February 25, 2015
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Governor Cuomo's proposal for the takeover of struggling schools has many flaws. The legislation is part of his budget proposal. Under the plan the state would appoint a school overseer titled a "receiver" when a school was designated as troubled.
This state appointed building administrator czar would have absolute powers over a school or school district. This includes the power to disregard the locally elected school board, the school superintendent, parents, voters and educators.
The governor's letter to Chancellor Tisch emphasized the need for a top down approach to a school take over. The school "receiver" can fire all of the teachers and staff, turn a school facility into a charter school or insist on other dramatic actions. The plan does not include engaging the community, parents, or school staff. Research has consistently demonstrated that top down takeovers of struggling schools do not work without involving all stakeholders and providing needed financial resources.
"Governor Cuomo's plan is an unprecedented overreach to control local schools and is based on flimsy research from one school in Massachusetts," said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. "The Governor would hire private consultants who would serve as school czars to takeover local schools and districts. His approach is a recipe for disaster. The Governor's plan will fail and should be replaced by a plan that engages all stakeholders to design a locally supported successful school improvement plan."