Cuomo envisions giving state Education Commissioner John King the power to design an evaluation program for the city’s teachers. He must draft legislation that would:
l Explicitly bar King from giving teachers the right to file grievances about this, that or the other aspect of how principals judge their performance.
l Prohibit King from restricting the ability of principals to formally or informally observe teachers at work in the classroom, as well as from setting onerous rules for the paperwork that must precede and follow observations.
l Order King to enact a system no later than June 1 in the event that Mulgrew and Bloomberg are still at loggerheads then. Waiting until Sept. 17, the date that’s been floating about, would delay the start of evaluations for yet another year.
l Specify that King’s system would stay in effect indefinitely unless the union and this mayor or the next one come to terms on acceptable amendments.
l Make the city’s children and taxpayers whole by delivering the $250 million in aid that’s now counted as lost.
The word from Albany is that Cuomo has bought into all these principles, with the exceptions of the lifespan of King’s scheme and, critically, forking over the $250 million.
Whether they are right that Cuomo has bought into these provisions or not, clearly they want these provisions in place - especially the part about not being able to grieve an unfair or unjust evaluation by a principal.
In addition to the details above, the system also has the following:
- Teachers would be evaluated on the basis of classroom observations by principals and student performance on state tests.
- Teachers would be ranked using a four-tier rating system: ineffective, developing, effective or highly effective. Those who earn a rating of ineffective two years in a row would be targeted for termination.
- Teachers would have limited opportunities to appeal their ratings. Neutral parties would be brought in to settle disputed ratings and aid with classroom observations.
- The new system would be put in place in time for the city to qualify for an increase in state aid for the 2013-14 school year.
- State officials are not yet sure whether the new system will include a sunset clause to limit how long the scheme remains in place.