Gov. Cuomo this morning linked his school reform effort to Martin Luther King Jr.
Addressing hundreds attending an MLK Day event near the state Capitol, Cuomo said he sees school reform as a continuation of “Dr. King’s struggle.”
"I believe as we gather here today, one of the greatest challenges for us, one of the greatest injustices to right is the failing of our public education system, period," he said.
“It started in 1954 Brown vs Board of Education, the nation stood up and said everyone, everywhere should have a quality education system. And we’re not there yet.”
“The great equalizer that was supposed to be the public education system can now be the great discriminator. Because if you have to go public school in a failing public school, you may never catch up, you may just be left behind by society and never catch up….”
“And government here is actually part of the problem because we have lost focus on what it is all about. We have created an education bureaucracy and now it is about the education bureaucracy perpetuating the education bureaucracy.”
Cuomo again said the system has become about the "business of education" more than the "achievement in education."
“We have to realize that our schools are not an employment program for the superintendents, and the principals and the teachers. They are an education program for the students. It is this simple. It is not about the adults it is about the children. The children come first.”
“I want to fund performance. And I want to shift the focus to the students…”
Cuomo is expected to tie a teacher evaluation system to a portion of school aid funding in his budget plan he is scheduled to unveil tomorrow.
Cuomo also used the event to bring rare unsolicited praise for President Obama, who he credited with the Race To The Top program.
He said the Obama administration is set to take away hundreds of millions of dollars from the state if a teacher evaluation system in not put in place.
"And the $700 million is going to come from the poorest school districts in this state. And I’m not going to let that happen."
"We’re gonna put an evaluation system in place that represents the students interest first .
We’re going to have the governor of the state of New York as the lobbyist for the students and the parents as the advocates and together we are going to change education once and for all.”
Yeah, Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream - a dream that all teachers would be evaluated using a value-added measurement tied to student test scores with a margin of error as large as 36% and stability swings wider than the gash in the Titanic's hull.
I'd say it's unbelievable that Cuomo is tying MLK to value-added teacher measurements and adding twenty new tests a year to the school curriculum in order to pull off that new evaluation system, but the truth is - it's not.
This is EXACTLY what these corporate reform people do - drape themselves in the language of civil rights and sanctimony while decrying the adults who work in the education system as the ones hurting students.
As if it's teachers slashing school budgets, increasing class sizes, cutting classroom materials so money can be spent on no-bid contracts for testing companies, narrowing the curriculum by adding new high stakes standardized tests in every subject in every grade and tying teaching jobs to the scores so that the only things kids will do in school anymore is prep for tests and take tests.