Published Online: January 10, 2012
Published in Print: January 11, 2012, as State of the States

State of the States

State of the States: New York


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) • Jan. 4

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told state lawmakers that the 2010 law that ties teacher evaluation to student test scores—a major piece of the state's winning $700 million Race to the Top plan—is not working, and he suggested it needs to be revised.

The Democrat said he would appoint a bipartisan commission to work with lawmakers on the issue, though he did not say specifically how he wants the teacher-evaluation law to be changed. The commission will address "teacher accountability," student achievement, and school district management, he said.

"We need a meaningful teacher-evaluation system," Mr. Cuomo said, according to a transcript of his speech. "The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for Race to the Top didn't work."

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, center, talks with Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, right, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos after delivering his State of the State speech to lawmakers.
—Mike Groll/AP

It's unclear how changing the teacher-evaluation law would affect New York's Race to the Top award, which it won in 2010. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has made it clear that he expects the winning states in the federal competition to stick to their promises.

The governor offered few specifics on his education agenda for 2012, though he cast himself as an agent of change on school issues. In 2011, Mr. Cuomo said, "I learned that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist." He named superintendents, teachers, principals, school boards, maintenance workers, and bus drivers as having that political representation, and quipped: "Consider me the lobbyist for the students."

Vol. 31, Issue 15, Page 21

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