New York’s Senate will take one last look Thursday at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill that would restrict public release of a teacher’s evaluation to parents of children he or she teaches, two Republican senators said.
Two Republican senators who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the GOP majority will consider the bill in a closed-door conference Thursday morning. The Senate would have to vote on the bill Thursday, the last day of the regular session, or postpone the issue for months.
The senators spoke on the condition of anonymity because all discussions in the conference have been confidential.
Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans’ ally and major benefactor, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, indicated Wednesday he is willing to listen to compromises on his position calling for full public disclosure of all teacher evaluations. He has said that is the quickest way to improve instruction and motivate teachers.
“The governor is trying to come to a compromise and do something right. So am I,” Bloomberg said Wednesday.
Asked if his preference for full disclosure of all evaluations is off the table, Bloomberg said: “I don’t know that … I don’t know how it’s going to turn out or if anything’s going to get done.”
Cuomo had submitted his bill moments before midnight on Monday night, the deadline for voting on the bill Thursday. He said he won’t accept amendments to the bill, which would require either lengthening the session or the governor ordering a suspension of the constitutionally required three-day review period for legislation.
“I’ll be prepared to listen to anything,” Bloomberg. He said Wednesday that making sure parents have a practical way of seeing the evaluations, without requiring a day off from work, is a high priority for him.
The Senate Republicans are torn by the merits of the issue as well as its politics. Bloomberg, a billionaire, is a major campaign donor to the Republican majority. But so are the state’s powerful teachers’ unions, which support Cuomo’s bill and strongly oppose full disclosure. The union, with hundreds of thousands of members and supporters, will also have a powerful role in the vote during this fall’s legislative elections.
Cuomo’s proposal has already been passed by the Assembly.
A court, education reformers and Bloomberg have said all evaluations should be made public. Earlier this year, New York City released ratings for 18,000 teachers based on student test scores, outraging teachers and their union.
Associated Press writer Samantha Gross contributed to this report from New York City.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.