ALBANY -– And they were getting along so well.
But for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the battle over public school accountability and teacher evaluations is looking to be a messy one.
Cuomo got things started last week in his State of the State address when he said he would add “students’ lobbyist’’ to his job title. He reasoned that no one -– and that would, presumably, include the Legislature -– has been looking out for the interests of students. Instead, he talked about Albany's focus being on teachers unions and the education “bureaucracy.’’
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver hit the ball back this afternoon. He told a group of parents aligned with the Alliance for Quality Education -– a group funded, in part, by the teachers union and a major thorn in Cuomo’s side the past year -– that he had to “respectfully disagree’’ with Cuomo.
“The most powerful lobby group for students is their parents,’’ Silver told the group. And, he notedthat his doors are “always open’’ to AQE and its concerns.
Returning the Silver serve, Cuomo later renewed his call for an overhaul of the teacher evaluation system –- and with a jab back at Silver. “The Assembly-led legislation in 2010 protected the teachers union at the expense of the students and instituted a system that was destined to fail,’’ Cuomo said.
So, let's remember the dates. Jan. 4: Cuomo/Silver happy talk. Jan. 10: Cuomo/Silver diss talk. June 21: Scheduled end of 2012 session.
-- Tom Precious