State Education Commissioner John King Thursday told Gannett’s Albany Bureau that more than 500 of the state’s roughly 700 school districts have submitted plans for the new state-mandated teacher evaluations.
About 200 districts have had plans approved, King said. Schools face a Jan. 17 deadline for education department approval; if they miss it, they’ll forfeit a scheduled increase in state aid.
“We’ve received well over 500 plans. I expect that by early December, that number will be closer to 600,” King said Thursday while he was attending a conference in Albany. “We’ve reviewed and provided feedback to probably close to 500 of the plans. We’ve got about 200 or so that have been approved. Now, maybe somewhat more than that, over the last week. So, we’re moving in a very positive direction.”
He said some districts are stuck in their bargaining process, but they’re not haggling over the evaluations. Rather, they’re working out salary and benefits details.
King said he hopes to see those districts either resolve their issues soon or complete side evaluations agreements and return to compensation contracts later.
He said he’s seen principals and teachers already improving their work since adopting the new evaluations.
“As I travel around the state, I hear from districts and their bargaining units about their good collaboration, about the ways in which the evaluation is changing conversations about instruction,” he said. “Principals are really talking to teachers in different ways about what they see in the classroom, relying on the common language for what good teaching looks like from the rubrics that are a part of the evaluation system.”