ALBANY — Rookie Sen. Todd Kaminsky plans to attempt a “hostile amendment” Monday to strike the requirement that school districts must submit teacher-evaluation plans as a condition of receiving state financial aid.
The amendment is likely to fail in the Republican-led Senate. But Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said the state Legislature needs to act before adjourning (set for June 16), noting that teacher-evaluation plans are due Sept. 1. Hostile amendments virtually never succeed in either house but are used by legislators in the political minority to make a stand on an issue.
“I call on my colleagues, regardless of party, to immediately decouple state aid from teacher evaluations — thereby protecting state funding for Long Island schools,” Kaminsky, who is up for re-election this fall, said in a statement. “With only seven days left of the 2016 legislative session, the time to act is now, excuses will not suffice.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pushed through the teacher-evaluation requirement, then in 2015 increased the weight of students’ scores on teachers’ evaluations. After growing boycotts of standardized tests, the Democrat backtracked later that year and the state Board of Regents imposed a four-year moratorium on the linking of test scores to evaluations. But lawmakers didn’t undo the requirement that school districts must have a state-approved teacher-evaluation plan to receive some categories of state aid.
Kaminsky’s said Monday afternoon he’s put the hostile amendment bid on hold after Republicans sought to discuss the bill.