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Union head critical of Governor Cuomo's education proposals
ALBANY -- The leader of the New York State United Teachers says he wants to see more specifics regarding Governor Andrew Cuomo's education proposals outlined in Wednesday's State of the State Address.
Dick Iannuzzi, President of NYSUT-- a union representing the largest number of teachers in the state-- said Thursday Governor Cuomo's proposal to borrow $2 billion to technologically upgrade classrooms is a good idea.
Good, not great.
Although money being spent on technology is a good thing, Iannuzzi believes more money needs to go to schools to use as operating costs. Iannuzzi says 70% of schools, statewide, are below the funding they were at in 2010 when then Governor David Paterson scaled back aid to help close a massive state deficit.
"We have schools in this area, in the Capital Region, and in other parts of the state that are crumbling," Iannuzzi said. "We need classrooms that are warm, have desks, and chairs. We need more staff."
Approval to borrow the $2 billion would need to come from taxpayers in a state wide referendum.
Governor Cuomo also called for a significant, $20,000 bonus, for teachers who are rated "highly effective" by the state's teacher evaluation system. However, it's a system that is broke, Iannuzzi said.
"If we are looking at merit pay schemes, there is a truck load of data that says merit pay schemes don't work." said Iannuzzi.
One example of a broke system is in Schenectady, said Iannuzzi, who had a teacher in the district named "Teacher of the Year" but did not receive a high score on the teacher evaluation.
During his speech Wednesday, Governor Cuomo touted the incentive saying the state's best teachers should be rewarded.
"It is going to be the first statewide teacher performance bonus program that actually rewards performance for teachers gives incentives to teachers who perform well." Cuomo said.