As you probably know Cynthia Nixon will be running against Andy Cuomo this November. It seems that many, many teachers have forgotten his atrocious attacks on public schools and public school teachers. (This forgetfulness is known as the halo effect. It's occurs when more recent behavior counteracts repeated long term behavior - our students intuitively use this against us about a month before report card grades are imputed.) Let's review them. Cuomo stated in his 2015 inaugural address that the key to education reform was teacher evaluation. He said they were flawed because so many students were failing and so many teachers were rated effective. In other words, a scapegoat was needed and public school teachers were going to be it. Cuomo has not been a friend to public schools, teachers or students. His current promises should not be given any credence, especially if the UFT endorses him. He will turn on us quicker than a rattlesnake. I will, of course, be voting for Cynthia Nixon.
Here are some more reminders of Andy attacks from the NYSUT https://www.nysut.org/news/nysut-united/issues/2015/february-2015/nysut-blisters-cuomos-draconian-anti-teacher-agenda referencing Cuomo's agenda :
- Dramatically increasing the state's role in teacher evaluations and stripping away local control. The weight of state tests would increase from 20 percent to 50 percent. And, in a stunning lack of trust for all district professionals, the governor would mandate that the other half be at least two observations, with one conducted by a so-called "independent observer" - a principal or administrator from outside or within the district, a SUNY/CUNY professor or a "trained independent evaluator" from a State Education Department list.
- Gutting teacher tenure. Cuomo wants teachers to remain on probationary status until they receive five consecutive "effective" ratings on their teacher evaluation. A single "developing" rating could derail a teacher's professional path. In reality, it would negate tenure and keep re-setting the clock.
- Raising the cap on charter schools by 100 (to 560) and ending regional caps to make the number a statewide tally. New York City has 24 charter slots remaining under the existing system. Cuomo would also increase per-pupil funding for charters by $75.
- Giving SED the power to put failing schools or even districts into receivership, with broad powers, further eroding local control. Cuomo called for appointing nonprofit groups, school-turnaround experts, or other school districts to oversee schools that have fallen on the state's lowest performing list for three years. The law would give "receivers" the authority of local superintendents, allowing them to restructure schools, overhaul curricula and offer salary incentives. It would undercut collective bargaining agreements and contracts.
- Renewing mayoral control of New York City schools. He encouraged other cities to apply for mayoral control as well.
- Amending the 3020-a hearing process for "poor performance," creating a presumption in favor of administrators; teachers would have to prove their evaluation score was fraudulent.
- Offering $20,000 merit pay to teachers who are "legitimately rated highly effective.