Cohen Says Hearings Look More Like a Pre-Election Whitewash Than an Investigation
WHITE PLAINS – State Senate candidate Bob Cohen (R,I,C – 37th District) today called on Senator Oppenheimer to quit protecting the special interests bankrolling her political campaigns and use her full authority as Senate Education Chair to launch a comprehensive investigation into the unexplainable decline in education performance standards in recent years. Cohen called the Senator’s currently planned hearings ‘window dressing’ and an ‘attempt to cover up a scandal that occurred on her watch as Education chair.’
“Parents who thought their children were doing well in school are now shocked to learn that they are actually behind the curve,” said Cohen. “As a parent and a taxpayer, I am appalled. Senator Oppenheimer owes us a thorough investigation, but it looks to me like the Senator has already determined the outcome of her committee’s hearings.”
Last week, Senator Oppenheimer announced that her committee would conduct hearings to investigate how standards for scoring student achievement tests were allowed to deteriorate in recent years. The decline was exposed when more accurate benchmarks were put into place this year by the newly appointed state Education Commissioner David Steiner. According to the New York Post, Dr. Steiner is among those Senator Oppenheimer plans to subpoena, but former Education Commissioner Richard Mills – who oversaw the department during the years when test scores inaccurately spiked – is not. (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/probe_of_school_testing_overhaul_8VVm...)
“I see no value in it,” the Senator told the Post. “He (Mills) did what was best back then."
“Why even hold a hearing if you are not going to call on the people responsible for this debacle to testify?” said Cohen. “This is an obvious effort to sweep the whole affair under the rug to avoid embarrassing those who share the blame. Senator Oppenheimer has a duty to protect parents, students and taxpayers, and should not be allowed to single-handedly give a pass to those who should be held accountable.”