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Teacher evaluation bill passes legislative scrutiny | News

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Teacher evaluation bill passes legislative scrutiny

ALBANY - Teacher evaluations will be kept secret from most taxpayers after state lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly passed the measure on the final day of session. That move had teacher unions claiming victory Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, Governor Andrew Cuomo called passage of the teacher evaluation bill "the metaphoric cherry on the cake to the end of the most successful and broad-ranging legislative session in modern political history."

In the democrat controlled assembly, the vote was 118 - 17. In the senate, where republicans hold a majority, it was 58-1.

"I am grateful and appreciative and I think they did the exact right thing in passing the bill," Governor Cuomo said at an afternoon news conference in the Red Room.

The governor says the bill represents a small part of the historic social progress made during the 235th legislative session, which he characterized as a "magnificent accomplishment for the people of New York."

"Everyone should be evaluated," said Senator Roy McDonald (R - Wilton). "People like me are up for office every two years but I also recognize that individuals have privacy and the ability to have their own dignity what ever occupation they choose."

"It was a good compromise," said Timothy Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association. "We're hopeful that it doesn't end up being a scarlet letter or doesn't end up being teacher shopping. We hope that people recognize that they can use this information in order to improve teachers and not necessarily to rid ourselves of teachers."

Under the bill, a teacher's evaluation will only be released to the parents and guardians of students in his or her class. It would be unlikely that a child could be removed from the class even if the teacher i rated ineffective.

Perhaps most importantly, school districts would use data to re-train under-performing teachers.

"Hopefully we need to do a better job preparing teachers, making decisions about who we hire, who we retain, who gets tenure, how we evaluate, targeting professional development," Kremer says. "My hope is that it is actually an improvement to the entire system and eventually better student achievement."

Soon after the bill's passage, New York State United teachers, the state's largest teachers' union issued a statement in support of the legislation. NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said, "The bill reinforces the bedrock principle that accountability does not equate with public servants being shamed and humiliated in the press."



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