Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Prince of Common Core

According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Common Core standards have caused “massive confusion, massive anxiety, and massive chaos” throughout the state. In the same interview, the self-anointed “lobbyist for the students” also bizarrely implied that he’s ready to pick up a placard and join parent protests against the same standards he recently called “state of the art.” Cuomo is clearly conflicted over Common Core, and his foot sinks deeper into his mouth whenever he says anything about education these days.  The governor’s own Common Core panel has so far only stoked this confusion, soliciting from speakers ways to merely improve public opinion on the flawed standards.     

Sealed in the same glossy package, Common Core relies on high-stakes tests to bring home the bacon and fry it in the pan. Reformers have used these tests to both punish and profit from the public, enforcing emotional and financial consequences in the name of higher standards.  As a result, if Cuomo’s own teacher evaluation law (APPR) is to have any teeth, Cuomo needs Common Core as much as Common Core needs him. In another ambiguous utterance, the governor recently chastised the Board of Regents after they proposed allowing teachers to appeal any dismissals related to Common Core’s implementation. In other words, the union-busting Cuomo is okay with Common Core as long as some teachers get fired. What Cuomo doesn’t know, or want to admit, is that Common Core withers and dies without high-stakes tests feeding its fetid soil, the same high-stakes tests at the vanguard of his APPR.

In a 2011 letter to Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Cuomo urged the adoption of a teacher evaluation plan that he said would be the “building blocks to greater performance in our education system.” As Cuomo’s plan runs riot throughout the state, however, the governor now says he has “nothing to do with” education in New York. Cuomo’s equivocation over Common Core should remind New Yorkers of another classic equivocator, his father and former New York governor Mario Cuomo.

Dubbed “Hamlet on the Hudson", Mario Cuomo could never make up his mind about running for president, agonizing publicly over the pros and cons of a presidential bid. While the elder Cuomo pondered his power, Prince Andrew's ambitions simmered.  Now, similar to his father’s vacillation over seeking higher office, Cuomo waffles over Common Core, exhibiting the contradictory tendencies of his father. The difference, however, is that Cuomo’s indecision is directly affecting students, parents, and teachers on a daily basis. His refusal to push for a pause in high-stakes testing while only vaguely criticizing Common Core's implementation does nothing to help communities already saddled with the gap elimination adjustment and Cuomo’s undemocratic tax cap, with many schools soon facing insolvency.  

Cuomo assumed he could ride the wave of education reform all the way to the White House in 2016.  Ironically, his double-speak on Common Core could drown him in this quest, with the full-force of his father’s legacy washing over him. As he now tries to walk his commitment to the Common Core all the way back to joining parents on the picket line, those parents might be asking, what will the Prince’s sign say?

Sadly, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t even know the answer to that question.



1 comment:

  1. The Gubner really done it this time. Cuomo is truly pathological in his belief that he can say whatever the hell he wants from day to day no matter how many times he contradicts himself. The local GOP here in WNY keep trying to fellate Trump into running. What a hot 1% mess.