News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
Teacher evaluation plans will roll over -- new law prevents lapses
School districts effectively would never be without a teacher-evaluation plan, under a provision tucked into the new state budget.
The budget, set to be enacted this week, dictates that school districts’ teacher-evaluation plans would roll over each year unless renegotiated. If district officials and teachers’ unions can’t reach a new agreement, the old one stays in effect.
The change is significant because more than 90 percent of teacher evaluation plans that Long Island school districts rushed to complete this year already are nearing expiration. Some educators and analysts recently expressed fear that lapses would weaken expectations for teachers' performance.
All but 10 of the plans covering the Island’s 124 public school districts will terminate June 30 because they are only one-year agreements, a Newsday review found. That's less than six months after the Jan. 17 deadline that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set for evaluation plans' approval by the state Department of Education.
Cuomo insisted on getting the rollover provision into the budget precisely so evaluation plans wouldn’t lapse, administration officials said.
The teacher-evaluation clause inserted in the budget says:
“In the event a school district does not have an annual professional performance review plan approved by the commissioner for the applicable school year as of September first of that year, the collectively bargained plan most recently approved or the plan determined by the [education] commissioner shall remain in effect until a subsequent plan is agreed to by the parties in accordance with this section and is approved by the commissioner.”