Editorial: Teacher evals will factor in mayoral race
The long-awaited New York City teacher evaluation plan that State Education Commissioner John King made public this past weekend contains page after page of heartening news for 1.1 million schoolkids and their parents.
For the first time ever, the city could wind up with an evaluation procedure that holds its 75,000 public school teachers to high standards while permitting administrators to fire -- with far more swiftness -- those who fail to measure up. But there is a catch.
The plan King is imposing will stay in effect through the 2016-17 school year -- unless the city and United Federation of Teachers negotiate a new deal in line with the state teacher evaluation law.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's staff says any plan revised after Bloomberg leaves office on Dec. 31 would need King's sign-off, and they say they trust King to uphold the key principles of the plan released Saturday.
Meanwhile, even if the UFT and a union-friendlier mayor agree on a reworked evaluation procedure, the state-imposed plan would remain in force until a new one is put into place.
On this issue though, it's never over when it's over.
The UFT packs a tremendous political wallop and it has never liked the notion of stringent teacher evaluations, a timely dismissal procedure or standardized curriculum.
That's one reason why Bloomberg and the UFT missed a state-imposed deadline last January to reach a deal on evaluations and -- as a result -- forfeited $250 million in state assistance.
But it's hard to see what the UFT got out of this last round. It lost on all of those points -- and now even faces a mandate to base 5 percent of a teacher's rating on student surveys in grades three through 12. Another chapter would surprise no one.
Yet the plan could be transformative if it survives. This has been a long fight but City Hall and Albany have served the city's parents well so far. It will now fall to the next mayor to continue that record of progress.