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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Efforts to delay new teacher evals gain steam

The growth rate for Long Island school taxes

The growth rate for Long Island school taxes has been cut by nearly two-thirds since the state implemented a property tax cap, according to a study released Tuesday, May 19, 2015, by business groups. Credit: iStock

ALBANY - The Senate and Assembly seek to approve measures that would delay the teacher evaluation system passed into law a month ago as the Board of Regents ramps up its effort to delay the evaluations opposed by teacher unions.

The Board of Regents is seeking to delay implementation of the new system that places more weight on student test scores and requires classroom observation by an educator outside the teacher's school, among other measures. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo calls it a tougher, more accurate system to weed out bad teachers.

In its mid-June meeting, the Board of Regents plans to adopt regulations that will be used to implement the new system. The regulations are due June 30 under the law. The law requires the new evaluations to be in place by Nov. 15, or school districts will lose millions of dollars in state aid.

Proposals to delay that time table, however, are among the priorities for the Legislature for the session due to end June 17, legislative staffers said Tuesday. The Senate bill sponsored by new Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) would require a 45-day public comment period after the state Education Department drafts regulations would be used to implement the law and more time for school districts to implement the new system. Other provisions would require that evaluations provide credits or leeway for teachers facing substantial obstacles in the classroom including immigrants learning English, special education students, poverty and any prior academic history of students performing poorly.

The Assembly bill sponsored by Education Committee chairwoman Catherine Nolan (D-Queens) would give the Board of Regents and state Education Department months more to draft regulations. The measure also provides school districts more time to implement the new evaluations.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo who created the new evaluation system remains open to what he called reasonable delays for school districts facing hardships in implementing the system, a Cuomo spokesman said Tuesday. The state Education Department's recommendations to the Board of Regents Monday include two-month waivers that can be provided to schools making a good-faith effort to implement the new evaluations. The waivers could be granted multiple times to a school district.

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