The Governor's 'Conservative' Approach to Edcuation
by Anthony Stasi
May 26, 2015 | 5403 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is much being said about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s education plan. What should be a standout point is how far his policy is from what his father Mario Cuomo would have supported.

Andrew Cuomo is no conservative Democrat, despite what the more extreme progressive elements of New York politics may argue. But Cuomo’s latest push to improve education in New York is an echo of an approach that we’ve heard before.

You may remember that Anthony Weiner penned an op-ed before resigning from Congress that explained the importance of keeping Catholic and private schools open. Cuomo wants parents earning south of $60,000 a year to qualify for a tax credit that would help them choose a private school if they so desire.

This is something for which New York conservatives have been fighting for a long time. It seemed out of reach to get New York State (and City) with all of its hostilities toward tax cuts to come along.

Many GOP and Conservative Party candidates made this a cornerstone of their campaigns over the last decade, and I was no different. Cuomo getting behind the idea, however, gives the policy a little more “street cred.” Now there is support on the other side of the aisle.

The people who stand to benefit from making private schools more accessible are the parents of children attending troubled schools. Opposing school choice programs and complaining about the overcrowded school system always seemed like a contradiction. If the public schools are crowded and the private schools are struggling to pay the bills, there has to a happy medium - if parents want it.

Cuomo wants a scholarship program for poorer students to have more access to private schools. Currently there are not many, if any, scholarships for private high schools, but there used to be. (They were not publicly funded, however.) Desperate times call for more innovation, and maybe the tax credit and scholarship ideas will lift literacy levels.

Cuomo also wants to expand the cap on charter schools in New York. Ultimately, this is a great idea, although there are some charter schools that have failed as well. If charter schools can be given the freedom they need to better educate children and still show proven results, there is no reason to not get behind charters, which are an innovative way to save the public school system.

The governor’s plan has to include a results-based approach to charters, ensuring some element of checks and balances.

Conservatives in New York are not usually victorious electorally, but they are quite influential when it comes to policy development. There is good reason for this: they are right about certain issues and this is one of them.

What state Republicans and Conservatives need to do now is make sure this plan gets chance.

Memorial Day is About Vets

Memorial Day is all about our veterans who have risked their lives, and it is important to remember that even when a long weekend involves backyard events and trips to the beach.

Why not give only veterans the day off, while the rest of us go to work? Every recognition for veterans includes us all, but they are rarely honored for their sacrifice only. After all, they don’t take us to war with them.

They should have some societal appreciation that is their own. I once wrote that all stadiums that use names like Veterans Memorial or Veterans Stadium or whatever name includes veterans, should give actual veterans deals on whatever events take place.

We may want to include our first responders in this at some point as well, given that their work has gotten more dangerous and complex.

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