This is a perfect example of what we face in NYS:

A recent NYT story about 2 simultaneous rallies in Albany: It favors the New York City’s charter school rally in held in a park just outside the Capitol, with video screens, a rock-concert atmosphere, an enthusiastic mix of thousands of students, a raft of state leaders, a pop star, dance troupes and booming club music, including the Republican Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos.

The audience was supplied by the main charter organizations in NYC:

  • KIPP, recruited parents and graduates to attend.
  • Achievement First, brought its Brooklyn students if their parents came along.
  • Eva S. Moskowitz‘s Success Academy, closed schools, held class on buses, and if parents did not want their children to make the trip north, they had to send them elsewhere for the day.

At the same time, supporters of teachers’ unions gathered at a convention center adjacent to the Capitol. Smaller in numbers, less festive, the unions were targeted lawmakers, including the heads of education committees from the Assembly and State Senate. Michael Mulgrew, the New York City union’s president told 1,000 parents and members in attendance at the convention center that it was their day to fight.

The points being that we are hidden indoors, union led, talking to pols, and they are packing a public outdoor space with recruited kids and parents in uniformed t shirts and hats and celebrities….

What’s it all about? Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal! Which is filled with:


His proposed $1.1 billion increase in school aid is contingent upon the approval of a series his education reform proposals, including a teacher evaluation system based more heavily on standardized testing.

To put pressure on districts, his staff has not released how much money each school district would receive after applying the state’s complex funding formulas. Without the charts, school districts cant plan their budgets, which must be approved by voters in the spring.

These are his demands:

  1. CHANGE TEACHER EVALUATION. Cuomo described as “baloney” the state’s roughly 700 school districts own evaluation plans.

He wants to:

A – Require that student standardized test scores account for a full 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation rather than the current 20 percent.

  • He ignores the position of the American Statistical Association on how not to use statistics to evaluate teachers.
  • Most VAM studies find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions.
  • Assessment experts say top-rated school systems have had success with such systems that put no weight at all on student standardized test scores.

B – Deny an “effective” rating to any teacher who is rated “ineffective” based on test scores, and award bonuses of up to $20,000 to teachers who are “highly effective”

  • Based on bogus test scores of their students.
  • Merit pay systems in education have a poor record of success, undermine morale and long-term planning.

C – Make teachers eligible for tenure only after five consecutive years of “highly effective” or “effective ratings”, an increase from the current three-year probation period.

  • Based on bogus test scores of their students.
  • This is another form of  “merit pay.

D – Keep a student from being assigned two teachers with “ineffective” ratings two years in a row.

  • The plan does not specify how that would work for middle and high-school students with multiple teachers.
  • Based on bogus test scores of their students.
  1. He would add 100 charter schools to the state limit, bringing the total to 560, including opening up parts of the state to charters where there is little or no demand. 


He is “using his political power…to settle scores.

  • Unions did not support him, in the democratic Primary nor the general election
  • Districts and principals have fought hard against his teacher evaluation plans and refusal to lift 2% cap on local property tax increases.
  • Both Unions and Districts have publically demanded and end to the funding inequities between poor and rich school districts across the state that have reached record levels and has soared 43% in New York City.

Classic Cuomo strategy: Develop key relationships and pick apart powerful sectors, knowing they will be weaker once divided.

Straight out of the divide-and-conquer playbook.

How does he differ from republicans Scott Walker? Bobby Jindal? Chris Christie?

“The truth is, there’s no epidemic of failing schools or bad teachers.

There is an epidemic of poverty and under-funding that Albany has failed to adequately address for decades.

Overall, schools in poorer districts spent $8,733 per pupil less in 2012 than those from wealthier ones, an inequity that grew by nearly 9% from before Cuomo took office.

The inequity gaps were made worse by Cuomo’s 2% cap on local property tax increases that made it more difficult for needy districts to raise needed money.

Nearly 1 million New York schoolchildren—including more than one-third of African-American and Latino students—live in poverty.

Under Cuomo NYS has the “most segregated schools in the nation”.

His democratic opponent Zephyr Teachout said:

“He is holding children hostage to the demands of his Wall Street donors and his personal political motivations, while kids go to school in overcrowded classrooms without arts, sports, or counselors. He is right that we have one system for the rich and one for the poor, but the reasons is clear: the disparate funding that is his legacy,” she said.

The voters said: what really hinders education in New York:

  • Little parental involvement 37%
  • not enough money in schools and or the effects of poverty 35%
  • poor quality teachers 10%