Cuomo's Education Commission: Still Missing the Who, When and What

Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 08:22 AM

So the governor spoke -- and left many fresh questions about his intentions in the area of education in the wake of his State of the State address.

Someone from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's inner circle had leaked to The Daily News earlier this week the news that he intended to form a commission to look into student achievement and school accountability. Perhaps that is because on Wednesday the governor was to make educational issues such a small part of his annual state address.

In fact, the speech was devoted largely to the issues of jobs and economic development, with very little mention of the education issues facing the state. As Winnie Hu reported for The New York Times, Mr. Cuomo lambasted the "public education bureaucracy." And he decried the lack of a deal on a new teacher evaluation system, needed now to attain federal education dollars. After two years of talk and no deal, he said, “Our children deserve better than that, and hopefully they’ll get it this year.”

But details were lacking. And questions that those in the "education bureaucracy" or merely with an interest in education might look for in such a speech were not immediately addressed.

Gotham Schools tried to put some meat on the bones, quoting sources who said they expected Mr. Cuomo to go outside the state to find members of his education commission.

“I get the sense they are envisioning a mix of people, outsiders and also people with day-to-day involvement in schools,” said Bob Lowry, of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, according to Gotham Schools.

And some of the people who run the unions and education associations have expressed their wishes for how the commission will be formed and what it will take on.

According to Gotham, the United Federation of Teachers president, Michael Mulgrew, said, "If there is a commission that’s actually going to look at research and not be about ideology then I think that’s something we should all look at.” Gotham said that Mr. Mulgrew "added he was wary about how much emphasis the commission would give to test prep."

Overall, the governor's speech seemed to be well received. Education reporters will be seeking more facts on his plans in the coming days.

Also in the news this Thursday, Gotham Schools reported that principals' job dissatisfaction was growing.

In the latest newsletter from the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, President Ernest Logan reported that 73 percent of union members are not happy with their workload, compensation, and job security. That’s up from 68 percent the last time the union surveyed its members, in 2009.

And Education Week's Politics K-12 takes on an issue that we have been pondering: what are the education policy positions of Republican presidential front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum?

Here's what's going on around town on Thursday:

Recent alumni of Bronx High School of Science are expected to join a protest outside the school aimed at its controversial principal, Valerie Reidy, Gotham Schools reports. The demonstration is expected to take place after school.

On The Learning Network, students are asked: Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?, following the latest article in the Matt Richtel series on technology in schools.

And The Times's Room for Debate has taken on the question of technology in the classroom.


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