Parents and Educators Erupt in Anger Against Governor Cuomo’s Vow to “Break” Our Public School System

by , under Legislative Issues, Local Activism, Professional Issues

In comments to the Daily News editorial board [http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cuomo-vows-bust-school-monopoly-re-elected-article-1.1989478], Governor Andrew Cuomo infuriated the members of NYS Allies for Public Education, an organization that consists of over fifty parent and educator advocacy groups across New York State. The Governor vowed to “break” the state’s public school system, which he called “one of the only remaining public monopolies.” He said he would do this by expanding charter schools, competition, and imposing tougher teacher evaluations along with punitive sanctions: “The teachers don’t want to do the evaluations and they don’t want to do rigorous evaluations.” He condescended to parents by implying that the only reason parents erupted in protest was that teachers got “parents upset last year about this entire Common Core agenda.”

Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County Public School parent and founding member of NYSAPE, “The governor’s anti-public school and anti-parent rant has only confirmed what many parents have suspected for quite some time. This governor has no respect for our public schools, parents, or teachers. He is a bully, plain and simple.”

Nancy Cauthen, a New York City public school parent, pointed out, “Despite previous statements in which Cuomo absolved himself from the responsibility for imposing fundamentally flawed Common Core standards, curriculum, and high-stakes exams, and tried to blame this entirely on the State Education Department, it is clear that he continues to believe in this damaging agenda.  As several polls recently showed, the majority of New Yorkers are opposed to the Common Core; and yet he continues to defend it and reveals he will push it even harder in a second term.  The governor has revealed himself to be completely out of touch with what parents and communities want for our schools.

According to Marla Kilfoyle, a Long Island parent and educator and one of the leaders of the national organization known as the BATs, “Governor Cuomo’s continued war on the teaching profession and public education is a direct assault on children and their families. He continues to cut funding, disrespect parents, insult teachers, and hurt our children.  Enough is enough!”

“Once again, Cuomo has put hedge fund managers, corporate interests and his charter school cronies above public school students and their families. Truth be told, parents see the devastating impact of the Common Core on our children every single day around our own dinner tables. We know that Common Core is failing our students and Cuomo is failing New York’s children,” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent.

Lisa Rudley, a Westchester public school parent and Education Director of the Autism Action Network commented, “In his rant, Governor Cuomo calls public educators ‘the only remaining public monopoly.’ Would the governor consider firefighters and police officers a monopoly? Will he call for competition and sanctions based upon unreliable metrics for health care workers and other public service professionals? If so, it appears that his real goal is to dismantle our public schools to garner more support from his financial backers.”

“Governor Cuomo’s assertion that competition leads to better schools is ludicrous,” noted Ulster County public school parent, Bianca Tanis. “If he thinks that the answer to a lack of adequate funding for our schools is charter schools, competition, and test-based ranking and sorting, he is calling for a Hunger Games regime that will disadvantage all students, but especially those most vulnerable – our special needs students and children living in poverty.”

Before going to the polls next Tuesday, New Yorkers can see the education positions of all four gubernatorial candidates, including Governor Cuomo, on NYSAPE’s website.