Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature Reach Agreement on Budget and Education Reforms!

Dear Commons Community,

While details are still sketchy, it appears that Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature have reached an agreement on the new state budget and a number of education reforms!  As reported in the New York Times:

“In the final days of budget talks, Mr. Cuomo worked to overcome disagreements over two particularly contentious policy areas he wanted to address in his budget: education and government ethics.

The governor had dangled a $1.1 billion increase in education aid in exchange for the Legislature agreeing to pass a series of reforms, including tying teacher evaluations more closely to students’ state test scores, making it more difficult for teachers to receive tenure and allowing the state to take over low-performing schools.

Teachers’ unions energetically opposed the governor’s proposals. School administrators and parents objected to the proposal on teacher evaluations, saying that it would increase the focus on testing. Lawmakers criticized his effort to tie school funding with the approval of policy changes.

In the end, the budget will include an even larger increase in education aid – about $1.6 billion, according to Assembly Democrats. Cuomo administration officials said the budget would establish parameters for teacher evaluations that would result in a more rigorous evaluation system; the changes would be left to the State Education Department to work out.

The budget agreement would lengthen the time before teachers are eligible for tenure to four years, from the current three; Mr. Cuomo had proposed a five-year wait.

A compromise was also struck on school takeovers: Chronically low-performing schools will be given one, or in some cases, two years to improve; if they do not, local districts will have to appoint new management.”

On the surface, this appears to be a good compromise although some details are still to be worked out.



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