ALBANY – Education policy is big business for lobbyists in New York state.Various education interests have spent at least $124 million trying to influence lawmakers, officials and the general public at the state and local level since the start of 2006, including a record of at least $16 million last year, according to a review of state records by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.That’s in addition to $45.3 million in lobbying expenses reported by the New York State United Teachers union and its New York City affiliate over the past nine years. They are tallied as labor organizations, not education groups, by the state’s lobbying regulator.Add in political spending and the numbers are starker: Education interests and teachers unions have spent more than a quarter-billion dollars — $285.5 million — on lobbying, campaign contributions and independent political expenditures over the past decade, according to a report by Common Cause/NY, which the good-government group is set to release Monday.The spending surge has come amid a growing battle at the state Capitol over teacher evaluations, state aid for schools, standardized testing, charter schools and education tax breaks. And it’s led to an “arms race,” as a spokesman for NYSUT put it, between the powerful… Read full this story
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