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Report on “Failing Schools” Dodges the Issues
(Long Island, NY) Today Governor Cuomo released a report titled The State of New York’s Failing Schools. The report asserts that money is not a factor in the quality of education in these schools and seeks to give the impression that these schools are better funded than most schools in the state. However, the facts on educational finance tell a very different story. The report highlights that New York is one of the highest spending states in the country when it comes to education, but it fails to mention that the high average spending is the result of high spending in wealthy, high performing school districts. The report fails to mention that New York has one of the greatest inequalities in spending between rich and poor schools of any state in the nation and that this gap has grown under Governor Cuomo to a record setting level of $8733 per pupil.
The Governor’s report fails to mention the many ways the Governor Cuomo’s educational record has not matched his rhetoric. For instance, in the 2013 State of the State he promised extended day to every school district that wants to “opt in”, saying if they do it, the state would pay 100% of the additional cost. But, he broke that promise. Last year he made a much ballyhooed promise to provide full-day pre-K for every four year old, but only delivered for 5% outside New York City and added no additional seats this year. As a candidate for Governor, Andrew Cuomo promised to “equalize or come close to equalizing” funding between rich and poor schools, but inequality has grown to record setting levels under his leadership. He promised tremendous results from the new teacher evaluation system he instituted in 2012, but now he calls that same system “baloney.” His own education commission recommended a tremendous expansion of community schools which provide social and emotional and emotional as well as academic supports for students. But he has provided this opportunity to only one percent of schools — 62 out of the 4,530 schools in the state.
Now the Governor wants to institute the most dramatic state takeover of local schools ever proposed in state history by appointing “receivers”, commonly referred to in Massachusetts as “school czars”, to take over local schools and districts. He cites evidence from only one school district in promoting this proposal.
“Governor Cuomo has fed New Yorkers a string of broken promises on education. He promised to close the educational inequality gap, but instead made it grow,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “He promised full-day pre-K for every child and more learning time, but it was just another broken promise. Rather than trying to seize state control over local schools, under his school czar or receivership plan, he should deliver on the promises he has broken. The evidence is clear, the combination of full day pre-k, more learning time, ending inequality in funding and allowing all schools on the state’s list to become community schools would dramatically improve student outcomes. But so far Governor Cuomo would rather sling political rhetoric, than provide the funds needed to educate every student.”