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Poll: 56 percent of New Yorkers want ed reform handled apart from budget

More than half of New Yorkers polled by Siena College Research Institute last week thought Gov. Andrew Cuomo's education reform efforts should not be part of the coming state budget negotiations.

And more people agreed with teachers' unions that the way to improve public education in New York is to increase funding for schools than with Cuomo's view that the state's teacher evaluation system must be changed, according to poll results released this morning.

The poll results come as Cuomo has attempted to use the state budget to force a controversial package of education reform on schools. He has promised to increase state aid for schools only if the Legislature approves a series of education policy changes, including an overhaul of the existing teacher evaluation system and the ability to allow takeovers of failing schools.

Asked whether education policy changes sought by Cuomo should be included as part of the state budget, 56 percent of the respondents said they should be addressed separately; 40 percent said they should be included in the state budget.

"By a 50-41 percent margin, voters side with the teachers’ unions – who say increasing and providing fair funding to school districts is what’s needed to improve education – over Cuomo, who is pushing to change the teacher evaluation system to improve education," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a written statement released with the monthly poll. "Republicans and independents are closely divided, while Democrats clearly side with the teachers’ unions. New York City and upstate voters agree more with the teachers and downstate suburbanites agree more with the Governor.”

Half of the people polled said they agreed with the view of teachers' unions that the way to improve education is to increase state funding and provide fair funding to all school districts, compared to 41 percent who said they agreed with the governor that the state should change its teacher evaluation system to help reward outstanding teachers and identify those who are ineffective.

See the full poll results here: Siena College Research Institute, March 15-19 crosstabs.

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