Gov. Andrew Cuomo began the year demanding more accountability for teachers after learning that 96 percent were deemed effective or highly effective in the same year that only 40 percent of students demonstrated proficiency on state tests.
He wanted student test scores to count for half, rather than 20 percent, of a teacher’s year-end evaluation. He dangled an extra $1.1 billion worth of state aid to schools to convince the Legislature to adopt his plan.
Yet by the end of the year, Cuomo had retreated on that hard-line stance — apparently ready to accept a task force’s recommendation that those test scores not count for another four years. So what happened in the interim?
Educators, advocates and parents — already unhappy with the way the state had rolled out Common Core — responded to Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan with an all-out attack on standardized tests.
The Alliance for Quality Education organized a march on the Capitol in March that drew 2,000 parents, students and teachers calling for an end to high-stakes testing and an increase in school aid. Parents began encouraging others to opt their children out of state tests. The State Education Department only added fuel to the fire when it warned districts they could lose state aid if enough students didn’t sit for the state tests.
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