Top education officials recommend teacher-evaluation changes

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New York’s top two education officials on Wednesday backed a plan to revamp the way school districts assess their teachers and principals, recommending changes that would make it easier to remove ineffective educators from the classroom.

B6MrU8kIgAAt1OcIn a letter Wednesday to a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and soon-to-be-acting Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin called for teachers and principals who receive two consecutive “ineffective” ratings on their annual evaluations to be removed.

Tisch and Berlin’s plan also calls for reducing the role local teachers unions and school districts have in determining the rubric for evaluating educators, calling for the state to prescribe scoring ranges for the portion of the evaluations not based on student test scores.

“A teacher who has received two consecutive Ineffective ratings should not be permitted to return to the classroom,” Berlin and Tisch wrote.

The letter came two weeks after Cuomo’s Director of State Operations Jim Malatras requested that the state Education Department lay out its position on a variety of teacher- and school-related issues. It also came two days after Cuomo vetoed a bill — which he originally negotiated and proposed in June — that would have temporarily shielded from being disciplined for poor student scores on Common Core-based tests.

Cuomo has pledged to make significant changes to the teacher-evaluation system in the coming year, and lawmakers are slated to return to the state Capitol in early January.

But such changes are likely to be met with opposition from the New York State United Teachers union, which held a protest Wednesday outside of the Executive Mansion in Albany, where Cuomo and partner Sandra Lee were hosting an open house and receiving line.

Union members said they will also protest Thursday evening outside Cuomo’s inaugural speech in Buffalo, as well as his State of the State address on Jan. 7.

NYSUT President Karen Magee, who formerly headed the local teachers union in Harrison, Westchester County, said Tisch should focus on the “real issues” in education.

“The conversation needs to be about poverty, it needs to be about funding schools, it needs to be about properly doing what’s right for education,” Magee said. “That’s smaller class sizes, that’s funding of pre-K, that’s community schools.”

251397844 Malatras Education Letter 12-31-14

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  1. Conserned Voter on

    To all the Uneducated nimrods out there, Common Core has nothing to do with Teacher evaluations. It is all about Raising the level of education our children are getting which in turn means we need to have a better class of Teachers out there, Teachers that are really interested in educating the children and less on the Summer Vacation they get. Why are teachers so against being graded on their performance and that of their students. There are too many so-called teachers out there that don’t want to be bothered with or are not capable of working with children/students that don’t grasp/understand the lesson being taught the first time it’s explained. There are only able to “teach” or should I say Recite out of their book and expect the children to get it that first time around. I’ve known teachers like that. My children have been learning under common core and I think it’s fantastic. It is up to the school system to set up the program that will slowly bring the different grade levels to those standards. The younger the children the easier it is, because they just adapt an grow with it. It is more advanced and we as one of the Top Industrialized Countries must work at and Excel at producing the most educated children possible to come up to and be on par with the rest of the world. At present we the American population are ranking disgustingly low in the level of education and what our children know compared to many many other nations. There are “Third” nation children that are better educated (well rounded) educated in subjects that our children don’t have a clue in.

  2. Cuomo's Disasterous Evaluations on

    TO “CONSERNED” VOTER:

    You have quite a few things wrong. Teachers are ALL FOR being graded on our performance, and have been for decades, but the new evaluations are a total failure. I will explain why.

    It’s a completely new, unproven, untested idea to have standardized test results used to calculate teacher evaluations. If a kid gets a test answer right, how do we know they learned that particular answer from that particular teacher? We don’t. In real life, the kid could have guessed the answer. Or, the kid could have learned the answer at home from a parent, or from a $100 per hour private tutor. Or from a previous teacher.

    If a kid gets answers wrong, the new evaluations punish the current teacher. But what if the kid wasn’t even reading the questions and just bubbled in answers randomly? (I saw multiple students do this last Spring). What if the kid was absent 44 times because she had to watch her baby cousin? Why is her teacher is punished for this?

    What if the kid doesn’t speak much English and hasn’t been able to understand the teacher all year? The tests do not make any exceptions for this. What if the kid was 4-5 years behind grade level when they enrolled in the school? The teacher is supposed to catch them all the way up by Spring, but there has never been a case of anyone doing this.

    This is how teachers in wealthy neighborhoods get rewarded by the new evaluations, and how teachers in poor neighborhoods get punished – in both cases, we have no way of knowing if the answers on the tests point to the latest teacher, or if the kids actually took the test.

    You are right that the Common Core standards themselves are not the issue, it’s how they are being implemented. They were designed for the top third of achievers in the nation, which means they were never meant for the bottom two thirds, that holding everyone to the same standards would result in two thirds failing, predictably, by design. In NY, it was even higher, at 70-75%

    So maybe you can explain to me why we are forcing kids to learn at a level beyond their functioning ability knowing kids develop at different paces?

    And why would we let the federal government dictate education policy and give up local control of education policy and staffing? Did you know Common Core’s implementation, called Race To The Top took power away from your local school board, state legislature and state education department?

    Before this policy, teachers in NY were evaluated by a simple Satisfactory/Unsatifactory rating, decided by the principal who understands the working conditions and knows the local students, parents and community. Firing teachers will improve nothing unless there are better teachers available and there is already a shortage of good teachers in the inner city. The testing accountability has already caused a hiring crisis in my school – so who do you think is going to teach in communities that how low literacy and will guarantee poor test scores?