Does Mario Define Andrew? The Governor Begins His Path to the White House on the Backs of Parents and Teachers

“The connection a man has with his father shapes his life. Which is why every adult son must choose how that relationship will – or won’t – define him.”

As the story goes the charter was sitting on the runway waiting for Mario to announce his candidacy for the presidency and fly off to New Hampshire to campaign for the “first in the nation” primary. The plane waited, and waited, and Mario defaulted. He never caught the plane.

Although not a psychologist I believe this “event” has dominated Andrew’s life, he will never allow the plane to linger on the runway, he will never miss the plane.

Deep in Cuomo Central every step, every speech, every policy is carefully plotted to situate Andrew on the spectrum of potential Democrats. Critics scoff, Andrew can never run for president!! Who was the junior senator from Illinois in 2006, an Afro-American with a Muslim name running for the highest office in the land. Obama overturned the classic progressive-labor-minority coalition, he created a new coalition, hostile to labor, appealing to -baby boomers and creating new voters and activists, first time and young voters who were passionately involved in his election, a campaign that raised mega-dollars and mastered social media.

Cuomo is “inventing” his own democratic coalition. progressive on social issues (marriage equality, the women rights agenda, the Dreamer Act), conservative on economic issues (property tax cap, tax cuts, working closely with business, new casinos) and joining the Obama-DFER views on education: rigid, test-based teacher accountability, charter schools, annual high stakes student testing, merit pay, school closings and “school receivership.”

As the Governor enters his second term his approval ratings, are sky high,

“On the eve of his fifth State of the State address, voters statewide give Cuomo the best favorability rating he’s had since July,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said. “He’s viewed favorably by more than three-quarters of Democrats and New York City voters and favorably by independents and downstate suburbanites. Upstate voters are evenly divided and Republicans are decidedly unfavorable.”

The independent Quinnipiac University Poll gives Cuomo gets a 71 – 23 percent approval rating in New York City.

Cuomo skillfully negotiated a Republican landslide. As the polls increasingly tilted to the Republicans Cuomo aggressively raised money, lots and lots of money, and, turned off the faucet for his opponent. The charter school Political Action Committee (PAC) was dangling millions and Cuomo snapped it up, antagonizing teachers. For a while it looked like the newly elected New York City Mayor might challenge Cuomo, Andrew refused to allow de Blasio to fund Universal Pre-K through a millionaire tax and also forced be Blasio to pay for charter school rent if space was not available in public schools. There was only one king in New York State.

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) chipped away at Cuomo during his first term, and although they made no endorsement clearly union members were tilting toward his primary opponent and stayed home in November.

In his State of the State (Watch here) the Governor cut any relationship with teachers and their unions, and, with approval ratings at the top of the scale he’s betting he doesn’t need teachers, or, for that matter, parents.

Cuomo decided to hold education dollars hostage to changes in the law.

For months the Regents have been crafting a budget proposal, the final budget request was for an increase of $2 billion and continuing the phase out of the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The Governor’s plan: you’re entitled to $300 million which I will increase $1.2 billion if the legislature approves my agenda:

Governor’s K-12 Agenda:

* Increase the probationary period from three to five years
* Increase the use of student test scores in teacher evaluation plans from 20% to 50%
* “Receivership,” turning low performing schools over to not-for-profits, with wide discretion including terminating collective bargaining agreements.
* Strip away due process rights in teacher dismissal cases
* Increase the charter cap by 100 statewide
* Increase charter school funding
* A tax credit for contributions to private and religious schools
* Tying college teacher prep programs to candidate test scores

The Governor is attempting to bundle his “K-12 Agenda” into the budget, school districts receive additional dollars in exchange for his agenda – all done by April 1.

For the next ten weeks the Legislature and the Governor will posture, will pontificate, will offer and threaten, hordes and hordes of citizen lobbyists will descend on Albany and the “three men in a room” will negotiate.

If the budget does not pass, a complex pied-a-deux, the legislature and the Governor dance toward a budget, item by item, with power tilting toward the Governor.

Sheldon Silver, the Democratic Speaker of the Assembly, Dean Skelos the Republican majority leader of the Senate and the guv’s guys will play high stakes poker, really high stakes.

It was not surprising that the Governor ended his speech with the same words his father ended his State of the State with in 1983.

“For all the ceremony, and the big house, and all the pomp and circumstance, please don’t let me forget what makes New York New York.”

And, to himself, “Don’t worry Dad, I won’t make the same mistake, when the time comes, I’m ready.”

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2 responses to “Does Mario Define Andrew? The Governor Begins His Path to the White House on the Backs of Parents and Teachers

  1. “room for only one king in NYS”….at least hes a real democrat, unlike the communist mayor in the big apple…..By the way, if he gets to the white House, dont you think he could upgrade Arne Duncan?

    Like

  2. Eric Nadelstern

    The plane was on the runway, and we had made preparations at the International HS at LaGuardi CC where he was scheduled to announce his presidential run.

    We’re left to wonder how the world might have been different had he taken that plane.

    Like

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