Cuomo's Lone School Board Appointee to Education Reform Panel

Governor Cuomo's new blue-ribbon school reform commission has been criticized for its lack of parents, teachers and school board members.   But as Gotham Schools pointed out here, Cuomo did appoint one school board member, Eduardo Marti, my colleague on the NYC citywide school board, a.k.a the Panel for Educational Policy.  As is typical for the eight-member mayoral bloc on the Panel, Marti has generally remained quiet during Panel meetings.  But even his limited comments suggest he supports an extremist agenda for the state's schools.

 Marti has made clear his disdain for parent participation, despite the ostensible goals of the Cuomo commission to "increase parent and family engagement".  When all five PEP borough representatives joined to support a resolution asking the Chancellor to consider including parents on a panel to advise on granting yellow bus transportation variances, Marti was quick to dismiss the idea.  Despite state law and precedent to the contrary, he rose to oppose the recommendation.  He stated it was no place of parents to provide this input nor of the Panel to even recommend it.

Last week, Marti spoke at length in favor of the Bloomberg administration's action to close 24 schools and replace half of their staffs.  In his view, the mass removal of teachers was an excellent opportunity to inject more motivated staff and provide an overall lift to building morale. He has previously championed school closings as "courageous" while bemoaning the caliber of students entering the CUNY system where he serves as an administrator.  He did not, however, address the responsibility of the Bloomberg administration for preparing these students despite having managed the system for nine years.

Marti could very well provide Cuomo with strong support for more authoritarian and unpopular policy recommendations on the new commission.  For example, beyond school closings and mass firings, I could certainly see him backing consolidation of rural districts, imposition of appointed rather than elected boards and forced  teacher ratings based on high stakes testing, especially in suburban districts like Chappaqua, Bedford and Westbury where parents and teachers are likely to push back against branding teachers as poor based solely on notoriously unreliable standardized state tests.
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