NYSUT rips Cuomo’s proposed teacher-evaluation changes

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo heavily criticized the state’s education system today, saying the teacher evaluations “are baloney” and need an major overhaul.

He said that the teacher evaluations should no longer include a local score from administrators and should be based 50 percent on state test results and 50 percent on administrators’ observations.

Andrea Stewart Cousins“Let’s remember the children in this process and then we’ll end up doing the right thing,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo essentially declared war against the state’s teachers union, who has fought any changes to the evaluation system — and begrudgingly agree to the initial system in 2012.

As a result, the New York State United Teachers tore into Cuomo’s proposal.

“The governor is misinformed. New York has one of the strongest public education systems in the nation and a professional, highly dedicated teaching force,” NYSUT president Karen Magee said in a statement.

“Governor Cuomo should be celebrating that excellence. Instead, today we get intellectually hollow rhetoric that misrepresents the state of teaching and learning. Students, parents and teachers, who know better, aren’t buying this agenda, which everyone knows is driven by the governor’s billionaire hedge-fund friends. The truth is, there’s no epidemic of failing schools or bad teachers.”

Magee said the problem in schools is an “epidemic of poverty and under-funding that Albany has failed to adequately address for decades. Nearly 1 million New York schoolchildren — including more than one-third of African-American and Latino students — live in poverty. The state’s systemic failure to provide enough resources for all of its students and to do so equitably — while giving all teachers the tools and support they need — is the real crisis and the one our governor is trying to sweep under the rug.”

The Cuomo-backed education group, StudentsFirstNY, praised Cuomo’s plan. The group supports the increase in charter schools; Cuomo proposed to raise the charter school cap by 100.

“The Governor’s State of the State Address is a blueprint for turning around New York’s broken education system,” Jenny Sedlis, the group’s executive director, said.

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  1. Of course the charter school groups love Cuomo’s proposals. They don’t have to adhere to the same rules as public schools do, and many of them are for-profit. What Cuomo basically said today is that he gives up on trying to actually deal with the burden of poverty in city schools, so he’s doubling down on ensuring they fail by increasing the importance of the developmentally inappropriate state testing in order to have the failing districts “taken over,” aka privatized.

    My district performs rather well and isn’t at risk of failing, so this isn’t just a personal gripe of mine. High stakes testing does NOT benefit our students, and Cuomo’s raising the stakes even higher. “No pressure, honey, but if you don’t do well on this test that intentionally tries to trick you, your school is going to close.”

    NYSUT needs to prevail over NYSED. Cuomo is wrong.