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Goodell Bill Would Strip Cuomo Of Education Powers

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, wants to see decisions about schools be made by educators, not Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Goodell has introduced A.10918, a concurrent resolution in the Senate and Assembly that gives Board of Regents, the state Education Commissioner and the state Education Department the responsibility to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Goodell’s legislation would also terminate Cuomo’s executive orders related to schools and creates a procedure for future executive orders regarding elementary, secondary, post-secondary schools, state universities, and other educational entities. Also, the resolution would stipulate that future executive orders dealing with education would need to be prompted by a request from the Board of Regents.

“The Board of Regents, the commissioner of Education and the Education Department have the responsibility under the state Constitution to respond to the current COVID19 pandemic consistent with duly enacted legislation,” Goodell wrote in his legislative justification. “The responsibility of the Board of Education includes deciding when and under what conditions elementary, secondary, post-secondary schools, state universities and other educational entities subject to their jurisdiction should reopen and operate. Any Executive Orders that are inconsistent with the constitutional responsibility of the Board of Regents, the commissioner of education and the Education Department regarding elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, state universities, and other educational entities subject to their jurisdiction are terminated by this joint resolution.”

The governor has been heavily involved in education decision making since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a pattern that has continued as schools prepare to reopen in early September. In addition to the governor being the bearer of news that schools could open in September, the governor has at times contradicted guidance from the state Health Department or the state Education Department. For example, guidance from the state Health Department said nothing about schools having to test students for COVID-19, but the governor said during his Aug. 4 news conference that schools should be ready to test students.

“If you don’t have the details for each school, then you don’t have a plan, because how can a parent make a decision,” Cuomo said in his news briefing.

Goodell’s concurrent resolution was sent to the Assembly Education Committee on Monday.

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