SED Letter Provides Useful Ideas for Improving Schools
Governor Cuomo is seeking bold education reforms to improve opportunities for students across the state. Most recently he vetoed a bill that would have weakened teacher evaluations. When only 2 in 5 New York students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in college and in life, we need fundamental reform. StudentsFirstNY and its parent members support Governor Cuomo in his fight for better public education.
Today's response from Chancellor Tisch and the State Education Department to the Governor's office provides useful ideas to improve schools. Raising standards for teaching, strengthening teacher evaluations so the results can no longer be rigged, removing arbitrary limits on great schools, streamlining the dismissal process for ineffective teachers, giving the State more power to intervene in struggling schools and enhancing students' rights by allowing a transfer if a child is assigned a second ineffective teacher are all important steps in the right direction. It's clear that changes in state law are needed to address these issues.
The letter from the State Education Department could have gone further. Rather than adjust the cumbersome 3020-a process, SED could have given more flexibility to school districts by recommending that teachers return to probationary status after two ineffective ratings. SED could also have recommended stiffer consequences for schools of education that don't produce high quality teachers.
"Governor Cuomo clearly understands that we need the best possible teachers in our schools," said StudentsFirstNY executive director Jenny Sedlis. "While it's the teachers union's job to protect the worst, they are compounding the problems for kids with the fewest opportunities and poorest life prospects. The Governor is asking all the right questions and today's response from Chancellor Tisch provides useful ideas for improving schools."
"The Governor made the right call vetoing this unnecessary bill," said StudentsFirstNY Bed-Stuy parent member Anthony Davis. "He gets that our state’s students need a stronger, not weaker, teacher evaluation system. The union can protest all they want, but they’re not doing what’s best for the children when they do."