Saturday, December 21, 2013

Carol Burris: Tisch Did Blame Cuomo, But It Was Over APPR Teacher Evaluations

I managed to miss this tweet when I was writing up this morning's post about Andrew Cuomo going Corleone on Merryl Tisch over Common Core.

First, let's recap the story:

Newsday reported that a principal from a middle school in Red Hook said the following:

Karyann (Katie) Zahedi, principal of Linden Middle School in Red Hook, told the panel of Assembly members Wednesday night that she and other educators strongly expressed their concerns to Tisch about the Common Core, which has generated controversy around the state.

  “She was frustrated that we were so critical,” Zahedi, speaking of Tisch, told an audience that included parents and educators.

  “She said to me: ‘How would you like to be in my position?’” Zahedi continued. “This is what she says: ‘I’m at the governor’s mansion and he shouts at me that if you don’t get this done, if you don’t get this through, I’ll put three geniuses in a room and I’ll force it down your throats.’”

Tisch told Newsday the conversation never happened and Cuomo's office "deferred" to Tisch on the matter.

Leonie Haimson tweeted the following yesterday:

Carol Burris responded with this:

Now that makes so much more sense than the original story that came out about Cuomo getting Tony Soprano on Tisch over Common Core.

As I wrote earlier, I have little doubt that Andrew Cuomo wants Common Core implemented - after all, he has taken an awful lot of campaign cash from the moneyed interests who are pushing Common Core -  but he's even more invested in getting APPR shoved down the throats of the people in the state because that is his program.

Cuomo pushed APPR, Cuomo stuck a mandate into the budget that districts had to have an APPR evaluation system in place for teachers last year or lose an increase in state aid, Cuomo touted APPR in his State of the State addresses, Cuomo is APPR for all practical purposes.

APPR becomes a problem for Cuomo now because it is one of the main reasons why there is so much testing in schools.

It is Cuomo's APPR evaluation system that mandates 40% of a teacher's rating comes from "objective" measures like "performance assessments" (ie., education geekspeak for "tests") and "state assessments."

As students, parents and teachers across the state have risen up in revolt against the Endless Testing regime imposed by SED and the Regents, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and SED Commissioner King have claimed that the state is not imposing all these tests, that it's the local districts that are doing this.

In part, that's true - but they're doing it because of Andrew Cuomo's APPR teacher evaluation system, which mandates teachers be rated using both the state tests and performance assessments at the local level.

In addition, even if the local assessments are done away with, the emphasis on testing remains in APPR because it mandates 40% of a teacher's rating come from "objective measures" (i.e., test scores.)

Whether the 40% of the rating comes from two sets of tests or one big state test, the FEAR that overwhelms students, teachers, and administrators over all of this testing remains.

So I can believe that Cuomo told Tisch to get APPR shoved down people's throats or he would send in some people to do it for her - this is Cuomo's baby, and if it the rebellion over APPR continues to spread, he just might be forced to have to back down on these evaluation systems he imposed on districts and bragged about as being "state of the art."

As I noted in my earlier piece, we'll put him on the record over this in 2014 as he runs for re-election.

He wants to run for president in 2016, so he wants to run up the score in 2014 to make like he's a viable candidate.

He does not want a rebellion brewing over APPR, Common Core, inBloom or anything else that might take away 5%-10% points from his re-election totals.

And given the anger over APPR, Common Core, testing and inBloom, Cuomo's education reform agenda could do just that.


  1. Then why didn't Mulgrew go all Tony Saprano on Cuomo as well? Instead he became his consigliere.

  2. Andy is responsible for APPR. Guidance prvided by SEd led most school districts to impose pre and post tests for the 20% local test component. John King signed off on every school district's APPR plan--he is deceitful when he says SED has not required new assessments. I would once again ask have two less experienced people (King and Tisch) ever had as much power placed in their hands? No wonder we have the fiasco we currently face--they are not capable of moving us forward but many are afraid to tell them the truth. Everyone suffers because of their incompetence--and a reluctance to call them out for the folly they are leaders. The Emperor new clothes are wonderful...