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‘Death penalty’ comment sends the wrong message

On Aug. 29, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking in Buffalo, stated that there has to be “a death sentence for failing schools.” He singled out schools in Buffalo, Rochester and Long Island, and recommended solutions to include mayoral control of school districts, coupled with takeover by corporate charter schools.

Shame on the governor for making such an analogous comment, especially referring to schools that are struggling with the new testing rigors and Common Core curriculum standards, while faced with the magnitude of problems associated with extremely low socioeconomic conditions. It was less than a year ago when Cuomo proclaimed himself the “education advocate” for the children of New York State. Today he wants to sentence the schools of failing children to the “death penalty.”

I remind Cuomo that those same schools serve the children of our inner cities with perhaps their only interlude of security, and an opportunity to express themselves in speech, writing, art, music and athletics. These same schools provide caring teachers, principals and staff who face each day with the overwhelming culture of failure, violence and fear.

True leaders lead by example. Perhaps Cuomo should lead the charge for support of inner city public education and send his children to the public schools of downtown Albany, instead of the elite private education they are provided. He, however, chose the path of condemnation.

Kevin R. Mulligan

President of Northeastern Zone

of New York State Retired

Teachers Association