Archive for January, 2015

Why we need School Aid runs

January 28th, 2015 by Robert Lowry

Yesterday, the Educational Conference Board released a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for him to release district-by-district aid estimates for the $1.1 billion School Aid increase contained in his proposed state budget.

The release has received wide media attention (see here, here, here, and here) and at least one editorial endorsement.

I have been impressed by the level of frustration expressed by school district leaders over the absence of aid estimates and have assured Capitol staff it is spontaneous, not orchestrated.

For the first time in memory, a Governor has not included specific School Aid recommendations as part of the Executive Budget. This tactic undermines both local school budget planning as well as consideration of overall aid needs.

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Category: Finance, Legislation, State Budget | 1 Comment »

More questions than answers

January 22nd, 2015 by Robert Lowry

Listening to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address and budget presentation yesterday, other Council staff members and I felt encouraged.  Perhaps the reaction was a reflection of our expectations.   But we felt he had presented ideas we could work with, if not necessarily endorse outright.

Then we read the details and were left with more questions than answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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A teacher evaluation success story

January 20th, 2015 by Robert Lowry

Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to seek reforms to the state’s teacher and principal evaluation law and will reveal at least some of his plans tomorrow, when he delivers his State of the State address and unveils his proposed state budget.

The system is widely controversial, provoking criticism from virtually all sides:  from teachers for relying on questionable student test-based measures, from administrators for being more burdensome than beneficial, and from the Governor and others for producing what they deem implausible results.

The Governor vetoed a bill he had proposed, saying, “…the  2013-14 teacher evaluation results recently released by the State Education Department are not an accurate assessment — only 0.7% of teachers were  rated  ‘Ineffective’  under  the APPR [Annual Professional Performance Review], and so the legislation is unnecessary.”

But there is one aspect of the system that has won praise from superintendents and other educators as having a positive impact on efforts to improve teaching and learning.

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Dueling ads

January 20th, 2015 by Robert Lowry

Both New York State United Teachers and a pro-current reform agenda group launched television ads last week.

NYSUT’s cites a recent New York Times editorial which called upon Governor Andrew Cuomo to “…move beyond peripheral issues and political score settling…” and address “the central crisis in New York education,” adding “…that means confronting and proposing remedies for the racial and economic segregation that has gripped the state’s schools, as well as the inequality in school funding that prevents many poor districts from lifting their children up to state standards.”

The ad by Students First NY combines video excerpts from Governor Cuomo’s first state of the State address (in 2011) and super-imposed text.  It concludes “Our schools are not good enough. The status quo isn’t working. Governor Cuomo is right. It’s not just about money, it’s about fundamental reform. When? Now.”

Both ads are said to cost in “the high six figures” to run.

Both are brief, in the 30 second range.

Watch them here (NYSUT) and here (Students First)


Category: Legislation, Politics, State Budget | Comments Off on Dueling ads