Cuomo Floats 'Death Penalty' for Failing Schools

10:45 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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By Jon Campbell, Albany Bureau

ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week raised the possibility of creating a "death penalty" for underperforming public schools in New York, suggesting he may push legislation next year allowing the state to take action.

Speaking to reporters in Lockport, Niagara County, Cuomo said Thursday he plans to craft a plan for dealing with "failing schools" when lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January.

"My position is going to be, we'll give (the schools) a short window to repair themselves, and then something dramatically has to happen," Cuomo said late Thursday. "Because we can't allow these failing schools to continue."

The Democratic governor laid out a number of possibilities for dealing with underperforming schools, including potentially allowing the state, a local mayor or a charter school to take over. Any of those moves would require approval by state lawmakers.

"There's going to have to be a death penalty for failing schools, so to speak," Cuomo said.

Cuomo pushed a revamped system for teacher evaluations last year, tying each school district's increase in state aid to their ability to come to an evaluation agreement with their local teacher union. The state also implemented tougher standardized tests last school year, which led the results to plummet.

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