In a column at Bloomberg Politics, David Weigel expresses some amazement that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), a “safe Democratic governor,” would join conservatives in the war against the Common Core standards.
But, in fact, Cuomo, who has been a staunch supporter of the controversial standards, much to the chagrin of New York State teachers, who don’t like the idea of having their performance ratings contingent in any way on students’ scores on the Common Core aligned tests, has released a new ad (above) for his re-election campaign in which he says he will pledge “not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready.”
Weigel writes that over the summer, he noticed the latest Siena poll that “confounded some left/right stereotypes.”
“When asked if ‘Common Core standards should continue to be implemented,’ a majority of voters said ‘no,'” he stated. “Only 47 percent of Democrats wanted the standards. Independents, who were planning to vote for Cuomo, broke against Common Core by 14 points.”
As Breitbart News reported in July, Weigel wrote at Slate about the poll, “If Common Core can’t make it in New York, can it make it anywhere?”
Weigel notes that the left, at first, laughed at conservatives’ concerns over the Common Core, but then joined forces with them particularly on the point of overtesting children.
“That’s how we ended up with this ad,” he writes, “from a center-left Democrat with heavy labor backing, promising voters that he will slow-walk the education standards that Glenn Beck had warned about first.”
A report by Breitbart News last week showed that the New York governor’s race between incumbent Cuomo and Republican challenger Rob Astorino had become polarized over the issue of the Common Core standards, so much so, in fact, that Astorino, who is adamantly opposed to the education initiative, has secured a “Stop Common Core” ballot line for the November election.
What has likely been very influential in the Cuomo campaign’s decision to release the new ad with the Governor’s “new” position on Common Core is the lack of enthusiasm teachers have demonstrated in voting at all.
The Poughkeepsie Journal reported that Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said that while “teachers are very frustrated,” he is inclined to think they will not turn out to vote at all, with Democrat Cuomo not supporting their position against the Common Core standards.
“This is a dilemma. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them did not vote, which is tragic because … how you bring about change in a democracy is through the ballot box,” Urbanski said.
While Cuomo’s ad is likely an attempt to appease teachers and parents, what does it mean for the Common Core standards?
“Governor Cuomo’s ad is an ominous sign for Common Core in New York, as well as for the D.C.-based PARCC [Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] consortium,” Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Boston-based think tank, Pioneer Institute, told Breitbart News. “Across the country, Common Core is now under fire among both blue and red state parents, while–from Indiana to Florida to Oklahoma–PARCC already has been hemorrhaging state members.”
Similarly, anti-Common Core grassroots parent activists Yvonne Gasperino and Glen Dalgleish, told Breitbart News, “The latest Cuomo ad is actually real good news for the Stop Common Core in New York State movement voices across New York State.”
“At the same time, the ad is a slap in the face of the New York State Board of Regents and PARCC, the testing consortium that has been losing a lot of member states of late,” the parents observed. “Cuomo is now getting really concerned that Common Core will have a big impact this election and feels the need to create an ad like this to try to ride the coattails of our activism for the last eighteen months.”
Gasperino and Dalgleish, however, also note the deception in Cuomo’s campaign ad, particularly around the Governor’s statement of his intention to invest $2 billion in education technology.
“The ad is deceptive in that Gov. Cuomo does not set education policy here in New York State,” they continued. “That is the responsibility of the New York State Board of Regents, so his ad is an outright fabrication, a lie to garner votes from Stop Common Core activists and using our children as the emotional tie.”
“Gov. Cuomo claims to be against the testing, but the $2 billion he wants to invest will cement the PARCC testing, and by default Common Core, into the schools through the ‘Smart Schools Bond Act,'” they added. “This is politics at its worst, at the expense of our children, but it is also a light at the end of the tunnel for those in the trenches as Cuomo is on the retreat.”
As Gary Stern writing at The Journal News reports, the Smart Schools Bond Act, which would allow the state to borrow $2 billion for school technology, will be voted on by New Yorkers on November 4.
“People will see it as free money for their schools,” said Michael Borges, executive director of the New York State Association of School Business Officials. “Who is going to run away from money?”
If the measure is approved by voters, the state would issue bonds and pay them off, but school districts would each get a piece of the pie without having to raise local property taxes.
With Cuomo facing intense pressure over his handling of the Moreland Commission’s corruption investigation, the Smart Schools Bond Act–his pet project–could give his campaign a boost.
Cuomo’s Smart Schools project, however, is also a gift to the technology industry, as observed by Nicholas Tampio, also at The Journal News. A noteworthy member of the Governor’s Smart Schools Commission is Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google. As Consumer Watchdog reports, Google could likely benefit financially from the program.
“This is not the fox guarding the chicken coop, but rather the fox building the coop,” commented Watchdog.
Additionally, according to a February Breitbart News report, Schmidt was also tapped by Common Core “architect” and current College Board President David Coleman for data support services for his new social justice project called the Access to Rigor Campaign, which is aimed at profiling low-income and Latino K-12 students.
Tampio asserts, as well, that the Smart Schools Bond Act “helps cement the Common Core in New York schools. The technology makes possible the Common Core tests, and the smart schools review board is made up of three individuals who support the Common Core.”