According to a letter sent last Thursday from state Director of Operations Jim Malatras to outgoing Education Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Gov. Cuomo plans to propose a package of education reforms as part of his 2015-16 state budget proposal.
The letter notes that the Governor “has little power over education, which governed by the Board of Regents.” But it goes on to point out that the Governor’s power “is through the budget process,” and that he will use it as a vehicle to advance his reforms.
In the letter, Malatras wrote:
“Governor Cuomo believes in public education – it can open up unlimited opportunity to our students. But the system must work. Virtually everyone agrees that the system must be reformed and improved. That is why he will pursue an aggressive legislative package to improve public education. Part of the package will be to strengthen one of our most important professions – teaching. While some seek to demonize teachers, Governor Cuomo believes exactly the opposite – wanting to reward excellence in teaching and by recruiting the best and brightest into the profession.”
In a statement, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Karen Magee called the Governor’s letter “clueless.” She said:
“The governor says he wants to put students first. If that were even remotely true, he would listen carefully and act on the advice of the real experts – parents, educators and students – about what’s best for public education. Instead, New Yorkers get clueless, incendiary questions that do the bidding of New York City hedge fund billionaires who have letterhead and campaign donations, but know absolutely nothing about how public education works.”