On the day set as the deadline for reaching an agreement over teacher evaluations, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have struck a deal.
After weeks of back and forth, the agreement, brokered by Governor Andrew Cuomo, came this morning at 5:30 a.m. between the Department of Education and the UFT. Cuomo had set today as a deadline, vowing to step in and insert his own plan in an effort to secure $200 million in education funding for the state that could have been at risk if the city at the UFT did not reach a deal.
"It was not easy, obviously, to reach this point, but as I’ve said repeatedly I always was optimistic that we were going to come to an agreement," Bloomberg said. "The teachers union wants to have effective teachers in the classroom and help our kids the same way the city does."
Under the new deal, 60 percent of teacher evaluations will be based on measures of performance and 40 percent will be based on student progress, especially on state exams.
The new agreement also means teachers who are deemed underperforming by their principal will be required to undergo monitoring by an independent educator for the next year. If after a second year, the monitor and the principal agree that the teacher is still inadequate, it will be up to the teacher to fight his or her termination.
If the teacher's performance is rated acceptable by the monitor, it will be the city's responsibility to prove why the teacher should be fired.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio praised Bloomberg for reaching a deal with the UFT in time to preserve $60 million in funding for NYC schools, but took aim at the mayor's plan to close 33 schools.
"This agreement erases the Bloomberg Administration’s flawed rationale for closing 33 schools and firing half of their teachers -— a plan intended as a threat to wring concessions from the UFT," de Blasio said. "The mayor must immediately halt those plans and recognize that today’s historic announcement deserves the City’s complete support."