Derrell Bradford is the executive vice president of 50CAN and the executive director of NYCAN. He lives in the New York City metro area.

Governor Cuomo recently announced his teacher quality agenda with proposals to brighten the path towards student success and teacher excellence. To continue this conversation, NYCAN created ‘A Winning Formula: Growing the seeds of excellent teaching in New York State.’ 


At NYCAN, we believe teaching is an art and skill of the highest order. Its impact, when done well, is monumental.

Because teaching is difficult, it is also difficult to do well. We don’t believe it’s a problem that some people go into teaching and discover they are not good at it. We think it’s a problem, however, when we allow someone to continue teaching when that person does not have the gift for it.

The way we currently recruit, evaluate and reward teachers is all too similar, resulting in a bluntness that dulls the edge of student learning and teacher excellence. It’s because of this that NYCAN supports Governor Cuomo’s teacher quality agenda.

Not everyone agrees that great teaching can do amazing things, like beat poverty or change the world for kids who need it the most. Those folks have been doing their best to “gum up” the path towards excellence and make sure that teacher evaluations passed by the legislature last session don’t work. Faced with positive change or more excuses, they’ve chosen the latter.

At NYCAN, we like to make the big bite-sized, and that’s why we’ve released ‘A Winning Formula: Growing the Seeds of Excellent Teaching in New York State.’ Big things like changing how we identify and reward excellence in the classroom are complicated, but they don’t need to be convoluted. ‘A Winning Formula’ is an accessible overview of the state of teacher quality in the Empire State, including what the governor has proposed and the research that backs it up.

We think there is a formula to great teaching. And like most winning formulas, it adds up to greatness.

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