Cuomo’s Education Policy: Expand Charters, Reform Teacher Tenure
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a multi-pronged education overhaul push that would grow the statewide cap on charter schools, reform the state’s teacher tenure and evaluation system and seek to enhance teacher training and accountability.
The education proposal was part of the governor’s budget address and State of the State, given this afternoon at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.
Cuomo’s education push would take a look at changing the state’s teacher tenure process, which he indicated in a briefing book was outmoded.
Tenure would be awarded to teachers who are “performing at a high level” at rated as either “effective” or “highly effective” for five consecutive years before receiving the designation.
“A teacher who fails to meet this requirement for tenure shall remain probationary until he or she is able to meet this threshold for tenure consideration,” Cuomo’s briefing book states. “In addition, we will clarify that districts retain authority to dismiss probationary teachers at any time for any reason.”
The statewide cap on charter schools, meanwhile, would be increased by 100, up from the current 460 allowed under the cap that’s in place now. Cuomo wants to allow restoring slots used by charters that close, so a new school make take its spot in the pool.
In a nod to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo backed an extension of mayoral control of city schools.
He added the state “should consider” applications of other mayors who want similar control over their city’s school districts (mayors in Yonkers and Rochester in recent years have sought to exert increased authority over their districts).
At the same time, pre-kindergarten programs would be expanded for high-needs three year olds, a $25 million investment.
Cuomo is supportive of a plan that would create an education tax credit aimed at providing donations to help public and private schools, a measure strongly backed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan and state Senate Republicans.
The governor reiterated his support for the Dream Act, which provides state tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.
But the vast majority of Cuomo’s education proposals are aimed at improving failing schools and rewarding teachers deemed effective.
Cuomo has been unsatisfied with the state’s efforts on teacher evaluation measures to date.
The governor vetoed his own bill that would have slowed the impact of the Common Core standards on evaluations, despite having negotiated the bill with the state teachers union. Cuomo at the time said far too many teachers were deemed effective under the current evaluation system.
“It is time to put a real, accurate, and fair teacher evaluation system in place that allows us to differentiate among teachers,” Cuomo’s book states. “We must have a system with integrity that can help school leaders recognize and reward outstanding teachers and identify those who need help to improve.”
Cuomo rolled out a series of policy proposals in recent days, ranging from a two-tiered minimum wage increase ($10.50 everywhere but in New York City, which would be $11.50), as well as a property-tax relief package worth $1.66 billion (starting with $350 million in this budget proposal).
His education agenda, however, was not revealed until today.
Cuomo has been hinting broadly at wanting to make sweeping changes to the state’s education policy since last month, when his operations director, Jim Malatras, sent a letter to the Board of Regents chancellor and education commissioner outlining a series of potential reforms.
The fight over evaluations, tenure and an expansion of charters will likely put Cuomo on a collision course once again with the state’s teachers union, NYSUT, which is already on the air with a roughly $1 million TV ad campaign that calls for the governor to stop playing “politics” with education reform and start focusing on fair distribution of state aid to school districts.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 21, 2015 at 2:13 pm, and is filed under Education. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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