New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) vetoed Common Core legislation his administration drafted to delay the implementation of a new teacher evaluation system tied to student performance.
Cuomo’s veto underscores the tension between teachers and politicians, proponents of the teacher evaluation feature of the Common Core education reform initiative.
The New York Times reports that the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) pushed for the two-year delay “safety net” for teachers and principals who were given low ratings in the state’s new evaluation system. Those with low ratings would have the Common Core test student performance portion removed from their evaluations.
Following the plummeting student test scores on the Common Core-aligned assessments, outrage just prior to Cuomo’s November re-election bid led him to pledge in a TV ad “not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready.” Student test scores would have been used in decisions about promotion and school placement.
NYSUT argued that, if the use of test scores could be delayed for students, why not for teacher evaluations? Though he at first resisted compromising on the teacher evaluations, Cuomo caved. His administration drew up the measure to “provide consistent and essential short-term protections for educators and maintain New York’s standing as a national leader in teacher evaluation.”
However, when the union failed to endorse Cuomo in the primary, and this month’s teacher evaluations revealed less than one percent of teachers were rated “ineffective,” Cuomo said the system needed to be more rigorous.
These evaluation results “are not an accurate assessment – only 0.7 percent of teachers were rated ‘ineffective’ under the [Annual Professional Performance Review], and so the legislation is unnecessary,” Cuomo wrote in his veto message. “These temporary provisions do not fix the foundational issues with the teacher evaluation system. Given what we know now, it would make no sense to sign this bill and further inflate these already inflated ratings.”
“This is just disrespectful to teachers,” said NYSUT president Karen E. Magee Monday evening, about Cuomo’s veto. “He hit the stall button for the students already, so to not do this, it makes no sense.”