July 27, 2010

U.S. Education Department recognizes New York's real effort at education reform

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. July 27, 2010 -- New York State United Teachers today said that New York is a finalist in Round 2 of the Race to the Top competition because it submitted a competitive application that focused on real, meaningful reform.

"While this puts New York a step closer to achieving a Race to the Top grant, we're going to await the final list of successful states expected to be announced in September before strategizing our role in implementation," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Still, it's encouraging that the U.S. Education Department recognized that teachers unions and other key stakeholders came together in New York to enhance learning opportunities for all students."

New York's new law to improve how teachers are trained and evaluated will likely be critical to how New York fares in September, Iannuzzi said.

"The new law places a renewed emphasis on teacher preparation, mentoring and on-going professional development. The collaborative support for teachers and the idea that practitioners can have a role in controlling their own profession and in defining excellence shows that New York is serious about improving teacher effectiveness, not just scoring points in Race to the Top," Iannuzzi said.

He added, "Test scores can and do have a place in measuring teacher effectiveness, but New York's new law goes further. New York acknowledges that there is far more to effective teaching than just student test scores, and has put in place a comprehensive system to improve teacher effectiveness and support teacher and student growth."
Iannuzzi went on to say, "It would appear that those responsible for selecting RTTT finalists understood and valued this approach."

The Wall Street Journal reports that "thirty-five states and the District of Columbia applied for part of the $3.4 billion available under the Race to the Top competition. The finalists are Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina."

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