Green Room

NY Teachers Union Abandons Dem Gov. Over Reforms Update: Regents Board Responds

posted at 5:41 pm on May 16, 2011 by

In what is surely a sign of the times, yet another teachers union is rising up against the draconian shackles being attached to them in the fiscal conservative revolution. This time, it’s taking place in the unlikely lands of the Empire State.

ALBANY (AP) — The powerful New York State United Teachers union is severing its cooperative relationship with the state Education Department because it embraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s teacher evaluation proposals.

Richard Iannuzzi of the New York State United Teachers union says the Cuomo proposals backed by state schools Chancellor Merryl Tisch on Friday will hurt education as well as teachers.

Well, I’m sure this was predictable. What are those dastardly Republicans up to now? Let me guess… they not only want to take away collective bargaining, but they plan on making all of the teachers live on a diet of thin rice gruel and tap water until performance improves, right?

Cuomo recommended a potential doubling of the importance of student test scores and performance and more rigorous classroom observation of teachers in the evaluation system being considered by the state Board of Regents.

The system would replace seniority to determine which teachers face layoffs.

Well, we certainly can’t have a system where evaluations and results actually impact layoffs and hiring, can we? Oh, and by the way… Cuomo is a Democrat, for those in other parts of the country who haven’t been keeping score.

Is it any wonder that people have been rising up against the teachers unions and parents are wondering precisely what it is that they’re getting for their tax dollars? The proposals from Cuomo look positively tame compared to anything coming out of Wisconsin, and yet the teachers union is “cutting ties” with the state department of education before they’ve even been implemented?

Welcome to the new frontier. It’s a wave which is washing up on shores as far away as New York and beginning to affect elected Democrats. Buckle up. This may be a bumpy ride.

UPDATE: The state Board of Regents has clearly heard the protests from the teachers union. In response, they’ve quickly moved into action… to roll out the new evaluation system even faster.

A few months before the first phase of a teacher- and principal-evaluation system is scheduled to take effect, the state Board of Regents is changing some of the rules.

Regents voted 14-3 on Monday to fast-track the timeline for rolling out the new system. Student growth and performance will now be factors in evaluations.

The system was supposed to take effect this fall for math and English teachers in grades 4 through 8, as well as their building principals. Everyone else would be evaluated in fall 2012.

Oh, dear. Am I reading the news or the script for a new alternate reality film?

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I love this guy! I didn’t vote for Cuomo, but he’s certainly ticking off the right people.

Living4Him5534 on May 16, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Given Cuomo’s role in the expanded “enforcement” of the Community Reinvestment Act (ie. the Make Bad Loans Act) under the Clinton administration, this turnaround signals real desperation. That puts him about thirty levels above Pelosi and ten or twelve above Harry Reid. But that’s not particularly good praise.

njcommuter on May 16, 2011 at 7:34 PM

The Cuomo ’16 presidential campaign is placing a very large bet that this is the direction not only the Republicans are going, but the direction all but the most fanatical big government Democrats are going to have to go over the next few years.

Geography also helps Cuomo here. The fact that unlike California, New York has to worry about several neighboring states within a short drive of its major metro areas siphoning off both local residents and businesses if it doesn’t reform also makes it easier to do here than, say, in California, where you can’t move away from the big cities and get out of the state (and the grip of the state’s taxing and spending policies) without traveling 250-350 miles to Las Vegas and Phoenix. And some businesses that involve overseas trade have to stay on the Pacific coast.

California Dems are like New York City Dems 40 years ago before bankruptcy — they don’t think they have to push the teachers unions or make any major changes because they don’t think the majority of their taxpaying residents have anywhere else to go. Having grown up around his dad when he was (tangentially) involved in NYC’s crisis of the 1970s, Andrew knows that attitude won’t fly, especially with Christie pushing reforms across the Hudson in New Jersey, and would leave him as just another failed New York politician.

(Of course, that still doesn’t explain Illinois, the other of the Big Three States of mega budget deficits, and which like New York has a bunch of other states around it with better tax and spending policies where people and companies can move to. But Democrats there may still be under the delusion that good ol’ Barack in the White House is going to ship a pot full of other states’ bucks back to Chicago and Springfield in the near future so they also don’t have to make any hard choices.)

jon1979 on May 16, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Jon, that’s a very good assessment. I agree that Cuomo is positioning himself for a national run in 2016. To do that, he absolutely has to turn NY’s fiscal situation around. The best thing that could have happened to NY is to have Republicans take Pennsylvania’s and NJ’s governorships, because it forces state politicians to face the writing on the wall. NY is not competitive with even it’s northeast neighbors.

But, oh my, state pols here are kicking and screaming as they are dragged to the votes. Nobody wants to give up the gravy train. And nobody can believe that Cuomo is acting like a Republican! He’s been getting some nasty press.

piglet on May 16, 2011 at 8:57 PM