teacher evaluations

Karen Dewitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

The state’s largest teachers union brought bagpipe players and a brass band to New York's Capitol to push for a bill to decouple teacher evaluations from the results of standardized tests.

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Teachers wouldn’t be evaluated based on their students’ standardized test scores any longer under a measure approved by the New York State Assembly. It’s a reversal of a controversial policy that helped lead to a widespread boycott of the third- through eighth-grade tests associated with the former Common Core program.

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The state’s education commissioner says no new laws are needed to reverse a proposal in this year’s state budget tying teacher performance reviews more closely to standardized tests.

credit nysut.org

Three quarters of school districts in the state have applied for waivers from the new teacher evaluation rules set out by Governor Cuomo and the legislature in March.

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A new school year is starting soon, and education officials say they will try to reverse a growing movement of parents having their children opt out of standardized tests.  The boycott could jeopardize a new system of teacher evaluations.


Governor Cuomo and the state legislature approved some significant changes to the state’s education system and how teachers are evaluated going forward. But, before all that can be implemented ,the new system faces a big test, literally, later this month.

Focus on Education: The future of Common Core

Feb 21, 2014
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The debate over the Common Core learning standards has recently sparked a great deal controversy with many giving input on what’s best for students. The final installment discusses what the future holds for Common Core.

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Governor Cuomo and the State Education Department are saying a side deal between the Buffalo school district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation regarding teacher evaluations is illegal and should be blocked. The union is going to court to uphold the deal.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The day after a school board election and a few days before a Buffalo Teachers Federation election, Wednesday night's school board meeting was, at times, tense with politics front and center.

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The Buffalo School District plans to scrap its memorandum of understanding on teacher evaluations. In a written statement, Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown says the State Education Department determined the MOU between the district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation is void.

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The State Education Department has voided a January memorandum of understanding between the Buffalo school district and its teachers union on evaluations. 

Teacher evaluation plan approved in Hamburg

Apr 19, 2013

Educators and administrators in Hamburg have approved a new teacher evaluation plan, one of the last districts in the state to do so.


When a snowstorm buried the Buffalo area under more than a foot of snow the day after Christmas, pedestrians in some spots were forced to walk in the street -- dodging cars, buses and trucks because sidewalks were clogged with snow.  In a column that followed the storm, Buffalo News Suburban Editor Bruce Andriatch called on municipalities to begin ticketing property owners who fail to clear their sidewalks. 

Governor Cuomo says he no longer thinks settling the issue of making teacher evaluations public  is “urgent” and will allow the legislature to leave later this week without an agreement on the matter. Cuomo, speaking on former Governor David Paterson’s radio show on WOR, says the legislature will end its session for the summer without acting on a plan on how to make public teacher evaluations public, saying that the evaluations do not have to be completed by schools until January, anyway.“Nothing that we have left, frankly is that urgent that it can’t take more time,” said Cuomo.

Parents prepare for more protests

May 14, 2012
WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo debate over teacher evaluations is not likely to fade anytime soon.

The Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council says today it will begin holding daily protest sessions outside the headquarters of the Buffalo Teachers Federation until a system is in place.

A recent poll showed a slight majority of residents supported the teachers' contention that any evaluation system needs to account for the poor attendance rates in Buffalo public schools.

The Buffalo Public Schools District received word from the State Education Department Thursday that it would approve improvement grants for six city schools.

The Education Department says it approved six of seven school improvement grants, but only if the district is able to reach agreement with on a teacher evolution plan with the Buffalo Teachers Federation by July 1.

"We are the adults in this city, every one of us, and the only people being hurt by this are the kids in this city," said interim Schools Superintendent Amber Dixon.

Ffile Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

The Buffalo Teachers Federation staged a walkout during the New York State United Teachers convention on Friday.

The walkout came as state education commissioner John King, Jr. took the stage. King is the focal point in a dispute between the BTF and the state over teacher evaluations. At stake is millions of dollars for low-performing schools. King believes that a resolution is near but that teachers have been misinformed by union leaders.

The News reports that the BTF's actions were supported by a number of attendees from across the state.

Chris Caya/WBFO

The New York State Board of Regents today followed a recommendation to close Pinnacle Charter School in June at the end of the current school year.

The Education Department recommended the school closing because of persistent sub-par scores on state tests. There is no appeal process, although school officials were meeting with legal counsel Tuesday about a possible lawsuit to block the closing.

Parents, teachers, and students have been rallying in recent days to keep the school open.

A local politician is urging a resolution to the teacher evaluation battle between the state and the local teacher's union.

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples is calling for a possible state takeover of the city's public schools if an agreement isn't accepted by the Buffalo Teachers Federation. The evaluation plan will be a statewide mandate and millions of dollars in funding for Buffalo's  lowest-performing schools are at risk.

A protest against the BTF is being planned for Monday evening.

The Buffalo School Board could be voting soon on laying off dozens of employees after leaders of the teacher's union approved keeping an attendance clause in the district's teacher evaluation agreement.

Albany insists chronically absent students must count.  The dispute is holding up $9 million in funding for six of Buffalo's low-achieving schools.