As the regular legislative session came to a close in Albany today, members of the State Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo's bill which limits public disclosure of teacher evaluations. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Both houses took up the teacher evaluation bill on their final day. The Senate went first and passed it quickly and without debate. The Assembly took a bit more time, as critics voiced opposition from the floor. But in the end, it also passed after roughly two hours of debate.
It was a tidy conclusion for an issue that seemed unresolvable earlier in the week.
Would you have voted to limit the release of teacher evaluations to school parents? What is the most effective way to rate the skills of a teacher? Read New Yorkers' thoughts.
"We'd been speaking for weeks," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "We had many conversations. We had not arrived at a consensus. We were at the last week of session. I put in a bill at the point where there couldn't really be any more negotiation."
The legislation allows parents to see the evaluation of their child's teacher. The rest of he evaluations will also be made public, without the individual teacher's name attached.
The Assembly immediately embraced the governor's bill, but the Republican-controlled Senate was less supportive. That is, until Thursday morning, the final day of session.
"We made a conscious decision after discussion in conference that this struck a balance between a parent's right to know and confidentiality," said State Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos. "So it's a good balance."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants full disclosure of the evaluations available to the general public. He was lobbying the Senate all week to kill the governor's bill.
"He was a bit disappointed but we had a good discussion," Skelos said. "We've done a lot of great things working with him and we are going to continue to do so. He's a great mayor and we are going to continue to support him."
"People want it," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "Parents want it. Teachers want it. School administrators want it. The only person who has expressed opposition is the mayor of the city of New York."
In the end, there were no overnight sessions in this final week. Legislative leaders and the governor used words like "orderly" to describe the wrap up of business. That hasn't always been the case in past years at the state capital.