Cuomo Speech Focuses on Education at the 2012 DNC

The New York governor focuses on plans to improve education quality.

Who Cares about Suburban Public Schools?

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—In a rousing speech to the cheering New York Democratic delegation here Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called New York the “progressive capital of the nation.”

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner introduced Cuomo by citing a Siena Poll that found 56 percent of New Yorkers believe the state is going in the right direction.

In spelling out the state’s accomplishments, Cuomo spoke about education, saying: “We know we can improve education by educating all children. We know we can improve education by performance standards and an (teacher) evaluation system. We just did that in New York.”

And he energized the delegates and guests by posing several rhetorical questions: “Do you believe when I invest in your child’s education, I invest in my child’s education? Do you believe education is the ladder to opportunity? Do you believe college loans have to be affordable?”

After the speech, I spoke with Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, the Democratic candidate for New York State Senate against incumbent Republican Sen. Kenneth LaValle. Fleming was attending her first convention with her 9-year-old-son, Jai, who attends .

“Gov. Cuomo has outlined the blueprint for prosperity in New York State, and I’m proud to be here,” she said. “But the governor didn’t mention the need to reform the state aid formula [for public schools]. One of the reasons I’m running as a mother of a fourth grader is to change that. We give the state more tax dollars than we get back. I’m here to represent Long Island and the educational needs of Long Island, which are completely distinct from New York City or upstate. Long Island can no longer continue to be a cash cow for the rest of the state.”

Fleming said she would like to change the state aid formula “so it doesn’t punish people who pay high property taxes but don’t have much disposable income. We need to reduce tax assessments for purposes of the formula. When aid to education is reduced, it shifts the burden to the taxpayer and hurts the local economy.”

Lawrence C. Levy, the executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., was at both the Republican and Democratic conventions and we chatted about how neither party is currently talking about addressing the needs of suburban schools.

“If the Republicans and Democrats were to score points with swing voters in the suburbs, they should start talking about what they can do for suburban schools,” Levy said. “Both parties are assuming it’s still the '60s or '70s when suburban schools didn’t need help. It’s one thing to leave the content of curriculum to the states, but it’s another to leave the entire burden of funding. The suburbs need a lot more help and only the federal government has deep pockets.”

Obama’s Trouble With Young People

Characterizing the 2012 election as one of the closest in recent history, on Tuesday Independent Pollster John Zogby reviewed the difficulties President Barack Obama faces in attracting young voters in the 2012 election. He noted that Obama, who received the support of young people in record numbers in 2008, is having trouble with the 18- to 29-year-old constituency this year. He said that young people, who he characterized as “America’s first global citizens,” comprised 19 percent of the total vote last time, and that in 2008 they were “filled with hope and optimism.”

He noted that this year a subset of this group, which he referred to as CEMGA — College Educated Not Going Anywhere — because of the recession, don’t trust anyone. Zogby said his poll indicated that at the present time, there is a small group of young people — 10 percent — who say they may vote for Gary Johnson, a libertarian.

Zogby said also that he found a growing sense of libertarianism among young people, as well as “a sense of distrust about the government, the debt, the leadership.”

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dr September 07, 2012 at 10:58 AM
I look forward to Cuomo putting his money where his mouth is. 30 children in a third grade class.....not improvement! Art class cut back to only 1/2 a year, 1 period per week in grades 1-3.......Not improvement!!!! Music class in grades 1-3 cut from 2, 1/2 hour periods per week to either 0 music classes or 1 period per week.....Not improvement!! Does Cuomo really believe this is okay??? Oh and mind you this is in a community that thrives on it's arts in education program!!!!This is not okay!!!!! Unemployment up???? Thank you Mr. Cuomo for your budget cuts that put hundreds of of professionals out of work!!! This is NOTimprovement!!! Noticing more kids on the streets??? Thank Mr. Cuomo again for budget cuts that diminished many after school clubs and sports programs that would have otherwise kept these kids involved in positive activities. Mr. Cuomo, this is not improvement. Putting a new evaluation system has yet to prove that this will improve the quality education. This is not okay!!!!!!! Those who can teach. Those who can't pass laws about teaching!
Love This City September 07, 2012 at 11:18 AM
I think this speech actually hurt Andrew Cuomo's chances of ever becoming president. I heard the audio clip of him "making fun of" the American entrepreneurial "spirit". He "changed" his voice and mocked the "spirit" of America. Can't wait till everyone hears his full comments in his own words and an acted out voice..... I was really shocked, thought he understood America better than Obama, but I was wrong...
christine September 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I'm confused. I thought there is a primary next Thursday between Bridget Fleming and Jennifer Maertz. The winner will run against LaValle. You jumped the gun a little.
Mary Beth September 07, 2012 at 05:52 PM
"the Democratic candidate for New York State Senate" No, she is not yet the democratic candidate, she must first win the primarty
GM September 08, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Cuomo talked much of pension reform for civil servants, as well. The padding continues on his watch.
GM September 08, 2012 at 05:00 AM
You really thought this "hand tailored from birth politician" gets it? Every move he has made since high school is for political gain. He needs to step up or he risks becoming another career politician blow hard. His father gave good speeches. Andrew doesn't have that gift.
Happy Daze September 08, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Yes the all mighty education babble that was also spewed by the current and hopeful first ladies. Let's keep dumping tons of money on educating children that will not have a job when they become adults. At least they'll have a diploma with which they can wipe their butts when they run out of toilet paper.
justme September 08, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Thank the greedy teacher's unions for the cuts to children's programs. Districts can't keep fleecing the taxpayer for more and more union benefits without consequences. Unfortunately the our children pay for it in the quality of their education. Cuomo should start auditing school district disability claims. Seems like so many teachers are out on disability for years at a time. Just plain stealing!
Seadog24 September 08, 2012 at 03:50 PM
The politions all blame the pensions, the unions, this that and every other thing, cutting programs here and there but you don't see them cutting the pensions, and benefits they receive. Its always the working class that BUILT and continues to Build this country tha gets the square needle.
Mac September 08, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Justeme what union benefits are you talking about? Health benefits that they pay 20-25 percent or the state driven pension system they have nothing to say about or choice. It certainly can't be all the state driven unfounded mandates like the new evaluation system that will cost the taxpayer money and the students classes. Where are these teachers out on disability for years? This is one I have never heard of before? What districts are you referring too? Is this a true statement? I
Jason September 08, 2012 at 04:35 PM
If only I could bet on it! I would even take 1-9 odds! Leave LI while you can!
Jason September 08, 2012 at 05:05 PM
not worth debating over and over...... it's a broken system with no improvement worth while to speak of. A total overhaul is necessary starting w/ reopening teacher contracts. Our legislators are both too patronized and unconcerned. They continue to wait us out until outcry quiets down then lay back and start promising again w/o anything accomplished. Only answer is.......... Vote out all incumbents! We need Wisconsin, Jersey style leadership!
Laura September 10, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Every time they have a school budget, children come home messages. First they it is no buses for the kids. Do not forget no sports or after scool activities. The chilren say " if you do not vote yes, they cancel football ". You decide enough is enough! School taxes are too high. If you are successful and vote that budget downn it is not over. In fact the budget can voted on again and again and again. The president,congress and the senate it is one vote. There is no limit school budget. They talked about changing it to be the same. It never happened. I would vote yes on that. Laura
Lorraine DeVita September 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Laura, When we place SPorts and after school activites ABOVE education, when parents scream moan, protest unite when thier kids SPORt program gets cut then parents are sending a clear and loud message to their boards and AMdinstrators. DO NOT TOUCH our WANTs, cut the hell out of our educational needs but do not go anywhere NEAR our after school activites. YOU, set the precedent You establish the pecking order of priorities. No one goes crazy if a educational cuts are made but the WORLD STOPS and people get beserk when a sports program is cut. Go figure why educational funding is screwed up. I would wager most parents would pick sports over ACT/SAT courses or Sports over special ed, or sports over ART . NYS mandates that we legally provide a sound basic education with our tax dollars. THATS IT. THat doesnt include ALL the EXTRAS that add up significantly and in some cases superceed educational departmental budgets. I would gladly pay the taxes i am now to guarantee every child regardless of ability receives a quality education BUT i refuse to pay these taxes when the FOCUS is NOT on education but on expending monies for after school activites on all levels. Dont cry about your taxes becaseu you decided what your priorites are and it isnt on education its after school activites so we can have a well rounded student. well how well rounded will they be when their on a winnning football team and cant make it into college because their SAT/ACT scores SUCK.
Lorraine DeVita September 10, 2012 at 10:49 AM
PAY to PLAY should be a NYS mandate as it is in MANY states who woke up and realized the sports budgets were getting totaly out of hand and education was being sacrificed - Focus the tax dollars on EDUCATION-
Lorraine DeVita September 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM
dr- do you have a football team, cheerleaders, soccer,or after school activites? Whats the COST to your district for these activites? THOSE DOLLARS should be spent on education. However, the parents have established that after school activites are MORe important to them then EDUCATION. YOU decide you set the precendet. NYS by LAW is only mandated ot rpovide a sound basic education to all ots students. IF that was the CASE then your tax dollars would be much lower. The cost to fund all the AFTER SCHOOL WANTS in most cases superceeds your Music budget your Art budget and ymost other educational deparmtent budgets. SO who established that priority? THe PARENTS. A well rounded student is the hue and cry well that as fine and good ecpet when the district expends monies on fields and coaches etc. THAt money comes from the EDUCATIONAL bottom line. SO what is important to YOU. DONT complain about educaiton because PARENTs made it a secondary priority, YOU established the pecking order. PAY TO PLAY should be the mandate allowing the tax dollars to go where they were intended to go. towards EDUCATION,.NOT on the FIELD .A well rounded student has a SOUND QUALITY education, can read write and add not just tuck a ball under their arm and run down a field and go through life with JUST squeaking by educationaly.
Laura September 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I want the school to have the football and other programs too. Teachers salaries are out of control. Each year for 30 years my school taxes go up. I find a way to pay them. I look at my budget and cut back. I never had cable TV. We used cars, not new cars. I bought my first cell phone at 50, when my sons moved out. To keep ln touch with them. My have lived in 40 years. I did not cable or a cell phone. I was able to save money also. Please tell me why teachers salaries are so high ? If my taxes went to educate children, I would no be complaining. Do the students Really Benefit ? Laura
Mac September 10, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Sports are a very important aspect of a well rounded education that school should be providing. Is music and art also to be thrown away? School is about more than academics its also about community and allowing the opportunity for a child to succeed in a certain area. Many student athletes have differnt colleges available to them because of the combination of academics and sports the same goes for music and art. How many football players make it into college with lower SAT/ACT scores because their ability to play football.
Mac September 10, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Laura what should a teacher make? what is the value of education for both the teacher who is required to continue theirs and the education provided to the students? It is not the salary but the benefits combined with the ever increasing pension contributions due to the low market growth. I have said it before I do not think it is unreasonable for a teacher to make the top salary after 20-30 years when they completed all of the criteria needed for that pay under the contract. Once agin I ask what should a starting salary be and max salary be?
BeachGal September 10, 2012 at 04:03 PM
The formula for state aid is stacked against the Long Island schools. For every $1 we send to Albany in our taxes for state aid only 75 cents comes back to LI schools. The rest of the money is used to support schools in other parts of the state. It doesn't seem to be a fair system.
Chris Wendt September 10, 2012 at 04:07 PM
"Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields on other days will bear the fruits of victory...." —General Douglas MacArthur addressing the graduating class at West Point. At the service academies, participation in sports, either interscholastic or intramural, is mandatory, as is rote memorization of General MacArthur's famous "On the fields of friendly strife...." quote. Pay-to-play would indeed be a "foreign" concept in our military schools. In years gone by, when failed school budget led to "austerity", it was mandated by the state that sports be cut, period. In recent times, when "austerity" was replaced by the more euphamistic "contingent budget", the state stipulated that sports may be considered to be an ordinary contingent expense, and continued in a contingent budget at the board's discretion in the event of a failed regular budget. Of course, proper budgetary discipline and balance, categorical spending limits, as well as the new 2% Tax Levy Cap have to observed in maintaining the sports program in a contingent budget.
Lorraine DeVita September 10, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Football as well as ANY sports scholarships are predicated upon the students academic acheivement. There ARE specific academic requirements needed to satisfy the NCAA as well as the college itself.You could be the Best football player however if you donthave th egrades to back you up while you might be allowed to go to college you wont be allowed onthe football team Music and Art are part of the Core curriculm if i am not mistaken and a minimum of instruction in the fine arts must be met. Well rounded is not defined by AFTER SCHOOL activites /Sports. There are plenty of students who are well rounded who dont participate in sports, they do community service, belong to community organizations. volunteer, etc. Participating in SCHOOL Sports does not define Well rounded. That is a myth- go ask ANY college counselor or admissions officer -
Mac September 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Lorraine you are way too uniformed. Marginal students are often given opportunities because they are great athletes in school sports, great athletes with good grades even more doors and great grades good sports just as much. To say athletics do not increase a well rounded education is insane. Who said athletics were the only be well rounded. It certainly is one aspect. I think you may need to look at the chances poor student great athletes get in college. school sports is an integral part of schools.
Chris Wendt September 10, 2012 at 05:04 PM
@ Beach Gal re: "For every $1 we send to Albany in our taxes for state aid only 75 cents comes back to LI schools. The rest of the money is used to support schools in other parts of the state. It doesn't seem to be a fair system." You have correctly assessed the decades-old method of funding public education in NY. Your direct support for your local school district is through your school property taxes. The State Aid that all schools get comes from the income taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, vehicle registration and drivers license fees, and lottery money that is shared across the state by a fairly stable and predictable formula. Two lawsuits had been decided by the highest court in NY State (Levittown, and REFIT). In both cases the Court of Appeals held that although school funding may not be "fair", it is not unconstitutional, unless it results in schools being unable to provide a sound, basic education. None of the 35 REFIT districts could claim they were unable to provied a sound, basic education when asked directly by the court. A third party, Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), filed a third suit and said that NY City schools were not able to provide a sound, basic education to many children because of the state aid formula. The City agreed. CFE won several billion dollars for NY City schools. Here's the rub. NYC receives about $1 back from the state in aid for every $1 they send to Albany in taxes!
George September 10, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Pay to play is what every parent is doing around this town anyway.....take a look at St. Pauls fields on the weekend....I guarantee you that when you look a a game with kids about 8yrs old and older, that there is more money spent by those parents on Personalized Athletic Training then on Academic Tutoring or other efforts....so if parents had to contribute to school sports in some way, there would not be too much push back......just ask them what it costs to play a travel sport which only meets a few times per week.....
Nassau Taxpayer September 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
"Pay to play" exists in the classroom as well, when one is given the list of classroom supplies to be supplied by parents (who are already taxpayers)
Retired September 10, 2012 at 06:14 PM
There certainly needs to be some reform in funding public education, LI gets screwed fr sure... but there can be no denying that the biggest reason for the yearly need to raise property taxes is the never ending increases in pay for school district employees. Even in these tough economic times.. The school's have to cut kids', classes, programs and clubs to cover the raises the School Boards keep doling out..., especially here in Commack. The Commack Board is not run by common working folks..but primarily those in academia who benefit from the raises they keep doling out... Look at Pennachio... "the 3rd highest paid Athletic Director in LI is Joe Pennachio, of Half Hollow Hills, who makes $172,256." see article http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/good_ports_Dk3gLe28CKwWvo6E1SewsK. Pennachio knows the more Commack teachers make the more he will make.. because Half Hollow Hills will use the Commack teacher/Admin. contracts as a comparison for the salaries they pay their employees. The whole system is a joke..soon only school employees will be able to live on LI.
Retired September 10, 2012 at 08:35 PM
To show you what a joke the Board is, here's what that Peter Wunsch said when he was elected to the Board in 2011 - "Wunsch said he is happy the budget passed and feels "vindicated" by the win" and “I will continue to be out there and do what is in the best interest of the children and taxpayers of taxpayers of Commack, ...I also plan to keep taxes as low as possible by making the tough decisions during negotiations." http://commack.patch.com/articles/superintendent-new-board-member-react-to-vote-and-election-results. HA,HA,HA...the jokes on all of us!!
Steven Mitchell September 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM


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