Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a new commission that will look for ways to reform New York's public education system. They're charged with reviewing everything from allocation of state aid to teacher recruitment, retention and performance. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more on the panel.
NEW YORK STATE -- In announcing his panel of business, labor and advocacy leaders charged with recommending changes to the state's education system, Governor Andrew Cuomo made clear he wants action.
“We don't want a theoretical document. We want a practical document. We want a document that can be implemented,” said Cuomo.
But at a news conference unveiling the education commission, newly minted Chairman Dick Parson, a former CEO of Time Warner who is sometimes mentioned as a candidate for New York City mayor, gave scant details of what might be tackled.
Richard Parsons, an Education Commission Chairman said, “It's the first formal meeting of this group and so to kind of let you know where we'll be going would be premature since we as a group have yet to decide and where we want to land this.
After the news conference, the governor's press office distributed a news release with some details. The commission will be given a broad purview into recommending improvements to school spending, the use of teacher evaluations and how best to fund poor school districts with high needs.
Cuomo said, “Let's see if we can have a constructive set of recommendations that comes from the dialogue rather than anyone's individual posture.”
Not everyone is pleased with the governor's performance on education so far. He's gone to battle with the state's teachers unions, wringing concessions from them over tying a new evaluation system to school aid. And his tax cap on local districts has been a particularly bitter pill for unions to swallow.
Billy Easton, of the Alliance for a Quality Education said, “We've charged the way that we finance our schools in a way that state policies are the cause of what's undermining our schools. We put a limitation on future state aid combined with the property tax cap doesn't allow schools to keep up with the property tax cap.”
But the governor points to the high cost of the state's education system. Next to health care, education is the costliest item in the state's $132.6 billion budget. Cuomo said the stats don't reflect the spending.
“Any of the numbers will tell you that , 73 percent graduating high school. Thirty percent ready for college,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo did say that the question of public disclosure of teacher evaluations won't be decided by the panel, he wants that settled by the end of the legislative session in June.