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Hawkins slams Cuomo for calling public education a monopoly

Ryan Delaney
WRVO News File Photo
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor in Syracuse Thursday.

Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins is joining the growing criticism of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a comment Cuomo made about teachers. The governor said the public education system is a monopoly.

Earlier this week, Cuomo told the New York Daily News the state’s public education system is the last great public monopoly. He says he’ll try to push for a new round of teacher evaluations if reelected.

The comment has angered more liberal politicians and teachers’ unions.

"He’s doing the bidding of the charter school promoters that are backing the campaign. That seems to be what carries weight with him," Hawkins said.

Hawkins is against federal education standards and evaluations.

Cuomo has been critical of the implementation of federal Common Core education standards and has tried to distance himself from them. Still, the state teachers’ union declined to endorse him.

Cuomo told the Daily News he wants to put in place "real performance measures."

"Competition is wrong," Hawkins countered.

Republican candidate Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, has called for the repeal of Common Core in place of state-designed standards.

Hawkins also said the state education system could afford the multi-hundred million dollar aid hit it would take if it pulled out of Common Core education standards, which Hawkins has advocated for.

An analysis by the High Achievement New York coalition finds repealing Common Core would result in a $280 million loss in federal funds tied to the program. Hawkins says it’s not worth it.

"They put a carrot out and it was bait. It was bait and switch," he said. "‘Here’s a little money, but here’s a whole lot of expenses you’ve got to pay for.’"

The High Achievement New York coalition includes several chambers of commerce and community groups around the state. The coalition supports the learning standards and says repealing them would be a costly mistake.