New York has made some progress in its efforts to improve teacher quality, ranking 13th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in a report released Wednesday.
New York received a C, up from D-plus two years ago, in the report by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The report comes as the state and New York City are struggling with the issue of teacher evaluations. Gov. Andrew Cuomo told school districts this month that they must settle on a new teacher evaluation system or lose their share of a proposed 4 percent increase in education spending.
Meanwhile New York City officials and the United Federation of Teachers failed to reach an agreement on evaluations by a Dec. 31 deadline, prompting the state to suspend $58 million in aid intended for 33 low-performing city schools. The city said it would move forward with a plan to close and reopen those schools.
The study by the Washington-based council was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private foundations.
It ranks states by criteria including how well prepared teachers are, what measures are in place to retain good teachers and how easy it is to dismiss bad teachers.
No state got an A in the group's report for 2011. Florida was ranked highest with a B while Montana was lowest with an F.
Grades improved overall from 2009 when the highest grade received by any state was a C. The council said improvements were due to efforts in several states to tie teacher evaluations to student performance on tests.
"There is little doubt that the past two years have seen major changes in states' teacher policies," said Kate Walsh, the organization's president. "Rethinking how teacher performance is evaluated and tying teacher evaluations to student achievement marks an important advance in teacher effectiveness policy."
The study's authors praised New York for linking teacher evaluations to "objective evidence of student learning" but noted that such evidence "is not the preponderant criterion."
A state Education Department spokesman had no immediate comment on the report.
Carl Korn, a spokesman for New York State United Teachers, said the union agrees that there is a place for standardized test data in the evaluation of teachers but added, "our concern as that an overreliance on a single standardized test would result in a narrowing of the curriculum and increased test prep."