Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his remarks at a Martin Luther King Day ceremony to rail against the “injustice” of the public education system, making a passionate pitch for a new teacher-evaluation system to a mostly minority crowd of several hundred.
Speaking in an Albany convention center, Cuomo blasted the “education bureaucracy” that he said has become more about administrators and the business end of things and less about student achievement.
“The great equalizer that was supposed to be the public education system can now be the great discriminator,” Cuomo told the crowd. “Because if you happen to go to public school in a failing public school, you may never catch up. You may be left behind and never catch up.
Cuomo repeated several lines from his State of the State address, telling the receptive crowd he would become a “lobbyist for the students.” His 15-minute speech was given a loud standing ovation.
He vowed to put an evaluation system in place for teachers and principals to eliminate the risk of losing $700 million in federal Race to the Top funding. President Obama’s administration warned last week that the state could lose out on the funding because the state has dragged its heals on establishing new evaluations.
“No evaluation system is in place because the bureaucracy doesn’t want one,” Cuomo said. “And the Obama Administration says that they’re going to take the $700 million back, and the $700 million is going to come from the poorest school districts in this state.
“And I’m not going to let that happen. We will put an evaluation system in place that represents the students first.”
Updated: Here’s Cuomo’s speech: