New Yorkers: Gov. Andrew Cuomo More Trustworthy Than United Federation of Teachers

New Yorkers trust their gov more than the public school teachers union to protect kids' interests, according to a Quinnipiac University poll that came out this morning. The study has been released shortly after another survey in which voters said they trust the union more than Mayor Mike Bloomberg -- who has a bit of a tendency to piss off profs.

Fifty one percent of voters with children in public school believe in Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- compared to 38 percent of them who have faith in the union.

In labor-leaning households, 47 percent back Cuomo.

Slightly more New Yorkers like the way Cuomo handles education. They "overwhelmingly" support his proposed education reforms.

Sixty-four percent like Cuomo's call for merit pay for good profs; 67 percent want it to be easier to fire bad teachers; and 87 percent like basing educator layoffs on performance and not seniority.

New Yorkers generally think that public school teachers are doing a good job -- 49-23 percent -- and parents with sons and daughters in public schools like them even more (54-23 percent.)

Many, however, think the union hurts kids more than helps them -- 50-37 felt that the United Federation of Teachers plays a negative rather than a positive role when it comes to fixing New York's education system.

"They trust [Cuomo] more than the teachers' union to look out for the kids and they support [him] by margins of 2-1, up to 9-1 proposals to reform the schools," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, says.

"New York City voters did not provide that level of trust for Mayor Michael Bloomberg when they told us they trusted the teachers' union more than the mayor to look out for the kids. The teachers union is a political punching bag these days, and New York voters share that negative view. Does the union play a positive role? New Yorkers say no. Support for the union isn't high even in union households," he says.

New Yorkers also don't want to ban churches from renting space in public school buildings -- 54-34 percent say that it's a "bad idea."

Voters also don't appear to have any clue whatsoever about gerrymandering -- 67 percent don't know anything about redistricting and 71 percent don't know whether they're OK with it or not.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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What this poll fails to account for is that almost everyone-- including the teachers-- want teacher evaluation to be based on performance.  The problem with Cuomo's plan is that that performance is overwhelmingly based on children's test scores, which is going to force teachers to change their focus in the classroom away from activities that enrich kids' lives and toward drilling them to prepare for standardized tests.  It is also going to mean that teachers will be penalized for taking on classes with children who are going to perform more poorly on tests because of the gross inequities in our society created by poverty, racism, and lack of disability support.  Schools are going to stop being able to attract teachers who can do the most to support kids with more needs than others, because teachers will be unable to keep their positions.

It also sets a bell curve to determine teacher efficiency, so that a certain percentage of teachers will always score as "ineffective."  Which is obviously wrong-- effectiveness should be judged on an objective scale. 

Cuomo's plans for our education system are destructive, and more importantly, smack of racism, classism, and ablism.  There are "loopholes" built-in for "high-performing" (read: rich, white) districts that will not be available to the schools that most need them.

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