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March 02, 2011

Governor Cuomo proposes legislation providing for a statewide, objective teacher evaluation system, based on both performance and seniority

Governor Cuomo proposes legislation providing for a statewide, objective teacher evaluation system, based on both performance and seniority
Source: Office of the Governor

On March 2, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he will be submitting a program bill that would expedite and expand ongoing plans to implement a statewide, objective teacher evaluation system, based on both performance and seniority, for school districts to use when making employment decisions.

The Governor noted that both the State Senate and the State Assembly have acknowledged that the New York State must move forward on improving performance in the classroom as well as improving teacher evaluations. The real question, said the Governor, is what is the alternative to "last in, first out," the current statutory standard used in layoff situations involving personnel in both the classified service and the unclassified service.

The Governor said that the current so-called "last in, first out" policy “lacks objectivity by maintaining teachers simply based on years of service without factoring in classroom effectiveness, performance, or need.”

"It is time to move beyond the so-called 'last in, first out' system of relying exclusively on seniority," Governor Cuomo said. "However, we need a legitimate evaluation system to rely upon. This will help make a statewide evaluation system ready and allow us to replace 'last in, first out.'"

According to the Governor, his proposed program bill would "accelerate the new standards to cover all grades and subjects for the 2011-2012 school year." In addition, the Governor said that his bill would set clear standards and enhanced transparency requirements, including the posting of guidelines on all school districts' Web sites. Parameters of the new teacher evaluation system include a new rating system including "highly effective," "effective," "developing," or "ineffective."

The Governor’s announcement also states that the evaluations will also play a significant role in a wide array of employment decisions, including professional development, tenure determinations, selection for leadership opportunities, and termination. Teachers and principals with a pattern of ineffective teaching or performance could be charged with incompetence and considered for termination through an expedited hearing process.

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