day after day, spending three weeks on one short story and close reading it over and over until they don't care anything about it.
Cuomo said change is coming to the system - but given this is the same guy who said he wants to "break" the public school monopoly, I'm not ready to declare whatever "change" he plans to bring good change.
So far, all I see is a change to the messaging.