Challenging Union, Cuomo Urges Probe of Teacher Evaluations


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urged the state Education Department to investigate the results of teacher evaluations to see whether the process is skewed to favor teachers.

The administration sent a letter to acting Education Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin on Sunday, citing news reports that districts were using the part of teacher evaluations they control to ensure teachers scored high enough to receive favorable evaluations.

Newsday reported on Sunday that most Long Island districts use identical scoring ranges, promoted by the New York State United Teachers union, for the local portion.

“We strongly urge you to investigate the teacher evaluation results in Long Island, as well as the rest of the state, to determine whether the skewed ratings warrant departmental action or highlight areas where changes to state law are needed,” said the letter from state Operations Director Jim Malatras to Berlin.

NYSUT, the state’s largest teachers union, said Monday that each district’s teacher evaluation plan was approved by the state Education Department.

“The governor’s cluelessness about teacher evaluations and his disdain for the teaching profession have never been more apparent,” NYSUT President Karen Magee said. “The only thing skewed here is the governor’s logic.”

Cuomo, as part of his budget proposal for next year, called on the Legislature to require that teacher evaluations rely more heavily on test performance after last year’s results rated 96 percent of teachers highly effective or effective and less than 1 percent ineffective. Under the state’s Annual Professional Performance Review law, teachers receiving two consecutive ineffective ratings could be fired.