State Education Commissioner John said he welcomes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership on teacher and principal evaluations and hopes it will help spur negotiations. Cuomo recommended imposing deadlines for school districts and unions to reach agreements, or face losing state funding.
A 2010 state law required that the growth in student performance be a factor in the evaluations of teachers and principals. The law helped New York secure nearly $700 in federal Race to the Top funding. A number of aspects of the evaluation system is subject to collective bargaining on the local level, which has led to delays in reaching agreements, and impasses in some districts.
This is King’s statement:
“The Governor is right to be frustrated. So far, there hasn’t been much progress. Earlier this month, I suspended School Improvement Grants because participating districts had failed to meet the deadline for acceptable agreements on evaluations. Now, the Governor has given SED and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) 30 days to resolve this issue definitively. We should use those 30 days to have a healthy public debate on evaluations. We’re ready to sit down and start talking.
“There’s more than a billion dollars at risk. We cannot fail to meet the commitments New York State made in Race to the Top. More importantly, we cannot fail the students who are counting on us to deliver the education they need to succeed in college and careers.”
The U.S. Department of Education has put the state on notice last week that it could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in Race to the Top money if it doesn’t speed up implementation of the evaluation system.
Cuomo called on the state Education Department and New York State United Teachers to resolve a lawsuit that is on appeal. NYSUT sued the state over parts of the evaluation system. A state Supreme Court judge largely agreed with NYSUT last fall. The Education Department is appealing the decision.