ALBANY—Assembly Democrats will be an obstacle for Governor Andrew Cuomo in his push for a more rigorous teacher evaluation system, while Senate Republicans are likely to be more supportive, lawmakers said this week as they returned to Albany for the 2015 legislative session.
Some Assembly Democrats—often closely aligned with teachers unions—rejected the proposals, while others were wary but stopped short of denouncing the changes. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, who won an outright majority in the chamber with the help of education groups that support stricter teacher evaluations, were intrigued by the proposals that have been presented.
“I think that the governor’s wrong on this,” Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat, chair of the higher education committee and senior member of the majority conference, told Capital on Tuesday after meeting with her conference colleagues at the Capitol.
Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, an Albany Democrat and former school board member, said she is "concerned about some of the comments that appear to scapegoat teachers.”
Assembly education committee chair Catherine Nolan, a Queens Democrat, was a bit more measured. She said the governor’s comments, as well as proposals from state education leaders, are “a starting point for negotiation.”
“I always want to think that everyone cares most about the kids, so we’ll go forward with that assumption,” she said. “We’ll have our views, and they’ll have theirs, and we’ll figure something out.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, simply: “When [Cuomo] presents something to us, we’ll evaluate it.”
The concern here ought to be the "measured" tone of Cathy Nolan, who seems to signal that Cuomo's proposals will be a starting point for negotiation.
I understand the need for Nolan to sound measured when dealing with Cuomo, but Cuomo has a habit of pretty much getting his starting point for negotiation at the end of negotiations too.
That's what worries me here.