Pauline Liu: Gov. Cuomo needs a reality check about the state of education

By Pauline Liu

Published: 2:00 AM – 09/23/13 in the Herald Record

It’s not every day that I ask and receive an answer from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but I approached the governor at a recent news conference to get his take on the problems in education.

In particular, I asked him what he thought about the complaints from school boards and administrators across New York regarding the lack of state aid.Movie Trainspotting (1996)

“Money isn’t always the answer,” Cuomo said. “We spend more money on education than any other state in the nation. We’ve increased funding to education in this year’s budget by 4 percent.”

The governor often has complained more spending doesn’t always lead to more results in the classroom. The state is spending more on education this year — it’s a $889 million or 4.4 percent increase.

The budget plan casts the illusion that schools are getting more money than they really are. The New York State United Teachers union points out it’s still $100 million less than what the state spent on education back in the 2008-2009 school year.

I’ve also done some more fact-checking about whether New York really spends the most on education.

Sorry, governor — according to Education Week, New York spends the fourth most in the nation and ranks third for having the best schools.

It’s Cuomo’s belief that in order to provide the kind of aid districts want, “We would have to raise taxes; and no one wants more taxes.”

The Hudson Valley’s school communities have had enough. Several are working together on a school-funding advocacy mobdro download event that set for 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Twin Towers Middle School auditorium in Middletown. “‘Fund us now’ — that’s basically what we’re saying to the governor,” said Ray Bryant, Warwick superintendent.

“As we all begin the 2014-2015 budget process, it is imperative that we send a clear and loud message to Albany before their session begins that they must find a way to meet their obligations and adequately fund public schools in New York now,” Bryant added.

The event is jointly organized by the Warwick School Board, the Orange County School Boards Association, Pattern for Progress, the Mid-Hudson Study Council, the New York State School Board Association and the Statewide School Finance Consortium.

It’s open to the public.

The timing of this is interesting, since a parents’ group called New York State Allies for Public Education is calling on parents to send their kids’ state test scores back to Education Commissioner John King Jr. Saturday.

“People are all taking a step back and seeing that what’s happening in education isn’t working — and we need to do something about it,” Bryant said this post.

pliu@th-record.com

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