“If (the public) understood what was happening with education to their children, there would be an outrage in this city,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board in January 2015. “They would take City Hall down brick by brick.”
This was one of many attacks Cuomo leveled on public education as he moved from his first to second term. As he embraced much of what came to be seen as the education-reform agenda, he championed charter schools, supported a tax credit for families whose children attended religious schools, sought to link teacher evaluations to student scores on standardized tests and pledged fealty to the state’s most controversial charter-school network, Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy. “He has declared war on the public schools,” said Karen Magee, then president of the state teachers union, New York State United Teachers.
Other than sometimes touting his controversial Excelsior college scholarship program, Cuomo has been largely silent on education of late. “He’s stepping away from his stands because he had been getting hammered in the polls” largely due to some of his education positions, says Carol Burris, the former principal of a Long Island high school who now serves as executive director of the Network for Public Education. She adds, though, that Cuomo has not explicitly reversed himself. “I’m not sure he’s not playing the same song in his head,” Burris says.
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