Here’s a story which you didn’t expect to see coming out of the New York State government. There was a bill on the table which would have exempted New York teachers from being fired if they received the lowest proficiency ratings based on Common Core guidelines. In a bit of irony, this was a bill that Governor Andrew Cuomo had originally proposed himself. But when it came time to finalize it, Cuomo had harsh words for the current system.
Declaring the state’s teacher-evaluation system a joke, Gov. Cuomo on Monday night vetoed legislation that would have barred the use of student test scores to fire bad instructors.
It was a reversal for Cuomo, who initially agreed to a two-year moratorium on using Common Core exam results to determine the fate of teachers.
In his veto message, the governor said the law was “unnecessary” because so few teachers were rated ineffective this year.
The NY State United Teachers Union was, of course, enraged.
“The governor reneged on an agreement,” the union said in a statement. “With this veto, the governor has decided that teachers are the only ones who should be held accountable for the state’s failed implementation of the Common Core. We can’t understand why he is refusing to sign his own bill.”
The union’s protest Wednesday will take place as Cuomo holds his annual New Year’s reception at the Executive Mansion, where members of the public can meet him and members of his family in a receiving line.
“This governor has to decide whether he’s going to support the goals of students, parents and teachers or those of billionaires who want to destroy public education in order to privatize it and profit from it,” the union said.
I’m generally willing to credit most anything Andrew Cuomo does to political motivations (and this case may be no different) but it’s a puzzler to be sure. Prior to the last election, which Cuomo surely already knew he was going to win, he went out on the stump and said that he was going to bust the school “monopoly” held by the teachers unions and bring some accountability to the system.
At the time I assumed this was just a feint by the Governor to maintain the appearance of being somewhere near the political center in anticipation of a 2016 presidential run. It certainly doesn’t score any points for him with the hard Left and the unions who are critical to funding the political aspirations of any Democrat. But now the reelection fight is over and so too are his presidential chances in all likelihood. Why do this now?
I don’t know the answer to that question yet, but Governor Cuomo may have inadvertently struck at least one small blow in keeping the public school system from falling further into decay at the hands of the teachers unions.