Press Release

AFT on New York teacher evaluation system: Collaboration beats conflict

For Release: 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Janet Bass

"While collaboration is never easy, it always beats conflict and ultimately does right by our kids."

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on agreement between New York State United Teachers and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a new teacher evaluation system.

"This is what happens when everyone is committed to working collaboratively and using real tools, like collective bargaining, to reach agreement. While collaboration is never easy, it always beats conflict and ultimately does right by our kids. Educators are in the classroom every day with their students and should be included in developing policies that they will have to convert into real-life teaching and learning for our students.

"Evaluating teachers in a comprehensive way that is focused on improving teachers' instructional skills is what's best for kids. Just like student learning must be far more meaningful than achieving a standardized test score, teacher evaluations must go beyond using standardized test scores, which were not designed to evaluate teachers and don't test subjects that a majority of educators teach. Kudos to the New York state teachers union leaders and Gov. Cuomo for showing that, as is the case with the groundbreaking New Haven, Conn., evaluation process, kids win when adults are committed to solving problems together.

"It is our hope that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will now work with the United Federation of Teachers to reach an agreement on an overall teacher evaluation system for New York City teachers and on the implementation of federal School Improvement Grants. Gov. Cuomo and the UFT, with Mayor Bloomberg's approval, have successfully negotiated a process for teachers who want to appeal their evaluations. This should be the basis for fixing, rather than closing, the 33 SIG schools."



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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.