Danielle O'Connor, superintendent of Frewsburg Central School, said the logic of promising bonus pay to teachers while her district is still struggling with a $1.2 million gap elimination adjustment is less than sound.
"We would certainly be able to strengthen our district and our performance if we had that $1.2 million, as opposed to giving it to individual teachers," she said. "So, while it's nice to reward teachers for hard work, I would like to know where the money is coming from."
Several times throughout his address, Cuomo reinforced his belief in linking a school's state aid to its academic performance. Chris Reilly - president of the Jamestown Teachers Association - couldn't disagree more, saying the incentives are bad in both theory and practice for those actually involved in education.
"It's only good in theory to those who haven't been responsible for children in a classroom," Reilly said. "There is no research to support that merit pay systems promote better teaching, or that they adequately identify good teachers. Teachers can't be measured in the same ways the private sector is, just as the private sector shouldn't be measured the same way teachers are measured. There are way too many variables in today's society that impact student growth and student success. We aren't selling hamburgers or refrigerators; our bottom line cannot be measured by test scores."
A common concern from superintendents is the lack of an equitable distribution of state aid to small, rural schools in the face of an increasing number of state mandates.
"It's tough to envision something like (the APPR teacher incentives) when the governor is still looking at giving schools the same aid they received in 2008-09," said Stephen Penhollow, Falconer Central School superintendent. "I don't know whether this is fair or unfair to teachers, but I do know that, as it stands, districts can't afford to pay for these programs without funding.
Underfunding school districts while adding lots more state mandates that cost, you know, money - doesn't that sound like a recipe for failure?
How about taking more education money and using it for merit pay based upon the mess of a teacher evaluation system Governor Cuomo shoved onto the state a few years ago?
Sounds like another recipe for failure.
Is Governor Cuomo deliberately trying to wreck the public school system in NY State?
Judging from some of his policies, it sure seems that way.