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Cuomo asks state education officials for honest answers to school problems

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Sullivan County Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to state education officials, saying he wants answers on why 99 percent of teachers scored highly on the most recent evaluations, while other data shows two-thirds of school children performing below acceptable levels in math and English.

The letter, written by a top Cuomo aide, says the student test scores are “unacceptable,” and asks Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and outgoing Education Commissioner John King what to do about an evaluation system that rates just 1 percent of all of the teachers in the state as poorly performing. 

The letter also asks for their opinions on expanding charter schools and allowing mayors of upstate cities to control education policy. The governor says he’s not looking for spin, but “honest” answers.

“And stop with the political correctness, where all recommendations are filtered through the PC lens,” Cuomo said.  

The Board of Regents has asked the governor for a $2 billion in additional school aid, a request Cuomo dismisses as more “political correctness.”

The state’s teachers union condemned the Cuomo letter as “clueless,” saying saying the questions and tone of the lestter signal “ignorance about what parents want and the real issues facing public education.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.