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October 22, 2013
King to hit Harlem schools circuit with top Democratic lawmaker
Commissioner John King has a busy day scheduled in New York City tomorrow. First, King and Chancellor Merryl Tisch are meeting up in Harlem where they'll visit schools in the district of Assemblyman Keith Wright, a senior legislative member with influential positions in the state's Democratic Party. Wright will take them to P.S. 180 and Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts, an embattled middle and high school that nearly closed last year and posted some of the lowest test scores in the state. In the afternoon, King will travel to midtown Manhattan for what could be a more tense encounter: a panel conversation with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, one of his fiercest critics. The panel is hosted by Teaching Matters at The Harvard Club starting at 12 p.m. The events are scheduled on the day after King released evaluation data that showed barely any teachers received low ratings, which he said he hoped would ease concerns of teachers union leaders. For months, Weingarten and local union leaders called on King to hold off on tying high stakes to teacher evaluations until after schools fully adopted new Common Core learning standards, which students were tested on in April. Test scores plummeted and critics reprised calls for a moratorium in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the state teachers union said today that the evaluation data did not sway their concerns. "The state’s rushed implementation of Common Core and last April’s testing debacle call into question the use of these scores in any high-stakes decisions affecting individual teachers or students," said New York State United Teachers President Dick Iannuzzi. Such a change would require a change to state law, which would require support from legislators like Wright. In an interview today, Wright said he recognized that the issue was a "hot topic" but said such a change wasn't a priority among his parent constituents.
June 11, 2013
Under pressure, Tisch signals a concession on teacher evals
Facing simmering opposition, the State Education Department seems likely to give up on a plan to add more weight to test scores in teacher evaluations. Education officials have long intended to increase the percentage for which test scores count toward a teacher's overall evaluation by 5 points, from 20 to 25 percent. A provision in the state's evaluation law, passed in 2010, allows for the increase if officials adopt a more complex "value-added" model to measure student growth. Commissioner John King always planned to embrace the option, but his proposal at April's Board of Regents meeting was met with resistance from members who questioned the methodology's reliability and asked to shelve the plan. In recent weeks, the state teachers union also lobbied members who were on the fence. This week, Chancellor Merryl Tisch signaled the pressure was effective, acknowledging that she expected the Board of Regenst to hold off on the proposal when it meets next week. "This is not the stuff that I feel we go to war over," Tisch said Monday in a radio interview.
June 7, 2013
Rain or shine, teachers from around the state mobilize for rally
Organizers getting set up for Saturday's rally. (NYSUT Twitter) Organizers of a long planned rally in Albany say that they won't let weather ruin their festivities. The date for tomorrow's "One Voice United" rally was scheduled back in March by the New York State United Teachers, as part of its public campaign to pressure State Education Department Commissioner John King to slow down plans to administer this year's tests, which were tied to tougher Common Core learning standards. They arranged 225 buses and originally expected 10,000 teachers, parents and advocates to convene in the capital to show King the scale of opposition. The buses will still roll, including three out of New York City sponsored by the United Federation of Teachers. And more than a dozen advocacy groups representing a variety of labor and education issues, including New York City-based Leonie Haimson's Class Size Matters, are signed on to participate as well. But the number of people who show up could be slightly smaller if rainy weather brought by Tropical Storm Andrea scares them off. The storm is forecast to continue into tomorrow, though the skies could clear by noon. "Heavy rains might dampen the crowds but they will not dampen the enthusiasm of those who want to take back public education from the billionaires and bureaucrats," said NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn.
January 20, 2012
State-level conflict over teacher evals said to be near resolution
A week that was packed with conflict over teacher evaluations is drawing to close with news that detente is nearing — at least at the…
April 20, 2010
NY teachers union strikes back against Newsweek cover story
Does that April 15 edition of New York Teacher look familiar? Apparently, the state teachers union didn’t take to Newsweek’s take-down of teachers unions…
October 28, 2008
Paterson describes new budget reality: No area won't be cut
Governor David Paterson answering reporters' questions at a less bleak time (via Flickr) That idea that NYSUT, the state teachers union, has been pushing,…
October 16, 2008
Could panic over education cuts cost Dems the state senate?
PHOTO: Joe Mahoney/iNewsThe state senate chambers Pledging not to allow any mid-year budget cuts to education has won the Republican leader of the state…
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