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History of failure will protect receivership law, Cuomo predicts

Even as the Buffalo Teachers Federation and its statewide parent union challenge the governor’s school receivership law in court, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he believes the statute will survive the court challenge.

During a meeting Thursday with The Buffalo News editorial board, Cuomo defended the law, which is now the subject of a lawsuit alleging it violates teachers’ right to collectively negotiate their contracts.

One of the primary arguments in the case filed this week is that student tests deemed unreliable by a state task force cannot be used to place schools in receivership.

Cuomo, however, echoed the sentiments of other supporters of the law, noting that schools in receivership – including 25 in Buffalo – have struggled for years to meet state expectations.

“You don’t need last year’s tests to determine these schools have issues,” he said.

“We have failed generations,” he added. “How did you do that in good conscience?”

Cuomo stood firmly behind the law, which allows for a receiver to make changes without the approval of the elected school board and teachers union. He said it is a different structure that could prove more effective than systems that have struggled for decades to show improvement.

“We tried it this way, we tried it this way, we tried it this way. It failed, it failed, it failed. How about we do something different?” Cuomo said. “To continue doing what you’re doing that you know failed is absurd.”