Buffalo city schools’ evaluation plan was approved Thursday, just hours before the deadline that would have cost the district a scheduled increase in state aid.
“The new evaluation plan is great news for Buffalo teachers, administrators, parents, and most important, Buffalo students,” state Education Commissioner John King said in a statement Thursday. “It’s a strong step toward helping teachers and principals improve their practice, which will in turn help students improve their performance and build a better future.”
Buffalo’s approval leaves the New York City Department of the Education as the only “Big Five” district without an approved plan.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a Manhattan news conference Thursday that negotiations with the city’s teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers, broke down Wednesday night over a “sunset clause” that would have set a June 2015 expiration date for the agreement. Since a teacher must have two consecutive “ineffective” ratings to be terminated, Bloomberg said a short-lived plan “would be a joke.”
The union president, Michael Mulgrew, blamed Bloomberg, not the school district, for the failure to reach a deal.
“I am sorry to announce that I have notified Governor Cuomo and other state officials that—despite long nights of negotiation and a willingness on the part of teachers to meet the DOE halfway—the intransigence of the Bloomberg administration on key issues has made it impossible to reach agreement on a new teacher evaluation system,” Mulgrew said in a statement Thursday.
The state Education Department last updated the running list of districts still without approval at noon. Including Buffalo, that list reports 11 districts without approved plans.