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Walcott calls state evaluation law "broken" during lobbying trip

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued his state budget speech two weeks ago, he offered a stark choice to districts and unions working on new teacher evaluations: agree, or face the consequences.

In Albany today, Chancellor Dennis Walcott suggested that the city would prefer the consequences — widely assumed to be an effort by Cuomo to use his budgeting process to impose new evaluations without the consent of local teachers unions

“I think the law, and the governor is so right about this, is broken,” Walcott said. “It’s not going to work as constructed.”

Walcott would not comment on the status of negotiations with the United Federation of Teachers but said that the issue dividing them — the appeals process for teachers rated ineffective — had not been solved.

Cuomo, who has said the 2010 evaluation law was “destined to fail,” seemed willing but not eager to expend political capital on changing the law when he delivered his budget address. He said he preferred districts and their unions to agree on a “protocol” for new evaluations within 30 days.

But, Cuomo said, “If they can’t do that then we’ll do it for them.”

Walcott’s comments reflect pessimism about the state of negotiations in the city just days after UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised Cuomo for his “intervention” to induce the city back to the table. Walcott said he was in Albany to lobby them about changing the law.

Meanwhile, there has been no news about the status of negotiations between the state teachers union, NYSUT, and the hundreds of other school districts required to put new evaluations in place. Ten days ago, the union and the state had seemed to be on the verge of settling their differences.

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