Andrew Cuomo Appoints a Stacked-Deck Panel to Rubber Stamp Common Core



On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the names of panelists who will review and make recommendations on the Common Core standards and testing in New York. Cuomo, when not ruling by executive order, likes to stack the decks of his independent panels and this one is no exception.

There is a movement against Common Core in New York comprised of parents and teachers who see the damage the standards and testing are doing to children and teachers. Cuomo has responded to their concerns by appointing a panel that will rubber stamp his Common Core agenda.

Cuomo said the panel “will undertake an immediate and comprehensive review of the rollout of the Common Core standards in New York State,” according to a release. He said he wants the panel to “speedily recommend improvements,” “before the end of the legislative session.” He said further that talk of a two-year moratorium is premature.

Common Core isn’t going anywhere obviously and Cuomo seemed to imply that he will actually rush it through.

The members of the stacked deck are:

  • Stanley S. Litow, vice president, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and president, IBM International Foundation (Chair)
  • State Sen. John Flanagan, Senate Education Committee chair (Senate appointee)
  • Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Assembly Education Committee chair (Assembly appointee)
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun professor of education, Stanford University Graduate School of Education
  • Todd Hathaway, teacher, East Aurora High School (Erie County)
  • Alice Jackson-Jolley, parent (Westchester County)
  • Anne Kress, president, Monroe Community College
  • Nick Lawrence, teacher, East Bronx Academy for the Future (NYC)
  • Delia Pompa, senior vice president of programs, National Council of La Raza
  • Charles Russo, superintendent, East Moriches UFSD (Long Island)
  • Dan Weisberg, EVP & General Counsel, The New Teacher Project

Educational expert Diane Ravitch wrote this about the panel, ‘No early childhood experts, elementary or special ed teachers on commission, which is unfortunate because these are the people whose critiques have been most sharp.’ 

Ms. Ravitch did some research about three members of the panel:

Litow chair already wrote an op-ed in favor. Crain’s New York

Russo is one of the few Superintendents in entire state on record in favor. He was booed by parents & teachers at a Common Core forum and says CC curriculum “one of best things I’ve seen in education in 31, 32 yrs.” NPR

Dan Weisberg head of TNTP has received $23M from Gates Foundation including $7M in last yr [sic] alone.  Gates has spent $170M on the Common Core and will not go down lightly. WaPo

I researched the rest of the panel:

John Flanagan has been a Common Core stalwart and won’t even talk to opponents of Common Core. He has a closed door policy.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan is a supporter of the Core but did call for a two-year delay in the assessments.

Linda Darling-Hammond, a close associate of domestic terrorist and communist Bill Ayers, was a director of Obama’s presidential transition team and heads content specifications for testing under a consortia, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a consortia that received $176 million in stimulus funds to develop testing under Common Core.

Todd Hathaway is not against the Core, he is against the testing as it is currently. He is a Political Action Coordinator for NYSUT. NYSUT recently called for a moratorium of the testing. NYSUT is not against the standards but they are against the testing and the teacher evaluations as currently implemented.

Alice Jackson-Jolley is the daughter of teachers and her family are close to former Governor Pataki. She said she has an open mind but wants a more challenging curriculum in the schools.

Anne Kress does not see flaws in the standards. The problems are only in the implementation, she says.

Nick Lawrence is a Common Core cheerleader. Read his testimony on this link.

Delia Pompa sees Common Core as necessary and a way to achieve racial equity. It’s an opportunity for Latinos, she wrote in a  Huffington Post piece. She’s written innumerable articles in favor of the Core. HuffPo

Common Core takes control of education out of the hands of parents and teachers. It is also now the law in New York and it is the law of the land, at least it is in 46 states.