U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday praised a New York bill that would hold teachers harmless for poor Common Core-based test scores through next school year, saying it maintains “New York’s commitment to be leaders in education reform.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Assembly leaders have agreed on a bill to throw out Common Core-based scores on a teacher’s evaluation if the teacher is deemed “ineffective” or “developing.” The bill would remain in effect through the 2014-15 school year.
Duncan issued a statement in support of the bill Thursday afternoon. His blessing is key; earlier in the week, a U.S. Department of Education official warned the state against delaying the teacher-evaluation system, saying it could put $292 million in federal grants at risk.
“I want to commend Governor Cuomo, President Karen Magee and the members of (the New York State United Teachers union), Commissioner King, members of the legislature and everyone involved for coming together to maintain New York’s commitment to be leaders in education reform and ensure that schools across the state can continue to build on the significant progress they have made over the past four years,” Duncan said. “By reaching agreement on how New York should move forward, they have chosen to continue the progress they have made to improve schools, raise standards, and help ensure students gain the skills they need to succeed.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said the Assembly’s leadership has agreed to Cuomo’s bill, which was introduced Thursday morning. Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, said the Senate is “very close” on accepting the agreement.
Cuomo said he fully supports moving forward with the state’s teacher-evaluation system, which was first enacted in 2009 as part of the state’s successful application for federal Race to the Top grants. But the system had to be temporarily tweaked to account for the “rushed” rollout of the Common Core education standards, Cuomo said.
“Remember, people’s lives are being judged by this instrument,” Cuomo said. “So you want the instrument and the evaluation to be correct.”
(AP file photo of Duncan)