Seven members of the state Board of Regents are calling for delaying until September 2016 the rollout of toughened teacher evaluations approved two months ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers.
The revised law, passed April 1, requires public school districts to get state Education Department approval of new evaluation procedures by Nov. 15. The 17-member Regents panel, which carries out education policy, is tentatively scheduled to adopt regulations putting the law into effect at a meeting next week in Albany.
However, seven members, in a joint statement, propose postponing the deadline for local districts until Sept. 1, 2016. Many school officials, teachers and parents on Long Island and elsewhere have protested that the new teacher ratings are being rushed into place.
"I believe we need to be reflective and careful and thoughtful in evaluating our teachers and children," Regent Kathleen Cashin of Brooklyn, one of the statement's signers, said Tuesday. "Teachers are in loco parentis -- they take care of children when parents aren't around. Therefore, this should not be rushed."
The statement, which also calls for reducing the portion of teacher evaluations based on student test scores from roughly 50 percent to no more than 20 percent, was first reported by Capital New York.
Regent Roger Tilles of Great Neck, who did not sign, said he agrees with much of the statement's substance but is mindful that the law sets deadlines -- including a requirement that the Regents enact regulations by the end of this month.
"I'm worried that the governor could step in at that point and say the Regents didn't do their work," said Tilles, who represents the Island on the Regents board.
The board's chancellor, Merryl Tisch of Manhattan, said she, too, agrees with much of the statement and does not regard relations within the Regents panel as acrimonious.
"But ultimately, I think we as a board are going to have to come to some kind of decision to carry out the requirements of the law," she said.
More than 66,000 students in grades three through eight on Long Island were pulled out of state standardized tests in April, with many parents complaining that the linkage between assessments and evaluations was putting pressure on children.
An amendment to state law that would postpone the stiffened evaluations is one of several issues under discussion in Albany as the legislative session approaches its end next week.
Neither the governor nor legislative leaders have announced any agreement.
The relatively large number of Regents signing the statement reflects growing resistance to the revised evaluation system, both within the board and in the Democrat-dominated Assembly, which is the biggest voting bloc in the legislature and controls selection of Regents.
Four Regents who signed the statement were selected in the last two years, including three who forced out longtime incumbents.
"I think it's something to watch in ensuing days, to see if the number becomes a majority," said David Gamberg, superintendent of the Greenport and Southold districts. He is one of a dozen school chiefs in the region who recently called for a moratorium on using test scores in evaluations.