Regarding "Teachers' ads target Cuomo" [News, Feb. 2], Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has threatened to withhold state funds from school districts that don't change their evaluation process. The governor would like to have a teacher's evaluation more strongly tied to student scores on standardized tests.
My organization believes that the students of New York deserve a teacher and principal evaluation system that is based, at least in part, on an analysis of whether educators positively affect student growth and performance.
In that pursuit, and consistent with New York's Race to the Top application, the state enacted legislation purportedly designed to reach this goal.
Currently, the Annual Professional Performance Review law requires local unions and school districts to negotiate and reach agreement on virtually all of the elements of the new evaluation systems.
While unions should continue to enjoy their rights under New York's collective bargaining statute, provisions of the performance review law should be amended to ensure that:
In the absence of an agreement at the bargaining table, a district would nevertheless be able to implement the new evaluation system.
Districts could resolve appeals in a timely and expeditious manner.
And districts would retain the right to release probationary employees and deny tenure if warranted.
We fully appreciate the governor's frustration and the leverage he brings to resolving this complicated issue. However, a threat of the loss of state aid might be misinterpreted as suggesting that reaching agreement is more important than the substance of those agreements. There are no winners in that race.
Timothy G. Kremer, Latham
Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association.