NEW YORK—The New York State Board of Regents bowed to pressure from schools Monday and agreed to change the way teachers and principals are evaluated as part of the rollout of the Common Core Learning Standards.
Gov. Cuomo responded with criticism. He called the move “Another in a series of missteps by the Board of Regents” saying that “the time has come to seriously re-examine its [the board’s] capacity and performance.”
The Common Core is a set of standards promising college and career readiness for students, something only a third of the students in the state achieve, according to the state’s Education Commissioner John King Jr.
It was also one of the conditions under which the state received $700 million from the federal grant, Race to the Top.
One of the most controversial parts of the Common Core rollout is teacher and school principal evaluations. It is partially based on how much students have improved on their test scores.
Last year the tests were aligned to the Common Core (in grades three to eight) for the first time. Two-thirds of the students failed.
Both state and city teachers unions called for a moratorium on the evaluations, saying teachers need more time to adjust.
If a teacher or a principal fails the evaluation twice in a row, he or she can be fired.
On Monday the Regents decided, that if a teacher failed the evaluation last year or will fail this year because of his students’ low test scores, he can defend himself due to the Common Core not having been rolled out properly.
The test scores make up 40 percent of the evaluation but if a teacher fails on test scores, it counts as failing the whole evaluation. Yet until 2015 these teachers should not be fired. “That will not be allowed to happen,” the state’s Education Commissioner John King Jr. said during a Feb. 10 teleconference.
“The Regents’ response is to recommend delaying the teacher evaluation system and is yet another in a long series of roadblocks to a much needed evaluation system which the Regents had stalled putting in place for years,” Cuomo responded in a statement.
The governor put together his own commission to evaluate the Common Core rollout.
“The commission has started its work and we should await their recommendations so that we can find a legislative solution this session to solve these problems,” Cuomo said.