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Cuomo Speech Focuses on Education at the 2012 DNC

The New York governor focuses on plans to improve education quality.

Who Cares about Suburban Public Schools?

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—In a rousing speech to the cheering New York Democratic delegation here Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called New York the “progressive capital of the nation.”

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner introduced Cuomo by citing a Siena Poll that found 56 percent of New Yorkers believe the state is going in the right direction.

In spelling out the state’s accomplishments, Cuomo spoke about education, saying: “We know we can improve education by educating all children. We know we can improve education by performance standards and an (teacher) evaluation system. We just did that in New York.”

And he energized the delegates and guests by posing several rhetorical questions: “Do you believe when I invest in your child’s education, I invest in my child’s education? Do you believe education is the ladder to opportunity? Do you believe college loans have to be affordable?”

After the speech, I spoke with Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, the Democratic candidate for New York State Senate against incumbent Republican Sen. Kenneth LaValle. Fleming was attending her first convention with her 9-year-old-son, Jai, who attends .

“Gov. Cuomo has outlined the blueprint for prosperity in New York State, and I’m proud to be here,” she said. “But the governor didn’t mention the need to reform the state aid formula [for public schools]. One of the reasons I’m running as a mother of a fourth grader is to change that. We give the state more tax dollars than we get back. I’m here to represent Long Island and the educational needs of Long Island, which are completely distinct from New York City or upstate. Long Island can no longer continue to be a cash cow for the rest of the state.”

Fleming said she would like to change the state aid formula “so it doesn’t punish people who pay high property taxes but don’t have much disposable income. We need to reduce tax assessments for purposes of the formula. When aid to education is reduced, it shifts the burden to the taxpayer and hurts the local economy.”

Lawrence C. Levy, the executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., was at both the Republican and Democratic conventions and we chatted about how neither party is currently talking about addressing the needs of suburban schools.

“If the Republicans and Democrats were to score points with swing voters in the suburbs, they should start talking about what they can do for suburban schools,” Levy said. “Both parties are assuming it’s still the '60s or '70s when suburban schools didn’t need help. It’s one thing to leave the content of curriculum to the states, but it’s another to leave the entire burden of funding. The suburbs need a lot more help and only the federal government has deep pockets.”

Obama’s Trouble With Young People

Characterizing the 2012 election as one of the closest in recent history, on Tuesday Independent Pollster John Zogby reviewed the difficulties President Barack Obama faces in attracting young voters in the 2012 election. He noted that Obama, who received the support of young people in record numbers in 2008, is having trouble with the 18- to 29-year-old constituency this year. He said that young people, who he characterized as “America’s first global citizens,” comprised 19 percent of the total vote last time, and that in 2008 they were “filled with hope and optimism.”

He noted that this year a subset of this group, which he referred to as CEMGA — College Educated Not Going Anywhere — because of the recession, don’t trust anyone. Zogby said his poll indicated that at the present time, there is a small group of young people — 10 percent — who say they may vote for Gary Johnson, a libertarian.

Zogby said also that he found a growing sense of libertarianism among young people, as well as “a sense of distrust about the government, the debt, the leadership.”

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George September 10, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Pay to play is what every parent is doing around this town anyway.....take a look at St. Pauls fields on the weekend....I guarantee you that when you look a a game with kids about 8yrs old and older, that there is more money spent by those parents on Personalized Athletic Training then on Academic Tutoring or other efforts....so if parents had to contribute to school sports in some way, there would not be too much push back......just ask them what it costs to play a travel sport which only meets a few times per week.....
Nassau Taxpayer September 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
"Pay to play" exists in the classroom as well, when one is given the list of classroom supplies to be supplied by parents (who are already taxpayers)
Retired September 10, 2012 at 06:14 PM
There certainly needs to be some reform in funding public education, LI gets screwed fr sure... but there can be no denying that the biggest reason for the yearly need to raise property taxes is the never ending increases in pay for school district employees. Even in these tough economic times.. The school's have to cut kids', classes, programs and clubs to cover the raises the School Boards keep doling out..., especially here in Commack. The Commack Board is not run by common working folks..but primarily those in academia who benefit from the raises they keep doling out... Look at Pennachio... "the 3rd highest paid Athletic Director in LI is Joe Pennachio, of Half Hollow Hills, who makes $172,256." see article http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/good_ports_Dk3gLe28CKwWvo6E1SewsK. Pennachio knows the more Commack teachers make the more he will make.. because Half Hollow Hills will use the Commack teacher/Admin. contracts as a comparison for the salaries they pay their employees. The whole system is a joke..soon only school employees will be able to live on LI.
Retired September 10, 2012 at 08:35 PM
To show you what a joke the Board is, here's what that Peter Wunsch said when he was elected to the Board in 2011 - "Wunsch said he is happy the budget passed and feels "vindicated" by the win" and “I will continue to be out there and do what is in the best interest of the children and taxpayers of taxpayers of Commack, ...I also plan to keep taxes as low as possible by making the tough decisions during negotiations." http://commack.patch.com/articles/superintendent-new-board-member-react-to-vote-and-election-results. HA,HA,HA...the jokes on all of us!!
Steven Mitchell September 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM


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