Sorry to bombard you with emails about the budget deal but this is a big deal. Cuomo didn’t get everything he wanted–such as more charters (he may get that later) and tax credits for private and religious schools (aka vouchers), but he seems to have won some victories in his battle to grind teachers’ faces into the ground. Anyone who knows the research on teacher evaluation knows that Cuomo’s plan for “independent evaluators” (people from outside the school who spend a few minutes observing the teachers) and tying teacher evaluations to test scores has no basis in research or experience. It is not clear what the teacher evaluation plan will look like, because the budget deal is leaving it to the bureaucrats at the State Education Department to iron out the details.
This is what was just reported:
Assembly Democrats balked at a number of the education reform measures Cuomo had pushed.
But as the details emerge of the agreement from a senior administration official, Cuomo does appear to have won the inclusion of some of the education proposals, albeit with changes.
The agreement includes a new teacher evaluation criteria that will include both state-based tests as well as principal and independent observation. School districts can opt for a second test for teacher evaluations developed by the state Department of Education, according to an administration official.
However, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Sunday night said the deal would vest more power in the Department of Education to set the evaluation criteria.
Fully fleshed out details on the evaluation criteria are expected to be included in budget bills.
Teacher evaluation criteria would be tied to tenure: Three out of four years a teacher must be given a rating of at least “effective” in order to receive tenure.
On the inverse, teachers that are deemed to be “ineffective” for two years in a row could be removed within 90 days. Teachers rated ineffective for three years in a row could be removed within 30 days.
School districts must implement the new evaluation criteria by November and doing so is linked to state education aid, the administration official said.
An administration official insisted on Sunday evening said the new evaluation criteria would need to be included in new contracts between teachers and districts, but would not be subject to collective bargaining with local units.
“It’s in the law,” the official said.
The budget includes a plan for school receivership. Schools deemed to be struggling or “failing” have a school district put forward a turn around plan to the state Department of Education, which could either approve the plan or have the school taken over by an independent monitor.
A city official briefed on the plan pointed some local control components for the city education chancellor.
The first batch of schools up for review would have to be deemed “failing” over the last 10 years, with the second batch deemed “failing” for the last three years.
The fight over education policy in the budget was one of the more pitched in recent years, as Cuomo tangled with the highly organized teachers unions both in the city and statewide.
Both the New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers accused Cuomo of strengthening charters at the expense of public education and as way of rewarding the deep-pocketed campaign contributors who also support charter networks.
Governor Cuomo, who did not attend public schools and whose children did not attend public schools, who has never been a teacher and who knows nothing about how to evaluate teachers, is wreaking his vengeance on the state teachers’ union for failing to endorse his re-election. It does not reflect well our society when elected officials make decisions about how to run schools, how to reform schools, how to evaluate teachers and principals, and when to close schools. There are not qualified to do so.