In the “State of the State” address, both boldly stated and sneakily inferred, Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched an attack to assume power unto the state; power that belongs to the county, municipal, and local governments, including local school districts. Under the guise of saving money, Governor Cuomo is attempting to take away local control. The governor’s suggestion that localities need to share services is sound advice. His advocacy of locality mergers; school district mergers; regional high schools; and the increase in charter schools is sheer idiocy.
There is a reason why we in the United States do not just have one central government, we also have states. That is because the people at the state level know the needs of that state better than the national representatives do. The same is true at the state level. My assembly person lives 1.5 hours. He is accessible by US mail, email, and telephone; but I can walk to my town supervisor’s house and knock on his door. I frequently run into the superintendent of my daughter’s school and the BOE members at the local convenience store. They know me by face, if not by name. My state school representative, my member of the Board of Regent, is a lawyer whose office is 45 miles away. Last night I attended one of 3 talent shows held at my local school district. The principals and superintendent were there, as were some of the school board members. The regent, understandably, was not.
Governor Cuomo wants to turn failing schools over to charters. There is currently one charter in my county. I can’t find anywhere on its webpage who the members of the board are, but every local public school district lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of every board member. Governor Cuomo says that the charter schools will become the center of the community. He doesn’t realize that the local schools in small districts already are the centers of their communities. He didn’t show up at the any of the talent shows either.
In February 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Joseph C. Cabell and described the division of power between the levels of government in the United States. The author of the Declaration of Independence stated that there were matters left to counties and ‘wards’ and that the destruction of liberty was the concentration of power into a central body. Governor Cuomo, I do not agree with you; I agree with President Jefferson.