Saturday, April 02, 2016


The news on the annual budget deal in Albany for supporters of the public schools is not good. It is basically status quo on teacher evaluations and receivership while funding increases are not nearly enough to satisfy a law suit settlement from ten years ago. In addition, charter schools have had increased funding added in at the last minute.

Last year's state budget included the horrific Education Transformation Act that makes teacher evaluations from 2015-16 onward 50% dependent on student test scores results (junk science) and 50% based on observations (including one from an outside observer) remains in effect. A governor's task force recommended that Common Core grades 3-8 state tests not be used for teacher evaluations for four years. Other tests will be used to rate teachers instead. Receivership, with the state taking over certain so called failing schools, continues in full force.

According to Chalkbeat NY, "The governor said the receivership law was not changed and that education funding will still be dependent on districts creating teacher evaluation plans, signaling no major changes to either law snuck into the budget deal." Cuomo got what he wanted last year and now is just maintaining his very unpopular education policies. A dismal outcome for the UFT and NYSUT once again up in Albany.

Stronger Together (state opposition to Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus) leader Beth Dimino posted this reaction on Facebook Friday:
This is why you need to join ST Caucus! The UFT's president's inability to negotiate an APPR got (former State Education Commissioner John) King to impose a horrible APPR plan on the UFT. The rest of us negotiated fair deals for our members. This bullshit is a direct result of NYSUT leadership selling the rest of us down the river because of Mulgrew's incompetence.

New York State Allies for Public Education issued a press release on Friday that basically summed up the education part of the state budget.

Here are some main points:
Despite the backlash and outcry of hundreds of thousands of parents across the state against the fatally flawed test and punish law forced into last year's budget by the Governor, Cuomo and the Senate Majority refused to delink the financial consequences for this harsher plan in today's budget bills. After the current State Education Department waiver expires, tests this upcoming Fall will increase to 50% of teacher and principal evaluations.

Albany had an opportunity through Assembly legislation (A09461) to remove the financial consequences to schools not going to a harsher evaluation plan that was already deemed problematic by the Governor’s own Common Core taskforce. Parents know this entire bad law must go including the financial penalties and Andrew Cuomo refuses to permanently fix the mistake he created.

While the Board of Regents put a “temporary” emergency moratorium to delink just the ‘state’ tests scores from teacher and principal evaluations, it remains that teachers and principals will STILL be evaluated based on student test scores which will increase to 50% this Fall. This essentially is a “no moratorium” moratorium.

On funding, Chalkbeat NY says schools will get around a $1.5 billion increase from Albany but they also point out that the state owes $4.4 billion according to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit settlement. By my math they are roughly $3 billion short. The Gap Elimination Adjustment is gone but should have gone years ago.  In addition, at the last minute a huge increase in charter school funding was inserted in the budget. Even Cuomo apologist Andy Pallotta from NYSUT was unhappy calling it a "radical last-minute change" according to Chalkbeat.


Anonymous said...

Sooo, does that mean that the outside evaluators will be starting in the 2016-2017 school year? When will NYC know how many observations we will have?

James Eterno said...

We will know how many observations we will have when Commissioner Elia announces the rules. The outside observers are scheduled to be part of this in 2016-17. Principals will have to be a little more creative to sink our ratings but they can certainly still do it.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher of a non-tested subject area, my biggest concern is the observation aspect of the new state law. Chaz, do you think there is the possibility that Elia might make different rules in regard to evaluations for different teachers? For example, non-tenured teachers will need more observations than tenured teachers? One interesting thing is that principals are NOT going to be happy when they see "outside evaluators" going into their fiefdom to do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

James and Chaz are two different people.

Anonymous said...

The outside observations are not going to count for much of the rating.

Anonymous said...

"The outside evaluators are not going to count much for the rating". How much are the outside evaluators going to count?

Anonymous said...

Ask Mary Ellen Elia, not me. She writes the rules.

Anonymous said...

I think the Lederman case will be *very* important. It will give Cuomo the face saving cover he needs to undo the problems he created. Any idea when the judge is expected to rule?

Anonymous said...

I thought I read the law states that outside evaluators will count more than the principal evaluation. (This is because Cuomo does not trust principals to give fair evaluations to their own staff). Outside evaluators count for 35%, principal evaluation counts for 15% and test scores count for final 50%. Anybody have more info on this?

Anonymous said...

Check links to the law and don't speculate.