The massive New York City Department of Education is one of the handful of school districts that has not yet submitted a teacher evaluation plan to the state. But, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, there are still 10 days left.
“Ten days can be a lifetime in this business, as you know,” Cuomo said at a meeting at the Capitol. “Ten days before a budget, 10 days before close of session—you can go from adamant opposition to hugs and kisses in 10 days.”
The state’s roughly 700 school districts are required by law to get new union-negotiated teacher and principal evaluation systems approved by Jan. 17. If they miss the deadline, they lose a scheduled 4 percent funding increase.
More than 530 districts had approved plans last week, and fewer than 10 districts had not submitted.
Cuomo said the controversial evaluation system—which was required for districts to accept federal Race to the Top grant money—was a tool the state lobbied for to improve the quality of education for students.
Through the system, teachers and principals are rated on a scale from “ineffective” to “highly effective.” Two of the lowest scores consecutively can be grounds for termination.
“We said on behalf of the students that we want a teacher evaluation process, and it’s been too many years that it hasn’t happened,” Cuomo said. “This is a device that we’re going to use to make it happen. And guess what? It’s working.
“Obviously, I’d like to see it work in New York City, but there’s also 10 days, and the sides are communicating,” he continued. “So we’ll see how it goes.”
Other districts that had not yet submitted as of Friday are Yonkers, one of the “Big Five,” as well as Abbott and Harrison schools, all three in Westchester County.
Neither Onteora and West Park schools in Ulster County nor Pine Plains schools in Dutchess County have submitted.