A senior administration official last night called the public education system across the “$50 billion industry” that is resistant to reform.
At the same time, the reforms agreed to in the budget framework represent one of the biggest shifts in education policy in the state’s history, the official said.
Still, in the early reporting there’s some disagreement over the extent of the changes: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie last night told reporters there is input from the Department of Education on helping develop teacher evaluation criteria.
The official last night said SED’s role in criteria development for evaluations was minimal, save for helping put together a second, optional test for school districts to use.
One of those "big shifts" in education policy?
The agreement includes a new teacher evaluation criteria that will include both state-based tests as well as principal and independent observation. School districts can opt for a second test for teacher evaluations developed by the state Department of Education, according to an administration official.
Also the evaluation is tied to state aid and not subject to a labor agreement:
School districts must implement the new evaluation criteria by November, and doing so is linked to state education aid, the administration official said.
An administration official insisted on Sunday evening said the new evaluation criteria would need to be included in new contracts between teachers and districts, but would not be subject to collective bargaining with local units.
“It’s in the law,” the official said.
Cuomo basically won everything, albet with a few slight modifications.
He got the new evaluation system tied to state aid.
He got state receivership of "failing" schools.
He got an evaluation system that has so-called independent outside observers.
He got tenure changes.
He got expedited teacher firings based on test scores (come up "ineffective" on the test component and you have to be rated "ineffective" overall - two straight "ineffectives" and you're fired.)
The UFT is declaring victory because the charter cap wasn't raised, but that's coming later in the legislative session, make no mistake about that.
This budget deal is a disaster of monumental proportions, a huge victory for Cuomo and a huge defeat for teachers.
As for the teachers union leadership, they don't care one way or the other - they still get paid and get their perks.
They're not worried about unannounced outside observations and two "ineffectives" and they're fired.
So of course Mulgrew's declaring victory.
But this isn't a victory for teachers - this is, as Cuomo officials called it, "the biggest shift in education policy in the state's history"
In short, the teacher firings and school closings commence in two years.