NY Daily News
Monday, January 2, 2012
Gov. Cuomo to announce state education commission to reform schools
By Kenneth Lovett
NY Daily News
NY Daily News
Governor Andrew Cuomo in his second state-of-state address Wednesday, will accuse New York’s schools of being unaccountable and announce a commission to come up with reforms, the Daily News has learned.
Cuomo’s announcement will come just days after he was critical of the city and other districts that failed to reach agreement with their unions on a new teacher evaluation system by an end-of-year deadline.
“The failure to pass the teacher evaluation system is an example that not only is the system broken, but the ability to monitor the system and come up with a method to ensure kids are educated properly is broken,” said a source close to Cuomo.
The education commission he will announce will be designed to look at education from a “student perspective,” the source said.
“What are the performance indicators? How do you judge performance in the education system? How are the services being provided?” the source said. “No one has really looked at it without a particular perspective on what’s going on in education.”
The makeup of the commission, which as of Sunday was still undetermined, will likely include outside experts.
Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto wouldn’t confirm or deny specifics of the speech.
Meanwhile, Cuomo will also announce a foreclosure relief unit that will serve as an advocate to struggling homeowners, another source said.
The newly created Department of Financial Services will oversee the unit, which will provide counseling and mediation services designed to help resolve mortgage issues and keep people in their homes, the second source said.
The Democratic governor, who recently told The News he was open to the idea of a full-scale casino in New York City at a place like Aqueduct Racetrack, will press lawmakers to begin the process for a constitutional amendment to legalize gaming.
He will tout “destination gambling” as a job creator, sources said.
And after what has been widely viewed as a successful freshman year, Cuomo will urge the Legislature to build on the bipartisan success.
He will focus heavily on the need for job creation while stressing the importance of rebuilding the state’s roads and bridges, reorganizing state agencies and public authorities and enacting pension reform, the sources said.
The governor is also expected to formally announce the creation of a new commission to review the state’s tax code, just weeks after the state agreed to increase the tax rate on millionaires and lower it for the middle class.