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Governor Calls for Tougher Teacher Evaluation Standards

By DNAinfo Staff on May 13, 2011 7:41pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed more rigorous criteria for teacher evaluations Friday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed more rigorous criteria for teacher evaluations Friday.
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By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Friday for toughening a proposed set of teacher evaluation standards - a move that was embraced by Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

In a letter to Tisch, the governor asked for a series of improvements to the proposed system, including higher standards for good grades. He also called for implementing the system in time for the coming school year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been vigorously lobbying for the quick adoption of the evaluations as a cornerstone of his push to end the state's 'Last in, First Out" seniority-based teacher firing policy ahead of a massive layoff plan.

"I believe Governor Cuomo's recommendations to improve these regulations will lead to an even stronger teacher and principal evaluation system for New York," Tisch said in a statement.

She also said the State Education Department would immediately issue "amended regulations that will include all of the recommendations made by the Governor."

The Board of Regents is set to convene Monday to consider the plan.

Under the proposal, teacher evaluations would be based on both objective measures, like student performance on state tests, and subjective measures like "rigorous" classroom observation.

Under Cuomo's plan, teachers would only receive positive ratings if they received high grades on both subjective and objective measures.

The governor also proposed a financial incentive for implementing the program, announcing that he would limit his $500 million "School Performance Incentive Program" to schools where teachers and principals were being graded.

"We must not squander the opportunity to set the right course and make New York a leader in evaluating performance in our education system," Cuomo wrote in his letter. "The recommendations...will help set the course. Now is our chance to make New York a leader in education performance."

Bloomberg also praised the governor's plan.

"The thoughtful recommendations made today by Governor Cuomo will greatly improve the rigor of these new evaluations, and I am heartened that the Regents agreed to adopt them," he said in a statement.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said, "We look forward to discussing the Governor’s recommendations with the Regents."