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Cuomo aide picked to run SUNY draws criticism, optimism

Paul L. Thomas, Department of Education

Last updated August 31, 2020

By Tina Underwood

James Malatras, a member of New York Gov. Cuomo’s inner circle, has been selected as the 14th chancellor of SUNY, a network of 64 campuses serving more than 415,000 students. The board’s pick, which circumvented the traditional national search, was met with praise and dissent. Detractors suggest the choice of Malatras is more political than academic, and say the appointment could lead to an “accountability movement,” which according to some, has been the bane of primary and secondary education due to the increased rigidity imposed on curricula and learning objectives.

Furman University’s Paul L. Thomas, a professor of education and a researcher of education trends, weighed in on the idea. In a Newsday article, he said, “There certainly has been an ‘accountability’ movement upward from K-12 into higher education over the last two decades. Many in higher ed haven’t anticipated this move and are also somewhat unaware of its consequences.”

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