The game is up, Governor!
Of teachers, Cicero said: “What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the teacher who instructs the rising generations.” New York State Governor Cuomo must not share the same philosophy nor the worth of our profession.
Late Tuesday, March 31, 2015, after much debate, the $ 23.5 Billion final budget bill containing education funding and policy passed 36 to 26 in the state Senate and 92 to 55 in the Assembly. In 34 years of teaching I have never witnessed such frontal, unwarranted attacks to the teaching profession. Yet, Cuomo labels these atrocities towards our children and educators as “one of the greatest legacies” he leaves to the state.
Some of the changes outlined in the bill are:
- A new teacher evaluation system based on two components: 50% student performance on state exams, instead of the current negotiated 20%, and 50% based on teacher observations.
- These observations may be conducted by building administrators, a different building administrator or an “independent” administrator from another district.
- An additional observation from a colleague within or from another district may be performed as long as the observer carries a rating of “effective” or “highly effective.”
- If teachers earn an “ineffective” rating based on student performance from the state test, they may not earn “effective or “highly effective” overall (Capital Pro, March 31, 2015).
- If teachers’ combined scores based on student performance on the state tests is “ineffective,” they must be rated “ineffective” overall (Capital Pro, March 31, 2015).
- Teachers who are rated “ineffective” on their observations may not get “effective” or “highly effective” ratings overall (Capital Pro, March 31, 2015).
- Districts would be required to begin a 3020-a process for those teachers with an “ineffective” rating for three consecutive years.
- The District and the WCT must negotiate the optional components of the APPR, submit our plan to the state and be approved by November 15, 2015, or lose additional state aid.
- The new system contains a plan for taking over unsuccessful schools, whose performance falls in the lowest 5% in the state for three consecutive years by a state-approved appointed receiver “to manage and operate all aspect of the school…shall have the power to supersede any decision policy or regulation…replace teachers and administrators…” in other words: complete power.
- Starting July 1, 2015 new teachers will have to serve a four-year probationary period before becoming eligible for tenure process, instead of the current three years.
- In order to be recommended for tenure, a teacher must earn a rating of “effective or “highly effective” for three of the four years.
- Teachers with permanent certification have to register with the state every five years and must complete 100 hours of continuing education or professional development during each time period.
- “Highly effective” teachers would also qualify to apply for state-funded grants of up to $20,000. Undoubtedly this is Cuomo’s push for merit pay!
Please click here for the complete letter and attachments.