Before the elections, Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York offered legislation to defer high-stakes for teachers based on the new Common Core tests. However, he never pushed his own legislation, and it was never passed. Now, he says that he wants a new system because he is disappointed that so few teachers were found to be “ineffective.” Some of Cuomo’s campaign supporters–like the hedge-fund managers’ “Democrats for Education Reform”– want to see teacher evaluation toughened and more teachers fired. Cuomo also appears to believe that if students don’t get high and higher test scores, their teachers are to blame and must be held “accountable.” Most research on teacher evaluation shows that the largest impact on test scores is students’ home life–poverty, nutrition, health, and other factors that affect their motivation and opportunity to learn.

 

He focused on the relatively few teachers who earned the lowest ratings in the 2013-14 school year, calling out New York City in particular, where 7 percent earned a “developing” rating and 1.2 percent earned an “ineffective” rating. (Just 2.4 percent of teachers in the rest of the state earned one of those low ratings.)
“It is incredible to believe that is an accurate reflection of the state of education in New York,” Cuomo said. “I think everybody knows it doesn’t reflect reality,” he added.
Cuomo did not say what he would consider a more realistic distribution of the four ratings, though he said his vision is to “reward the high performers and give the low performers the help they need.” His comments were the latest indication that he will mount an aggressive charge to change the teacher evaluation law for a fourth consecutive year, this time to make it more difficult for districts to ensure teachers earn top ratings.
The state only determines 20 percent of a teacher’s final rating, leading to a patchwork of plans across the state’s roughly 700 school districts. Cuomo said the current law gave a “disproportionate amount of power” to teachers unions, whose approval is required on all district plans.