Legislation in Support of Race to the Top Application

On Friday, May 28 the New York State enacted historic new legislation that will not only improve educational opportunities and outcomes for our state’s students and teachers, but will also greatly improve our chances for success in Round 2 of the federal Race to the Top competition. This legislation was signed into law as Chapters 100, 101, 102 and 103 of the Laws of 2010. Following is a brief summary of each chapter:

  • Chapter 103 (S.7991/A.11171): This statute will implement a statewide comprehensive evaluation system for school districts and BOCES. The evaluation system is designed to measure teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance, including measures of student achievement. Specifically, the statute establishes the requirements for new, more rigorous annual professional performance reviews (APPRs) of classroom teachers and building principals. The statute provides for a phase-in of the new evaluation system, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year for certain teachers and principals in grades 4-8. The evaluations would generate a single composite effectiveness score based on multiple measures of effectiveness and would have to be made a significant factor in employment decisions, including but not limited to, promotion, retention, tenure determination, termination, and supplemental compensation, as well as teacher and principal professional development (including coaching, induction support and differentiated professional development).

    The new evaluation process will apply first to teachers in common branch subjects, English language arts (ELA) and mathematics – for whom the grades 3-8 state assessments are available – and their principals, and then will be expanded to all teachers and principals. Under the new system, evaluations of teachers and principals will be required to base 40% of the composite effectiveness score on student achievement measures. In addition, the percentage of the evaluation that must be based on student growth will increase when the state implements a value-added growth model.

    The statute also provides for an expedited hearing for tenured teachers and principals where charges of incompetence are brought based solely upon a pattern of ineffective teaching or performance. A “pattern of ineffective teaching or performance” is defined as two consecutive annual ratings of “ineffective.”

    In addition, to assist in the turnaround of failing schools, the statute authorizes school districts to enter into contracts with educational partnership organizations (EPOs) to help manage those schools identified as “persistently lowest-achieving” or “schools under registration review” (SURR). To qualify, an EPO must be a BOCES, institution of higher education, cultural institution or a private non-profit organization with a proven track record of success in intervening in low-performing schools.

  • Chapter 101 (A.11310/S.7990): This statute raises the cap on the number of charter schools permitted to operate in New York. It includes provisions to enhance charter schools’ accountability and transparency and ensures equal access to these schools for students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELLs), and students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program (FRPLs).

    Specifically, the statute provides for the establishment of a new process to issue charters. The Board of Regents and the SUNY Board of Trustees are each authorized to develop a request for proposals (RFP) process for 260 new charter schools. The process provides for thoughtful review of charter applications and ensures that the growth in charter schools is targeted, planned, and geared toward high-performance standards. One hundred thirty of the news charters would be issued on the recommendation of the SUNY Trustees, of which no more than 57 may be for charter schools located in New York City. Of the additional 130 charters issued by the Regents, no more than 57 may be for charter schools located in New York City.

    Charter schools will have to meet enrollment and retention targets of students with disabilities, English language learners (ELLs), and students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program (FRPLs), and undergo a rigorous public review process. A repeated failure to meet enrollment and retention targets could be grounds for revocation of a charter.

    The statute includes new procedures for the “co-location” of charter schools within public school buildings in New York City. The City Schools Chancellor would be required to develop a building usage plan for each co-located charter school.

    The statute also includes several new measures to ensure greater accountability and transparency. For example, charter schools will be subject to audits of the state Comptroller. And the charter school annual report – which currently includes academic data, financial statements, and the charter school report card – will also include information on the school’s efforts to meet or exceed enrollment and retention targets of students with disabilities, ELLs, and FRPLs. And these reports will have to be made more widely and publicly available.

  • Chapter 102 (A.11311/S.7991): This statute makes a Chapter Amendment to Chapter 101 on charter schools to provide that the 130 additional charters recommended by the SUNY Board of Trustees are deemed approved and issued.

  • Chapter 100 (A.11309/S.7989): This statute will appropriate $20.4 million to the State Education Department for services and expenses related to the implementation of a state longitudinal data system. The appropriation will provide capital funding needed for the development of the state’s data portal and data-driven instructional improvement system.

Last Updated: October 7, 2010 2:34 PM