1-29-15 – Cuomo’s education reforms an example for Vermont

John McClaughry

Liberal Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has emerged as a new champion of school reform.

In his recent education message Cuomo proposed that to earn tenure, teachers would have to be rated effective for five consecutive years, instead of just being employed for three.. He also wants to make it easier for school districts to remove lousy teachers. He notes that firing an incompetent teacher takes 830 days and costs $313 thousand dollars. He wants to make it a lot quicker and easier.

Cuomo proposes that failing schools be put into receivership, and the receiver could be a nonprofit, another school district or a “turnaround expert.” Receivers could override labor agreements and fire teachers. And students in low-performing schools would get priority in charter school lotteries.

Cuomo also wants to expand school choice. He’d remove New York City’s limit on charter schools, lifting the statewide cap by 100. He also wants to revive his plan for $100 million in tax credits to corporations and individuals that invest in either public or private schools—such as after-school programs or Catholic school scholarships.

The education tax credit would be tied to a “Dream Act” providing state college financial aid to undocumented immigrants. Coupling the tax credit to the immigrant provision is intended to force Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats to accept the politically unacceptable.

Cuomo’s program is a large step in the right direction. Vermont should emulate it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ward Reed January 31, 2015 at 12:12 am

It seems to me that the very best thing for the state — and for the Republican Party — is to go all in for school choice, with the broadest possible range of choices. Let’s face it: the Democrat Party — both here and nationally — is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Education Association (NEA) where any educational matter is concerned. Yet the educational outcomes are uniformly good with choice… and the total cost of education tends to come down.

As conservatives, it’s a win-win. Why haven’t we been riding this horse?

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jim bulmer February 1, 2015 at 3:36 pm

The legislature will never go along. First, not invented here, secondly, as noted above, the NEA would have coniption fits, and thirdly, holding incompetant teachers accountable makes too much good sense.

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