There's a push in the Assembly to change a key component of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's education reform. Nick Reisman has more on how this impacts teachers and principals directly.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would scale back a key education reform from 2015, delinking state exams from the way teachers and principals in New York are evaluated.
“Kids test in different ways, they learn in different ways,” said Sen. Jim Tedisco, a Republican. “You cannot use a test as a holy grail to evaluate kids and teachers.”
It’s a reversal from only three years ago, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo muscled the evaluation law through the Legislature over the objections of the state’s politically powerful teachers unions.
“Absolutely they should reverse themselves,” Tedisco said. “They did a stupid thing and I’m glad they’re admitting it.”
In the Assembly, Democrats there say the bill delinking state tests from evaluations was done in consultation with Cuomo’s office itself.
“This isn’t a brand new idea coming from him,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat. “It’s all of us kind of learning that maybe we needed to pause and hit the reset. So, this shouldn’t be a surprise.”
Scaling back the teacher evaluation law is a key issue for the teachers unions, who have influence with lawmakers as well as Democratic voters. The teachers union’s political action committee was involved in last week’s special elections for the Assembly.
“NYSUT has been raising their concerns,” Heastie said. “So, we’ve been talking about this, I’d say, for a few months now.”
Assembly Democrats expect a vote on the bill in the coming weeks. For now, Republicans aren’t saying when a vote on their bill will come.
“There are a lot of things we’re looking at right now as far as discussions go,” said Sen. Cathy Young, a Western New York Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “I’m sure those discussions will continue and everything is on the table right now and we’ll be evaluating as we go forward.”
Lawmakers credited the movement to opt out of state tests by students to the change.