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NY lawmakers reach deal on teacher evaluation law

(Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the state legislature reached a deal on Wednesday to put a new evaluation system into law that seeks to make teachers more accountable and assure federal funding for schools continues to flow.

Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the new evaluation system would set standards for teacher evaluations based on student achievement and rigorous classroom observations.

The legislation follows through on New York's commitment to establish a "real and effective" teacher evaluations as a condition of the $700 million granted through a federal government program, they said in a statement.

Under the legislation, 60 percent of a teacher's evaluation will be based on nationally recognized measures of teacher performance, while the remaining 40 percent will be based on student academic achievement, they said.

"The new statewide evaluation law sets clear standards for measuring educators based on how our students are performing in the classroom, so we can make sure our children have (the) best possible opportunity for the future," said Cuomo, a Democrat.

Skelos, a Republican, commended Cuomo for "working with the legislature and labor" to help prepare students in the state to "compete and succeed."

Silver said a teacher evaluation law passed by state lawmakers two years ago helped bring the $700 million in funding from the so-called Race-to-the-Top program to New York schools.

"This will provide comprehensive standards for using multiple measures to evaluate teacher effectiveness and help struggling teachers grow and improve," added Silver, who is a Democrat.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Peter Bohan)

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