UPDATE: State schools chancellor embraces governor’s call for tougher teacher evaluations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today proposed tougher criteria to evaluate teachers as a tool that could be used

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today proposed tougher criteria to evaluate teachers including greater use of student test scores, more rigorous observation in the classroom and a higher bar to gain an overall positive rating.

The teacher evaluation system would replace the system used in layoffs based on seniority. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had sought such flexibility in order to protect young, promising teachers from the last in, first out practice for determining layoffs, though he sought much quicker action so it could be used this spring.

Cuomo’s proposals were immediately supported by state schools Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

Tisch said she’ll recommend all of Cuomo’s proposals Monday to the Board of Regents, which sets education policy.

Cuomo also called today for the Board of Regents to hasten the process so the evaluations could be used in place of the current seniority-based system for layoffs planned for this year.

“Performance is the key to education,“ Cuomo wrote Tisch in a letter dated today.

“It’s not about how much we spend, but the results that matter. As data show, our education spending hasn’t resulted in performance,“ Cuomo said. “We must focus on measures and accountability.“

He said he will also try to force school districts to use the evaluation system faster, even over teacher union opposition, or they won’t be included in Cuomo’s competitive grant program for schools that improve performance.

“If done correctly, we will revive our education system to ensure students perform better and succeed in their future careers,“ Cuomo said.

Tisch said she made her decision based on conversations with Cuomo and other “stakeholders“ in recent weeks.

“Governor Cuomo’s recommendations to improve these regulations will lead to an even stronger teacher and principal evaluation system for New York and I will support them when my colleagues and I on the Board of Regents convene on Monday,“ Tisch said in a statement released an hour after Cuomo issued his recommendations.

The New York State United Teachers union, the state’s largest teacher union, didn’t immediately comment.

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