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As new evaluations firm up, more city principals oppose them

During the month that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was engineering revisions to the state’s teacher evaluation law, more city principals signed onto a petition critiquing it.

A pair of Long Island principals launched the petition against the state’s 2010 evaluation law in November, arguing that its requirement that a portion of teachers’ ratings be based on students’ test scores is unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts.

Two weeks after the petition started circulating, hundreds of principals across the state had signed on, but only a handful were from New York City. By early January, only about 100 city principals had signed on, up from 30 in early December.

Now, there are more than 175 principals on board as of the version of the petition distributed Monday night.

City principals still make up less than 15 percent of the 1,359 state principals who have signed on while comprising more than a third of principals statewide. But they have made up ground in recent weeks. They were less than 10 percent of signatories a month ago.

In the last month, of course, Cuomo’s efforts drew educators’ attention squarely to the new evaluations. Plus, a deal last week between the State Education Department and the state’s main teachers union, NYSUT, fleshed out some details of the new evaluations and brought their realities into sharper focus.

One of the principals who authored the petition, Carol Burris, started outlining objections to the agreed-upon framework as soon as it was released. Both she and Sean Feeney, her co-author, have said they will continue to draw attention to shortcomings in the state’s evaluation regulations even as NYSUT’s opposition melts away.

“NY it’s not over,” Burris wrote Sunday on Twitter. “Take the fight to the legislators.” Lawmakers are being asked to formalize the evaluations deal when they approve the state’s new budget, which must happen by the end of March.

The full list of city signatories to the petition is below.

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