News10 in the Classroom: “Death Penalty” for under-performing schools

SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—With teacher evaluations in place, Governor Cuomo recently made some remarks of a death penalty for schools which continue to under-perform.

While the Governor made no specific reference to schools in the Capital Region, Schenectady schools are some of the 200 in the state labeled as in need of improvement.

Failing schools are not an option is the bottomline of Governor Cuomo's message to school districts across New York State, recently getting pretty specific, saying “There is going to have to be a death penalty for failing schools so-to-speak where we say the children come first before the bureaucracy, and if the school fails, the school has to end.”

“What I've heard the Governor say on a number of occassions, is that NYS spends more per pupil than any other state in the country, therefore, we should be expecting results,” says Schenectady superintendent Dr. Larry Spring. “But what he neglects to mention, is we are very near the bottom in terms of equity.”

Dr. Larry Spring tells me improving takes time and money, especially in an urban setting.

Dr. Spring says many of the districts which are failing are not getting enough state aid, yet are expected to improve drastically.

“For the state to say, you're not making the progress you're supposed to be making, is very hard for us to swallow,” he says. “We're making do with 62 million dollars less than we're supposed to every single year.”

There are more than 200 schools in New York State which have been labeled as schools in need of improvement.

Governor Cuomo has suggested options such as community schools, a takeover by the state or charter school, or mayoral control.

“Schools which are consistently struggling, we need some urgent action, that I agree with,” says Billy Easton, the executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “We need urgent action. A lot of these schools have been neglected by the state and sometimes the district isn't doing the job which is necessary.”

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