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Agreement reached on changes to teacher evaluation in New York

State Education Commissioner David Steiner
State Education Commissioner David Steiner

By Mark Scott


Albany, NY – The way teachers are evaluated in New York could be changing.

The State Education Department and unions representing teachers have agreed to a more objective evaluation system that is based, in part, on student test scores. Teachers rated ineffective for two straight years could be fired after an appeals process.

Michael McGrew is president of the United Federation of Teachers, the union representing New York City teachers. At an Albany news conference Tuesday, Mulgrew said the old evaluation system was no longer working.

"It was too subjective," said Mulgrew. "It was based a lot on whim."

But Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore is less enthusiastic. He says he would be more accepting of the changes if they came with small class sizes for teachers.

State Education Commissioner David Steiner says the changes in teacher evaluations will better position New York for up to $700 million in federal funding from the President's "Race to the Top" program.

"We can't let this opportunity pass us by," Steiner said.

What is still unclear is whether there will be an increase in the number of charter schools in New York, another essential component for Race to the Top funding. The State Legislature must act by a June 1st deadline for New York to submit its application. New York missed out on the original round of federal funding earlier this year.