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First good steps to fixing schools

There is little dispute that our schools are in need of fundamental reform, but few leaders have been willing to take on the special interests and deliver the changes needed. This year, Gov. Cuomo stepped into that void.

In the budget that passed this week, he made good on his promise to be the voice of students in Albany. The reforms that were included will improve our schools and help children learn.

Study after study has shown that the single greatest factor in improving outcomes for students is teaching quality. The new rules are based on this principle.

Teacher tenure based on proven effectiveness. The most notable achievement this week deals with the teacher-tenure system. Long considered a third rail of education politics, Gov. Cuomo stood up to the special interests and won.

New York is now one of just 12 states to award tenure after a minimum of four years, up from three.

In addition, a teacher must be rated effective for three years to qualify. This might seem like basic common sense — because it is. It also represents a profound shift in how education policy is made in Albany.

Protecting students from ineffective teachers. The process to get rid of abusive teachers has been streamlined, an enormous step in protecting kids.

Hearings to remove incompetent teachers are now limited to 90 days, down from an average of 830 days. And a district can suspend without pay an employee charged with misconduct that constitutes physical or sexual abuse.

Plus, a child no longer has to face an attacker in person and can now testify via closed circuit TV instead.

Read more at New York Post

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