Gov. Cuomo Monday said he has no interest getting into the weeds about where charter schools are located within a city, just as long as they continue to exist.
Cuomo made the comments during a press conference in his ceremonial Red Room office at the Capitol designed to push his property tax plan he wants included in a final budget.
He dismissed as "silly" claims by critics that his heavy push for charter schools in recent weeks is his way of flexing "gubernatorial control" over the school system, particularly in New York City where the mayor has final say.
He insisted he was not involving himself specifically in de Blasio's decision to rescind co-location agreements with three charter schools run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.
"I’m not getting into specifics of this school should be here, this school shouldn't be there. I don’t know," Cuomo said. "I know system wide you can’t be in a position where a city can say there will be no more charter schools. Either by saying it that way, 'there will be no more charter schools' or saying 'I’m not going to locate any charter schools and I’m not going to provide any funding for the location of charter schools.' "
He said he wants to ensure that the charter school movement as a whole continues to grow in cities across the state. It can be done in the upcoming budget or as a separate bill, he said.
"I believe charter schools need to be protected," he said. "Their fear, writ large, is if you have a city that says I don't want to have anymore charter schools, that a city can basically stop the creation of more charter schools by limiting the location and the funding. I think that would be problematic. I want to make sure the charter school movement can continue and grow."
But he added that "the specifics I’ll leave up to the localities."
But wait, how is it leaving the specifics up to the localities if a city decides through the democratic process that it wants no additional charter schools but Cuomo forces them on that locality anyway?
Gee, isn't that "gubernatorial control" over the school system?
Cuomo's having to twist himself into a bit of a pretzel here to maintain the stance that he wants no direct control over individual school systems but he is going to make sure that those individual systems continue to add charter schools.
In addition, it gets harder for Cuomo to defend his charter school stances given the amount of money he's taken from Eva and Company to push their issues, specifically extra funding and free rent, even as his budget forces traditional public schools to scrimp in order to make the bills and the additional mandates the state has thrown on them because of CCSS and APPR.
So far, he's still standing, but you can already see a pullback in some of the rhetoric on the charter stuff from Sheriff Andy from that day he spoke at Eva's rally to now.
That doesn't mean he's going to back down on any of this, of course.
But it does mean that Sheriff Andy can see some of the contradictions in his positions (charter funding/traditional school funding, attacks on school superintendent salaries/no attacks on charter operator salaries, says CCSS tests not good to evaluate students with/says CCSS tests are just swell to evaluate teachers with) and even he realizes he has to tread a bit lighter than he has been so far.
It will be interesting to see how he figures out the way to force charters onto NYC via SUNY or the legislature while maintaining he has no say in education policy (as he said last month before the Eva firestorm.)
That's my favorite Cuomo contradiction actually - that he has no power over education policy even as he shoves all of these policies, from CCSS to APPR to charter schools, down the throats of districts, schools, students, teachers and parents all across the state.