ALBANY -- Hundreds of union members Monday protested Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to strengthen ties between schoolteachers' evaluations and student scores on standardized tests, kicking off a week that will see education budget battles escalate.
New York State United Teachers faithful marched through the Empire State Plaza complex to the State Capitol and held a noisy rally on the third floor, where the houses of the legislature work. Besides evaluations, they are fighting Cuomo's proposal to increase the number of charter schools and make it easier for the state to take over underperforming schools. They said Cuomo defines "opportunity" as increased privatization of schools.
The evaluations might be the most troubling, some said.
"The most important thing is that he's tying my evaluation to the students' standardized test scores," said Daphna Arm, who teaches sixth grade in Merrick. "We negotiated a fair evaluation system with the governor and now he's throwing it out the window."
The teachers' protest came before a smaller pro-charter school gathering on the very same spot Monday, and precedes a huge pro-Cuomo and charter school rally slated for Wednesday.State officials already have announced the closing of streets around the Capitol to accommodate the thousands expected.