What’s in a name?

When it comes to formally designation schools that could be targets for a state takeover, there’s a lot.

The state Senate on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would redefine in state law “failing” schools as “struggling” schools.

The Assembly approved the bill in May and it now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk.

The bill is a vestige from the broader debate launched at the end of last year over education reform in New York.

Cuomo and state lawmakers in March agreed to a school receivership plan for schools with chronically low test scores and graduation rates. The approved plan includes a 1-to-2 year grace period for schools to submit a turnaround plan with the aid of the local superintendent.

But deeming the school “failing” as never sat well with state lawmakers, who in the weeks after the $142 billion spending plan was approved sought to make a series of changes to the policy measures approved in the budget.

Lawmakers backing the bill note that changing the designation suggests those turnaround plans can work.

“By changing the designation status from failing and persistently failing to struggling and persistently struggling, this bill indicates that this is a temporary situation for these schools which can be addressed and overcome, and that additional management powers and funding will be associated with such schools in order to improve their overall academic performance in order to be removed from their more negative accountability status,” the bill’s memo states.

Cuomo has indicated he is unlikely to sign more drastic changes to the education measures approved in the budget, which included new teacher performance criteria as well as making it easier to fire teachers who are deemed to be low performing, regardless of tenure.

Lawmakers, spurred by the teachers unions, have also introduced bills aimed at pushing back the deadline for local districts adopting the evaluation criteria as well as separating the enactment of the evaluations from a boost in school aid.