Education Transformation Act of 2015

Budget Includes Landmark Education Reforms 

New York’s education system is set to implement some of its most dramatic and fundamental reforms in years through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Education Transformation Act.

“When it comes to education, the budget we approved will transform our school system in comprehensive ways. The reforms we have included will move us to an education system that rewards results, addresses challenges and demands accountability,” said Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo had tied a six percent increase in new school spending to vital reforms, including improvements to the systems for teacher evaluation, certification and preparation as well as providing new authority to improve failing schools.

“This year we are finally ensuring that New York’s education system will be about the students it is intended to serve, instead of just perpetuating a bureaucracy,” Cuomo added.

On Tuesday night, the State Legislature raised state education funding by $1.3 billion to a record-high $23.5 billion in this year’s budget. 

Mona Davids, head of the NYC Parents Union said, Cuomo’s “legislation is a good start but doesn’t go far enough.  We are continuing forward with our Davids v. New York lawsuit.”

Education Transformation Act_2015

  • Teacher “Bar” Exam / CTE: The State currently requires teachers to pass a teacher “bar” exam – and will now also require teachers to complete 100 hours of continuing education and recertify every five years or lose their licenses.
  • Teacher Evaluation System: A redesigned teacher evaluation system will be established whereby educators are rated in two categories, student performance and teacher observations.Teachers will be evaluated based on a four point scale. In regulations, the Commissioner shall set scoring bands, cut scores and weights, and the Commissioner must have the system put in place by June 30, 2015. Local districts must put evaluations in place by November 15, 2015, in order to be eligible for increased aid. 
  • Reduce Student Testing: The Chancellor of the Board of Regents will outline to the Governor and Legislature recommendations by June 1, 2015 on how to decrease the overall amount of state and local testing, improve test quality, and reduce test-related stress and anxiety. 
  • Tenure = Performance: The Education Transformation Act of 2015 reforms tenure so that it is based on performance and is not simply a function of time.o The probationary period will be extended to a minimum of four years with no automatic right to tenure at any point.
    o A teacher will have to be rated Effective or Highly Effective in at least three of four years to be eligible to receive tenure. If a teacher does not meet this threshold, he or she can be terminated or the district may extend the probationary period.
  • Bonuses & Promotions: A bonus of up to $20,000 will be provided to teachers who are top performers, and promotion opportunities will be tied to the evaluation system.
  • Teacher Removal:o For Ineffective teachers: Statewide, all hearings will be heard before a single officer rather than a panel.Local districts will be able to use new expedited removal proceedings for teachers with two consecutive Ineffective ratings, and will be required to do so for teachers with three consecutive Ineffective ratings.
    o For misconduct: Teachers accused of physical or sexual abuse will be suspended without pay and the hearing process will be expedited. Teachers convicted of violent felonies with a child victim will automatically lose their certifications.

Sam Pirozzolo said, “As the father of NYC public school children I am thankful to the legislature for passing these reforms.”