On January 21, 2015, Governor Cuomo unveiled his “ambitious P-12 education agenda” for 2015 in his State of the State address. Among other things, the Governor proposed reforms to the State's teacher evaluation system, an increase in the length of the probationary period for teachers and the expeditious removal of chronically ineffective teachers. The Governor adopted a number of recommendations submitted by the New York State Board of Regents in response to a request made by the Governor's Director of State Operations at the end of 2014. We note that other constituent groups, including the New York State School Boards Association and the New York State Association of School Attorneys submitted similar recommendations to the Governor's office in recent weeks.
The details of the Governor's agenda will be outlined in the 2015-16 Executive Budget Proposal scheduled to be released shortly.
Highlights from the State of the State Address include the following proposals:
· APPR Reform – Eliminate the local portion of the APPR, base 50% of the evaluations on State exams and the remaining 50% on independent classroom observations; require an Effective rating in both 50% categories in order for a teacher to be rated Effective or Highly Effective; prevent rating inflation by setting scoring bands in statute.
· Probationary Period – Extend the probationary period for teachers from three to five years.
· Incentives for High-Performing Teachers – State payment of $20,000 for teachers rated as Highly Effective.
· Professional Development – Continue to offer Teacher Improvement Plans for those who need it.
· Removal of Ineffective Teachers – Provide for the expeditious removal of teachers rated Ineffective for two years unless a teacher can show that their scoring was fraudulent.
· Provide for the takeover of failing schools.
· Provide $100 million for an education tax credit and increase State tuition assistance for undocumented immigrants (DREAM Act).
· Increase the charter school cap by 100 with no limit on the number based in New York City.
· Extend mayoral control in New York City and consider the possibility of mayoral control in other cities statewide.
· Extend pre-K funding and pre-K opportunities for three-year olds.
· Create a Mentoring Commission to be chaired by Matilda Cuomo.
· In exchange for the passage of the proposed education reforms, propose an increase in State support for education by 4.8% or 1.1 billion.
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