Diane Ravitch joins other educators in launching ‘Educators for Cynthia’ to elect a bona fide public education advocate who prioritizes learning, not testing in New York schools
On the eve of the New York State United Teachers Representative Assembly in Buffalo, Cynthia Nixon, candidate for governor, called on Andrew Cuomo today to immediately repeal the teacher evaluation system he championed. Known as the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), Cuomo’s teacher evaluation system relies on high-stakes testing to evaluate teachers. Education historian Diane Ravitch and dozens of New York educators are rallying behind Cynthia Nixon’s demands with the launch of Educators for Cynthia. Signers include teachers, principals, school board members, superintendents, SUNY and CUNY professors, and former NYSUT statewide officers.
At the time APPR was enacted, Cuomo described it as “one of the greatest legacies for me and the state.” But it helped spur 25 percent of parents to opt out of state tests and was roundly denounced by educators and advocates. Cuomo has since tried to distance himself from the APPR, but it remains on the books, including requirements for additional standardized tests that serve no educational purposes other than to grade teachers.
“A couple years ago Andrew Cuomo described teacher evaluation based on high stakes testing as one of his greatest legacies, now he is hoping that parents and teachers have forgotten all about it,” Cynthia Nixon said. “Enough of the delays and excuses Governor Cuomo, it is time to repeal the APPR now.”
“Cynthia Nixon has a vision that will put education on the right track by refocusing New York schools on the dignity of teaching and the joy of learning,” said Diane Ravitch, education historian. “She will provide the resources our children need to succeed. Andrew Cuomo's policies have disrespected teachers as a profession and undermined the education of our children."
The “Educators for Cynthia” group cites additional education reform priorities Cynthia supports including: providing students a rich and balanced curriculum rather than one oriented around standardized tests; ensuring equitable school funding by fully funding Foundation Aid; and delivering fair and full funding for SUNY and CUNY to expand opportunity and improve quality.
“Our public school teachers must be treasured and lifted up for the hard work they do every day in the classroom educating our children. Instead, Andrew Cuomo has vilified and punished teachers, underfunded our neediest schools and deprived students of the educational opportunities and social and emotional supports they need, and placed SUNY and CUNY on a starvation diet which undermines the quality of higher education and decreases opportunities for students who need a leg up,” Cynthia said. “As governor I will make public education from pre-K through college a top priority, our children and our future depends on it.”
"Andrew Cuomo is the king of test and punish education reform,” said Marla Kilfoyle, a teacher in the Oceanside Schools. “He insisted that teachers had to be evaluated based upon standardized tests even though all the evidence said it was bankrupt idea. He has refused to repeal his own failed policy and Cynthia Nixon is a breath of fresh air. She has a strong record on standing up for our public schools and teachers and I am proud to support her."