Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today detailed an agreement to guarantee every school district has a permanent teacher and principal evaluation system in place by June 1st.
"This agreement ensures that every school district in New York has a permanent teacher evaluation system" Governor Cuomo said. "By guaranteeing that all our public schools have strong evaluations in place, we are putting the needs of students first and transforming our public education system for future generations to come."
Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "This agreement is a reasonable compromise that builds on the legislation we passed to enhance accountability in schools and give our students the first-class education they deserve. I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to do more to improve education and help our kids compete and succeed."
Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey D. Klein said, "Adopting this plan will be a great step forward for parents, teachers, and students. By doing so, we will prevent future cuts to education funding and ensure that every teacher is held to a fair and meaningful standard of excellence."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "This agreement represents a significant step forward for our teachers, schools, and, most importantly, our students. This plan restores stability to education funding now and in the future, ensuring that our schools and educators have the resources they need. We welcome this agreement as part of the 2013-2014 budget and commend the Governor and our colleagues in the Legislature for their commitment to providing the necessary resources to keep New York a leader in education."
The legislation has several components:
First, the legislation would make clear that all evaluation systems currently implemented will not sunset by remaining in effect unless there are agreed to changes by the district and local bargaining unit.
Second, the legislation would give the four remaining school districts that have failed to implement an evaluation system--New York City, Pine Plains, Fallsburg and Hamburg--until May 29th to reach an agreement on a system. If a district does not have a plan approved by that date, a one-time binding arbitration process will commence and the state will impose a system on the district by June 1st. State Education Commissioner John King will act as the arbitrator in this process and decide what evaluation system will be imposed.
Third, to ensure ongoing compliance with the implementation of the evaluation system, school districts will continue to remain ineligible for annual state education aid increases if the district fails to implement their approved evaluation system.
Last year, Governor Cuomo established a new statewide evaluation system that is one of the strongest in the country. The system is based on multiple measures of performance including student achievement and rigorous classroom observations. The Governor signed a law last year requiring all school districts to implement an evaluation system based on the statewide system approved by the State Education Department or risk losing their increase in education aid--resulting in 99 percent compliance (687 out of 691 school districts implemented a system).
Today's law will ensure one hundred percent compliance and will help improve education all across New York.