Lawmakers Close to Consensus on NY Teacher Eval Rules

The guidelines on how teacher evaluation results will be made available to the public are close to being finalized, writes Teri Weaver for the Syracuse Post-Standard. Although New York parents will get a broad outline of conclusions drawn by assessors, the breakdown of the information — including teachers' personal details — will remain private.

Parents will be able to see if their children's teachers were rated "highly effective," "effective," or "ineffective," but will not see the underlying factors on which such judgments were based. Once the negotiation session between the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the Democratic leaders of the State Assembly concludes, the guidelines will be voted on by the full legislative body and, if approved, published.

The issue of teacher evaluations is one of the last outstanding as the lawmakers are looking to wrap up business in time for the adjournment of the legislative session this Thursday.

"Let's get it done," said Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse. "We're in that mode."

Thursday's deadline to close out business isn't written into state law, and the governor and state leaders could decide to stay an extra day or two to hammer out the final details on remaining work.

Assuming this question will get ironed out this week, at its conclusion this would have marked a particularly successful and prolific legislative session. The state assembly and the Governor have already reached agreement on issues such as changes in the state pension rules, the creation of a new DNA database for the state's convicts, and first steps towards legalizing casino gambling in New York.

This year, the legislature also looked at the problem of prescription drug abuse and the drawing up a new district map after the recent U.S. Census.

Lawmakers from both parties said this week the most contentious issues – raising the state's minimum wage and passing a package of tax breaks aimed at manufacturers and other businesses – are off the table, for now.

With a deal looming on teacher evaluations, that leaves the details of Cuomo's idea to form a new state agency to decrease abuse in state-run homes and programs for the disabled.

Although both parties agree on the basics of the new rules, lawmakers are looking to scale back the powers of the new agency so it doesn't conflict in its duties with other state regulatory bodies like the Department of Health.

06 21, 2012
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