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Finding Common Ground

A former K-5 public school principal turned author, presenter, and leadership coach, DeWitt provides insights and advice for education leaders. He can be found at www.petermdewitt.com. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

That Doesn’t Seem Like Lobbying for Children

By Peter DeWitt — November 20, 2013 2 min read
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In January, 2012 Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he was going to be a “Lobbyist for children.” Waldman (Times Union) wrote, Arguing that New York is “driven by the business of education more than achievement in education,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said education would be a “priority mission” for his administration in 2012.”

What a difference a year makes.

Closing in on the end of 2013, Governor Cuomo seems to be delivering a very different message. In a recent press conference, Cuomo spoke about the New York State Education Department’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards saying, “It’s something we’re watching very closely, and it’s something that might be the subject of legislative changes next year,” Cuomo told reporters on Staten Island. “But it’s not anything that I control, so we are watching.”

Cuomo continued by saying, “some of the rollout of Common Core, which started last school year, has been “problematic.” Oddly, the Governor who labeled himself the “Lobbyist for Children” didn’t take ownership over any of the implementation...nor did he discuss standardized testing...nor did he say he was going to fix everything. He actually said, “It’s actually a decision that the state Education Department is going to make.”

That doesn’t sound like lobbying for children. That sounds like lobbying for time to get a better answer during an election.

Losing Public Education Support

In a post last year after he referred to himself as the lobbyist for children, I offered some suggestions for his children-centered focus, which would help the public school system. Click here to read those suggestions.

In a recent Democrat & Chronicle, it was reported that the Governor may have a reason behind his silent stance on N.Y. public education, and it has to do with his own HEDI score. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job performance rating hit its lowest point this month, a Siena College poll released Monday found, dipping to 44 percent positive.” The D & C went on to report, “The Democratic governor’s job performance sank to 44 percent positive and 56 negative, down eight percentage points from last month, Siena said.”

The D&C continued, “While Cuomo maintains his nearly two-to-one favorability rating, voters are less enthralled with the job he is doing as governor.” The D&C quoted Siena pollster Steven Greenberg as saying, “More than twice as many voters think he’s doing a poor job compared to an excellent job, and more voters now think Cuomo is doing a fair (39 percent) or poor job (17 percent) than at any time in his three years as governor.”

The lobbyist for children” needs to mend some fences with the public school system and work with them rather than against them.

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The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.