English: New York State Capitol viewed from the south, located on the north end of the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dear Governor Cuomo:
I hear that you’re losing one of your top advisors to…law school?
May I ask, do you recruit from the kiddie pool? May I suggest your next interview be during adult swim?
When I heard of Katie Campos’ departure as Cuomo’s P-12 Assistant Education Secretary, I wasn’t surprised. I mean, how much can a 20-something who has NO experience in the classroom, NOR in administering a school building know about New York’s arcane system?
Let me repeat that—she was never in a classroom.
She was never even a principal.
She was never a TFA drone, a Teaching Fellow, a Broad Fellow or any of the other alternative programs that the reform crowd love to tout as “experience.”
Michelle Rhee, Richard Barth, Geoffrey Canada…I have my issues with these people, but at least they had some real knowledge of the trenches of education.
Campos spent her three years between college graduation and her Albany post as nothing more than a political apparatchik, from Democrats for Education Reform to the New York State Charter Schools Association. That’s akin to letting the late Ted Kennedy be principal of a girls’ high school—probably inept, and possibly disastrous.
And she was your “most experienced” team member? I hear the lamentations of a thousand pairs of soiled undergarments.
So for Campos’ replacement, I humbly urge you, our esteemed governor, to select someone with experience, commitment, passion and above all a vested interest in education.
Someone like me.
Now, besides being ravishingly handsome, I do bring some important skills to the table. So before I start sending my resume up to Albany, a few bullet points to strengthen my case:
- Classroom experience – I’m up on Ms. Campos by nine years in that department. In my near-decade in the classroom, I’ve seen special education kids, English Language Learners, kids in trouble with the law, kids experimenting with drugs and sex, foster kids, homeless kids, kids on the run from abusive parents…you name it. I’ve managed to reach a lot of them (NOT all…I wouldn’t pretend like that) and in the process, gotten to know what works and what doesn’t work for kids, parents, and teachers.
- Bipartisanship – Why not appoint a Republican to your team, Governor? Especially an elephant like me with a long memory and (most importantly) an open mind to new ideas. I may have an “R” next to my name, but I’m not some Tea Party nincompoop, nor am I a Wall Street goon. After four years as an undergrad in DC, crossing the aisle is really no big thing; it’s more of a matter of getting the right mix of ideas that can help solve the problem.
- Honest feedback about current reforms – Testing, Common Core, teacher evaluations, class size: the big four in terms of gripes and controversies (if I’m missing something, let me know). How about getting feedback from someone who has worked with and worked to implement your reforms at its base level? The reform poobahs will gladly generate the spreadsheets and charts to keep you happy—but are they being upfront with you? At least I can give an answer based on those who actually utilize these programs, rather than the bean counters who collect whatever data is given to them.
- A balanced approach to the Common Core – speaking of the Common Core, unlike many of the opposition, I really have no beef with these standards per se. In fact, in several instances they serve as a necessary clarifier for benchmarks that were extremely vague and open to interpretation. The Common Core is not the problem; implementation is. The inconsistent nature of Common Core adoption—followed by ramrod exams that were clearly shown to be flawed—indicates a more nuanced approach to the problem. It’ll be slower, but much more effective in the long run.
- A “people person” who gets along with teachers, students, administrators, unions and kids – The “carrot-and-stick” approach only goes so far in New York state among certain places: the “stick” might work in those districts where the opportunities are slim and teachers take what they can get. Yet there are also places (NYC, Rochester, etc.) that just laugh at the stick and whip out a bigger one. Whatever programs that need to implemented, the initial phases will be painful. Don’t make it more painful by using ed reform blowhards who patronize teachers and keep harping that it’s all “for the children.” We all know it’s for the kids—at least it’s supposed to be. Send someone who can reach the best in all sides, who can bring people together instead of drive them apart.
- A good-looking guy – did I forget to mention I’m ravishingly handsome? I was on TV, for Pete’s sake.
With a CV like that, there isn’t a statehouse in America that wouldn’t want me on their team, right?
If you are interested, Governor Cuomo, my LinkedIn profile is right here, and I can be reached through this blog or at my email firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Give my best to Sandra Lee (that was from Future Mrs. D).
PS: If per chance you request an interview, please make sure it’s a nice day as Future Mrs. D enjoys the drive to Albany.