Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Sunday called for a state review of all Long Island school districts because many use a union-provided evaluation he said is skewed to favor teachers.
A Newsday analysis of teacher evaluation systems in Long Island public schools found that in many the portion that local districts control is weighted toward ensuring teachers score an overall "effective" rating.
Principals' judgment of teacher performance in classroom observations and other subjective criteria accounted for 60 percent of a teacher's overall 100-point evaluation, according to the Newsday analysis. The other 40 points are determined by student test performance.
"Recent news reports found that most Long Island school districts have used their local discretion in teacher evaluation systems to skew the overall scoring to ensure that their teachers are rated only 'effective' and 'highly effective,' " said Jim Malatras, the state director of operations, in a statement on behalf of Cuomo. "Most districts adopted the scoring procedures specifically drafted by the teachers unions."
In short, the governor doesn't like the locally negotiated components and is going to try and circumvent them with a statewide system.
Never mind that many of these districts - and the parents whose children attend the schools in these districts - are fine with the way the evaluations are and aren't looking for a system that rates thousands of teachers "ineffective" every year.
Cuomo has decided he is Governor Education Reform and he is going to give his constituency - the education reform movement and their Wall Street and hedge fund supporters who donate so much money to him - everything they want this legislative session.
Gary Stern at LoHun reported that Mamaronek in Westchester has an evaluation system that it is very happy with, one that works for the district, but under Cuomo's plan, it will go out the window and be replaced by a state-imposed plan.
The state's evaluation system is a lot to grasp for outsiders, and I apologize for trying to explain it. A teacher's rating is based 60 percent on those classroom observations, 20 percent on how his or her students "progress," and 20 percent on a locally chosen measure (usually a test).
Cuomo wants to cut out the locally chosen 20 percent and pump up the student-progress component to 50 percent. Why? Because for about 1 in 5 teachers, student progress is determined by standardized test scores. Increasing reliance on test scores, you see, would show that the governor is a tough guy.
And indeed, a lot of this is about Cuomo getting to show how tough he is.
It's also about Cuomo - a "Democrat" - using teachers and teachers unions for a Sista Souljah moment to show how he's a "different" kind of Dem, although since so many Dems these days use teachers and public education as foils (Obama, Emanuel, Malloy, et al.), I'm not sure why he thinks this makes him stand out.
In any case, he's fighting this battle like it's 2010 and there's a huge momentum to re-do evaluations and fire thousands of teachers.
There isn't - especially not after the piss-poor Common Core rollout that the state educrats are responsible for.
Other than his education reform buddies and their well-heeled donors, I'm not sure who Cuomo thinks he's appealing to here with his agenda.
You can see the opposition to it from all over the state and now that he's screwing with wealthy districts from Long Island to Westchester, don't be surprised if he doesn't get burned.
When he was just screwing with the cities - NYC, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse - he can get away with imposing all kinds of nonsense onto the education system.
But let's see what the folks in Garden City and Great Neck think about his agenda.