Archive for January, 2012

Some state budget items…

January 31st, 2012 by Robert Lowry

A few items on our website pertaining to Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget for education:

  • Our testimony at last week’s Assembly-Senate budget hearing.
  • An excel spreadsheet that produces easy to read printouts of the Governor’s School Aid proposal for any district.
  • A power point presentation I did for superintendents in Western New York last Friday.

Part of my presentation attempted to convey how different and better the state budget outlook is for schools compared to a year ago.  Obviously, however, the tax cap is a huge dark cloud on the horizon.

Battle lines are forming over one aspect of the Governor’s education budget – his proposal to devote nearly a third of his overall proposed increase — $250 million – to incentive grants intended to encourage and reward gains in student achievement and management efficiency.

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Governor linking School Aid and teacher evaluations

January 17th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Governor Cuomo will unveil his proposed 2012-13 state budget at 2 pm today.  Details, including School Aid runs, may not be available until that time or later.

The Governor made a lot of news on education over the long weekend, however, revealing plans to use School Aid to force action on teacher evaluation.

Initially, it was reported that the Governor would propose holding up School Aid increases for districts which failed to implement new teacher and principal evaluation procedures by December 31, 2012.

By itself such a proposal would only increase pressure on school districts to compromise with their local unions under a law which the Governor has said, “protected the teachers union at the expense of the students and instituted a system that was destined to fail.”

There had to be more to the plan.  Today’s New York Post and New York Times provide more details.

The Post reports,

Gov. Cuomo will give New York’s teachers one month to agree to a statewide performance evaluation plan — or he’ll write his own educator-rating scheme into the budget for legislative approval, The Post has learned.

In the ultimatum — which Cuomo will level at the United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers as he presents his budget today — the governor will also insist the state union drop its lawsuit challenging certain provisions of the evaluation system, a source close to the administration said.

The governor would have up to 30 days to present a budget amendment that spells out the details of a teacher-rating system, something he promises to do if the unions don’t sign on.

Districts would then have until early next January to get the new system up and running or else the state would withhold a 4 percent increase in school aid, sources said.

 

Category: Legislation, State Budget, Teachers | 1 Comment »

Feds warn NYS on Race to the Top, Governor responds (expanded)

January 10th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

New York is one of three states to be placed on a “watch list” by the S. Department of Education for inadequate follow-through on Race to the Top commitments.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has reacted to the news with a statement harshly critical of school districts, local unions, and what he refers to as “the Assembly-led legislation” creating the evaluation system.

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Category: Legislation, Teachers | 1 Comment »

On the state of the state

January 6th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his second annual State of the State address, outlining an ambitious agenda designed to build on the impressive achievements of his first year in office.

In the area of education, the Governor that in his first year he learned the lesson that superintendents, teachers, school boards, maintenance personnel, and bus drivers all have lobbyists, but students do not have a lobbyist.  So he declared he would be taking on a second job in the coming year – students’ lobbyist.

He announced he would appoint a commission on education to recommend reforms in key areas, including teacher accountability and student achievement and management efficiency.

The Governor said, “we need a meaningful teacher evaluation system. The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for Race to the Top didn’t work.”

He added, “We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend.”

No details have been provided yet on who will sit on the commission or when it will report.

I was quoted in a New York Times article on the commission and appeared on Time Warner’s statewide Capitol Tonight television show, along with Tim Kremer from the School Boards Association and Nikki Jones from the Alliance for Quality Education.

In the Times article, I said

“There are a lot of people who would disagree with the governor’s rhetoric and parts of his analysis, but would agree with the big picture.  How do we produce more learning for students with the resources our taxpayers can provide?” Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Finance, Leadership, Legislation | 2 Comments »

More evaluation news…

January 4th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

More on the trials and tribulations of implementing the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation requirements…

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Category: Leadership, Legislation, Teachers | 1 Comment »

Governor to appoint education commission, teacher evaluation conflicts, and more

January 3rd, 2012 by Robert Lowry

In this post:

  1. Governor to appoint education commission
  2. Teacher evaluation conflicts
  3. School finance news

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Category: Finance, Legislation, State Budget, Teachers | 1 Comment »