For 2 years, teachers won’t be judged on Common Core

Educators packed a forum at Eastport-South Manor High School last December to express their displeasure over Common Core. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)
Educators packed a forum at Eastport-South Manor High School last December to express their displeasure over the Common Core. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A new state law has spared teachers from being judged based on their student’s Common Core test results — at least not yet. 

Legislation passed last week by the state Senate and Assembly will postpone some of the effects of the Common Core school curriculum on teachers until the 2015-16 school year.

The law states that teachers and principal rated as “developing or ineffective” will not be evaluated based on Common Core testing results for this past and next school year. Normally, student test results would make up 20 percent of a teacher’s overall evaluation.

A teacher or principal can still be terminated if they fall short in other non-state evaluations.

The Assembly passed the law 128 votes to 1, while the Senate version sailed through with no objections. Both local Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and State Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) voted in favor of the law.

The law had been introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said the changes would “protect New York’s standing as a national leader in teacher evaluation.”

Some North Fork superintendents say that while local districts won’t be directly affected by the new law, the legislation does give parents, educators and voters more time to discuss the controversial Common Core changes.

Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen said Shoreham-Wading River’s students consistently do well in state assessments and that district teachers aren’t in danger of being terminated.

He said the real benefit of the law is in delaying the full effects of the Common Core.

“There’s a lot of parts of the reform agenda that frankly, in my opinion, need a lot more discussion,” Mr. Cohen said. “The state has really tried to push the state reform agenda. Maybe this will slow it down a little.”

Superintendent Richard Malone from Oysterponds Elementary School said nearly all teachers in the Orient school are tenured, so the delayed evaluation won’t change much.

Yet Mr. Malone said the new law would ultimately help by halting the quick changes in school reform.

“I have been a proponent of the Common Core but I have not been a supporter of the fast lane implementation,” he said. Mr. Malone added that the legislatures near unanimous approval of the bill shows that representatives are paying attention to those they represent.

“It’s a great response of the legislators,” he said.

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