Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday enacting a moratorium on teacher evaluations because of concerns about the controversial Common Core academic standards would be "overkill."

The Democrat, who is running for re-election this year, said he's willing to adjust but not delay teacher evaluations. The state's largest teachers union said Cuomo's stance was "incongruent at best" with his approach to students.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

With just one week remaining in the 2014 legislative session, Cuomo and state lawmakers have been negotiating changes to the teacher-evaluation system. Currently, students' test scores on Common Core assessment account for 20 percent of a teacher's evaluation.

Earlier this year, lawmakers agreed to delay the impacts of Common Core assessments for students: Common Core-aligned tests for students in grades 3 through 8 won't be included on their transcripts through 2018. Further, school districts can't use the scores as the sole way to determine student placement.

The deal excluded teachers, but Cuomo said in April officials would continue to discuss the issue.

Signaling a change in the discussion, the governor said, "I'm not in favor of a moratorium," while on "The Capitol Pressroom," a public radio program. "Would you be in favor of an adjustment for the possibility that the test scores are not correct? Yes, because that's what we said -- it would be illogical to say I see the inaccuracy for students and the potential harm but not for teachers. So can you find a way to do that? That's what we're working through on that issue."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), head of the Senate Education Committee, didn't return a call seeking comment. He previously predicted lawmakers would agree to tweak the teacher-evaluation law before their adjournment for the year -- which is set for next Thursday.

A spokesman for New York State United Teachers called Cuomo's position inconsistent.

"If standardized test scores are so unreliable and inaccurate they can't be used for students, how can these unreliable and inaccurate scores be used as part of teacher evaluations?" NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn said in an email. "It's incongruent at best. We need to hit the 'delay' button on using flawed standardized test results for high-stakes consequences for teachers. Talks continue with the governor's office and legislative leaders, and we are guardedly optimistic we can reach an agreement before the end of the session."