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Lawmakers move to change teacher evaluations in NYS

State lawmakers on Wednesday moved to end the use of state examinations to evaluate principals and teachers in New York.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring every student receives a high quality education,” said Speaker Carl Heastie. “We recognize that every student and every school district is unique. Standardized tests do not reflect student diversity, and they may not be a reliable measure of a teacher’s success. These common sense reforms help teachers prioritize the needs of their students.”

The measure is a significant change to how the state requires evaluations be conducted and essentially throws the assessments back to local school districts.

“Today we made it clear that we will continue to stand up for New Yorkers,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “We made college more affordable, we have made it possible for all teachers to teach without undue burdens, and we passed tax relief for middle class New Yorkers by making the property tax cap permanent.”

The bill had been pushed heavily by the New York State United Teachers union last year, but did not get a vote in what was then the Republican-controlled state Senate.

On Wednesday, the bill sailed through the Senate 60-0.

Senate Republicans, nevertheless, proposed ending the evaluation system writ large, blaming Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“My fear is that the Democrats in the Legislature are letting partisan politics get in the way of sound public policy,” said Sen. Joe Griffo, the deputy minority leader.

“That is not good for the students of this state — who will continue to be subject to their high stakes testing — and it’s not good for the constituents I represent. If this is what the change promised by Senate Democrats looks like, we’re all in big trouble.”

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