In a statement today, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan praises the agreement New York officials reached on teacher and principal evaluations and appears to indicate the state is no longer at risk for losing federal funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo helped broker a compromise between the state Education Department and New York State United Teachers union on revamping the 2-year-old law to make it more effective. Cuomo, NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi and Education Commissioner John King announced the deal yesterday.
The U.S. Education Department said in a progress report last month on New York’s roughly $700 million Race to the Top grant that it had concerns about New York’s lack of progress on implementing a teacher-evaluation system required by a 2010 law. The legislation helped New York’s chances of winning the federal education-reform funds. Duncan said at the time that backtracking on commitments to reform “could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars for improving New York schools,” including Race to the Top and other federal funding. He said New York had the chance to be a “national leader or a laggard.”
This is Duncan’s statement today:
“Just a couple of months ago, I voiced my department’s concerns that nearly a billion dollars in federal investments for education reform was at-risk. Yesterday, New York made clear that it wants to be a leader in education reform. The challenging conversation happening there over the last several weeks is a testament to how tough this work is and why, for far too long, comprehensive and meaningful education reform hasn’t happened. Yesterday’s agreement is proof that tough-minded collaboration is possible.
“I want to commend Governor Cuomo, President Dick Iannuzzi, the members of NYSUT, Commissioner King, and everyone involved for coming together to ensure that schools across New York can maintain the significant and historical investment Race to the Top and other reform dollars will make in the New York’s education system. Governor Cuomo stepped up and showed real courage. I hope more governors follow his lead.”