A national teachers’ group and New York City career-training provider have issued statements in the past few days lauding the teacher-evaluation agreement that Gov. Andrew Cuomo helped broker. The deal, which is now part of the governor’s 2012-13 budget proposal, would strengthen a 2010 law that revamped the state’s teacher- and principal-evaluation system and ties student progress on standardized tests.
The 2010 law helped New York secure nearly $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds, which promote education reform. The extended length of time it was taking to implement the new evaluation system had gained the attention of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who said New York could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding if it didn’t act swiftly to put the new evaluations in place.
This is what TNTP — The New Teacher Project — said of the deal:
“Last week’s agreement removes most of the barriers that have kept districts and local teachers’ unions from fixing broken, outdated teacher evaluation systems. It sets clear standards that will ensure evaluations provide accurate information about teachers’ performance — the key to helping them reach their full potential. Governor Cuomo deserves a lot of credit for following through on his commitment to get the evaluation law — and the millions in federal aid attached to it — back on track. His leadership has been indispensable.
“Although the new law should jump start negotiations in most districts, it will not set a clear deadline by which districts must start implementing better evaluations. Real work remains. Especially in New York City, it is critical that the district and union move quickly to finalize an agreement that delivers for schools. If negotiations fail, schools will lose out and the federal grants will once again be jeopardized.”
The group, which was founded by teachers 15 years ago, has recruited or trained about 49,000 teachers, which has helped an estimated eight million students. It is known for its studies of the policies and practices affecting the quality of the teaching workforce, including “The Widget Effect” in 2009.
This is a statement from Randolph Peers, executive director of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, which provides job training and education services for disconnected youth:
“As a leading provider of career training and educational services for youth who are neither working or in school, we have seen upfront the consequences of a failed system. Too many young adults are dropping out of high school; unfortunately, there are very few programs like OBT that can provide them with a second chance to get their lives on track. Long-term we recognize that the best solution is to reform our educational system so more young adults graduate and read and write at grade level. With this goal in mind, we applaud Governor Cuomo and the State Education Department for their push to create greater accountability through an improved teacher evaluation system. Good teachers make for better educational outcomes, and the new evaluation system that balances classroom effectiveness with standardized testing results can only lead to more of NY’s children succeeding educationally.”
School principals from around the state have signed an online letter criticizing the new teacher-evaluation law.