Friday, November 6, 2015

Cuomo Administration Hack Defends His Boss Over Common Core, Education Policy

Remember Jim Malatras, the Cuomo administration hack/director of state operations who "wrote" to Merryl Tisch about education policy right before Governor Cuomo unveiled education reforms for the state budget that included a school receivership program and increasing the weight of test scores in teacher evaluations to 50%?

Well, he's back with another piece of writing, this in the Times Union, defending Boss Cuomo over those very education policies, which are very unpopular (as is his boss.)

In his commentary, Malatras claims Cuomo has "led the nation" in limiting testing time in schools (a bogus claim since Cuomo has increased the weight of test scores on teacher ratings which means the official "testing time" does not include the Endless Test Prep kids undergo all the year through so that their schools are not closed and their teachers aren't fired based upon their state test scores) and has provided the highest funding for schools in state history (another bogus claim which ignores all the new state mandates Cuomo and NYSED have thrown onto school districts that eats up gobs of that money as well as the property cap that limits the ability of districts to increase funding.)

In addition, Malatras takes a victory lap that the feds have followed suit with the 2% limit on testing, writing that "rather than following the lead of the U.S. Department of Education, New York has led the way for other states and was highlighted in a recent federal announcement as a model for other states looking to move this work forward."

This ignores that the 2% rule was instituted at the federal level by the same guy who pushed it here (former NYSED Commissioner, now acting-Secretary of Education John King) and that, in the end, it's meaningless because it still means kids will spend at least 22 hours a year on standardized testing.
If you add in all the Endless Test Prep that must be done during the Endless Testing regime to the 2% testing time so that teachers don't get fired or schools don't get closed, you can see how the rule changes little.

That Cuomo has taken to having his hack Malatras write rebuttals to op-ed pieces in the Times Union tells you how defensive Cuomo is over his education polices.

Given that he's engaging in another dog and pony show with his Common Core Review task force (which appears to want to hear as little as possible from anybody who doesn't already agree with the governor) and is trying to make it look like he's making changes to the Common Core/Endless Testing regime in New York State without actually making any changes, he should be on the defensive.

His defensive actions are fruitless - parents and teachers are fed up with his reform agenda, are fed up with him and are not going to be fooled by any dog and pony show that makes minor tweaks to the state's education policies but essentially leaves the damaging Common Core/Endless Testing regime in place.

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