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GOP opposes basing 50% of teachers' rating on students' scores

A student studies for an exam on May

A student studies for an exam on May 1, 2013. Credit: Heather Walsh

ALBANY - Republicans who control the State Senate oppose Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to base 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to students’ scores on standardized tests, lawmakers said.

“We want to knock that number down,” said Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset). “We think it’s too high.”

Marcellino added that he was speaking “personally” and not for all Senate Republicans, though others said the conference, in a lengthy closed-door meeting Monday, overwhelmingly disapproved of the governor’s initiative.

Under the current teacher-evaluation process, 20 percent of an instructor’s rating is based on students’ test scores. But Cuomo has knocked the current system as “baloney” and has pushed for 50 percent.

In calling for change, the governor also has cited a Newsday analysis that found many Long Island districts skewing ratings so as to rate more teachers as "effective."

The Senate put Cuomo’s initiative in a one-house budget resolution adopted a week ago. But officials said that was more as a “placeholder” in the budget than a sign of support.

The Democratic governor has said he’d agree to significantly boost state aid to schools this year — but only if the Senate and Assembly back changes to teacher evaluations and other education issues.

Lawmakers are trying to pass a roughly $142 billion budget by April 1, the beginning of New York’s fiscal year.

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