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Cuomo floats 'death penalty' for failing schools

Ohanian Comment: New Yorkers and everybody else should respond to Cuomo's outrageous remarks. At the beginning of the school year--Labor Day weekend--Governor Cuomo demeans and threatens public school teachers. After some ignorant remarks about "we're measuring what's working and not working. . . we'll be able to tell what teachers are working well. . . ." he targets Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and Long Island as on his list for a death penalty. You can comment at the newspaper site. Here's what I said:

Watching the video accompanying this news item is chilling. Gov Cuomo says he "feels comfortable" issuing a death penalty for "failing schools," that there "is no excuse for failure." He bases his "comfort" on stigmatizing schools where children produce the lowest standardized test scores. If what he wants is higher scores, then, instead of issuing death penalties, he should read economist Richard Rothstein and make sure there are dental clinics in those schools; he should make sure the parents of the children in those schools receive a living wage. He should base his rhetoric on facts, not on political opportunism.

by Jon Campbell

ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week raised the possibility of creating a "death penalty" for underperforming public schools in New York, suggesting he may push legislation next year allowing the state to take action.

Speaking to reporters in Lockport, Niagara County, Cuomo said Thursday he plans to craft a plan for dealing with "failing schools" when lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January.

"My position is going to be, we'll give (the schools) a short window to repair themselves, and then something dramatically has to happen," Cuomo said late Thursday. "Because we can't allow these failing schools to continue."

The Democratic governor laid out a number of possibilities for dealing with underperforming schools, including potentially allowing the state, a local mayor or a charter school to take over. Any of those moves would require approval by state lawmakers.

"There's going to have to be a death penalty for failing schools, so to speak," Cuomo said.

Cuomo pushed a revamped system for teacher evaluations last year, tying each school district's increase in state aid to their ability to come to an evaluation agreement with their local teacher union. The state also implemented tougher standardized tests last school year, which led the results to plummet.

— Jon Campbell
Poughkeepsie Journal





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