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Poll: Wide approval for Cuomo's plan to link school aid to evals

Nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers approve of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s carrot-and-stick approach to getting new teacher evaluations in place, according to poll results released today.

Last month, Cuomo vowed to withhold increases in state school aid to districts that do not settle in short order on new teacher evaluations that take test scores into account.

The poll, conducted last week by the Siena Research Institute, asked respondents, “Do you support or oppose the Governor’s plan to link school aid increases to the implementation of an enhanced teacher evaluation process?” Seventy-one percent said they support that plan. (The poll of 807 registered voters had a margin of error of 3.4 percent.)

The support was evenly split between respondents in New York City and the rest of the state and was especially high among black New Yorkers (77 percent) and young people between 18 and 34 (78 percent). Households with union members (61 percent) and Jews (63 percent) supported Cuomo’s plan least often, but even they stood by it in large numbers.

Respondents were more divided when it came to the size of the aid increase. Forty-two percent of New Yorkers said the size of Cuomo’s proposed increase — $800 million, compared to a $1.3 billion cut last year — was “about the right amount,” 39 percent said it was not large enough, and 15 percent said it was too great.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was back in Albany today, where a week ago he met with legislators to push Cuomo’s backup plan on teacher evaluations: to use the budgeting process to impose new evaluations without the consent of local teachers unions.

Today’s trip comes days after Mayor Bloomberg proposed a city budget that increases school funding — based in part on an assumption that the city would pull down its expected aid increase from the state.

The Siena poll had all-around good news for Cuomo. In addition to the teacher evaluation news, Cuomo received a 74 percent approval rating and 52 percent of respondents — tied for the highest ever — said they think the state is moving in the right direction.

The full breakdown of how New Yorkers responded to the poll question about teacher evaluations is below. (Click to enlarge.)

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