Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature chose discretion over valor in the battle over access to teacher evaluations in New York. Sometimes discretion is a good thing. But not in this case.
Mayor Bloomberg and others believed in full and unfettered access to teacher performance evaluations. They made the case that transparency would only help the effort to encourage good teachers and weed out the bad ones.
Unfortunately, the governor and legislators decided to limit access to the data to parents, who will be able to review evaluations of their childrens’ current teachers. While that’s better than nothing—and bear in mind that the unions fought the whole idea of performance evaluations to the bitter end—it’s a far cry from the sort of transparency that Mr. Bloomberg and his allies sought.
The Committee to Save New York has a number of laudable goals in mind, goals that this page shares. Committee members, many of whom are well-placed among New York’s civic and business leaders, have sought to win public support for political and fiscal reform in Albany, reforms desperately needed if New York is going to prosper in the 21st century.
It’s clear that the committee has struck a nerve—it was able to raise $17 million last year, and it spent $12 million. No doubt you’ve seen the committee’s television ads, and if they seem like campaign commercials for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, well, that’s not a coincidence. Many of the committee’s leaders, including co-chair Rob Speyer, have close ties to the governor. The governor’s agenda and the committee’s are one and the same.
Here’s the problem: If the committee truly is serious about changing the dysfunctional culture of state government, if it is, in fact, in favor of greater transparency in political decision-making, if it really wants to set an example, it simply cannot continue to play by the old rules.
But it is doing just that.
Governor Cuomo promised to make Albany, including the governor’s office, more transparent and accessible. With the introduction of a new website, publication of his daily schedule and on-line chats, he is fulfilling that promise—although full transparency in Albany remains an elusive but necessary goal.
Mr. Cuomo hosted his first on-line chat on Sept. 24 (with the help of his fast-typing press aide, Josh Vlasto), answering questions from citizens on a range of political and personal topics, from the future of the Indian Point nuclear plant to his affection for the Executive Mansion on Eagle Street. The session may not have produced any startling exchanges, but it did show that Mr. Cuomo is serious about embracing 21st-century technology to keep in touch with his constituents.
In the bad old days before the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, major Wall Street players oversaw a massively opaque market in derivatives contracts where Wall Street middlemen made undisclosed profits by acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. Here’s the story as told by The New York Times:
And the Read More
In last night’s DealBook (or rather “Dealb%k“) column, The New York Times‘ Andrew Ross Sorkin wonders whether the Securities and Exchange Commission is undermining corporate transparency by allowing companies to post market-moving information (quarterly earnings, for example) on their websites instead of distribute it through more traditional means like press releases. Says Sorkin:
If Read More
The Securities and Exchange Commission will not misuse its newfound power to reject Freedom of Information Act requests, SEC chairman Mary Schapiro said today at a House of Representatives hearing.
A section of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill signed by President Obama in July allows the SEC to turn down FOIA requests pertaining to Read More