By JON CAMPBELL and CARA MATTHEWS
ALBANY -- State education and teachers union officials struck a deal early Thursday afternoon on a new teacher-evaluation, beating a deadline imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo by just a few hours.
Under the new evaluation system, 60 percent of the annual review will be based on classroom observations and other standards of teacher performance.
The remaining 40 percent would be based on student performance, including 20 percent on how the students fare on state tests. Local school districts and teachers union chapters have several options for the remaining 20 percent, so long as they are based on Education Department-approved tests and show a different measure of growth.
Cuomo and New York State United Teachers union officials announced the deal Thursday after an all-night negotiating session ahead of the governor's deadline. Cuomo had threatened to add his own evaluation proposal to his budget proposal if there wasn't a deal by the close of business.
"Today's agreement puts in place a groundbreaking new statewide teacher evaluation system that will put students first and make New York a national leader in holding teachers accountable for student achievement," Cuomo said in a statement.
NYSUT had sued the state over some of the regulations for the teacher and principal evaluations and largely won in state Supreme Court. The state appealed the ruling, and a decision has not been handed down yet. Thursday's announcement is expected to settle the case.
School districts and local union chapters have control over many of the specifics in the evaluation system through collective bargaining, but Thursday's deal gives the state Education Department power to veto a local plan if it is deemed insufficient.
NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said the new evaluation system was a fair compromise.
"Teachers support high standards and accountability for our profession," he said in a statement. "We believe today's agreement is good for students and fair to teachers."
Cuomo said he would insert the newly agreed-upon evaluation system in his 30-day budget amendments, which are due Thursday.
The deal also preserves federal Race to the Top funding for New York, which federal education officials had threatened to pull since the implementation of an evaluation system designed in 2010 had slowed.