Cuomo to chair education reform conference in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID – Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with other nationwide politicians and guests, plans to head here in May for an education-focused conference.

Camp Philos, short for philosophy, is a three-day event planned to begin on May 4. It will be held at Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid.

“Embark on three spring days of fun, fellowship and strategy with the nation’s thought leaders on education reform,” the event’s website states.

Cuomo is the “honorary chairman” of the event, according to the invitation. The Washington, D.C.-based Education Reform Now is planning the event. The group has supported charter schools and tougher teacher evaluations and tenure requirements.

An early list of participants leans heavily toward Democratic politicians from across the country, including U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson; Russlynn Ali, the assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education; and movie maker M. Night Shyamalan, who’s perhaps best known for directing “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable.”

Providence, R.I., Mayor and Rhode Island governor candidate Angel Taveras was also set to attend the event but changed his mind, the Providence Journal reported.

Joe Williams, executive director of Education Reform Now, will also be in attendance. The group has offices in 14 states including New York.

Education Reform Now supported efforts to change teacher tenure in New Jersey, increasing the number of years teachers must work from three to four before they get tenure, and those that made annual teacher evaluations based on student performance. New Jersey teachers’ unions fought against the changes.

The group was also involved in Washington state education reforms when it supported a successful effort to pass a public charter school initiative in 2012, which lifted the state’s ban on charter schools.

There is an outline of Camp Philos’ schedule of events on the website campphilos.org. There will be a welcome reception the first night, and most of the conferences will be held on May 5. The education talks will begin at 9 a.m. and end around 9 p.m.. Discussions are set to include issues such as creating “a successful school reform coalition,” “innovative teacher prep” and collective bargaining. On May 6 there will be one closing session held in the morning.

Contact Matthew Turner at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or mturner@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.