Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quick last night to put forward his own bill on reforming how teachers are evaluated just moments after the Senate passed a law to repeal the “first in, last out” for teacher layoffs for New York City.
Now Senate Republicans say Cuomo’s bill would only slow the city’s ability to lay off teachers and prevent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for dumping the worst teachers, instead of going by seniority.
And Cuomo’s bill wouldn’t address the part of state law that mandates layoffs based on seniority, they said.
“The problem is that in many respects what is being advocated is a lot different that LIFO,” said Senate Education Committee chairman John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County. “This deals with the Regents. It tries to speed up a process in law that deals with teacher evaluations and even if that were sped up, before it could really be effective, you’re talking about a couple of years.”
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said the timing of Cuomo’s announcement “was interesting. He has the right to put out a press release anytime he wants to, but we passed a real bill to help the kids in New York City, to help the mayor work through the difficult choices the city has to make in laying off teachers.”
Cuomo’s measure would expedite the process underway by the state Education Department on the criteria for teacher evaluation as part of New York’s compliance with the federal Race To the Top program. The governor’s bill would make the criteria law next school year, in September, rather than in the 2012-13 year.
The bill, however, dealt only with New York City, even though the other Big 4 schools wanted to be included. Skelos said it’s something that Republicans could look at.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said he likes Cuomo’s approach. Silver for days has been saying that criteria for layoffs should be more than just seniority, but that a comprehensive approach should be taken.
“I’ve always said objective standards,” Silver said. “Last year we passed a bill giving the Regents the responsibility of coming up with that evaluating process. I stand by what we did last year.”