Frightening Proposals From The Board Of Regents

A lot has happened over the past few weeks, but what is probably the biggest news is the exchange of letters between the Governor and the Regents. I know that some of this was shared by Dr. Cohen and other administrators, but I thought it might be helpful to summarize it all in one place. 

On December 18th, Andrew Cuomo’s office sent a letter to Meryl Tisch (Chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents) and outgoing Commissioner John King listing 12 pointed questions that outlined the Governor’s vision for the future of education in the state. You can read the entire letter here (and you should), but among the highlights are his repetition of the misleading statistics that make it appear our students are failing, making the teacher evaluation process more test-based to insure that more teachers are designated as ineffective, and scaling back our due process rights to make it easier to fire teachers.

Two weeks later, Chancellor Tisch responded with a 20 page screed that included a wide range of policy recommendations (some of which could be implemented by the Regents, some of which would require legislative action). Again, as long and painful as it is, you really should try to read the whole thing, but here is a quick summary of some of the most critical recommendations:
  • Eliminate local measures from APPR and make state testing 40% of the APPR score
  • Take away local district’s ability to negotiate to 60% portion of APPR and replace it with state mandated criteria
  • Insure that teachers who receive two consecutive ineffective ratings are removed from the classroom (at present it is at the district’s discretion to do so)
  • Replace the independent arbitrators who oversee a teacher’s termination process with state employees
  • Make language explicit that untenured teachers can be fired at will – regardless of evaluations
  • Increase the probationary period for tenure to 5 years
  • Increase state aid to school districts by $2 billion
One item that was not part of the letter, but clearly goes along with it, is an education department recommendation that an expectation be put in place that at least 5% of teachers in every district MUST be rated ineffective. Districts that don’t comply would be subject to audits.
As you might guess, there have been a number of responses to this letter, but there is one, from the NYS Allies for Public Education, that everyone must read, in it’s entirety. It provided a important rebuttal and a very clear summation of the actual issues. Please click here to read it, and then
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