Governor Cuomo has made it clear: He doesn’t respect teachers or public education. He doesn’t understand the stress placed on students by high-stakes tests. Nor does he seem to have any use for parents’ voice, or the democratic way that communities build their local school budgets.
Education will be a big issue in 2015, with lines already drawn between teachers at public schools, and Governor Andrew Cuomo and the charter school movement.
Before the New Year even began, the state’s largest teachers union was already making its displeasure with Governor Andrew Cuomo known, by protesting outside the governor’s mansion.
New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee says teachers are angry over what they see as Governor Cuomo’s increasingly negative view of their union, and the public education system in general.
Teachers union members and pro-charter school advocates demonstrated outside the governor’s mansion on New Year’s Eve, as inside, Governor Andrew Cuomo and his partner Sandra Lee greeted guests who won a lottery to attend an annual open house, one day before the governor is to begin his second term.
Around 100 teachers from several regions of the state gathered in the biting cold to protest what they believe is Governor Cuomo’s unfair stance against teachers and the union that represents them. They even wrote a song, that in part, labels the governor “clueless.”
The resignation of John King as New York State Education Commissioner has the potential to be a significant turning point for public education.
King’s departure presents a real opportunity – an opportunity NOT to criticize anew but to, instead, hit the “reset” button and steer public education in a more positive direction.
Teachers want a serious conversation about what’s needed in this next chapter for the state’s public education system. And, they want to be a part of that conversation with the Regents and other stakeholders.