New York Public Schools And Governor Andrew Cuomo: An Essay, In List Form

A point-by-point commentary on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s newly-announced education plan.*

  1. New York State now has most racially and economically segregated schools in the nation, worse than Mississippi.
  2. New York is violating Campaign for Fiscal Equity ruling of highest state court to provide full, equitable funding to high poverty schools.
  3. As a result, New York State owes $6 billion it had promised to school districts with concentrations of poverty.
  4. One would think that a Democratic Governor would be focused on correcting such educational injustices.  But not Andrew Cuomo.
  5. Cuomo is proposing tax credits (aka vouchers) that would divert funds and resources from underfunded public schools to private schools.
  6. Poor and working class kids, students of color who attend public schools would be hurt.
  7. Cuomo is 1st ever Democratic Governor to propose tax credits for private schools, says conservative Checker Finn.
  8. League of Women Voters, Civil Liberties Union, school board ass., sup'ts ass't., teachers union all opposed to Cuomo’s tax credit scheme.
  9. The problem with our public schools, Cuomo says, is teachers.
  10. Teachers think: how convenient that Cuomo, who ignores his responsibilities regarding school segregation and funding, blames us.
  11. Cuomo wants to evaluate teachers using standardized test scores, rather than observations by professional educators.
  12. Tests are objective, he says, and professional educators don’t fire enough teachers for me.
  13. Cuomo disregards that Rand, National Academy of Sciences and others say test scores should not be used this way.
  14. American Statistical Association makes best case against using test scores in evaluation.
  15. Cuomo overlooks that majority of teachers don’t teach classes with tests that can be used be for evaluations.
  16. Cuomo also proposes eliminating cap on number of New York charter schools.
  17. New York charter schools don’t educate their fair share of students with greatest needs.
  18. Charters have fewer students w/special needs, English Language Learners, homeless than public district schools.
  19. Charters suspend many more students, overwhelmingly black and brown, than district public schools.
  20. But with co-location, NYC charters get $2K more in per pupil public funding than public district schools.
  21. Yet NY charters argue that they should not be audited like other schools receiving public $.
  22. NY Charters also get large private donations, and have many more $ than public schools to spend.
  23. Charters such as Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies spend funds on million $ public relations campaigns.
  24. Cuomo expresses outrage at outsized superintendent salaries in wealthy school districts.
  25. But is silent as charter ally Eva Moskowitz takes in far more, well over $500K, for running handful of schools.
  26. When Moskowitz closes down schools & steals students’ instruction time to bring them to political rallies, Cuomo speaks at her rallies.
  27. But charters have one thing public district schools do not: wealthy Wall Street backers.
  28. At the end of the day, Andrew Cuomo has a funding plan for his election campaigns, not an education plan for NY schools and students.

- Leo Casey


* These points were originally shared on Twitter. Each is limited to 140 characters in length, and they are numbered to capture the development of the argument.

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